Saturday, March 22, 2014

My Top 5 Tips to stop Shedding and Breakage

Helllloo Ladies! How's your healthy hair journey going? Are you accomplishing your goals, is your hair showing much progress?  Well I hope so!  But if not,  today I'd like to offer a little insight to help you along the way. Hair breakage is something many of us face when trying to grow and maintain our best hair.  It can be really  frustrating doing all you "know" to do only to get less than acceptable results. If you are going to have the best hair of your life breakage is something that you will have to get under control first.   When there is unexplained breakage and questionable shedding, not knowing what to do can further thwart your efforts to grow and maintain healthy hair.  Below are my top 5  proven methods to bring breakage and excessive shedding to a screeching halt! 

1. Pay Attention: The best way to thwart excessive breakage and shedding is to nip it in the bud before it gets far gone. Pay attention to what's going on with your hair as you handle it on a daily basis, or weekly, however often you are manipulating your hair. Try not to mindlessly go through your hair without watching the sink, your comb, or your hands.  Inspect to see if there are many short broken pieces.  Check for single strand knots, or if your hair seems to be shedding more than normal from day to day or week to week. When you pay attention early, you can adjust what you are doing as it's happening before breakage manifest its self in a large way!  Example: as I finger comb or take a detangling comb through my hair,  I watch my sink to see if anything is popping off. If I see a short piece of hair right away I can determine why that just happened and correct it. Most of the time it was because there was a single strand knot that just popped off and took a piece of my ends with it!  Or it was because I was yanking through my hair  rougher than I realized. I then immediately adjust what I am doing.  I either move slower or take my scissors and snip any knots I see or feel before combing through it.  I always have my scissors close by when going through my hair. That way, if I come across a single strand knot I can snip it instead of just ripping it off which can lead to split ends, more knots, and additional  breakage.

2.  Strengthen your hair: This really is my first tip, but unfortunately most people don't think of this step until after their hair is showing signs of breakage or excessive shedding. As I said, you want to stop all of this before it starts. Protein deep conditioning sessions and or Ayurvedic (Henna,Cassia, Amla etc.) treatments is a great way to strengthen your hair so that it will resist breakage. I strengthen with protein conditioners twice a month and with an Ayurvedic powder treatment every two months.

3. Keep hair moisturized: By moisturize I mean use water, or using a water based product before using an actual oil to seal. When consulting with my clients I  learn that many of them believe that oil alone is an acceptable sole means of moisturizing their hair. It is not. Oil is a lubricant and aids in making hair soft to the touch and  shiny etc. But it is not moisture. Feel your hair on a daily basis to assess your moisture level; this will help you determine how often you should moisturize. Everyone can have a different schedule. By simply touching your hair every day to assess moisture levels you can avoid dry, crunchy, or stiff hair.  Bottom line: Dry hair breaks!  Try not to handle your hair when it feels too dry because you will more than likely get some breakage.  (Bonus: keep heat and  chemical dye usage to a minimum, these things promote additional dryness. If your hair is already prone to dryness you are asking for a hard time in this area.)

4. Be Gentle: I know you hear this ALL the time. But sorry, it is true.  The health of our hair is preserved in the way it is being handled. Just like delicate clothing you can not bunch, wrinkle,overly stretch, or use too much heat if you want your clothing to last. Our natural hair is not as tough as it looks. All of the curls,coils, and kinks make it easy to snap or break when there is too much force applied. Sometimes we don't know our own strength, I am a witness! Work with your hair in smaller workable sections that are moisturized and pliable. Use products like natural oils or leave in conditioners to soften before you handle.

5. Protective style your hair: This tip is very crucial when dealing with our hair. I  personally experience the best success with my hair when I wear my hair protected. I know as grown women most of us want to wear our hair loose and out, in its full glory all the time. But truth is: Most of our hair can not handle that and continue to progress.  This can be controversial for so many naturals. Face it, no one wants to be told they can't wear their hair like they want and keep it healthy. We women always want the best of both worlds. Now if you can  get away with that and still show amazing progress lift your hands and say thank you Lord, because you have been blessed in that area! lol. But for the rest of us frequent protective styling is the best way to see continual progress in  health and in length retention. There are many ways to protect your hair.  Find one that fits you and your lifestyle. Twists and or  braids is what I typically opt for, and occasionally I wear  buns.  You can go a week at a time, weeks, or months depending on what you choose. But the less you handle and go through your hair the less breakage you will have, and the more length you will retain.  

There you have them! My top 5 tips to stop excessive shedding and breakage. Of course there are other things to consider like hormones or medications.  But these 5 basics have never failed me!

So what do you do to keep breakage and shedding to a minimum?

Well, until we meet again!  Keep it Healthy and Happy!


nappy headed black girl said...

Thank you for pointing out that oil is not a moisturizer. I don't know where this comes from but I used to believe it as well.

I do protein treatments and will try my first product with henna shortly.

Chan said...

Hey there NHBG! Thanks for commenting. Yes I wanted to point that out because I am constantly hearing it, and like you I'm not sure where it came from either? I hope you enjoy the herbal powders I've used them for ever 5 years and love them!

Chan said...

correct for "over" five years.

CBCLady said...

AWESOME post! I just did my FIRST long term protective 2 weeks ago. For my birthday I had crochet braid extentions done and it's AWESOME! I'm not a weave/sew-in or braid extention kind of person. I love the fact that thread nor glue is needed for this protective style. With crochet braid extentions I'm able to still moisturize and seal as well as oil my scalp. I had a major set back in December '13 when I caused heat damage to my hair. The crochet braids are helping me transition out of it. Your blog has been a great help in educating me on how to care for my them as well as my own hair. Thank you. Blessings! :o)

Chan said...

CBC Lady Thanks for reading and I am overjoyed that the blog has been a blessing to you. And yes all of your reasons is why I love Crochet braids so much as well!