8 Anti-Breakage Tips & Tricks for Natural Hair

*This article was originally published on September 5, 2011. It was re-posted as part of our ‘Best of 2011’ Series

Breakage and splits are a particularly sore point for naturals because they steal hard-earned length. The little ‘wisps’ of hair you see around your bedroom or bathroom — if they don’t have a white bulb on the end — are broken hairs, and split ends occur when the protective cuticle (outermost layer of the strand) is destroyed at any point along the length of the shaft. Try these tips and tricks to cut down on breakage.

1. Avoid Direct Heat Styling (Blow drying, Curling/Flat ironing, Hot Rollers, and Crimpers)

Heat removes precious moisture from the shaft, and can produce air bubbles within the shaft that weaken it. If you want to stretch your hair, try Curlformers, braiding or banding. Read more about the effects of blowdrying here.

2. Use Gentle Cleansers

Harsh shampoos can leave the hair dry and brittle and susceptible to breakage. Find a cleanser that doesn’t disrupt the moisture balance of your strands. Find a listing of BGLH readers’ favorite cleansers here.

3. Gentle and Minimal Manipulation

Be gentle with your hair and be mindful of how the tools you use affect your hair. Keep in mind too that putting in and taking down twists and braids can put mechanical strain on the hair, particularly the ends. Also remember that, while some naturals can style their hair daily, others don’t have hair strong enough to manage that. In this case, gentle protective styles might be a better option.

4. Moisture & Conditioning

Moisture is what keeps hair strands supple and pliable. Moisturize your hair with a leave-in conditioner and seal with a butter or heavy oil. How often you do this depends on how well your hair retains moisture. Some women need to moisturize daily, while others moisture every 3 to 5 days. Also, some naturals find that deep conditioning helps to keep their hair strengthened and moisturized. Read more about BGLH readers’ views on deep conditioning here.

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70 thoughts on “8 Anti-Breakage Tips & Tricks for Natural Hair

  1. Pingback: » 8 Anti-Breakage Tips & Tricks for Natural Hair Strawberricurls

  2. i loved the 10 tips. they r well noted. my question tho is how do i restore the hair that has been pulled from my temple area, I’ve had locks for about 5yrs then i decided to cut them off in 2010. My hair has grown back quite nicely but the temple area tho not bald is really sparse, I’ve tried olive oil shea butter and I’m trying Organic Root Stimulator Temple balm right now, should i continue or do u have another suggestion?????? please help

    • Jamaican Black Castor oil work wonders for hair growth-especially the edges. I just put a little on my fingertips and massage my scalp and edges for about 10 min or so. The massaging also helps with blood circulation which also promotes growth.

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  4. Hello, I have a problem…I have been natural most of my life but June of 2011 is when I started taking care of my natural hair. I have gained a lot of growth from then till now, but recently I’ve noticed that parts of my hair are broken off. Meaning, the overall hair is long but in between and around the front there are some hair that’s about half the length of my overall hair. My hair is a little bit past shoulder length and I am so confused. I’m not sure what’s causing this problem because I don’t use heat or any chemicals and I do my best in taking care of my hair. Can anybody help me???? I am so confused.

    • Are you pulling your hair too tight in those areas with buns, weaves or extensions? Or it could be your stress area…

    • What’s your hair porosity?

      If you have low porosity hair (you can feel or see the products sitting on your hair, your hair takes forever to dry or get wet, etc) then the hair shaft is always closed. To open it to add moisture, you need to wash or spray your hair with warm liquids first and then add products. Use light oils, steamers, etc on your hair.

      If you have high porosity hair (products absorb well but escapes easily & becomes dry) then your hair shaft is always open. You can shock it close with cold water/liquids. Spray cold aloe vera juice on your hair, use heavy oils instead of light oils, etc.

      Are you taking care of your ends?

      Check your ends for split ends and knots and cut them off before they take your hair with them. Keep your ends moisturized to retain length. If you’re having problems with not retaining length, then do more protective styles with your ends tucked away. Never allow your ends to become dry.

      Are you protecting your hair at nights with a satin or silk scarf or bonnet?

      Moisturize your hair at nights and then cover it with a satin or silk scarf or bonnet. You could take an extra step by sleeping on a satin or silk pillowcase just in case the scarf or bonnet falls off.

      Are you drinking enough water?

      Here’s the exact amount of water you should drink each day: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=584406368282481&set=pb.508814232508362.-2207520000.1381086752.&type=3&theater

      Are you taking your vitamins and eating enough fruits and vegetables?

      Your body gets all the nutrients before your hair does, so you need to eat enough good food for it to get to your hair. Also, try taking your vitamins with orange juice to help the body absorb it.

      Are you stressing too much?

      Relax and stop stressing over your hair. Try doing things you enjoy as well as things that are good for your body like exercising (also good for your hair).

  5. I have fine, wavy hair that tends toward dryness and frizziness. I use about a dime-sized amount of the Shielo Antioxidant Leave in Protectant on wet hair and then air-dry. I end up with shiny, wavy, frizz-free hair, which is amazing since I’ve tried pretty much every frizz-fighter around. Also, after a month I noticed my hair is breaking a lot less and overall looking healthier. Plus, the smell is amazing. Great product!

  6. This article is a great example of things to keep in mind when building a hair regimen. Below is a link to my hair regimen using many of these techniques. I hope it will give you hair lovers a starting point and inspiration.

  7. Hi!

    I have very kinky hair, as in Original-African-undiluted hair. It shrinks to like 20% its actual length. My problem is that it breaks when I comb, so much so I have decided to cut all of it and start on a clean slate. Please help with products that I can use, i.e shampoo, conditioner and moisturizer. I plan to let it grow naturally, no braids, no weaves, no no heat, just hair. Thank you.

    • Go to YouTube and find others with the same hair type as you. Also, do a strand test and figure out if you have high, low, or normal porosity hair–that will help you tremendously. Follow hair pages on Facebook for motivation, ideas, and hair education. If your hair breaks the comb when it shrinks, then keep it stretched. Here are some heat free ways to stretch your hair:

      Bantu Knots
      Curl Formers
      African Threading

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  9. Pingback: Tips To Keeping Black Hair Breakage Free - Just Brazilian Hair

  10. My anti-breakage tips and tricks? Just the basic, moisturize,be gentle, minimize or stop using direct heat, trim damaged/split ends, etc.. Thanks for sharing your tips and tricks. Will add it to my list. It will surely help me lessen/prevent breakage.

  11. Hi Chinwe, you recommended castor oil for growing front hair, but I can’t seem to find them anywhere. Any clues for me? Am from Nigeria

  12. Look on youtube, there is a woman by the name of naturalc89 she is just starting her page but she has videos of her natural hair journey, flat twists, and if you email her she responds with helpful natural hair tips and will post how-to videos on request

  13. Fantastic natural hair tips here.. I’ve not been looking after my hair as well as I should have been recently, so this article is really useful to me! Thanks! :).

  14. If you are finding it hard to grow your front hair. The best solution for you is a hair building fiber like Sevich or Toppik. These give you immediate results of fuller front hair in less than 5 minutes. While you are busy using all these products from Castor oil to Virgin hair cream to grow your hair , Sevich Hair Building fiber provides you with an immediate solution to make your front hair look fuller. You can use it with any hairstyle. You can get yours on Konga http://www.konga.com/sevich-hair-building-fibre-fuller-edges-in-5-minutes-1873927 or Call 09099155388.

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