For some peo­ple the nape hair grows just fine. For oth­ers, the nape area suf­fers con­stant break­age, stunt­ed growth, and is the most frag­ile sec­tion of the scalp. 

Before 2007, my nape hair nev­er sur­passed two to three inch­es (except for dur­ing my child­hood years). It was severe­ly dam­aged from over­pro­cess­ing and dry­ness and would seem to break the instant it was touched. 


In 2007, I began to seri­ous­ly address my nape break­age by stretch­ing the peri­od between chem­i­cal relax­ers and pay­ing extra atten­tion to the area as I con­di­tioned and mois­tur­ized (i.e., extra TLC). With the­se changes and more, my nape hair was grad­u­al­ly restored to good health. Nowa­days, it has reached a length I nev­er imag­ined it could. (In 2008, I offi­cial­ly went nat­u­ral, but that isn’t to say that one needs to do so to have a healthy grow­ing nape.)

Picture 3

Do you have nape growth issues? If so, any of the fol­low­ing could be the source of the prob­lem. Elim­i­nate that source and your nape hair will be restored to good health and growth. 

Caus­es of stunted/slow growth of nape hair:
1. Poor inter­nal health
2. Dry­ness
3. Under con­di­tioned
4. Break­age from tight head­bands, scarves, etc.
5. Over-brush­ing
6. Over-pro­cess­ing (raise your hand if you relax that sec­tion first)
7. Fric­tion from shirt, scarf, coat, couch
8. Too much ten­sion (e.g., braid­ing nape hair too tight­ly)
9. Inad­e­quate neu­tral­iza­tion after relax­ing
10. Heat dam­age from try­ing to get that nape hair straight
11. Sleep­ing on the back of head

Ladies have you strug­gled with nape break­age? What was the rea­son for it and how did you rem­e­dy it?


Empow­er­ing wom­en of col­or to break bar­ri­ers. Cherish.Thy.Melanin.

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34 Comments on "11 Causes of Nape Area Breakage"

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I found that once I stopped relax­ing the nape it stopped break­ing. So only when I’m wear­ing it up do I use flat irons to straight­en the area. Also, Shapelys MTG mad the break­age stop as well…it also grew with that too.

S Ranford

My hair is 4C, how­ev­er my nape hair is total­ly dif­fer­ent. It is very fine and straight and won’t stay put. Gel helps keep the nape hair in place only for a cou­ple of hours but then the hair works it’s way loose. Any sug­ges­tions?

I became nat­u­ral a lit­tle over a mon­th ago. I don’t do relax­ers, but I did flat iron my hair every 2 weeks before I tran­si­tioned. Since then I have noticed a lot of thin­ning around my edges and today when I left in a con­di­tion­er it was real­ly thin­ning in my nape area. I have nev­er ever had this hap­pen before, it is pret­ty upset­ting. Every night I do twist my hair and take it down in the morn­ing and wear an updo. I think I may be pulling the hair too much or else it is some­thing inter­nal.… Read more »

I use to have issues with the growth of the nape of my hair back when I relaxed my hair. I had been get­ting relax­ers since I was 3, but I went nat­u­ral in 2011. Ever since then my hair has reached lengths that I imag­ined that it could, but doubt­ed that it would. While most of my hair is super thick and kinky, I find it inter­est­ing that the nape of my hair is com­posed of fine, loose curls.

Right now, my hair looks exact­ly like the top pho­to. I haven’t had a relax­er since last Sep­tem­ber (so I have about 2 in. of new growth), but after that last relax­er, LITERALLY half of my hair fell out. All of my relaxed ends in the back of my hair broke off, so it’s all nat­u­ral back there…well, all two inch­es of nat­u­ral. The front, how­ev­er, is busi­ness as usu­al, so up there I have about 2 in. of new growth and may­be 6–8 in. of relaxed hair. I have no clue as to how to style my hair. I… Read more »

How are you styling the front? I imag­ine you’re already rock­ing the TWA as the back half is real­ly short. May­be do a ban­tu knot out, twist out, or flexi-rod set and rock it like blog­ger Ariel Sansar­icq (

Shenika Jones

Hi,I have been nat­u­ral for 2 1/2 yrs. Kept it washed,braided and oiled.I wore wigs while grow­ing it out . Now my nape is dam­aged assum­ing from the wigs because the cap was always rid­ing up. Now I just got my hair straight­ened and want to wear it out. I need some sug­ges­tions on how to get my nape healthy again . Thanks

