By now, I’m sure you’ve heard all the common tips about breakage: keep your hair moisturized, be gentle, pay special attention to your ends, avoid too-tight protective styles and updos, sleep with your hair protected (or at least on a satin pillowcase), and more. While those are all great things to keep in mind, I’d like to offer 4 particular breakage culprits to be aware of, from personal experience. That’s right — personal experience. I’m not afraid or ashamed to admit that as a blogger, sometimes I make mistakes with my hair. Or even in the case of these culprits, certain practices may catch me off guard. Luckily, I’ve made several adjustments and fixes for these 4, and I’m happy to share my findings. This is yet another reason why it’s so important to pay attention to your hair!
Banding is one of my favorite ways to stretch the front/center area of my hair. It is more tightly waved/curled than the back and sides of my hair, which can make for an awkward looking mushroom-esque wash and go if not stretched some. Now, there is some cautionary information out there about banding — not doing it too tight, or even too frequently, which I follow to avoid breakage. But the damage I wasn’t expecting? It came during the take-down process. Sometimes, my scrunchies would just tangle in the hair with takedown, or I’d hear a lone hair snap because it somehow managed to be caught in the other section I banded, instead of the one I was taking down.
Take down bands in reverse. My tangles came as a result of removing scrunchies from the bottom up. But removing scrunchies from the root and moving down ensures that the ends of the hair are still banded as you go, preventing tangle. It also gives you the opportunity to safely remove those random stray hairs that get caught, because the root is loose and it can be gently pulled to freedom without breaking.
Hair claws are the best friend of ladies who section detangle and wash. It keeps hair out of the way while you’re working in a particular section, and also helps keep hair that has been detangled from being re-tangled. Before hopping in the shower to wash, I would always divvy my hair up in 4–6 sections, hop in the shower, and go. As time went on, I began noticing fuzzy short strands along where I would normally keep my hair separated. Because I didn’t detangle my hair prior to sectioning and clipping, wisps of hair from one section would cross and be caught in another, leading to breakage.
There are two fixes for this particular issue. One, stop using hair claws (which is what I have ultimately done). The second solution is to evenly part the hair before sectioning, to avoid those pesky crosshairs from occurring.I can’t part evenly on my best day, so I found it was easier for me to just give up the clips and work with chunky twisted sections.
Many ladies opt for a pineapple of some sort at night to protect their hair and preserve styles like the wash and go. I’m a huge fan of the scarf pineapple myself, but one thing I’ve noticed as a wild sleeper is that the pineapple is prone to leaving the nape hair wide open and ripe for breakage. As the night wears on, it rides up, comes loose, and I wake up most mornings with the entire backside of my hair exposed.
Like the alligator clip scenario, there are two fixes here. Both involve Doubling up. Sleeping on a satin pillowcase while pineappling will ensure that even if the scarf rides up, your hair will still be on a surface that won’t cause unnecessary friction and rob it of moisture. The second option for doubling up involves a satin bonnet. Pineappling then covering the hair with a bonnet will allow for all of the hair to remain covered for the duration of the night. An added bonus is that the pineappling scarf covers the nape and the edges, so there won’t be any friction from the band of the bonnet. Got bigger or longer hair? Opt for an Ebonnet.
I enjoy having nice hands, but my natural nails are a wreck. Occasionally, when I’m tired of short and plain nubs, I’ll opt for a short acrylic set. If I’m not careful, finger detangling sessions and wash days turn into a snap-crackle-pop fest. Especially on nail tips that are pointed or sharply filed square. Even if you don’t have acrylics, nails that are broken, jagged, or not filed evenly can still cause hair to be caught and break.
Besides opting for rounded, squoval, or slightly duller square tips and making sure you get regular fills (hair can get caught under acrylics if they begin lifting), leading with the pad of your finger is the best bet. Most tutorials for finger detangling show the separation of the hair with the hands, followed by gently raking fingers through hair. This method is absolutely fine if your nails are in great condition. But another method after separating with the hands is to use the pads of the fingers to work through the hair. This way, the pads of your fingers do all the heavy lifting in terms of detangling. By the time your nails make contact, there is less of a chance that it will snag and break hair. Of course, you can always just not get acrylics :)
Does breakage ever sneak up on you? What are some of your quick fixes?