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.

Leave a Reply

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

Notify of

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 light­ly… 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!