Hair that is prone to breakage isn’t strong enough, which then causes it to break when exposed to outside forces. You know you’re experiencing breakage if the hair you shed while combing is a lot shorter than your hair actually is. Your hair should be strong enough not to break easily, which is why you can fix breakage!
There are many different types of damages causing breakage: hair accessories, too much protein, too much moisture, exposure to heat, coloring curly hair, combing when not done careful enough. As there are so many different underlying causes, there’s no one fits all answer on how to fight breakage:
Combing your curls is probably the number 1 cause for breakage – but how so? We all know how annoying detangling in the shower can be and it can also take ages to finally be knot-free. We therefore tend to pull our curls too much when combing just to get it over with faster. The next time you comb your curls, bear the following in mind:
- Only comb your curls when they’re soaking wet and completely covered in conditioner
- Re-wet your curls when they seem too dry and also add more conditioner if necessary. You’ll do your curls a favor if you don’t try to save it for the future.
- Don’t pull on your knots, but slowly release them
I’ve already written various posts on how to comb curly hair and uploaded a video on YouTube (it was a part of my washing routine).
Many of us use hair accessories with metal parts in them – even most hair ties have these, because they make the hair tie stronger. Unfortunately the friction of the hair with this metal part can cause breakage. If that’s the cause for your breakage: Congrats – you only need to stay away from metal parts 🙂
Depending on your hair type you need to figure out how you can achieve the perfect protein-moisture-balance. This isn’t easy because too much protein as well as too much moisture can cause breakage. As I don’t want this post to be too long, please read this post, in which I’ve already covered exactly this challenge.
Exposure to heat
Especially if you sometimes straighten your hair, it’s highly likely that you’re experiencing some kind of heat damage. However, straightening your curls isn’t the only reason why your curls could be heat damaged and break easily. Also blow-drying too hot or sun exposure could cause heat damage.
There are two ways to fight this kind of damage – the obvious: stay away from your straightener, don’t blow-dry your curls and wear a head scarf when sunbathing. However, I’m sure that some of you are looking for another solution. Depending on how well your curls can handle heat, frequent moisturizing deep conditing treatments can already do the trick and keep your curls healthy. The reason why this works is because heat causes your curls to become dry. If you feel like this doesn’t anymore do the trick, try to stay away from heat as much as you can, as there isn’t a way to completely reserve heat damage (exept from letting it grow out).
Coloring your curls always is a chemically induced damage to your hair. I’m sorry to be blunt, but here’s no way to put this nicely. Even though I’m aware of how damaging coloring my hair is, I still do it because I just really like my hair better blonde. So, if you can’t stay away from color, be sure to give your curls the extra care they need. By this I mean: Make sure your curls are well moisturized and consider doing a protein treatment after your visit to the hairdresser. See my previous post about coloring curly hair for more details.
March 28, 2018
I totally agree that dry combing curls is the number one cardinal sin. It’s the quickest way to breakage. Personally, before learning the right way to care for curls, I used to rip through my curls with a fine-toothed comb while dry. As a result, I suffered from stagnant hair growth for over a decade. Now, I only finger-comb while my hair is damp after a wash with leave-in conditioner.
When it comes to the other vices in curly hair care, I’m clean. I never use heat on my hair, almost never color it, keep the manipulation to a minimum, and use satin scrunchies, bonnets and pillowcases. I pineapple my hair every night to bed.