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Hair Breakage 101

Stopping and Preventing Hair Breakage

         Every woman wants beautiful, lustrous and most importantly healthy hair.   Whether you close to wear your hair long or short, dry, damaged and unhealthy hair is never appealing.  When we fail to pay attention to our hair, breakage is usually the result.  Hair breakage is the devil, especially when you are trying to grow your hair.  Breakage can transform shoulder length hair into ear length hair. When you notice your hair breaking off, you must find the source of the problem.  You can deep condition and oil your scalp all you want; while these are good steps to take the problem will continue if you do not know the correct solution.  Hair breakage can result from two things: a lack of protein or a lack of moisture.

                Now we already know the obvious things to avoid breakage:  moisturize, detangle from the ends to the root, etc.  However, if you want to stop your hair from breaking you will have to pay attention and efficiently identify what it needs.  Hair that breaks from lack of protein is totally different from hair that breaks from lack of moisture and therefore, requires two very different approaches.  Essentially you want to create a regimen that will give your hair the perfect balance of protein and moisture.  Hair that either has too much protein or too much moisture will break.  How do you know where your hair stands in all of this? The answer is a wet assessment.  While your hair is wet comb your hair normally and touch it. Pay special attention towhat your hair does as you comb through it.  

                If, during the wet assessment, your hair stretches a little more than normal and breaks, stretches more than normal and doesn’t spring back, or feels week, gummy or mushy you need more protein.  This means your hair is over moisturized; yes, it is possible to over moisturize.  Hair that has too much moisture and not enough protein will be extremely elastic and stretch more because it lacks a protein structure.   It will always stretch before it breaks.  If your hair has too much moisture, add some protein product into your regimen.

                If, during the wet assessment, your hair barely stretches or doesn’t stretch at all then breaks, feels brittle, rough, hard and tough or if you’re just unsure you need more moisture.  Lack of moisture is the most common cause for hair breakage.  Some people neglect moisturizing and others don’t moisturize correctly.  I know what you’re thinking, “What do you mean by moisturizing incorrectly?  All you need is oil right?”  Many women use oil as a moisturizer when oil is actually a sealant.  This means it is supposed to seal moisture.  The molecules that make up oil are too large to penetrate the hair shaft so it sits on the outside and gives the hair shine so it appears to be moisturized.  The correct way to moisturize is to apply a moisturizing product and then apply oil to seal in the moisture.  If you apply oil before you moisturize or use oil as a moisturizer you are actually keeping moisture from penetrating the hair shaft.

                If, during the wet assessment, your hair stretches slightly then returns to its original length with no breaking you hair has the perfect combination of protein and moisture.  Focus on maintaining this balance.  Listen to your hair so you will know what to do when.  There is no set schedule that will help you achieve and maintain balance.  When your hair wants protein, give it some protein.  If it wants moisture, give it some moisture.  Maintaining this balance will become easier with experience.  Keep working at it, finding a regimen that works for you will take time.  Different hair types will require different product brands.  Chemically treated hair will most likely need more protein than normal while most natural tresses need moisture.  Frequently wet asses your hair and give it what it needs.  Once you achieve balance your hair will begin to look healthy, beautiful and you will be able to obtain any length you desire.

Author:  Brandi Giles

Originally posted August 12, 2012

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