6 Things That Cause Damage To Your Natural Hair
If your goal is to have healthy hair then you have to be aware of the different practices that cause damage to your tresses, so that you can minimise and avoid them. Our kinky, coily, curly hair is very delicate and prone to breakage so if you want to retain length and achieve good hair health, here are the damage culprits you need to look out for so that you can maintain a healthy hair routine.
If you are using direct heat on your hair it will definitely be prone to heat damage. While using heat to style your hair can help to create some great styles, it can also dry your hair out and change the structure of your hair’s proteins. Excessive use of heat can lead to dry brittle hair that is prone to damage and breakage. But don’t fret as it is possible to use heat on your hair without it automatically leading to damage. It is important to use a heat protectant when using direct heat on your hair and avoid using heat above 450F. It is also important to limit the amount of direct heat you use on your hair, as over time your hair can still experience heat damage even if you are using a low heat setting excessively.
You may also want to try a protein treatment to help bolster and repair your hair if you have been using a lot of heat in a short period of time. Once your hair is heat damaged you cannot reverse it, so the only answer is the cut of the heat damaged hairs and ensure you are extra careful moving forward with your use of direct heat on your hair.
**Disclaimer: I am not a hair care professional. All my posts are based on personal experience, preference and things I have learnt from reading and researching. If you have serious concerns about your hair please consult a qualified professional**
- Hair Utensils
If you are still using a hair brush or fine tooth comb on your hair you may be unwittingly causing damage as these types of hair utensils are often too harsh for your curls. Opt for finger combing your hair and them following that with the use of a wide tooth comb or a detangling brush. Make sure that your hair is slightly moist (with a spritz or leave in conditioner) when you are about to comb your hair and start combing from the tip to the root, taking time to gently detangle any knots that you may find.
- Chemical Treatments
Chemical treatments alter the structure and protein bonds of your hair. They can often weaken your hair and heighten its dryness. Any chemical treatment you do to your hair is a risk so you have to be careful and make sure that you are keeping on top of your deep conditioning and treatments.
- Lack Of Moisture
Lack of moisture for natural hair is a road to dry brittle hair and breakage. If you are not keeping your hair well moisturised and conditioning your hair regularly, then you will definitely experience some breakage. Curly, coily hair needs moisture to thrive so a lack of moisture is definitely bad news for your curls. Use the LOC/LCO method to add and seal moisture into your hair effectively and spritz your hair every couple of days with water or a botanical spritz.
- Over Manipulation/Mechanical Damage
Do you suffer from hand in your hair syndrome? I know I use to! And while I think it is great to switch it up and try out different styles, doing so can be very taxing on your hair. Over manipulation refers to you simply doing too much to your hair. Brushing, combing, and changing the style to often can all lead to over manipulation. This can cause the hair to become dry and tangled and lead to damage and breakage. Mechanical damage refers to damage that occurs to improper handling of the hair. Improper handling can come in the form of excessive tension (from tight ponytails, braids and weaves) and an inadequate detangling technique.
Some of the signs of mechanical damage can include thinning, knots (which can be caused by combing tangles down the hair shaft and leaving your hair continually in a shrunken state) excessive splitting and breakage and mid shaft splits. So what’s the answer? Give your hair a break! Utilise protective styles that can help to maintain moisture but that leave your hair protected and neat so you don’t have to do anything to it for a least a week. Develop a good detangling routine, making sure that you use a good amount of leaving in conditioner or a detangling cream to give you good slip and allow you to be gentle with your hair.
- Colour Damage
I have dyed my hair twice in my lifetime, once was a lighter brown and the other was a dark red which I both really loved, but my hair did suffer a little damage from the process. In order for your hair to take on the colour of the hair dye, the chemicals in the hair dye need to change the structure of the individual hair strands. Ammonia lifts the hair cuticle and the peroxide breaks down the natural hair pigment. This reaction lets the colour into your hair.
The peroxide has a strong dying agent which causes your hair to feel dry and straw like. Continuously dying your hair will leave your hair weaker and more prone to breakage. Any kind of colouring on your hair will inflict some form of damage as it’s not possible to lighten or bleach hair without some form of damage. The exceptions to this are if you use non-permanent dyes and hair colouring in the form of hair chalks and hair colour waxes.
If you want to repair the damage then reducing the amount of times you dye your hair would be the first option. You also need to ensure that you are conditioning/deep conditioning your hair as this is essential for helping to repair damage. Conditioners can add a much needed dose of moisture as well as deposit smoothing agents on your hair to leave it in a softer state. If the damage is irreparable then you will have to trim or cut your hair to get rid of the damaged strands.
So there you have it, when looking after your natural hair it is important to be aware of the potential practices that can cause damage and have a damage control plan of action in place. By all means enjoy your hair and the versatility of your curls but balance that with taking care of them so that you can have beautiful healthy hair.
Check out some of my other posts to learn more about natural hair care:
10 Ways To Keep You Hair Moisturised
7 Ways To Minimise Single Strand Knots
9 Bad Hair Habits You Need To Stop Right Now So That Your Hair Can Grow
3 Things Every Natural Should Know About Their Hair