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5 Lazy Natural Hair Habits That Cause Breakage

• Sep 16, 2012

 By Christina of The Mane Objective

I know what you’re thinking. Every day, there seems to be a new set of “rules” for naturals to abide by — and it seems like the more we understand about our hair, the more obscure those rules become. Don’t worry — I’m not here to trick you into believing that you need to hang upside down off the side of your bed for 20 minutes every night to stimulate scalp circulation, or to coat your hair in bacon grease for extra moisture and shine. I’m simply here to suggest that there are certain practices we naturals sometimes skip (I’m guilty of many of these too), to the detriment of our hair.

With folks running around working overtime, in school, raising families, running businesses and others professing themselves to be “lazy” naturals, cutting corners in hair care is bound to happen. Here are five habits to get out of before it’s too late:

1. Set It & Forget It Syndrome

(Yes, I’ve seen a lot of infomercials in my day). For many naturals, especially those transitioning, wigs and weaves are a go-to style. Unfortunately, some of us become so concerned with the hair on the outside that we forget allllllll about the hair underneath. By far, wigs are the best protective style to wear. But all that protection is for naught if your actual hair becomes dry, brittle, and breaks from neglect. Even worse (and more gross), dirt, sweat and other moisture can become trapped under wigs and weaves and have your scalp smelling like death. So even if you do decide to go the full coverage route, please make time to take care of your natural hair underneath. How frequently you wash, condition, and re-moisturize your hair depends on how much you sweat, among other factors.

2. Shoddy Wash Jobs

The whole point of cleansing hair and scalp is to make sure they’re well, clean…right? If you have already made up your mind to cleanse your hair and scalp — whether it be via co-wash, shampoo, sulfate, sulfate-free, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, Aztec healing clay, or anything else — be sure to do a thorough job. While it is important to remove buildup from your hair, getting the buildup off of your scalp is equally as important. If you always co-wash, or use a lot of silicone products that are prone to building up, clarifying your hair and scalp regularly is especially important; so as to not suffocate the follicles. How to best accomplish both without totally stripping your hair is totally up to you…and your hair! 

3. Skimming on the Conditioner

I was also guilty of this one, especially since I began co-washing with the awesomely luxurious Aussie Moist. I figured since I was washing my hair with conditioner, I didn’t need to waste more time conditioning it. There was nothing particularly wrong with my logic per-se, but I did notice that I had to re-moisturize my hair quite frequently. Then a few weeks ago it dawned on me, that maybe I should try conditioning my hair for added moisture retention. I began slathering my co-washed tresses with Shea Moisture’s Raw Shea Restorative Conditioner and haven’t looked back since. My hair is softer, smoother, and I am not re-moisturizing nearly as frequently. If you moisturize and seal after your co-washes and you are still having trouble retaining moisture, this could be your culprit. If regular conditioning isn’t doing it for you, kick it up a notch to deep conditioning or add your favorite oils to your current product and see what happens!

4. Half-Hearted Detangling

This one scares me the most. I try to detangle, co-wash, and condition my hair weekly but sometimes, I do it a little more frequently. My hair likes to tangle itself just for funsies, and I am deathly afraid that I’ll randomly wake up one morning with one giant dred. I say all this to say — if you’re going to detangle your hair, do it right. Be thorough. If you use a wide tooth comb, make sure that comb is able to get through all sections of your hair. If you finger detangle, be especially meticulous. Don’t do a rush job because you’re tired, or don’t have enough time. If you don’t relish cutting knots and chunks of un-detangleable hair off of your hair, commit to quality detangle time. Grab a season of Family Guy or turn on a Law & Order SVU marathon (my personal preferences), and get going.

5. Not Covering Hair at Night

I used to be suuuuuuuuper guilty of this one. Sometimes, you’re just so beat at the end of the day that taking the two, five, ten or twenty minutes required to protect your hair in a scarf or bonnet seems to be an impossible task. Or maybe you just perfected your wash n’ go routine and want to make sure your curls stay poppin’ for the rest of the week. If you’re like me, you probably are so exhausted that you nodded off in the middle of reading or writing, and didn’t realize it until the next morning. We already know the dangers of sleeping on cotton pillowcases with our hair unprotected — dryness and breakage city. If you’re prone to passing out some nights without protecting your hair, the best investment you could make is in a satin pillowcase.

