Natural hair breakage has many different causes. These can be both internal and external factors. Natural hair is fragile by nature due to its kinks and curls. Each twist and turn on your strand creates a point of weakness that is more susceptible to snapping.
Fortunately, we have broken down these 14 external causes of natural hair breakage and their remedies:
Not cleansing your natural hair frequently
Not conditioning your natural hair effectively
Not moisturising your natural hair effectively
Using the wrong products for your natural hair
Styling your natural hair in the same ways
Using harsh styling tools and accessories
Harsh drying methods
Using heat styling tools
Not protecting your natural hair at night
Not trimming your natural hair when you need to
Not eating a balanced diet
Working in a stressful environment
Dyeing or bleaching your natural hair frequently
Not protecting your natural hair from UV rays
Let’s learn about each of these causes of natural hair breakage and what you can do about them.
1. Cleansing your natural hair effectively
(Product used in the video: Shea Decadence AyurCleanse Conditioning Shampoo)
When it comes to cleansing your natural hair, it’s about balance. You want to cleanse often enough that you can keep your scalp clean and keep your strands free from build-up. Once a week is a good starting point.
If you don’t cleanse your hair often enough, you may find that your strands feel dry and brittle. This is because product build-up prevents your strands from accepting more moisture as it dries out. It can also cause an irritated scalp.
It is important that you are gentle when cleansing your natural hair too. You want to work your shampoo into a lather and massage it into your scalp first, before smoothing it through your strands too.
The Moisture Silk Sulphate-Free Shampoo is great for refreshing your scalp without leaving your strands feeling dry. If you don’t have a regular routine for cleansing your natural hair, then this natural hair breakage remedy is for you.
2. Conditioning your natural hair effectively
(Product used in the video: Shea Decadence AyurRepair Deep Conditioner)
Next let’s talk about conditioning. This is the part of your natural hair routine that replenishes any moisture lost between wash days and after cleansing. If you neglect this part of your routine, it can cause your hair to be drier and more brittle between washes.
You can use a rinse out conditioner or a deep conditioner to follow your shampoo, such as the Curl Flo Avocado & Organic Lemongrass Conditioner. It works well for longer and shorter treatments so that you can nourish your strands after you shampoo.
You want to make sure that you work a generous amount of conditioner into clean wet hair with plenty of water. The water helps the conditioner to penetrate your strands. If you are currently seeing your conditioner coat your strands, try this tip next time.
3. Moisturising natural hair
Now let’s move on to moisturising natural hair. There are two different parts to consider regardless of the products that you choose to use, or the natural hair styles that you choose to wear.
These are hydration and moisturisation. Hydration means using a water-based product to impart moisture in your hair. Moisturisation happens when you use oils and butters to seal that moisture in.
Hydrating and moisturising ingredients are often found together in gels, creams and leave in conditioners such as the Plush Curls Leave-In Conditioner. If you are only using water-based products such as aloe vera juice, or only using natural oils – try using them together in products such as these.
4. Using the wrong products for your natural hair
If you have improved how you cleanse, condition and moisturise, but you are still having issues with breakage in your natural hair. You may have to re-consider the products that you are using. The wrong product choices can make things worse.
For hair that is snapping, (similarly to how a piece of spaghetti would) you want to reduce the amount of protein in your natural hair routine. These are often referred to as strengtheners, reconstructors and reparative treatments.
Instead, you should opt for a moisturising deep conditioning treatment such as the Bourn Beautiful Naturals Coconut Cream Deep Conditioning Mask to soften your natural hair and restore elasticity in your strands. This can prevent your strands from snapping.
5. Styling your natural hair in the same ways
Once you feel more confident in your wash day routine and the products that you are using, you can have a look at your styling practices. When it comes to the partings or sections that you make, your hair has a long memory.
For example, if you section your hair in four on wash days, or always wear a middle parting, your hair may fall into these patterns naturally. This is because the strands around these areas are weaker from being manipulated in the same way repeatedly.
If you have shorter hairs where you part your hair most often, consider varying how you part your hair. You can try six sections instead of four, or a side parting instead of a middle parting for some of your styles.
6. Using harsh styling tools and accessories
Now that you have an idea of how you will switch up the way that you style your natural hair. You need to make sure that the tools and accessories that you use are fit for the job. Using harsh accessories can cause split ends that eventually snap off.
As a rule of thumb, combs and brushes with larger, smoother teeth are generally a lot gentler than rat tail combs or brushes with bobbles on the bristles. The same can be said for our Satin Scrunchies in comparison to elastic hair ties with a metal clasp.
If you find that accessories snag your hair, or that you have to work hard to pass a brush or comb through your hair, consider changing them. You should also try finger detangling before reaching for a tool.
Then you can detangle from end to roots with your tool to minimise tugging and snapping your strands.