My hair is total­ly nat­u­ral now. It ringlets nat­u­ral­ly (baby ringlets), but even when I left off tex­tur­iz­ers and went total­ly chem­i­cal free, the nape of my neck was an embar­rass­ing dis­as­ter. How­ev­er, I did remem­ber a time when that part of my hair had grown quite long, bro­ken off, then nev­er seemed to recov­er. I even­tu­al­ly real­ized, over­all, that my hair and skin are super hyper­sen­si­tive, and my body was hav­ing an extreme reac­tion to carageenan, guar gum, and oth­er thick­en­ers and fillers found in the foods I ate (I’ve been veg­gie for 21 years, and turns out most… Read more »

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For the longest while, my nape just refused to go.It was a com­bi­na­tion of eczema, split ends and igno­rance. I would get dis­heart­ened and add exten­sions to it. It would lit­er­al­ly split and dis­in­te­grate it. What changed the game for me was fin­ger detan­gling it every few days to remove lint, which would get trapped from my col­lars or scarfs. after, spray­ing it with a pro­tein spritz before heavy seal­ing with vase­line and keep­ing it in small plaits. I nev­er left it loose and would always leave it in the plaits for wash­ing , twist-outs. If i want­ed to add hair… Read more »
What you describe at the nape is exact­ly what I have at the *front* of my hair, par­tic­u­lar­ly above my left eye. (I don’t part it there.) The curl pat­tern there is tighter. I am obvi­ous­ly doing some­thing quite wrong and I’ve no idea what it is. It seems to recov­er if I give it a “rest” by flatiron­ing for about a mon­th, but that is lousy (and dry­ing) for the rest of my hair, and I don’t want to. I ought to attempt a style that doesn’t pull it back, but hair in my face gives me acne (with… Read more »

(May­be harsh skin soaps con­tribute to break­age, front and nape, if inad­e­quate­ly rinsed? There is a lot of harsh skin soap in my life.)

What I con­sid­er the nape of my hair is far­ther down than the author’s in the pho­to. It’s at the very, very base of my neck. I get only about, may­be, and inch of hair growth there. It’s nev­er long enough to get pulled up with the rest of the hair, it’s a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent tex­ture (more rough) and rarely respond to any type of gel or pro­duct. I’ve been trim­ming the area because my hair­line is uneven in the back and I don’t like the way it looks. I’ve cut it, it grows back, but I still have the… Read more »

Exact­ly the nape of her hair is under­neath the sec­tion of hair we all can see in the picture…nowI per­son­al­ly relax my own hair at home using only lye relax­ers & I also relax my nape last because it takes the least amount of time to get straight & my nape has always grown fine




My nape always broke off when I was relaxed. When I went nat­u­ral I was sur­prised by how eas­i­ly my nape hair grew. I did not treat it dif­fer­ent­ly com­pared to the rest of my hair, yet it was not break­ing off. I am a lit­tle wary now that the weath­er is get­ting cool­er and my hair is long enough to brush again­st my cloth­ing.

My front edges are anoth­er sto­ry. =\


A few months ago my nape hair was the nicest sec­tion of my hair, but too tight scarves KILLED my nape hair, it use to curl now it’s all prick­ly, dry, and puffy.. so i’m just cut­ting it when­ev­er it gets on my nerves now because I can’t deal with the snags. Bon­nets over scarves ladies.

Omg I was thought it was just me that was bald in the nape area! For years I was nev­er able to grow hair there and then in ear­ly 2012 I noticed after hav­ing braids for about 2 1/2 months I had some growth. This actu­al­ly inspired me to start tran­si­tion, I had thought about it in the past, but was intim­i­dat­ed by going nat­u­ral. How­ev­er onec I did I noticed I had growth back there! When I relaxed I always start­ed in the back too. But now with being ful­ly nat­u­ral I final­ly noticed how fine the hair in… Read more »

I would add one more to this list. For those who get or have got­ten relax­ers, some­times the styl­ist would leave the same tow­el around your neck for the entire ser­vice. If any relax­er got on the tow­el, it would get trans­ferred back onto the nape area, which of course, could lead to break­age. Also, any relax­er residue left on the neck rest of the sham­poo bowl should be cleaned off once the relax­er is rinsed from the hair, in order to avoid the same prob­lem.


