As was discussed earlier in a previous article, there are several reasons why hair breaks, some of the reasons are internal-nutrition, stress and some are external-excessive heat, relaxing. We will look at some of the remedies for breaking hair.
- Hair Relaxers
The chief remedy to avoid hair breaking with relaxers is to stop relaxing hair. Simple suggestion but not a choice several persons are willing to take at this point in their lives. Thankfully, there are several things you can do if you have relaxed hair to mitigate breakage.
(A) Stretch your relaxing time, so that it is easy for your hairdresser to see the line demarcating your new growth from your processed hair.
(B) Choose a professional hairdresser who knows not to, under any circumstance, to overlap or switch chemical processes on your hair. There are various chemicals in relaxers, find out what the main chemicals are-sodium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide etc. do not switch them. I learned this the hard way. Switching chemicals is NOT a good thing. If you make the decision to switch a particular relaxer with another one with a different chemical as the main ingredient, than the one you were using, prepare for hair breakage.
(C) Only relax your hair when your scalp is healthy. Meaning no dandruff or scabs or extremely dry hair conditions. Deep condition, hot oil treat or use specific treatments until your hair is healthy again.
(D) Neutralize after relaxing. Never let anybody short change you on this one. Every professional hair dresser knows that neutralizing the hair will stop the chemical from breaking down your hair any further. If this step is skipped your hair will just keep breaking down further and further until it breaks horrendously all over.
(E) Choose relaxers that contain conditioners or add conditioners to those that don’t for a better result.
(F) Moving from kinky/curly hair to bone straight hair can cause severe breakage after a while. The further your hair is broken down the more likely it is to break, so extremely straight hair is very stressful on your strands. If you want to have stronger, longer hair you can explore the option of shortening your relaxer hair time or ‘texlaxing’, ask your hair dresser about shortening your relaxer hair time to preserve some of your hair’s tensile strength.
- Hair Dyes
Using synthetic dyes for a long time is a definite hair breaker, my mother had long, thick African hair but after several years of dying her hair with synthetic dyes her hair is a shadow of what it used to be. One remedy to this is to embrace your greys, I know that this suggestion will not go down well with everyone, it certainly didn’t with my mother, so my next suggestion is to consider looking into organic dyes (like henna for orange/red color) henna with indigo (brunette/black colors). Additionally, these natural dyes offer sheen and nourishment for your hair. Buy henna with caution though, many of the henna products on the market are mixed with chemicals. Check to see that the henna you are using is 100% natural.
- Brushing and Combing
Look at the tips of your brush bristle, is it ragged and uneven and hard? If it is, it is creating trouble for your hair. Do the skin test with your brushes, run it down your arm with the same vigor that you do your hair. It will be painful and it may scratch your skin, that exactly what it does to your hair and scalp. Stop using brushes all together and observe your hair for a while. You will find that the hair does much better without a brush.
- Excessive Heat
Heat makes hair straighter and relaxes the hair bond temporarily, that is why pressed natural hair becomes straight when heat is applied to it. The hair may appear silkier and softer but it is actually weaker. Hence, if you regularly put heat on your hair through curling irons, straightening combs and blow dryers, you are actually weakening your hair and it becomes susceptible to breaking. Try air drying your hair more often, after washing it, wrap it for a straight outcome, braids and twists for a curly outcome or set the hair with rollers, and leave it to dry naturally. Just this one thing can mitigate hair breakage drastically.
- Water and Nutrition
Lack of sufficient water can make hair dry so drink up more H2O, your hair will thank you for it. Also, there are certain nutrients that encourage the growth of hair, skin and nails. You can eat more foods that are strong in these nutrients and you will see your hair and skin responding. Crash diets and yo-yo dieting are hair strand killers; try to eat balanced organic foods and you will experience a positive change overall.
- Hair Styles
There are some hair styles that pull the hair and tug the scalp overtime these hair styles can cause hair breakage at the pressure points. The remedies for hair style issues is to try styles that do not stress your scalp or your hair. If you are a person who loves to wear their hair in a particular way, try to change up the points where you add pressure to the hair. Also avoid metal clips or anything with sharp edges that can rub along your strands and break them off at certain points, padded clips and soft scrunchies are best.
- Ingredients in Hair Products
There are some ingredients that are not supposed to go near your hair. Unfortunately, they are in many commercial hair products on the market. These ingredients can cause your hair to break after prolonged usage. Check out the list here.
Work stress, home stress, school stress, relationship stress can all cause hair breakage. Excess stress is quite damaging to your body system, according to Dr. Julian Mendosa in the book Less Stress, the intelligent and positive response to stress is to control it and to channel it in a constructive way.
Hair breakage can cause anxiety and depression especially if you are not really sure what the problem is. It is not unusual to feel frustrated with your hair and to consider just chopping off all of it when it is not looking the way that you want it to. Before you take out the scissors or do anything else, do a quick rundown of the checklist of what could be causing your hair breakage and then apply the appropriate remedy. It is best to know what the underlying reason for your hair breakage is and rectify it before using any products that purport to fix or repair hair breakage, some of these products are actually no help at all and will make hair worse. If you suffer from hair breakage take a look at this hair regimen for shedding/breaking hair and see if it helps.
Mendosa Julian, Less Stress, 1999, Inter-American Division Publishing Association, pg. 17