Everyone hates breakage…at Ishimma, it’s our sworn enemy. Most people tell us that breakage is their biggest issue so it helps to take great care of your hair to avoid it. Even when you have been trying to take better care of your hair, you can still run into bad splits and hair that doesn’t appear to grow. Let’s take a look at five sources of hair damage that you may have been missing!
If you’re using bobby pins for a pinned hair style or to hold small rods in your hair, you may want to take another look at the type of bobby pins you are using. Some bobby pins may rust (yuck!) or snatch at the hair especially if they’re cheaply made; you can tell because they are made of metal coated in a black paint- this paint peels. You can avoid this by getting the bobby pins that are made from metal coated in shiny plastic, which are easy to purchase at your local beauty supply store or general merchandise store. If you want to give your hair extra protection from the chafing at the hair strand that can result from cheap bobby pins, consider rubbing a little oil on your bobby pins before inserting them into your hair for lubrication. Think about it like this: using the wrong type of bobby pin is a bit like rubbing a scouring pad on a silk shirt.
It’s easy to come out of the shower and rub your hair with a towel to get it dry but all towels are not exactly hair friendly. Your hair should be treated gently and for some of us, rubbing the towel in our hair is too much strain for our strands. To remove excess water, you can squeeze it out with your hands and use a towel to gently assist in squeezing or simply squeeze with the towel from the beginning. In doing this, you avoid rubbing the hair and creating distress.
If you use the towel turban method to dry your hair, keep in mind that overtime the weight of the towel wrapped around your head and hair can pull back your hair line and cause scalp strain across the head. It can also create breakage because while wet, your hair is more vulnerable. The gentlest approach would be to squeeze out as much as you can with your hands and allow your hair to air dry if you have the time.
*Gasp* Not the comb! Yes, yes, the comb and brush can both be sources of hair damage. By now, we hope you’ve realized that you’ll need to use a comb that works for your hair and usually, a wide-tooth comb is a good choice. The wrong type of comb can snatch at the hair, break the hair strand instead of separate tangles, and so forth. But, even with the right type of comb, sometimes a bout of rough combing or brushing can do more harm than good. If you’re noticing that your breakage is still not under control, consider switching up your combing technique. Try being gentler than you have been before- your hair may need an even softer touch. Also, try combing your hair when damp rather than wet or dry; you may want to add in the oils before you comb as well.
If you find yourself using hair rollers often, this also provides a source of hair damage you may have been missing. With rollers that snap together and are made of hard plastic, you may experience the roller snatching at your hair especially when removing the rollers. Chances are that most of us are not very gentle and slow when removing rollers, which provides more opportunities for trauma to the hair. Consider using foam rollers, flexi rods, straws, rods with bands, or other rollers that won’t cause you more trouble than they’re worth.
Twists and Braids
For many, especially those with natural black hair, twists and braids are a go to style that last long and is relatively easy to do. If you’ve begun to notice splitting pockets in the middle of your hair strand, it is possibly due to repetitive strain to the hair due to twisting and braiding. Make sure you’re using adequate oils/butters to lubricate the strand before twisting. If your twists are looking old and need to be re-twisted, again use the oils to do so.
Avoid re-twisting or twisting when dry because the rubbing of the dry strands against one another may lead you down the road of unnecessary damage. Keep your hands out of playing around with your twists and braids because that can also create the same effect. It’s a bit of an annoyance that your beloved twists could cause your hair harm! If, however, you tread carefully and keep your hair adequately moisturized and lubricated, you should be able to avoid most or all damage.
Did any of these sources or reasons for hair damage speak to you and your situation? Are you going to do things differently going forward? Feel free to comment with any of your feedback on other sources of hair damage.
- Crystal Nnenne Azu, Ishimma
Crystal is Founder and CEO of Ishimma – a hair care company of natural and organic products that is dedicated to promoting empowerment of young women and girls. For more great tips and information concerning taking great care of your hair, feel free to download our FREE Guide – How to Grow Beautiful Hair: Understanding Your Hair Type, Stopping Breakage, and Eliminating Dryness – by clicking here!