glamfun natural hair youtube

 

The first thing that pops into my head when I think about youtu­ber Karen of Glam­fun is of course the very catchy tune, ‘Wash and Go’s don’t work on nap­py hair.’ Recent­ly, she has been in the spot­light for her hair strug­gles and deci­sion to relax her nat­u­ral hair. She spoke in depth to BGLH on that in this inter­view…this is not the top­ic of dis­cus­sion today.  Instead, I want to do an analy­sis of what I learned from her dis­cus­sion on the seri­ous lev­el of break­age she expe­ri­enced. I think her expe­ri­ences can be a great learn­ing tool for any­one with 4c hair specif­i­cal­ly, as well as broad­ly speak­ing to any­one try­ing to retain length and con­stant­ly suc­cumb­ing to set­backs.

1. Doubt is a very good thing

Karen was given a diag­no­sis of cen­tral cen­trifu­gal cica­tri­cial alope­cia and she doubt­ed it. I am a sci­en­tist and not a der­ma­tol­o­gist but I’m with Karen in doubt­ing the diag­no­sis. From my point of view, Karen had break­age after her hair was grown from the scalp. For the alope­cia con­di­tion, there is some asso­ci­a­tion with trau­ma to the hair fol­li­cles lead­ing to a ‘scalpy’ appear­ance, not so in Karen’s case. The der­ma­tol­o­gist sug­ges­tion of relax­ing as a rem­e­dy is not ide­al as relax­ers are sus­pect­ed to be a pos­si­ble cause for tram, trig­ger­ing that type of alope­cia (J Clin Aes­thet Der­ma­tol. pp 37–40, 2012.). There­fore, if you doubt what a med­ical pro­fes­sion­al is telling you, do get a sec­ond or even third opin­ion.

2. Break­age hap­pens even to the most sea­soned nat­u­rals

Chery of chery818 is an exam­ple of how a sea­soned nat­u­ral with years of expe­ri­ence and very long hair can expe­ri­ence break­age. Don’t make the mis­take of think­ing seri­ous break­age is a new­bie type of error; and those who are 2–3 years into their nat­u­ral jour­ney are less like­ly to expe­ri­ence it. Typ­i­cal­ly, 4c hair is more sus­cep­ti­ble to break­age. When cou­pled with length, there is more poten­tial to knot with­in coils and kinks.

3. Why is your hair break­ing? Erm.….……because you broke it

I wrote an arti­cle 4 years ago with this exact title. In short, it’s safe to say that most of the time when you expe­ri­ence hair break­age, it’s because of some­thing that you, as the main han­dler of that hair are doing. It is a sim­ple answer, almost too sim­ple for some but it under­lies an impor­tant an inescapable truth which is that ulti­mate­ly, you as the main han­dler of that hair,  have to trou­bleshoot and find out what you are doing wrong. Big empha­sis on “you.”

4. Absolute fail safe meth­ods — Leave your hair alone (2+ weeks) 

Karen noticed that when she placed her hair in braids for a while and left it alone, it grew. For 4c hair, leav­ing your hair alone is an absolute fail safe method to retain length. For most 4c nat­u­rals, this means pro­tec­tive styling for 2+ weeks at a time by some means — e.g own hair braids/twists, well installed exten­sions, well installed weaves, corn­rows under a wig etc.  I would gen­er­al­ly advise again­st free hair meth­ods for 4c hair e.g bun­ning, twist outs etc but if you are able to see low to no break­age, then it is a fail safe method for you. New meth­ods such as the max­i­mum hydra­tion method have reports that some users with 4c hair expe­ri­ence less knot­ting and break­age. I would not label this method as a proven fail safe method but I would say that if you are an exper­i­men­tal­ist, try it and observe the lev­el of break­age for your­self.

5. Stick­ing points / Plateaus

For many 4c nat­u­rals, there are speci­fic points when hair is more liable to expe­ri­ence high break­age.  The two most com­mon ones are:

- hair can’t get past neck length

- tran­si­tion­ing hair from APL to BSL

In both cas­es, try­ing a fail safe method for a peri­od of 6 months to 1 year could dra­mat­i­cal­ly change your for­tunes.

 

What steps do you take to pre­vent break­age?

