"The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?"

- Psalms 27 : 1

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Breakage 101 series #4 : Styling


Breakage, as we have been learning, can be the consequence of various things. We've already learnt that if the protein and moisture levels of our hair is not balanced, this can cause breakage; using the wrong products can also cause breakage. So if the protein - moisture balance is in place and you have healthy, lustrous hair can you still experience breakage? The answer is yes. Another thing that can cause breakage is styling.
Yes styling - what we all do with our hair. This is true because excess tension and pulling can weaken the hair and eventually break the hair. How many times have I, while braiding or twisting my hair, found strands of hair glued to my palms? I cannot deny it, I am yet to treat my hair gently 100% of the time. If you are in the same boat as me, you can experience unnecessary breakage. Depending on how harsh you style or how often you style, the breakage will vary and this can impede length retention! Please note that, breakage does not have to occur while styling, the weakened hair could break at any time. Here are a few tips to avoiding breakage while styling :

1. Comb as little as possible : Any natural knows that combing natural hair while dry is a bit of a "no-try area". If you've tried it before, you'd know why. Natural hair is kinky and cannot easily be manipulated with a comb, most of the time, this results in breakage. If you do absolutely have to comb your hair while styling, please do use a wide tooth comb (with no snags if necessary) and do it gently. If you do not use a comb in your hair regimen then sufficient detangling should be done prior to styling.

2. Style only when necessary : I say this because I have been there. I remember the days I used to style my hair everyday and it was awful because I was wearing afros and picking them out every single day! Talk about inviting breakage! If you are a natural diva that has to style her hair everyday then try using less tools and let them be easily - achieved styles. I do not condone using a pick or comb on natural hair everyday, it's more damaging than it seems! If you can wake up and fluff your hair before stepping out everyday then that's better for your hair!

3. Heat style as little as possible : I don't think I really need to get into the damage heat styling can cause. Please, try to apply as little heat as possible to your hair but if you absolutely have to use heat then use a protectant.

4. Style with ease : When I say this, I mean, don't complicate life for yourself. When styling, try using bands (without metal clamps if necessary) and hair clamps to separate the different parts. This will make your job easier and faster not to mention, stop your hair from getting tangled.

5. Be gentle : This is the last point but it's not the least. Being gentle is key! Patience comes before this and it's an attribute every natural that wishes to maintain healthy hair should have. Be patient while undoing a knot; be careful part your hair;  take extra measures to ensure you are not pulling on your hair or causing too much tension! Be gentle and your hair will thank you for it.

That's it for the tips! 

If you have any suggestions, additions or any personal experience with breakage while styling, please share!

Stay blessed and funky sisters!


  1. I agree with every point you've made! When I was a child and natural we broke all these rules. My hair was ripped through with fine tooth combs, the styling process was rushed so I wasn't being gentle, and so much more. Now, I never comb my hair except to detangle it on damp hair. And that's done with a wide tooth seamless comb. And I try to only style my hair every 2 weeks and I take my time during these sessions. And you were on the mark with No. 5. Being gentle is key! Even when I'm doing my sisters hair I am so gentle with those strands. My sister even said "You are one of the few people that I can let do my hair cause you are gentle with it."

    Thanks for the post!

  2. It's always a pleasure sis! I can definitely relate to your childhood experience!! Thank you for passing by!

  3. you know what sis my hair is now breaking uggghh!! I cant figure out why. I cant figure out if its because I had tried to flat iron it but that was about a month ago. The only other thing I have changed in my regimen is added a sulfate free shampoo from organix..the coconut one if you know which one. I am trying to treat it but when I am detangling, waaaaaay too much hair falls out

  4. Hey sis! I can definitely relate about the spontaneous breakage! If you used a protectant while flat ironing and you did it moderately then I doubt it's the flat ironing. I have never heat styled before and I have experienced a lot of breakage before! I would say it's probably the change of product. Read the ingredients list and see if it contains any protein or not. Also, try gauging the amount of moisture you put in your hair. How often do you moisturize? Do your other products contain protein? Do you only experience breakage while washing? Try finding out if you have hard water where you live. It's possible that you do and that your new sulfate free shampoo is not washing away calcium/magnesium build up. How often do you style? When did you start experiencing breakage? Try putting all these together and if ever you need any help, please do not hesitate to ask!


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