What are some bad natural habits you’ve developed as a result of being busy?

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

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71 Comments on "5 Lazy Natural Hair Habits That Cause Breakage"

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LBell
Guest

In every head of hair’s life, there will come some breakage…That said, I wanted to co-sign #4 in particular.

For years I always started detangling at the back, then worked on the sides, then saved the top for last. Unfortunately the top is my coiliest and shrinkiest section by far and by the time I got up there I would be tired and start to rush. Now I do that section first (after getting it good and soaked in whatever detangling preparation I’m using) and not only does everything get thoroughly and safely detangled, it actually ends up taking less time.

Trina
Guest

I have to agree. This one thing, #4, is my biggest problem. If I could get my detangling sessions done right and not rush, my back would probably be longer. Since that area takes so much time, I think I’ll try starting with that area. Thanks for the tip LBell!!

tishushu
Guest

OMG, I did the same thing, starting at the back, working my way up to the front. And my arms would be so tired. And the sides and back of my hair has the loosest curls… I’m starting at the front from here on out…

Mahalia
Guest

I’m guilty of number four.
My arms start to ache while detangling so I just rush it lol. Definitely not one of my best ideas. Patience is really a virtue.

But I love detangling whiles watching something. That is really a great advice because it really does help.

Alisha
Guest

I’ve been guilty of number four! She is so right about turning on a marathon (I heart SVU, too). It’s a great way to pass the time.

J
Guest

Guilty of 2–4! LOL

Koli
Guest

I have to say that it is tempting to neglect dilligent moisturising and sealing techniques on any PS especially when it is only day two post wash day and it already took two hours to put the PS in.

Sista Voyage
Guest

Interestingly, I don’t have shoddy habits when it comes to my hair care, but at one point, I was still having breakage.

Ezea
Guest

Number 5 : i almost never cover my hair at night and i don’t have a satin pillowcase (i just braid my hair every night). I’ m very gentle with my hair otherwise and i don’ t experience any breakage.

luminous
Guest

so guilty of #5…

Natalie
Guest
I used to be guilty of set and forget but that was when I had extensions and didn’t know how to look after my hair. I love washing my hair, it’s the only time I get to play and fondle it and my crime is using too much conditioner not too little. Detangle in the shower and it becomes an enjoyable experience, for me washing my hair in sections just doesn’t work I always have residue left over so I detangle in the shower and get all the conditioner out and then twist it up. I sleep on a satin… Read more »
MimiRose
Guest
I think (I know)I’ve done all five, but my one real work on is #3, skimming on conditioner. In the back of my mind I guess my inner cheapskate/hoarder is saying “you don’t wanna run out of this because you don’t have time to go to Whole Foods”. Yeah, I know it’s silly, but true. You’ve given me hope in knowing that I’m not the only one that has done it, albeit my reason makes no sense at all. I have recently had to admit to myself that I have not been taking the best care of my hair. I… Read more »
Steppie
Guest

I am not guilty of any of these, but I still get breakage. I have Lupus and take meds, but have been told repeatedly that they are not the reason my hair is breaking. I tend not to believe this, but it would be nice to hear some feedback.

Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty
Guest

Great article. I think we’ve all been guilty of at least one of these at one point in time lol. #2 can sometimes be a culprit for me but #5 catches me every now and then.

I think hair can withstand a “little” neglect from time to time but a consistent hair regiment will keep your hair on tract.

Ashley Smith
Guest

I’m guilty of number 4 but I gave myself a Lil trim and great detangling season the other night and my curls have been poppin shoo I’m going to keep up with it!