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33 Comments on "5 Things EVERY 4C Natural Should Know About Breakage — And How to Prevent It"

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kalexa1

Any­one know/recommend the soft­est ‘mar­ley-type’ kinky exten­sion hair for braid­ing? I find most are so rough and syn­thet­ic feel­ing or prone to tan­gling. A good one would be real­ly help­ful for pro­tec­tive styling.

lila

“mam­bo twist hair ” is soft­er you can wear it untwist­ed for the “twistout effect” It looks very nat­u­ral.

Nessa

I think I’m hav­ing prob­lems with my tran­si­tion from APL to BSL. I guess I need to try leav­ing my hair alone more or some­thing. I will have to fig­ure it out. Here’s a link to anoth­er arti­cle on break­age.

http://curlkit.com/breakage/

Ley
To avoid break­age I sim­ple braid my hair into braids, morn­ing and at night spray my hair with water mas­sage my scalp then apply cas­tor oil then wrap it up with a silk head wrap. I only wear a wig when going out­side. Every two weeks I rin­se my hair with acv and con­di­tion and then deep con­di­tion my hair. With this rou­tine I found at that my hair retains mois­ture and break­age is less com­pared to when I braid­ed my hair for a weave my hair was so dry and I suf­fered break­age. I found out that with the… Read more »
nono

whats avc?

Chelsea LeVeck

apple cider vine­gar I think
(acv)

kalexa1

I agree and have found the same. Trou­ble is in the hot sum­mer months wigs aren’t desir­able for a cool head. What to do? I’m still search­ing for a braider who doesn’t yank the liv­ing day­lights out of my hair roots!

Melissa

Loose twists on my own hair & Jum­bo braid exten­sions work like a charm on me. Just remem­ber to mois­tur­ize reg­u­lar­ly and deep con­di­tion. :)

Renaissanceeast

I actu­al­ly prefer pro­tec­tive styles, but find that my hair mats at the roots if left in place for more than a few days. Does any­one else expe­ri­ence this? If so, are there styles that make it less like­ly?

kalexa1

Yep. I find avoid­ing micro or small twists helps. Chunkier or medi­um size twists are prefer­able to avoid the mat­ting.

Tiffany
I’ve been nat­u­ral for too long (6+ yrs) since the 9th grade Im now a sopho­more at Howard Uni­ver­si­ty. I’ve expe­ri­enced the most break­age with braid and twist install­ments. When it comes to take down time my hair snaps clos­es to root and mats up. I’ve tried wash­ing and every­thing else while I have the braids/twists in. Also the braiders/twisters seem to be heavy hand­ed with my hair, which is fine. More break­age. So now I’ve moved on to putting my hair in lose mini twists and I take them down every 4–6 weeks. So far its been work­ing like… Read more »
Maureen-Ann

Hi Tiffany,

I’ve had sim­i­lar expe­ri­ences when I take down my braids/kinky twists, even when I remem­ber to keep them mois­tur­ized. When you say “loose” mini-twists, are you just talk­ing about reg­u­lar 2-strand twists? How do you keep them fresh-look­ing for 4–6 weeks?! Mine start look­ing a mess by the begin­ning of week 2 LOL. Please pass along your wis­dom! :o)

Tiffany
Check out mstan­ish. She has an awe­some tuto­ri­al for what I mean by loose twists. Also cipri­an­na from urban­bush­babes she rocks them too. http://youtu.be/eiZqSEBiOJM?list=UUKcIT_FbbrsI5jYzTDAxUtQ So her hair is thick­er than mine and dense­ly packed. Basi­cal­ly make your twists based on your hair’s needs. Also instead of braid­ing at the roots I twist tight­ly. It looks bet­ter to me. Big tip I work with stretched hair using african thread­ing. And after fin­ish­ing each sec­tion re-thread the sec­tion of minitwists to keep them stretched until you;re done. Keep­ing them fresh. Hmmm. Well as my twists get old­er my hair starts to coil nat­u­ral­ly… Read more »
Yvette M
I am tran­si­tion­ing but I agree with JC. When I BC’ed in 2012 and pro­tec­tive styled con­tin­u­ous­ly for 5 months, I retained every inch of growth I got. And now, dur­ing this tran­si­tion, when­ev­er I find that my hair is start­ing to break a bit too much, I just braid it up, cov­er with a wig and for­get about it. I read online some­where that if you are active­ly grow­ing out your hair, its good to for­get about look­ing cute :D. And I have tak­en that as my mot­to, when I real­ly need to retain, I for­get about look­ing cute,… Read more »
more

