5 Lazy Natural Hair Habits That Cause Breakage

 By Christina of The Mane Objective

I know what you’re thinking. Every day, there seems to be a new set of “rules” for naturals to abide by — and it seems like the more we understand about our hair, the more obscure those rules become. Don’t worry — I’m not here to trick you into believing that you need to hang upside down off the side of your bed for 20 minutes every night to stimulate scalp circulation, or to coat your hair in bacon grease for extra moisture and shine. I’m simply here to suggest that there are certain practices we naturals sometimes skip (I’m guilty of many of these too), to the detriment of our hair.

With folks running around working overtime, in school, raising families, running businesses and others professing themselves to be “lazy” naturals, cutting corners in hair care is bound to happen. Here are five habits to get out of before it’s too late:

1. Set It & Forget It Syndrome

(Yes, I’ve seen a lot of infomercials in my day). For many naturals, especially those transitioning, wigs and weaves are a go-to style. Unfortunately, some of us become so concerned with the hair on the outside that we forget allllllll about the hair underneath. By far, wigs are the best protective style to wear. But all that protection is for naught if your actual hair becomes dry, brittle, and breaks from neglect. Even worse (and more gross), dirt, sweat and other moisture can become trapped under wigs and weaves and have your scalp smelling like death. So even if you do decide to go the full coverage route, please make time to take care of your natural hair underneath. How frequently you wash, condition, and re-moisturize your hair depends on how much you sweat, among other factors.

2. Shoddy Wash Jobs

The whole point of cleansing hair and scalp is to make sure they’re well, clean…right? If you have already made up your mind to cleanse your hair and scalp — whether it be via co-wash, shampoo, sulfate, sulfate-free, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, Aztec healing clay, or anything else — be sure to do a thorough job. While it is important to remove buildup from your hair, getting the buildup off of your scalp is equally as important. If you always co-wash, or use a lot of silicone products that are prone to building up, clarifying your hair and scalp regularly is especially important; so as to not suffocate the follicles. How to best accomplish both without totally stripping your hair is totally up to you…and your hair! 

3. Skimming on the Conditioner

I was also guilty of this one, especially since I began co-washing with the awesomely luxurious Aussie Moist. I figured since I was washing my hair with conditioner, I didn’t need to waste more time conditioning it. There was nothing particularly wrong with my logic per-se, but I did notice that I had to re-moisturize my hair quite frequently. Then a few weeks ago it dawned on me, that maybe I should try conditioning my hair for added moisture retention. I began slathering my co-washed tresses with Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Restorative Conditioner and haven’t looked back since. My hair is softer, smoother, and I am not re-moisturizing nearly as frequently. If you moisturize and seal after your co-washes and you are still having trouble retaining moisture, this could be your culprit. If regular conditioning isn’t doing it for you, kick it up a notch to deep conditioning or add your favorite oils to your current product and see what happens!

4. Half-Hearted Detangling

This one scares me the most. I try to detangle, co-wash, and condition my hair weekly but sometimes, I do it a little more frequently. My hair likes to tangle itself just for funsies, and I am deathly afraid that I’ll randomly wake up one morning with one giant dred. I say all this to say — if you’re going to detangle your hair, do it right. Be thorough. If you use a wide tooth comb, make sure that comb is able to get through all sections of your hair. If you finger detangle, be especially meticulous. Don’t do a rush job because you’re tired, or don’t have enough time. If you don’t relish cutting knots and chunks of un-detangleable hair off of your hair, commit to quality detangle time. Grab a season of Family Guy or turn on a Law & Order SVU marathon (my personal preferences), and get going.