Michelle
Guest

Guilty of 4 and 5 and sometimes 3 but I fixed no. 3 by putting a weekly reminder in my phone to condition it so I won’t forget…nothing like an annoying alarm to get me to do what I’m supposed to lol.
Covering my hair at night, I try to do it a lot more often now and if I root it off in the night then I put it back on again, the detangling takes patience though and I don’t always have it, so I definitely HAVE to work on that.

Aliza Pezer@hair breakage
Guest

Wow, surprisingly ‚I never knew this.
I have been reading your blog a lot over the past few days and it has earned a place in my bookmarks.I’d love to try.Thanks for sharing with us.

Jo Somebody
Guest

Guilty of 4 and 5! My weedy arms get tired, especially if I’ve let my hair shrink up. I’m talking HOURS! I will watch a Ghibli movie or two to help pass the time. Always looking for a reason to re-watch! Another big mistake is internetting while de-tangling. Trying to type something while de-tangling one-handed is not the one. Or reading! Turning the pages with my elbows! *kmt!*

Soulmama
Guest

I have long locs. I go to the loctichian monthly for twisting new growth, wash and conditioning and styling. Less is better. I don’t stress my hair with all these procedures. I keep it simple. I have no breakage, no shreading, just growth.
[img]http://blackgirllonghair.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/JJones0001.jpg[/img]
[img]http://blackgirllonghair.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/PICTUREJACKIE-1.jpg[/img]
[img]http://blackgirllonghair.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/PICTUREJACKIE4.jpg[/img]

ashley
Guest

u have no shedding because u have locs. your shed hair is twisted up in your hair.

trackback

[…]  19NATURAL HAIR CARE SHEDDING + BREAKAGE by Black Girl With Long Hair – September 16, 2012 […]

Carter
Guest
Setting & forgetting isn’t a concern, as I don’t wear any [hair] pieces, but simply forgetting that I am supposed to be moisturizing or wrapping or protecting it outside, is! I’ve got about 3 inches of growth, but of course it only shows about an inch and a half unless it’s wet or I stretch it for a style. Either way, a lot of these sound like common sense, NOW, but I’m a guy so I never got the hair maintenance and care lessons. These blogs and communities are a life-saver! Washing is actually one of my favorite things to… Read more »
Dananana
Guest

No, Carter, it isn’t just you. I HATE wrapping my hair–it messes up whatever I was trying to do with it the next day, and scarves always find their way off my head and under my bed during my sleep cycle. I solved the issue by getting a satin pillowcase. Now I can just flop into bed whenever I please and morning styling is much easier. It has been the best $10 I have ever spent 🙂

Tabatha
Guest

Detangler and Conditioner are my best friends!

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Linda
Guest
For the woman that said she doesn’t have the breakage problem because she wears LOCS!!!!!!! First off…you don’t ahve breakage or shedding because your hair style uses old hair that should have shed a long time ago in the locking process. So when you have “LONG” Dreads.…it is not hte same as LONG HAIR.…because the length (like the end of your “hair)…isn’t even attached to your scalp a lot of times… People I know with dreads can sometimes pull really really hard at the end of their dreads and break off like one ince because it is really just hair… Read more »
Askala
Guest

I am inclined to agree and disagree with Linda’s explanation. Yes locks has a substantial amount of shed hair in the “mix” however a lot of people with long locks (ends) still have said attached to their roots, while other don’t. Apart from shedding, hairs terminal lenght and interlocking yechniques influence hair loss on locks. So.… Yea not all seeminly long hair in the “mix” are bounded in

ashley
Guest

everyone sheds up to/at least 100 strands a day

ELIZABETH
Guest

THAT IS SO NOT TRUE AND YOU SOUND JEALOUS,SISTER WE HAVE ENOUGH PROBLEMS. I HAVE HAD SISTERLOCS 2 DIFFERENT TIMES AND AFTER TAKING THEM OUT MY HAIR WAS JUST AS LONG AS WHEN THEY WERE IN AND WAS THE LONGEST MY HAIR HAS BEEN IN LIFE. SO THAT IS NOT TRUE AND IF YOU PULL ANY TYPE OF HAIR HARD ENOUGH IT WILL BREAK.

zay
Guest

I agree with Elizabeth. My cousin just got her locs taken out and her hair is still long with out the locs.