AINT THAT THE TRUTH! I’m near­ing APL but fawk­ing sick of the pro­tec­tive styling. The longest i had my hair in was 7 months saw a lot of growth. Now i’m in anoth­er pro­tec­tive style i’m in mon­th 3 and it’s dri­ving me crazy!! idk if i can do 5 months any­more

YellowSisi

I com­plete­ly agree with Car­lee and Ms LiLi. I find long term pro­tec­tive styling bor­ing and I find my hair looks thin­ner when I take it down. What’s the aim of putting away your hair for weeks at a time? I love my hair­styles look­ing fresh and my scalp clean at all times.

Cygnet
I con­sis­tent­ly did twists and plaits on my hair for about 2 years before going CG. I made sure to spritz and mois­tur­ize reg­u­lar­ly, sev­er­al times a week at least, more if I thought I need­ed it. What I found is that my most­ly fine strands hate, real­ly HATE, HATE WITH A PASSION! to be bound. Keep­ing it slight­ly under­mois­tur­ized was the most like­ly way for me to keep it from unrav­el­ing; when it was opti­mal­ly (so I thought) mois­tur­ized, it would work itself free from even the tini­est plaits that I dared to do—and I didn’t dare make them… Read more »
Rose Gold

Are you 4C?

The Natural Haven
I total­ly dis­agree with those who say it is dif­fi­cult to prop­er­ly mois­turise hair in a pro­tec­tive style. Many nat­u­rals do long term pro­tec­tive style and man­age to still mois­turise hair. Rou­ti­nes for this are some­times dai­ly, every three to four days or once a week. The big vari­abil­i­ty you find is because every per­son has dif­fer­ent needs and NO (in caps), it is not a rule that you need to mois­turise every day. I do urge you.….especially those who are strug­gling to read the 4c case stud­ies here — http://www.thenaturalhavenbloom.com/search/label/4c%20Hair%20Case%20Studies There are also plen­ty of non-4c long term pro­tec­tive stylers… Read more »
luminous

Mak­ing sure your hair is well mois­tur­ized is also an impor­tant part of pre­vent­ing break­age.

Ms LiLi
Com­plete­ly agree with Car­lee. Putting our hair “away“is not help­ful because the rea­son type 4 hair breaks is usu­al­ly a mois­ture pro­tein bal­ance or rough han­dling issue. How will we ever learn to care for our hair if we always leave it alone. And if we grow hair down to the floor, at some point we have to han­dle our hair rou­tine­ly. And if you have not learned your hair while its short­er your only going to ruin your pro­gress with longer hair. I say,learn your hair, what it likes and doesn’t like. Always assess it to make sure it… Read more »
JenniD
I also agree. I love me some twists but they and oth­er bound­ed up styles can be mur­der on my 4c strands if I do them con­tin­u­ous­ly. This is why I always say your 4c hair is not my 4c hair. Just because we share the same tex­ture does­nt mean you lay down the law as to what will work uni­ver­sal­ly. I appre­ci­ate the advice on whats tried and true but for me pro­tec­tive styling weeks at a time is both unre­al­is­tic as I don’t always have the time nor patience to install twists for 3 to 4 hours. This… Read more »
Jacky
Great arti­cle and well writ­ten too. I have type 4a hair but I decid­ed to read this arti­cle to see if I could learn from it and I did. Long term pro­tec­tive styling is great but I also believe in low manip­u­la­tion styling as well( includ­ing twist-outs, buns, braid-outs, etc ). I’m strong­ly again­st re-twist­ing and re-braid­ing nat­u­ral hair reg­u­lar­ly( espe­cial­ly every night or every oth­er night ). On looser tex­tures that may be okay but on tighter tex­tures… you’re ask­ing for break­age. How I com­bat break­age is to start off with a fresh twist out or oth­er hair­style, then as the week… Read more »
Jacky

*some­one.

