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

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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 pil­low­case, home­made,… 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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