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[…] […]

Melaine
Guest
I’ve been sporting my natural hair for some 15 years now. It was glorious hair for many years and my hair sheds naturally, nothing to alarm me, or so I thought. Now I’ve realized it’s thinned out as no new hair has replaced the lost ones and I’m now at my wits end as how to get it to start growing again. I do braids and it picks up a little, but sheds again when the braids are removed so I’ve now become a wiggy as well, but there’s nothing like my own. I guess I’ll just continue trying different… Read more »
Shay
Guest

Hello,

Maybe you can try Mineral Rich, according to this woman’s vid.

I hope you find a solution.

Much Success…

Shay

La France
Guest

Hi Melaine, I am a black female in my late forties and have been using a whole egg for protein on my hair that has become, thicker, shinier, stronger and longer. Every 1–2 weeks I apply an egg unto my hair, massages it, then place a plastic cap on my head for about 15 minutes, rinse with warm water, shampoo/condition using Pantene.

april
Guest
I have been guilty of not covering up my whole life! I discovered this website about a week ago, as I have just decided to really embark on the journey of going more natural with my personal care. A few years ago I decided that my hubby and I would eat as much from scratch as we could manage, and we left a lot of preservatives and other junk behind. That has been super great. Now I want to see what store bought personal care products we can replace. So I’ve been scouring the web for hair care recipes. This… Read more »
hajarat alikali
Guest

this is really a good work, and i pray God reward those who work out this site for us to have a healthy hair. Kudos.

Maia
Guest

I’m sooo guilty of not covering my hair at night. This is probably my biggest mistake.

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Hassan
Guest

Thanks for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and I am waiting for your further post thanks once again.

fii
Guest

I can’t seem to make the satin scarf stay on my head at night so I’m sticking with my satin pillow case

Cornell
Guest

If you are going for best contents like me, only visit this web site every day as it gives quality contents, thanks

MartinaJ
Guest

Its funny that you should mention covering the hair at night! Just yesterday I bought a cap to cover my hair when I go to sleep and I absolutely love it! I normally use a cotton scarf which I know is not recommended but it is the only thing that stays on my head through the night! The silk scarfs just don’t stay on my head.

Now this cap that I bought is made of silk materials and it is so soft I am definitely going and get some more to keep as extras.

Juliana
Guest

I think this is one of the most vital information for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But wanna remark on some general things, The website style is ideal, the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

Kieran
Guest

I like the valuable info you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I’m quite sure I’ll learn many new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

Cynthia
Guest

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Reggie
Guest

I am in fact thankful to the holder of this web page who has shared this wonderful paragraph at at this place.

Dianne
Guest
I just came across this site , love it very informative, have not been using a hair cap at all, she , besides nothing stays on my hair by the time I fall asleep it’s off, and I never knew that cotton pillow classes can dry up my kinky curls, anyway I am a wash n go type but my hair is so hard to grow I‘’ve decided finally to show some more interest so this is the perfect site for me . My hair has 3 different textures so it hard to manage so I just keep it simple… Read more »
yvonne
Guest

just did big chop…help me find moisture n curls
[img]http://blackgirllonghair.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/IMG_20130901_171618.jpg[/img]

Yup
Guest

Shea moisture is such an awesome product and will make your hair grow. But I am allergic to that product. I get a lot length using the hair milk,but a lot of shedding if I use the conditioner or shampoo.

Kaye
Guest

So guilty of a couple of these. From now on I pledge to love, respect and care for my hair completely and not half-assed

Serah
Guest

Do I still have to wear a scarf if my hair is in braids? I hate wearing a scarf with braids, my head sweats at night and that makes the braids dirty faster and require washing faster which means they don’t last as long, ugh!