7. Harsh drying methods
If you choose not to diffuse your hair or let your hair air dry, it is important that you handle it gently. Natural hair is more delicate when it is wet than when it’s dry. You want to make sure to use a suitable towel, or to use a blow dryer at the right time.
A suitable towel would be a smooth towel, or a large cotton t-shirt. Traditional terry cloth towels have loops that each of you strands can wrap around, causing snagging and snapping. So, a smoother option would be gentler on your natural hair.
You should use a towel to blot your hair before blow drying to remove excess water. This will reduce the amount of time it takes to dry your hair and therefore reduce the amount of heat that you expose your hair to.
8. Using heat styling tools
If blow dryers are not the only heat tool that you use, you want to make sure that you are protecting your hair with a heat protectant. These will not guarantee that your natural hair will not experience any heat damage but it can reduce the effects.
Using heat styling tools often can reduce the moisture in your natural hair and cause your strands to be more brittle and susceptible to breakage. The heat protectant acts as a barrier by increasing the temperature that your strands can withstand.
By reducing how often that you use heat styling tools, along with incorporating a heat protectant, you can minimise the effects of heat damage that are causing your natural hair to break off.
9. Not protecting your natural hair at night
After taking care to cleanse, condition, moisturise, dry and style your hair, you want to make sure to protect it as much as you can. Your strands can catch on seatbelts, bag straps, headrests and even your pillow at night.
You want to minimise the contact that your hair has with these items as much as possible. You can achieve this with a satin bonnet. You can wear our Satin Bonnet at night to maintain moisture and reduce friction, but that’s not all.
You can also attach it to your headrest to reduce friction to your strands when you are driving. You can prevent your hair from catching by tying your hair up with our satin scrunchies too.
10. Not trimming your natural hair when you need to
If you are protecting your strands but find that it is still snagging and getting tangled. It may be time for a trim. Broken strands can manifest as split or feathered ends, and these cause snagging as your strands shed.
This creates more knots and tangles in your natural hair and can make it difficult to detangle and style your hair. More tangles can cause more breakage as you use more force to separate them.
So, it is in your best interest to trim as and when you need to for the overall health of you hair. This doesn’t necessarily mean having a set schedule. You can look out for excessive tangling and pay attention to any changes in your hair.
11. Not eating a balanced diet
Not all of the causes of natural hair breakage are caused directly by the way that you handle your hair. Sometimes it can be a symptom of your overall health, especially in relation to your diet.
If you are vitamin deficient or are not consuming enough food or water in a day, it can cause your hair to feel brittle and dry, making it more susceptible to breakage. Your hair is not a priority for your body.
This means that if you are not eating a balanced diet, then you body will prioritise areas other than your hair with the hydration, vitamins and minerals it receives. So, make sure to eat and drink enough to keep your hair healthy too.
12. Working in a stressful environment
Even if you eat well, protect your hair and maintain a healthy natural hair routine, if your body is under a lot of stress, it can negatively impact your hair. You hair goes through natural growth cycles and stress can disrupt these.
This results in your hair falling out, shedding more than it should or breaking more often. Managing your stress is essential to preventing this and our Bi-Monthly Subscription Boxes are designed to do just that.
We want you to be able to take time for yourself each week and have something to look forward to. Our curly hair subscription boxes are curated with products from Black-owned hair care brands that will help you to indulge in your natural hair journey.
13. Dyeing or bleaching your natural hair frequently
Bleaching or dyeing your hair frequently without conditioning your hair effectively can cause your hair to snap and break. This is because bleaches and dyes raise the cuticles of your hair strands to be able to colour them.
This creates more friction between your strands which can cause more knots and tangles. It is important that you enjoy your hair and your natural hair journey and so the best way to take care of your coloured hair is to condition effectively like we discussed above.
By conditioning regularly, you can help to smooth the strands of your hair and increase elasticity. This means that you get to enjoy your hair colour, but not at the expense of the overall health of your hair.
14. Not protecting your hair from UV rays
You may have noticed that your hair gets lighter in the sun. For some of us, this is a welcome variation to our summer styles but this can actually be evidence of a form of sun damage that affects our hair.
As well as a change in colour, the UV radiation can also break down bonds in our hair that cause it be feel drier, rougher, and you guessed it – more brittle! Luckily we can protect our hair from the sun too and the Flora & Curl Superfruit Hair Oil does just that.
It is a multi-purpose hair oil that amongst other things can protect your hair from harsh UV rays. That makes it the perfect natural hair companion for any holidays or staycations that you have planned.
There you have it, 14 causes of natural hair breakage and our tried and tested remedies for them.
While some of them are caused by internal factors, it’s important to remember that you have more control over the health of your natural hair than you think!
Which of these remedies for natural hair breakage will you be trying first?