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!


The Scenario:

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.

The Fix:

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

The Scenario:

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.

The Fix:

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.



The Scenario:

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.

The Fix:

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.


Acrylic Nails

The Scenario:

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.

The Fix:

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?


For more transitioning and natural hair tips from Christina, check out her blog, The Mane Objective. You can also find her on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.


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 Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

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22 Comments on "4 Common Practices That Cause Natural Hair Breakage"

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a fix for the scrunchies/hair tie is to put some oil or leave in conditioner on it before you use it. it will slide right out w/o pulling your hair.


LOL. The headband. It can cause pressure and/or friction alopecia especially if it is almost an everyday after work out style. You know it is the culprit if you see shorten hair at the front of your hairline when it used to be so long.

The fix– (for me) remove the band when in the car, at home or not in public–let hair just be FREE–and never sleep in a head band.


My hair are broking and I will like to know what can I do
To my hair so that they will stop breaking and how should I proceed for the treatment Home remedying pls Help Me.
God Bless U Thanks

Shea butter sneaked up on me.. yes shea butter! I heard it was a panacea, the be all to all good… not for my 4C curls. I used very little, about 1 and 1/2 teaspoon on my extremely thick hair and the very next day is started to see little coils in the sink.. yikes! I have since learned that some 4Cs (like me) have to mix it with oil (like coconut) and make it into a whipped butter then use it. If I just liquefy shea, use it on my hair, once it hardens again on my hair it… Read more »

Lots of good tips here!


pineaples ruined my nape, i definitively give up lol


The nail thing is so true! Cracked nail Polish is what kills me, it snags my hair especially on wash day.


Hair claws are the worst. I just don’t know how to maintain easy access to my hair without it unraveling. Loose twists don’t work for me. Any ideas?


I prefer alligator clips or duckbill clips for this exact reason. I also think chunky twists with braids at the last three inches works.


Is that why I have these short pieces around my parts? Im throwing them clips away tonight!


Same thing here! I may try duck billed clips instead.


The hair claws and my natural nails are the culprit for some of my hair breakage! The weirdest thing that I do when I wash and style my hair (with twist outs and bantu knots) is wearing non latex professional gloves to wash/ style my hair. At least, whenever my nails aren’t so smooth so that my hair won’t get caught on my nails. Breakage for me doesn’t happen whenever I use it.


Oh! and I am giving up my elastic bands for good and using ribbon elastic hair ties (using fold over elastic). I just saw Naptural85’s tutorials on making them yourself and I tried it for myself. It is so gentle on your hair. It is so worth it to try it out.


I love the tips about the nails. This happens to me a lot. Thanks!!!!


Nice article!

My wet hair + hair bands = breakage city. Especially if I pull wet hair back into a low puff or bun, or a pineapple, and sleep that way. The elastic in bands is too strong for my wet hair to handle. Plus, my coils tangle around the band when I remove it in the morning. My fixes: 1. Use a silk handkerchief, or a similarly small-sized silk scarf, instead of a hair band to tie hair back/up for the night, and don’t tie it tightly. Works pretty well overnight, for me. 2. Make sure hair is either dry or… Read more »
Ubah Luar

Thanks Robin,
The silk hankerchief is something i would definetley try!


Yes! I use a satin scrunchie for any type of pony, puff, or bun.


I would add to the list for my hair waiting too long to wash my hair. Trying to squeeze in a few more days always leads to disaster. My hair pretty much dries out after ten days. I try to hold off but breakage is normally the price I pay. That and Bantu knot outs. I love that style but it don’t love me. I always get breakage during the take down.

Briana Hicks

I definitely agree with not waiting too long to wash my hair. As a student, I always want to put off washing another week if I’m loaded with homework, but I can’t do that if I want my hair to not break off like crazy.


Banding and long unkempt nails ruin it for me. Now I always band not more than twice a month and also keeps my nails short too!


Omg! The hair claws and the nails thing are so TRUE for me!..and I can’t make a straight part to save my life. That’s why I get so many snaps :(… thanks for the tips!