Determining why your relaxed hair is breaking part 1
If you are losing hair, the first thing you need to do is to determine whether your hair is breaking or shedding. To do this, read this post, Understanding the difference between hair shedding and breakage.
What is hair breakage? A little hair breakage is inevitable but at what level of breakage would you consider it to be an issue? To classify levels of breakage, I think that it would depend on whether it is a wash day or not. I’m making the assumption that you are manipulating your hair as carefully as possible. If you are not, that could be your reason for breakage.
Disclaimer: my classification for breakage is not based on any text. It’s just from my personal experience.
- if you lose less than 20 strands of hair on wash days and/or
- If you lose less than 10 strands of hair on non-wash days
- If you lose 20-30 strands of hair on wash days and/or
- If you lose 10-20 strands of hair on non-wash days
- If you lose >30 strands of hair on wash days and/or
- If you lose >20 strands of hair on non-wash days
If you have mild breakage, you just need to up your game a little to make it very mild. If you are having moderate to severe breakage, take some time to answer the following questions:
1. How often do you deep condition your hair? Deep conditioning is very important to keep hair moisturized.
- You should aim to deep condition your hair at least once a week. If you’re are so busy, then once in 2 weeks but nothing more.
- When you apply your deep conditioner, pay attention to your ends. These are the oldest parts of your hair.
2. What deep conditioner are you using?
- Check the ingredients of your deep conditioner. Does it have any protein listed in the ingredient? Is it a heavy protein conditioner? To determine this, please read The difference between protein and moisturizing conditioners. To determine whether it is a heavy protein or not, please read Suggestions for protein and moisturizing conditioners. You might be suffering from protein overload. If you have not been using any proteins at all in your regimen, you might be having a moisture overload. Include a protein deep conditioner in your next wash and see if that helps the breakage.
- Wet your freshly washed hair and hold about 20 strands in your hair. Pull it gently. If hair breaks immediately you touch it, then you might have protein overload. To solve this, wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo and deep condition with a moisturizing deep conditioner. Avoid use of proteins for at least the next wash and you can resume using protein. If you perform this same strand test and your hair stretches without breaking, this means that you have restored moisture. From now on, use a light protein conditioner not more than once a week.
3. How many weeks post-relaxer are you? If you are more than 8 weeks post-relaxer, there might be breakage at the line of demarcation between the previously relaxed hair and new growth. You need to solve this by:
- applying conditioner to your roots and line of demarcation
- paying special attention to that area when you are detangling
- taking extreme care when combing your hair.
4. Did you just relax your hair? What sort of shampoo did you use to wash your hair afterwards? Did you deep condition your hair afterwards?
- After relaxing your hair, you should always use a neutralizing shampoo.
- If you used a no-lye relaxer (your regular boxed relaxer), you should also use a chelating shampoo. A good example is Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Creamy Aloe Shampoo.
- After rinsing out your shampoo, you should always use a moisturizing conditioner. If the relaxer kit doesn’t come with one, you should ensure to use your regular deep conditioner.
5. How do you comb your hair? When combing your hair, you should do the following:
- divide your hair into sections
- comb your hair from the ends and work your way up to the roots.
- you should use a wide-tooth comb and not a fine-tooth comb. You can use a fine-tooth comb just to smoothen the top only.
6. Do you comb your hair when it’s dry? If you do, this might be one reason why your hair is breaking. When your hair is freshly washed and conditioned, it is relatively easy to comb your hair when it is dry. However, by the third day after, it starts becoming more difficult to comb your hair. You can solve this by:
- section your hair and fingercomb each section. You can use a comb only to smoothen the top.
- If you really feel like combing your hair, moisturize with any moisturizer or detangling leave-in conditioner that has slip before you proceed to comb your hair with a wide-tooth comb. If you feel any knots, drop the comb. Use your finger to unravel them and then continue with your comb.
7. Do you comb your hair when it’s wet? Although your hair is more flexible when it’s wet, it is also at its most fragile state.
- After shampooing your hair, apply your conditioner. If your conditioner has adequate slip, divide your hair into at least 4 sections and comb each section, starting from the ends and working your way up to the roots. Be gentle. If you notice too much breakage when you comb in the shower, you could try the next method.
- If your conditioner doesn’t provide enough slip or your hair is breaking too much when you detangle in the shower, step out of the shower. Towel dry your hair and spray some detangling spray on your hair and comb gently in sections. If it is still breaking too much, try the next method.
- Apply your leave-in conditioner. Wait till your hair is about 80% dry. Divide your hair into tiny sections and detangle each section.
….To be continued
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