*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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Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­liste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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70 Comments on "8 Anti-Breakage Tips & Tricks for Natural Hair"

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Great tips! I’ve incor­po­rat­ed these tips into my reg­i­men and they’ve helped me a ton. I’ve also tried some oth­er things that helped as well. If you’d like to know them read this


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.


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! :).


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


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


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.


[…] Believe it or not some­times you’ve got to trim your hair to get it to grow; this may seem a lit­tle back­wards, but it’s kind of like prun­ing a rose bed, if you want your flow­ers to flour­ish you’ve got to clear out the dead ones so that the fresh ones can come in stronger. Blackgirllonghair.com writes: […]


[…] [Source] […]


Help,my hair s break­ing from the infront,jst pulled out the braids,what can I use to make it grow


Did you braid it too tight? Don’t braid your hair too tight or pull on your front edges too much because you will give your­self alope­cia. You can grow it back with Jamaican Black Cas­tor Oil or you can grow it back stronger with Emu Oil. Here’s more infor­ma­tion about Emu Oil: https://www.facebook.com/notes/naturally-naturals/benefits-of-emu-oil-for-hair/584576438265474



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
[imgcomment image[/img]


Great infor­ma­tion. The more hair tips the bet­ter edu­cat­ed we are about car­ing for our hair. Thanks! Here are some good black hair tips I came across http://www.exoticallure.com/black-hair-tips.htm


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.


My front hair are all out.i have use all kinds of prod­uct but no result,what do i do.i need help.from nige­ria.

Bianca D.

Cas­tor Oil mas­saged on the edges reg­u­lar­ly will bring them back…

Tina Faye

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!

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… Read more »
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. [img[/img] 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… Read more »
Bianca D.

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


from which you can cre­ate inter­est­ing blog…

posts as well!there are many strate­gies for get­ting traf­fic to your blog and the 3 sug­ges­tions above are based upon using your writ­ing abil­i­ty ‘off’ site! by doing so you can show­case the same writ­ing abil­i­ty you will be using to…


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.




I don’t under­stand the point about sham­poo­ing just the scalp only esp when peo­ple talk about using oils etc as pre-poos. One would have already have “build-up” from using dif­fer­nt prod­ucts dur­ing the week whether leave-in, mois­tur­iz­ers the works, then engulf hair with pre-poo product.How can you get that all out of hair with­out actu­al­ly wash­ing it. I tried that and my 4d hair was still extreme­ly oily. I just won­der how much peo­ple are being prac­ti­cal on these forums.

The ‘sham­poo the scalp’ method works like so– Upon rins­ing, the sham­poo that was focused on the scalp runs down the length of the hair, gen­tly cleans­ing it. The heav­i­ness of prod­ucts used, the fre­quen­cy of re-appli­ca­tion, cleans­ing method (sham­poo, co-wash, etc.) are some things that deter­mine the effec­tive­ness of the tech­nique. It might not work well for some­one who uses tons of prod­uct, re-applies prod­uct often and/or co-wash­es. I sham­poo and mois­tur­ize once a week (5–7 days) so focus­ing sham­poo on my scalp works very well for my tight­ly coiled hair.  If a method dosen’t work for you, it’s… Read more »

But then if you are using a sul­fate free sham­poo, there’s no actu­al way to real­ly get rid of the oil is there?


That is not the case.

Sul­fates are not the only cleans­ing agents that get rid of oil–soaps (nat­ur­al or more “chem­i­cal-ly”) as well as non-sul­fate sur­fac­tants (decyl glco­side, cocami­do­propyl betaine, etc)–get rid of oil as well. They’re just not as harsh on the hair as sul­fates can be.

K Murray

With high­ly tex­tured nat­ur­al hair, it seems almost impos­si­ble to not get split ends and some break­age. I have learned to accept some break­age and split ends as long as it is con­tin­u­ing to grow in length and thick­ness. It seems to come with the ter­ri­to­ry so to speak.

She Who Must Not Be Named
She Who Must Not Be Named

I agree! There is no way to elmi­nate split ends or breakage–all you can do is lessen it’s occur­ance. That goes for all hair–Not just high­ly tex­tured nat­ur­al hair.