My daugh­ters hair is fine with high poros­i­ty 3c, 3b. Her nape and crown is very frag­ile.
To proc­tect the crown and nape of her hair I heav­i­ly seal them and put them in indi­vid­u­al braids. This pre­vents them from break­ing when she is play­ing and rub­bing again­st stuff. Pro­tien has also added strength to her hair. I use Shea mois­ture yuc­ca and baob­ab anti-break­age mask on her hair every 2 weeks. It has real­ly helped strength­en her hair.


Also, amaz­ing growth in your nape area!!

Can you go into more detail of what TLC you’ve been giv­ing has had such beau­ti­ful results in your nape?





I haven’t had a relax­er or straight­ened my hair in over 6 years, clear­ly stop­ping the relax­ers isn’t enough for some of us.

In my ear­ly 20s when I still got relax­ers (I’m 30 now).. I used to go to this “upscale” salon in Mary­land… and the Mex­i­can lady they had in their rins­ing out people’s perms nev­er used to rin­se my nape area well. I was so intro­vert­ed back then that I nev­er used to say any­thing to her. Now there’s def­i­nite­ly a patch in that area that has trou­ble grow­ing and some­times ran­dom­ly itch­es. It’s tak­en some­time and now it’s a bit thick­er, but nev­er as long as the rest of my head. I’ve recent­ly start­ed using cas­tor oil for that… Read more »

ECZEMA can also cause hair break­age at the nape..SAD TALE .I had nev­er braid­ed ‚per­med or used relax­er but my nape hair­line kept reced­ing. A Vis­it to the skin doc­tor and he con­firmed eczema at the nape


So what did you do? I have a 10 yr old that had beau­ti­ful shoul­der length hair that now bare­ly touch­es her ears.

YES! I always felt like I was the only one who has suf­fered with eczema at the nape because every­one else’s always seemed so thick and healthy. I have nev­er seen any­one else with nape ezce­ma so it’s good to see I am not alone! I used to be SOOO sad to see everyone’s pret­ty baby hairs and mine was look­ing like ground meat, lol :/. I used to want to do top knots, updos and pony­tails SOOOO BADLY but couldn’t because my nape area was soooo awful look­ing — short, extra course stub­by hair, with raised skin flakes (sor­ry… Read more »
Nappy 4C Rocks

agree with #1 esp…our diet is SO impor­tant, the inside counts…but #11? should one sleep on the side? on the stom­ach?

I find it hard to under­stand that someone’s nape could be the part that doesn’t grow! for me, my nape has always been my health­i­est, nicest sec­tion of hair. in fact, most of my hair is 3b, my crown is 4b, and my nape is 2c! I always won­dered, when I did go for relax­ers, why they always start­ed with the nape, when that hair real­ly didn’t ever need any retex­tur­iz­ing. I wish my whole head was as strong and silky and easy to man­age as my nape… now my tem­ples and crown– whole oth­er sto­ry!…

Noth­ing you’ve said makes sense. And I’ve got to see what 4b, 3c and 2c hair all in one looks like. Very extreme leaps. Good­bye.

One thing peo­ple over­look is the tex­ture of the nape. Often it’s a dif­fer­ent tex­ture to the major­i­ty of the hair and has dif­fer­ent needs but because it’s such a small area I think some­times it can be hard to remem­ber to treat it dif­fer­ent­ly. If you have fine hair like me, it can often be the most frag­ile part of the hair that needs the most tlc, gen­tle han­dling, mois­ture and pro­tein more often than the rest of your hair. While I do mois­turise my nape, I don’t do pro­tein as often as it prob­a­bly needs because the rest… Read more »

I love all of those hair­styles. I do the twist a lot bcaeuse it is super easy and if need­ed I can pull it togeth­er at a stop light. I like to have all of my stuff layed the night before so if I do hap­pen to be run­ning behind in the morn­ing I don’t have to feel to pan­icked.


Great point, my nape area is def­i­nite­ly one of the weakest areas on my head so I have learned, the hard way unfor­tu­nate­ly, to be extra gen­tle with that area and it has begun grown­ing again nice­ly.


I have fine, low-poros­i­ty, loose curls on my nape. That area is strong, it just doesn’t need extras — extra mois­ture, pro­duct, styling, comb­ing.

Perms and heat used to melt the hair off that area (no regard was paid to the dif­fer­ent tex­ture) and even the light­est, gen­tlest twist exten­sion would slip off or break the hair in that area. I can’t leave my own braids or twists in overnight either.

I learned that leav­ing it out and adding a lit­tle oil a few days a week and may­be some fin­ger coils leaves my nape healthy, strong and grow­ing like a weed.