and one last thing… Mois­tur­ize when nec­es­sary.
I think mois­tur­iz­ing is an impor­tant part of any hair care reg­i­men. Hair can be styled in a long term pro­tec­tive style and still expe­ri­ence dry­ness and break­age if not mois­tur­ized prop­er­ly and when nec­es­sary

Carlee
I see a big flaw with the arti­cle that says braids, corn­rows, exten­sions, or long-term “pro­tec­tive styles” are fail-safe options for 4c hair. I watched Karen’s chan­nel from the begin­ning. She suf­fered from extreme­ly dry hair. Chery also suf­fered from dry­ness, and she almost always wears pro­tec­tive styles. Putting your hair in a long term pro­tec­tive styles just makes it that much hard­er to mois­tur­ize the hair with water. Those styles can actu­al­ly increase break­age, tan­gles, and dry­ness. Of course the only option which encour­ages dai­ly wash­ing of hair, the max hydra­tion method, is con­sid­ered as less. Wash­ing your hair… Read more »
more

It all depends on which type of pro­tec­tive styling it is

Kezbokz

Look at Kinkistyles1980. She made it to waist length in 4 years. She did pro­tec­tive styling only on her 4C hair. Trust me, you can mois­tur­ize hair in pro­tec­tive styling, and it will grow, just like hers!

neuyogi
I recent­ly start­ed the max­i­mum hydra­tion method and read­ing JC’s arti­cle above made me ner­vous that my every 3 day wash n go is such a risky move. For a sec­ond i con­tem­plat­ed going back to the world I knew of pro­tec­tive styling…but the your com­ment, was like a douse of cold water. I remem­bered tak­ing down my pro­tec­tive styles after 1–2 weeks and my gnarly ends, try­ing fin­ger detan­gling after twists was not pleas­ant and i still had lots of lit­tle c’s and springs on the bath­room coun­ter. It will be amaz­ing and down­right mirac­u­lous if this max­i­mum hydra­tion… Read more »
Araina S.
I have 4 C hair and this arti­cle came right on time as I have been nat­u­ral for a lit­tle over two years. When I comb my hair out, I have seen small lit­tle curly cues fall onto the bath­room floor. It does not seem to mat­ter how gen­tle I am with my hair as this is bound to hap­pen. For the past six months I have been putting braids in my hair because my hair is very dif­fi­cult for me to work with when it is in its nat­u­ral state. I too have found that leav­ing my hair alone… Read more »
Obsidianbbw

I am deal­ing with this now, I got tired (lazy) and stopped my usu­al two strand twists..i want­ed to play in my hair..I rocked buns and updos and oth­er things…and I broke.…not a lot, but enough that I sat this week­end and left it alone. I know it will grow back, so not a huge deal, but my hair is hap­pier when I leave it alone.

Jasmine

Hel­lo,
I am new­ly nat­u­ral, I’ve been tran­si­tion­ing for 8 months and after wear­ing braid­ed exten­sions for 4 weeks at a time on to dif­fer­ent occa­sions and slick­ing my hair back in tight buns, I have suf­fered from trac­tion alope­cia, so pro­tec­tive styles are no longer an option for me at least for anoth­er 6 months to a year, and tips or sug­ges­tion on how to keep my hair healthy and break­age free wear­ing loose styles, I believe I have type 4 hair.…..

Just_Browsing
Sim­ple. Keep your hair mois­tur­ized and spritz it at night, sleep on a silk scarf. Mas­sage dai­ly. http://blackgirllonghair.com/2014/08/3-ways-to-dramatically-improve-your-length-retention-at-night/ Mois­tur­iz­ing: Non-Pro­tein Deep con­di­tion­ing (2–3 times a week). More fruit (oils) based than egg/mayo (pro­tein) based. I prefer nat­u­ral prod­ucts, like the edi­ble ones you find in your kitchen pantry. Keep the con­di­tion­er in your hair for 30 min­utes and rin­se in cool to cold water. Hot water also strips and dries out your hair, hence I sug­gest cool to cold water. You may won­der about the pos­si­ble food residue being in your hair etc. espe­cial­ly if you’re only using cool to cold water to… Read more »
Jasmine

Thank you for the tips and encour­age­ment, I will try­out the­se tips : )

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