This isn’t real­ly on top­ic with the post at hand but I was won­der­ing how to get the hair­style in the begin­ning of the post


[…] Read the Oth­er Four Tips at Black Girl with Long Hair […]


[…] Read the Oth­er Four Tips at Black Girl with Long Hair Share and Enjoy: […]


I’ve been good ot my hair as far as most of the things on this list. I don’t use heat, con­di­tion reg­u­lar­ly, and I fin­ger detan­gle. I’m just not very gen­tle with my curls. I dun­no I get frus­trat­ed when it gets too knot­ty and instead of a gen­tle detan­gle I kind of just pull or cut it off. LOL I know it’s bad. Does any­one know of a real­ly good detan­gler for kinky hair?

Yes Ker­acare mois­tur­iz­ing con­di­tion­er works won­ders and I have the tight­est curl pat­ter there it. It’s a lit­tle expen­sive like 14 or 15 bucks a bot­tle but worth it. Here is the trick. Detan­gle your hair before washing.create like 4 big twist.after sham­poo­ing put the con­di­tion on the ends and work your way up gen­tly mas­sag­ing it into the braids leave on a few sec­ond then add Berazil­ian Ker­atin treat­ment, rinse then untwist and fin­ger through. You have to use the sec­ond con­di­tion­er because it will bal­ance out the first con­di­tion which can be dry­ing but great for detan­gle. My… Read more »

I like using an Lily of the Dessert aloe vera gel/oil mix or Shea Mois­ture Purifi­ca­tion Masque to detan­gle.

I don’t have a lot of time to fuss with my hair although I love it! I take hair vit­a­mins, eat healthy and wash my hair twice a week. While it is still wet from sham­poo­ing and con­di­tion­ing, I use Wele­da Rose­mary oil on my hair. I then gen­tly untan­gle start­ing at the ends and grad­u­al­ly work to the root. Sec­tion with about 7 or 8 braids. I usu­al­ly use a satin pil­low­case to pre­vent break­age and dry­ing. In the morn­ing gen­tly un-braid my hair and arrange with my fin­gers leav­ing down or loose­ly bring­ing hair to mid­dle of my… Read more »
To all! I for­got to men­tion that I dis­cov­ered (at least for my own hair) we shouldn’t wash in that tra­di­tion­al sense. Lit­er­al­ly squeeze a nick­le to a quar­ter size worth of Pan­tene (for black hair of course)into a 150 Liter of fil­tered tap or spring water (I sim­ply use the bot­tle itself). Swish to blend and then pour half the solu­tion over your hair while in the show­er (I find that to be the best way as you want the hair to fall back, not bent over in your sink). Gen­tly mas­sage and move around and work to the… Read more »

For the own­ers of this webiste… is it okay to add your site to my blogroll? Long time admir­er, here!



I’m still try­ing to fig­ure how to deal with split hair. It seems every strand I touch or look at is split from root to end. My hair is 6 inch­es long (been nat­ur­al for 1 year) and trimmed about 4–5 times. Cut­ting the whole hair off is a scary thought for me. Help!

Hi Lola! Fear not! I dis­cov­ered a prod­uct while liv­ing abroad in the worst con­di­tion for nat­ur­al hair and it was a sav­ior! From the detan­gling, adding mois­ture– she real­ly cre­at­ed a gem!  http://www.growafrohairlong.com/ I only trim my hair once per year “just because”, but there has been no break­age, split ends or any­thing! My hair is so frig­gin long now (been nat­ur­al for more than 8 years WOW) that it now takes more time to do when I’d perm, con­di­tion, blow dry and curl. Not com­plain­ing but I cer­tain­ly wasn’t expect­ing it! Give them a try. Stay nat­ur­al ya’ll because… Read more »

love love love all the com­ments. I am also strug­gling with how to “encour­age” anti-break­age with my hair. i wear alot of pro­tec­tive styles but not sure they help too much as I tend to “ignore” my hair when in them which tends to increase break­age. Once i take my braids out will def try some of the tips shared. 

The wash­ing hair in sec­tions seems a bit con­fus­ing- will your hair tru­ly be clean while doing this? but I guess if you wash often enough.


