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

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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71 Comments on "5 Lazy Natural Hair Habits That Cause Breakage"

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Michelle

Guilty of 4 and 5 and sometimes 3 but I fixed no. 3 by putting a weekly reminder in my phone to condition it so I won’t forget…nothing like an annoying alarm to get me to do what I’m supposed to lol.
Covering my hair at night, I try to do it a lot more often now and if I root it off in the night then I put it back on again, the detangling takes patience though and I don’t always have it, so I definitely HAVE to work on that.

Ashley Smith

I’m guilty of number 4 but I gave myself a Lil trim and great detangling season the other night and my curls have been poppin shoo I’m going to keep up with it!

Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty

Great article. I think we’ve all been guilty of at least one of these at one point in time lol. #2 can sometimes be a culprit for me but #5 catches me every now and then.

I think hair can withstand a “little” neglect from time to time but a consistent hair regiment will keep your hair on tract.

Steppie

I am not guilty of any of these, but I still get breakage. I have Lupus and take meds, but have been told repeatedly that they are not the reason my hair is breaking. I tend not to believe this, but it would be nice to hear some feedback.

MimiRose
I think (I know)I’ve done all five, but my one real work on is #3, skimming on conditioner. In the back of my mind I guess my inner cheapskate/hoarder is saying “you don’t wanna run out of this because you don’t have time to go to Whole Foods”. Yeah, I know it’s silly, but true. You’ve given me hope in knowing that I’m not the only one that has done it, albeit my reason makes no sense at all. I have recently had to admit to myself that I have not been taking the best care of my hair. I… Read more »
Natalie
I used to be guilty of set and forget but that was when I had extensions and didn’t know how to look after my hair. I love washing my hair, it’s the only time I get to play and fondle it and my crime is using too much conditioner not too little. Detangle in the shower and it becomes an enjoyable experience, for me washing my hair in sections just doesn’t work I always have residue left over so I detangle in the shower and get all the conditioner out and then twist it up. I sleep on a satin… Read more »
luminous

so guilty of #5…

Ezea

Number 5 : i almost never cover my hair at night and i don’t have a satin pillowcase (i just braid my hair every night). I’ m very gentle with my hair otherwise and i don’ t experience any breakage.

Sista Voyage

Interestingly, I don’t have shoddy habits when it comes to my hair care, but at one point, I was still having breakage.

Koli

I have to say that it is tempting to neglect dilligent moisturising and sealing techniques on any PS especially when it is only day two post wash day and it already took two hours to put the PS in.

Alisha

I’ve been guilty of number four! She is so right about turning on a marathon (I heart SVU, too). It’s a great way to pass the time.

J

Guilty of 2-4! LOL

Mahalia

I’m guilty of number four.
My arms start to ache while detangling so I just rush it lol. Definitely not one of my best ideas. Patience is really a virtue.

But I love detangling whiles watching something. That is really a great advice because it really does help.

LBell

In every head of hair’s life, there will come some breakage…That said, I wanted to co-sign #4 in particular.

For years I always started detangling at the back, then worked on the sides, then saved the top for last. Unfortunately the top is my coiliest and shrinkiest section by far and by the time I got up there I would be tired and start to rush. Now I do that section first (after getting it good and soaked in whatever detangling preparation I’m using) and not only does everything get thoroughly and safely detangled, it actually ends up taking less time.

tishushu

OMG, I did the same thing, starting at the back, working my way up to the front. And my arms would be so tired. And the sides and back of my hair has the loosest curls… I’m starting at the front from here on out…

Trina

I have to agree. This one thing, #4, is my biggest problem. If I could get my detangling sessions done right and not rush, my back would probably be longer. Since that area takes so much time, I think I’ll try starting with that area. Thanks for the tip LBell!!

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