Breakage: Breaking It Down

I still get breakage.  This is from my last wash day.
What is Breakage? 
It is the unnatural breaking off of your hair.  It happens to all of us; some more than others.  One of my goals while on my healthy hair journey has been to limit breakage as much as possible because pre-HHJ I was experiencing excessive breakage.  Click the link for more information to help you understand hair breakage, ways to prevent it and how to "treat" it.
Distinguishing Breakage from Shedding.
Shedding is a natural process, where the entire hair strand falls out from root to tip (best identified by the white bulb/follicle still intact at the root of the hair strand).  However, breakage is a portion of the hair strand that literally breaks away and leaves behind the rest of the hair strand.

What causes it?
  1. Being rough with how you handle your hair (detangling/styling).
  2. Over-manipulation/excessive styling.
  3. Protein/Moisture imbalance decreases your hair's elasticity making it brittle.
  4. Excessive Heat Styling dries out the hair strands.
  5. Chemical Straightening/Relaxers dries out the hair.
  6. Coloring/Bleaching dries out the hair.
  7. Other: Stress, Poor Diet, Vitamin Deficiencies.

  1. Be Gentle with your hair.
  2. Low Manipulation/Protective Styles.
  3. Maintain proper Protein/Moisture Balance through Protein Treatments, Deep Conditioning, Moisturizing, etc.
  4. Limit your Heat usage but when you do use heat be sure to Deep Condition properly and/or use a heat protectant prior to heat styling.
  5. Avoid over-processing when using Relaxers.
  6. Increase your deep conditioning treatments and/or moisturize & seal more when you color/bleach your hair.
  7. Always work towards a healthy low stress lifestyle (and eat your vegetables, lol).

Uneven Ends Due To Breakage (Pre-Trim)

After I trimmed away the uneven ends.  Notice my hair looks thicker now.

Is there a way to treat breakage once it's happened? Once it's happened there's nothing you can do to "undo" the damage but you can work to limit it in the future(see prevention above).  Should I cut my hair to even it out? Depending upon how much breakage you experience will determine whether you should trim/cut your hair.  The times that I have experienced breakage its been pretty extreme and resulted in "barely there" ends.  For me that meant I needed to trim my hair up to even things out.  At the end of the day it's about what makes you happy.  Once you've gotten the breakage under control through the prevention methods above, you're good.  But for me that wasn't good enough.  I needed a start fresh with even ends.

Happy Hair Growing!

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