I do the same as Erika–I sham­poo in twists focus­ing on my scalp. I nev­er apply sham­poo to my strands–the water rinse and sham­poo runoff cleans­es them enough. 

While my hair is in twists from detan­gling and pre-poo’ing, I rinse though­ly while mas­sag­ing my scalp. Next, I apply dilut­ed sham­poo to my scalp via an appli­ca­tor bot­tle, mas­sage well and rinse. Clean­er scalp and much less break­age when com­pared to wash­ing loose or unrav­el­ing twists while wash­ing.


Man­go­mad­ness Love the idea of the applca­tor bot­tle, Will most def try that.


Awe­some! It works well to get my scalp clean with­out get­ting sham­poo on my hair. 

Anoth­er way to sham­poo would be to pour a cup of dilut­ed sham­poo over your hair–that method would get sham­poo on the scalp AND hair though.

I post­ed ear­li­er about wash­ing in sec­tions. I find this works well for me because I’m actu­al­ly only try­ing to wash my scalp, not my hair, and I let the con­di­tion­er wash my hair. I actu­al­ly get all up in my twist­ed sec­tions, so to speak, with my fin­gers and mas­sage the sham­poo into my scalp up under there (some­times I scratch too, I’m not gonna lie). And I let the sham­poo sit for a minute on my scalp to make sure it’s get­tin’ real­ly clean. So it works for me and I avoid a tan­gled bird’s nest.  Anoth­er thing,… Read more »

That was my ini­tial con­cern. I band­ed my ends so that the braids wouldn’t unrav­el. I put the sham­poo on my scalp and on the braids and mas­saged my scalp as usu­al. I let the water from the show­er rinse the sham­poo away thor­ough­ly. I con­di­tioned and applied my leave-in the same way. Once my hair was dry I unbraid­ed and my hair was very soft with very few broken/shed hairs.


Great tips — thanks for shar­ing. I also appre­ci­ate the oth­er com­ments.


i have been mois­tur­iz­ing, oil­ing and wear­ing a silk scarf to bed for a long time now! my hair is grow­ing, but it seems like no mat­ter what i do, my hair always starts to break off when it gets to my col­lar bone!! does that hap­pen to any­one else?


Col­lar bone Break­age defi­nat­ley hap­pened to me, but then i learned about pro­tec­tive styling. It sug­gest keep­ing the hair pinned up and mois­tur­ized for short stents of time in order to keep hair away from snags from cloth­ing, scarves, and even wind. Great for the win­ter months! Ever since I heard about this I can say my hair is mak­ing it way past my col­lar bone. Hope that helps.
[imgcomment image[/img]

I think the best thing I ever start­ed doing for my hair was detan­gling BEFORE sham­poo­ing. I have 4b hair (prob­a­bly, I’m still a lit­tle con­fused) and that stuff tan­gles like crazy. I don’t know what in the world I was think­ing before when I would jump in the show­er with free hair and try to detan­gle it with con­di­tion­er like a lot of youtu­bers do.  Now I detan­gle in small sec­tions on stretched hair AFTER soak­ing it in oil for at least an hour and a cheap­ie con­di­tion­er for a few min­utes. SO much eas­i­er and it seems the tan­gles… Read more »

LOL, Eri­ka! I hear you! I don’t know what I was think­ing either. That dis­cov­ery was a lit­tle God-send! I thank Glamazi­ni for that lit­tle tip. Found her blog, and fol­lowed it to youtube, lol.


I have alter­nate vion­sis of my moth­er yelling get the hair out of your eyes and then the hor­ri­ble hair cuts she gave each of us (4) girls. She called them pix­ie cuts to make us think they were cute; they were not. Use a pro, and do just the bangs. BTW I think my mom reads this: Hi Mom!


I agree! I fin­ger-detan­gle on stretched, sec­tioned (10 parts) hair before sham­poo­ing. I do it one of two ways–on dry hair with con­di­tion­er or on damp hair with oil. This method leads to much less brek­age than the “soak­ing wet, just shampoo’ed” detan­gling method. 