5. Not Covering Hair at Night

I used to be suuuuuuuuper guilty of this one. Sometimes, you’re just so beat at the end of the day that taking the two, five, ten or twenty minutes required to protect your hair in a scarf or bonnet seems to be an impossible task. Or maybe you just perfected your wash n’ go routine and want to make sure your curls stay poppin’ for the rest of the week. If you’re like me, you probably are so exhausted that you nodded off in the middle of reading or writing, and didn’t realize it until the next morning. We already know the dangers of sleeping on cotton pillowcases with our hair unprotected — dryness and breakage city. If you’re prone to passing out some nights without protecting your hair, the best investment you could make is in a satin pillowcase.

What are some bad natural habits you’ve developed as a result of being busy?

Christina Patrice

Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit maneobjective.com. Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.


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70 thoughts on “5 Lazy Natural Hair Habits That Cause Breakage

  1. Do I still have to wear a scarf if my hair is in braids? I hate wearing a scarf with braids, my head sweats at night and that makes the braids dirty faster and require washing faster which means they don’t last as long, ugh!

  2. I can definitely relate to the lazy detangling, when I big chopped I was so used to wash gos. Once my hair grew out more I had to train myself to finger detangle. After detangling for about a month I noticed the difference and growth. Also you definitely a night time moisturizer, that will also help.

    • Those girls are so cute. I’m guessing that left you with the boys. I want to see those pceiurts. I’m going to start packing broccoli for Dan. I wonder how much of it will end up in the trash.

  3. I disagree with the last one. I have always slept without something on my head. I sweat at night so I will always end up taking it off anyway. It has not done any damage to my hair. When I had permed hair I also nevered wrap my hair or put a cover on it. I’ll put in a ponytail and sleep. Maybe that’s just me. But I try to do the scarf it just makes me uncomfortable.

  4. Before a few months ago, it was a rarity that I slept with a hair scarf. Now it is apart of my nightly routine. I had long hair before and it continues to grow. Coconut oil is my go to for hair as well as for my skin. I also embrace organic products and things that are fresh. This led me to found Sweet Little Somethings. An organic company that prepares Made to Order Skin Care Products and baked goods. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.461243197325343.1073741835.414944775288519&type=1&l=5c1b2e226ewww.sweetlittlesomethings.net

  5. I think not having a normal routine is a bad habit. I have type 4b/c hair and if I dont twist I just have florida evans afro with a head band. When my hair is not twisted I tend to pay more attention to the edges and the middle of hair gets knotty..

  6. I have a question. My afro is about three inches long right now and I have a hard time braiding it. What else can I do besides that and a satin pillowcase to protect it while I sleep? I wake up every morning with matted hair. What a vicious cycle. D:

    • Try banding method as well. Putting ur hair in loosely banded Afro puffs. I put my hair into 6 loosely rubber banded puffs at night. When I first tried it I was so surprised how well my hair retained its length and style, no mattes. It never fails. This is my go to when I am to lazy to re twist my hair.

    • Since your hair is only 3 inches long you can try putting it in several mini pineapples aka Afro puffs with metal-less bands I did about 4 when I was at that stage, You may even have to do up to 6.. This way when you put your scarf on at night it wont smash your hair to your head and when you take them off you can just shake and go.. Here is a helpful video!


    • @Tgal-I used to wear my hear cornrowed with extensions (not sure if you have them). I would keep the styles for 2 months at a time, washing and conditioning when I removed them. In between washes my nightly routine would be to really moisten my entire head (not drenched) with my favorite spray and using a boar bristle brush (you may use a softer brush), brush my braids lightly to lay down the frizzies. I would tie up my hair with a silk scarf and in the morning the braids looked fresh and new. This is what worked for me for over 10 years and every summer I would take a break from the braids exposing healthy, shoulder-length, strong hair. I have to admit, I was not seeking to be a natural at that time, I was just pure L-A-Z-Y when it came to my hair and I hated doing it, hence the braids. :-) Hope this helps.

  7. i made a horrible mistake last month of washing and going and not detangling. I left it alone for a week or 2 and some of my hair dreaded -.-. Can neverdo that again

  8. I need a routine for my hair at night that isn’t time consuming but comfortable to sleep with. I’m a student with a newborn.

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