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FEATURES Sep 5 2012 3:09PM
2
GG lets her curls hang

Make It or Break It: 6 Anti-Breakage Tips That Make a Big Difference

by GG Renee Hill, www.TheWriteCurlDiary.com

Are you meticulous about your hair-care routines and still find that your hair is prone to breakage? Some of the most overlooked sources of hair damage are very innocent mistakes like not moisturizing in the proper order or leaving protective styles in for too long. I know that sometimes it seems like so much to think about. I mean, how can a protective style cause breakage when it’s supposed to be protecting your hair? The reality is that highly textured hair is delicate, and even helpful things like protective styles require some moderation. The good news is that I’m about to share some best practices with you for preventing breakage, and they are all easy to implement once you are aware of them.

Style Moderation

As mentioned above, you can get too much of a good thing. You must change up your hairstyle often enough so that your hair doesn’t dry out or get overly strained from being in a particular style for too long. If you wear it down all the time and never give it a rest, your hair won’t be as strong as it could be. Avoid things like always wearing your bun in the same spot, wearing the same headband, wrapping it the same way, and so on. 

Moisturize In Order

Pop quiz. What’s the best moisturizer for your hair? That’s right. Water. So, if you’re applying an oil-based moisturizer to dry hair, your hair will dry out very quickly.  Dry hair breaks easily and that’s what we’re trying to avoid. Always start with water or a water-based moisturizer and then follow with a sealant. Remember when using products with mineral oil that it locks moisture in but also locks it out. Once it builds up in your hair, the only way to effectively re-moisturize is to wash your hair and start the process over again.

Trimming is Essential

While some naturals forego trimming their hair and have beautiful locks in spite of it, you must maintain healthy ends in order to curb breakage. For some folks, it’s simply not a priority.  If it is for you, plan to get your ends trimmed occasionally or trim them yourself.  If not, split ends that start at the bottom will travel up the hair shaft and weaken the length of your hair and single strand knots will complicate your detangling sessions leading to additional breakage.
 
Maintain Protein/Moisture Balance

While some protein is good to strengthen your hair, when you use too much, it can cause it to get brittle and hard.What is too much?  It varies from person to person, but I would recommend only using a heavy protein treatment once a month at the most. Light protein can be used more often, but always use a rich moisturizing treatment directly afterward. Believe it or not, too much moisture can cause breakage as well. Your hair will feel oversaturated and will lack elasticity. If this happens, a protein treatment (still followed by a moisturizing deep condition) should get you back to balance.

Don’t Use a Regular Towel to Dry Your Hair

Believe it or not, regular towels can damage your hair! They increase frizz and the likelihood of split ends due to the fibers catching on your delicate strands. Alternatively, invest in a microfiber towel designed to protect your tresses or use an old cotton t-shirt, which also serves the purpose quite well.

Use Only Seamless Combs and Metal-Free Ponytail Holders

If you look closely at your combs, you may notice that the seams are uneven or jagged. These seams could be guilty of snagging and damaging your hair. Try to avoid combs with any seams at all. The metal pieces in ponytail holders are harrowing as well. Only use ouchless, metal-free ponytail holders. 

As the title states, these small and seemingly insignificant changes can actually make a big difference. They did for me!  If you’re experiencing breakage and you’re not sure of the source, keep these tips in mind and experiment with your own hair. Be consistent, and if you see visible improvements, please come back and share your story with us.

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