Hey lovely naturals and aspiring lovely naturals, this will be the first blog in a series that will explain in detail HOW TO STOP BREAKAGE IMMEDIATELY in your quest to grow strong, long, healthy hair as quickly as possible! You are probably wondering why I’m focusing on breakage…well the answer is simply: Hair breakage is the number one reason that women fail to reach their hair growth goals in a timely manner.
Many people complain that their hair just DOES NOT grow. However this couldn’t be furthest from the truth. Your hair is always growing from the roots (unless there is a medical condition occurring in which case you should contact your doctor). If you don’t believe me about our constant hair growth, just think of how quickly you needed that touch up after relaxing your hair… people mainly touched up their roots and edges every two to three months. Or how your mom used to always refer to your ‘new’ growth just before slapping a relaxer in as a child. That ‘new’ growth was new hair growing in that needed to be laid after several months if you were going to maintain the sleek straight look many of us love(ed). If you still don’t believe me then you should research some outside sources. Here is a *** link *** to get you started! So now that we’ve established that our hair will and does grow, I can tell you that retaining length is the Biggest problem we face… and it becomes more and more difficult if you have underdeveloped or bad hair maintenance habits.
To give you an idea of where you’re hair length should be, you should know that our hair on average grows 6 inches per year. That means that after the first year your hair should be pass neck length when stretched or straighten, pass shoulder length after the second year, and then at waist length after the third year. That’s right, if you have been growing your hair for three years and you have not reached waist length or close to it, then your hair is definitely breaking off! But don’t worry, I’m about to help you change all of that!
During my research and hair journey I’ve found SEVEN main culprits of breakage: 1. Product build up due to silicones, mineral oil, and petroleum/grease. 2. Not moisturizing enough or using the wrong products to moisturize. 3. Bad detangling practices that rip out the hair. 4. Over-use of heat and not properly protecting the hair when using heat. 5. Protective Styling for months on end. 6. Not clipping ends when needed. 7. Not utilizing protein treatments to counter already damaged strands.
I know I’ve just written a mouth full and right about now you’re feeling a little guilty because you know that you’ve done at least one of these things. Well I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t feel bad…because I’m guilty of ALL of them. But the focus isn’t where we start, but where we finish! In this first blog we will focus one number one…Product build up.
Things like silicones, mineral oil, and petroleum aka hair grease have been widely used in commercial hair products to help seal in the moisture that is provided by water. These products are also responsible for that shine you see on the models in t.v commercials as well as the appearance of healthiness. It sounds like a winner right? Moisture, shine, and healthy looking hair…well what more could we ask for?! For starters we could ask for hair that is actually healthy vs giving the appearance of being healthy. What companies don’t put on the bottle is that these ingredients can cause product build up. Product buildup is basically where products that we use deposit a coating on our hair which can’t be easily washed off with a regular shampoo or water. Over time this coating entirely blocks out moisture from entering our hair strands! So what begins as an answer to all our hair prayers eventually turns our hair into a brittle, damaged, breaking, hot ass mess. Here is a *** link *** to a list of the most popular silicones. Go ahead and turn your products over, the ingredient list is almost sure to contain at least one if it doesn’t specially say ‘no silicones’ on the front label.
Because of this potential hair damage, many naturals have opted to become CG which stands for the Curly Girl Method. This method is where naturals avoid using products which can’t be washed off with water or with non-sulfate shampoos. They normally turn to more natural hair care lines like Shea Moisture, Camille Rose, and Kinky Curly which forego the use of silicones and instead use natural hair butters and oils like shea butter, cocoa butter, olive oil, and coconut oil to seal in oil. These things can be washed away with water and gentle shampoos that do not contain harsh moisture-stripping sulfates. Here is a *** link *** to learn more about the Curly Girl Method from one of the top natural hair guru’s MahagonyCurls.
So what can you do if you don’t want to use the more gentler hair care lines because you love the way your favorite conditioner makes your hair feel? Well all is not lost…you just have to incorporate a Clarifying Shampoo into your routine and use caution. A clarifying shampoo contains a sulfate which is powerful enough to wash away buildup and give your hair a clean slate; it simply allows you to put water back into your hair before you reseal the moisture in with a product containing silicone, mineral oil etc. You can use this once every two weeks, or once a month depending on how much and how often you put these products in your hair. If you find that your hair isn’t reacting to your products in a positive way like it normally does…it’s time to clarify. If no matter how often you moisturize your hair still feels dry…it’s time to clarify. If you are running water over your hair and it seems like it takes the water forever to penetrate the hair and get it wet…then it’s probably time to clarify.
A word of caution…
Sulfates can be drying and harsh. The have also been linked to hair loss when used excessively. I recommend you limit the use of products contain silicones, mineral oils, and/or petroleum…especially if your hair tends to get product buildup fast. For example, if you are using three products try to use only one with the above mentioned ingredients. When you do find the need to use a clarifying shampoo be sure to follow up with a deep conditioner or a moisturizing conditioner. My go-to clarifying shampoo is Suave Essentials clarifying shampoo, it’s effective and cheap. A more expensive one that I will be checking out soon is Giovanni 50/50 Balance…it does not contain any of the harsher sulfates and comes highly recommended from many seasoned naturals that I follow on YouTube. If you have any questions please feel free to ask…I promise I try to answer every single one of them! Much love my naturals!