Jinx
Guest

Nope you can use a satin bonnet or just sleep on a silk pillowcase :3

LC
Guest

I can definitely relate to the lazy detangling, when I big chopped I was so used to wash gos. Once my hair grew out more I had to train myself to finger detangle. After detangling for about a month I noticed the difference and growth. Also you definitely a night time moisturizer, that will also help.

Yannick
Guest

Those girls are so cute. I’m guessing that left you with the boys. I want to see those pceiurts. I’m going to start packing broccoli for Dan. I wonder how much of it will end up in the trash.

Kim
Guest

I disagree with the last one. I have always slept without something on my head. I sweat at night so I will always end up taking it off anyway. It has not done any damage to my hair. When I had permed hair I also nevered wrap my hair or put a cover on it. I’ll put in a ponytail and sleep. Maybe that’s just me. But I try to do the scarf it just makes me uncomfortable.

Lana
Guest

Before a few months ago, it was a rarity that I slept with a hair scarf. Now it is apart of my nightly routine. I had long hair before and it continues to grow. Coconut oil is my go to for hair as well as for my skin. I also embrace organic products and things that are fresh. This led me to found Sweet Little Somethings. An organic company that prepares Made to Order Skin Care Products and baked goods. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.461243197325343.1073741835.414944775288519&type=1&l=5c1b2e226ewww.sweetlittlesomethings.net

Ajay
Guest

Not conditioning often, washing enough, or tying at night while I have bbraids in.

RENITA
Guest

I think not having a normal routine is a bad habit. I have type 4b/c hair and if I dont twist I just have florida evans afro with a head band. When my hair is not twisted I tend to pay more attention to the edges and the middle of hair gets knotty..

Ursa
Guest

I have a question. My afro is about three inches long right now and I have a hard time braiding it. What else can I do besides that and a satin pillowcase to protect it while I sleep? I wake up every morning with matted hair. What a vicious cycle. D:

AAA
Guest

Try flat twisting. That was my go to style when I had a TWA cause I couldn’t really do anything else.

shanners
Guest

I’m so behind on natural hair terms. What’s a TWA?

Joan B. in S. C.
Guest

@shanners, that’s a Teeny Weeny Afro.

Ugochi
Guest

Try banding method as well. Putting ur hair in loosely banded Afro puffs. I put my hair into 6 loosely rubber banded puffs at night. When I first tried it I was so surprised how well my hair retained its length and style, no mattes. It never fails. This is my go to when I am to lazy to re twist my hair.

MissJayVee
Guest

Since your hair is only 3 inches long you can try putting it in several mini pineapples aka Afro puffs with metal-less bands I did about 4 when I was at that stage, You may even have to do up to 6.. This way when you put your scarf on at night it wont smash your hair to your head and when you take them off you can just shake and go.. Here is a helpful video!

http://youtu.be/YOtHQIFYlCw

Tgal
Guest

What if your hair is in braids for like 1 or 2 months what can u do to take care of your natural hair?

BethK NYC
Guest
@Tgal-I used to wear my hear cornrowed with extensions (not sure if you have them). I would keep the styles for 2 months at a time, washing and conditioning when I removed them. In between washes my nightly routine would be to really moisten my entire head (not drenched) with my favorite spray and using a boar bristle brush (you may use a softer brush), brush my braids lightly to lay down the frizzies. I would tie up my hair with a silk scarf and in the morning the braids looked fresh and new. This is what worked for me… Read more »
Barbara
Guest

I have been natural for about 5 years. i am embarrassed about the big spot at topp if head what can i do to get it to grown-up@

Maxine
Guest

I was just wondering,… is it a horrible idea to sleep in an afro at night (of course with a satin bonnet)

Cc
Guest

i made a horrible mistake last month of washing and going and not detangling. I left it alone for a week or 2 and some of my hair dreaded -.-. Can neverdo that again

Figgi
Guest

I need a routine for my hair at night that isn’t time consuming but comfortable to sleep with. I’m a student with a newborn.

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[…] There are consequences if you’re too lazy with your hair care regimen. This post on BGLH talks about the damage you can cause with your lazy natural hair habits. […]

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