Like you, I sham­poo in sec­tions focus­ing on the scalp. I wear stretched styles (braid outs, ban­tu knot outs, etc) and PS a lot as well (sock buns and cinnabuns)–no wash-n-goes for this ‘fro.

Yeah, I’ve found that this basi­cal­ly applies to me too. I detan­gle before wash­ing (I also learned that detan­gling from a twist-out as opposed to a wash and go, cuts my detan­gling time 75%! I’ve learned that no mat­ter how hard I try wash&gos just don’t work for me. After the first or sec­ond day my hair tan­gles ridiculously)and then sham­poo my hair in sec­tions. 4 in the back(2 at the bot­tom and 2 kind of in the mid­dle of my head), 2 on the front sides, and 2 on top. I’ve also giv­en up con­di­tion­ing, because late­ly I’ve noticed… Read more »

I recent­ly washed in sec­tions (while my hair was still braid­ed). The amount of hairs lost was min­i­mal! Def­i­nite­ly some­thing I will add to the rou­tine.


I always wash in twist–same idea as the braids with the same results.


I do this as well but I twist the sec­tions so they don’t get tan­gled and because they are eas­i­er to take a loose. My hair does a lot bet­ther this way and I don’t get a bunch of knots or shed­ding.


So fun­ny you say that, I’ve recent­ly switched the braid­ing for twist­ing. Works much bet­ter…


has any­one dis­cov­ered that just wear­ing a satin bon­net is not enough? my hair is dry in the morn­ing if I don’t cov­er it with silk!


I only use silk scarves any­way. They aren’t hard to find.


I use the silk Bon­net when I’m going to sleep because I braids in and I use the scarf when I’m show­er­ing to save my hair from get­ting wet.

Roxy F

I was won­der­ing the same thing, when I wash my satin bon­net i see all the oils that should be in my hair com­ing from it. I won­dered why my hair was so dry as well. where did you get the silk bon­net to buy?


Oh, and I want­ed to add, knots and splits don’t only com­pro­mise the integri­ty of the strands on which they exist. They can also snag and snare adja­cent healthy hair, caus­ing more knots and splits. So, I am an avid Searcher and Destroy­er to reduce the like­li­hood of col­lat­er­al dam­age:)! LOL!

I agree with man­go­mad­ness in regard to fin­ger detan­gling in par­tic­u­lar. I only fin­ger detan­gle now. Although this may not work for all, I think that start­ing with fin­ger detan­gling to work out big knots is very impor­tant. I nev­er real­ized how many knots I must be rip­ping through with a wide-tooth comb because I didn’t feel them at all. When work­ing knots out with my fin­gers, I can real­ly tell how much pres­sure to apply, when to work the knot up and apart, rather than down, when a shed hair is wrapped, etc. I think I’ve saved a lot… Read more »

+1 I fin­ger detan­gle on wet, dirty, oil/conditioner laden hair before using a wide tooth comb and before start­ing the cleans­ing process. Most effec­tive detan­gling process for me and least time com­sum­ing in the over 1 year I’ve been nat­ur­al.


I agree with pro­tec­tive styling for retain­ing length but not nec­es­sar­i­ly for anti break­age. I mix the major­i­ty of my hair care prod­ucts so my tip would be to find a con­di­tion­er you like that is real­ly good for detan­gle­ing and mix it with 3 parts water and 1 part aloe vera juice, then every morn­ing I spritz before I leave out for work or to start the day. Helped me ALot with mois­ture espe­cial­ly since i got my hair col­ored a few months ago.


This mix sounds like great! Most detan­glers con­tain aloe vera juice, water, and con­di­tion­ing agents. Thanks for the tip!


your wel­come I also use a lit­tle sweet almond oil on my hair when damp mixed with coconut oil, makes it a lit­tle more slip­pery and helps seal in mois­ture.


My anti-break­age tip–Be gen­tle while detan­gling. Try detan­gling damp­ened, stretched hair before sham­poo­ing with con­di­tion­er or oil–It may be eas­i­er for you than detan­gling on soak­ing wet con­di­tion­er-laden hair. Also, try fin­ger-detan­gling before using a comb or brush (if you use one). It’ll take out major tan­gles before comb/brush rips through them.