Hey Sisters,

Most of you have already seen the photo where I shared my experience of extreme hair breakage in “the kitchen” area. If not, see Dionne’s Hair Journey. What could have caused this? You asked.

Well, through my research, I’ve found a few of the common causes of hair damage and breakage that I’d like to share with you.  Audrey Davis-Sivasothy, author of The Science of Black Hair, educates us on how to better understand the common causes of black hair damage.

Get out your tablets ladies. These are important points to remember!

1. Chemical Damage.  Much of the damage caused to our hair comes from this category. Davis-Sivasothy states, “once chemicals are applied, the internal structure of the hair is changed forever and cannot be returned to its original state.” This includes relaxers and permanent hair colors. We can only remove chemicals by cutting away the damaged areas or allowing it to grow out gradually.

2. Physical Damage. This is the second most damaging category. This type of damage include too much manipulation of our hair, tension from ponytails or braids and constant handling ( touching, combing, brushing, wrapping the hair to get that straight style, etc). Excessive use of heat appliances also contributes to the damage. Blow dryers, flat irons, rubber bands and poorly made hair ornaments are additional physical hair damage culprits, states Davis-Sivasothy.

3. Environmental Damage. This category has factors that can also add stress to our hair. UV sun rays and extreme temperatures are two of the most common factors. Pollution (and even water in some areas) can disturb the internal moisture balance of our hair. Certain water such as chlorinated swimming pool water, ocean water and hard water (with high concentrations of dissolved minerals) can all impact our hair’s health, as described by Davis-Sivasothy.

4. Nutritional and Dietary Deficiencies. We are what we eat right? Well it’s no different with our hair- it’s a reflection of our diet. Davis-Sivasothy states that the proper balance of minerals and vitamins is essential, or crucial as she describes it,  to  healthy scalp and hair.

So what steps can we take to reduce the damage to our hair (relaxed and natural)?

1. Build a relationship with YOUR hair. Get to know what “she” likes and dislikes. Treat your delicate strands like someone you love and respect dearly.

2. Take ownership of your hair care regimen. Do not leave something this important in the hands of your stylist. No one knows your hair better than you.

3. Choose products that include nourishing  ingredients versus harsh chemicals. Familiarize yourself with product ingredients.

4. Do not attempt to get that perfect style at the expense of your hair’s health. Be very careful of the dangers of wearing lace front wigs, braids, weaves, ponytails, etc. These options are okay for a short period; however, they are not designed for long term use. Be sure to give your hair a break between installs. If you see your edges and crown are becoming thin and slowly start to wither away, you should discontinue use immediately and seek another alternative. Once traction alopecia starts, it can result in damage to the follicle and permanent loss of hair in that area. We’ll discuss this topic in a future post.

5. Sleep in a satin scarf, bonnet or silk pillowcase. The cotton from our standard pillowcases pulls the moisture from our hair leaving it dry and brittle which results in breakage.

6. Be careful of the fabric you wear around your hair. Wool and wool-blend hats, scarves, sweaters, coats, etc. can rub against your hair causing friction which ultimately causes breakage. Cotton can also have an impact. Just be mindful of the material that touches your hair.

7.  Introduce foods into your diet that are rich in vitamins and minerals. For example, green leafy veges, sweet potatoes, eggs, etc. all include great properties for healthy hair.

and finally…

8. Limit prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.

Well ladies, although this list is not exhaustive, I believe it’s a good start to make sure our hair does not endure further damage or breakage.  That’s our goal right? Strong, healthy hair. 

Please let me know if you have more factors to add to our list based on your experience. For those of you who would like to discuss this topic in more detail and share your experiences, I’ll create a discussion thread in the forum.

Until next time,

Always aim 4 natural,


Do you know someone who could learn from this information? Of course you do! Why not share this post and help save someone’s hair from further damage and abuse?

The post, Black Hair Damage and Breakage: What Are The Common Causes? first appeared on aim4natural.com

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