Are You Unknowingly Messing With Your Hair's Health?

Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Natural hair might be healthier than relaxed hair, but that does not mean it is invincible. Everyone loves the style versatility of natural hair. It can be straightened, colored, roller-set, and blown out  — and still maintain its fullness.

Part of proper maintenance and length retention is low manipulation. Since curly and coiled hair is naturally drier than straight hair, it is more vulnerable to breakage. Your hair cannot withstand too much manipulation without consequences. Ahead, four ways you may be breaking your hair without realizing it.

Layed Edges
I know women love the polished look of a puff or an updo with smooth edges, but constantly putting stress on the hairline can cause breakage. The hairline is naturally fine, so frequently using a boar brush with pomade, gel, or edge tamer can cause the hair to break. It's okay to not have the sleekest edges all day, everyday. A little frizz never hurt anyone. If you insist on having flat edges, then consider using your hands to smooth your hairline down, cover it with a satin scarf, and let it set overnight.

Definition and volume are the perfect combo, which is why naturals love doing twist-outs and flat-twist-outs on dry hair. Many women with short or medium-length hair re-twist nightly to prevent tangles and matting, but once your hair gets longer, it is probably best to start pineappling — unless you are re-twisting in four or five large sections every night.

Re-twisting 20 or more sections on a daily basis can be stressful on the hair. Like fastening your hair in a ponytail every day, it can cause hair breakage. The wisps of hair that you see on your bed, sink, or wherever you twist your hair are the marks of over-manipulation. You probably need to get a trim. Remember: The longer your hair gets, the older your ends are.

Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Daily Detangling
Some people’s hair thrives off of daily co-washing, especially with a TWA (teeny-weeny afro). But, when you wash your hair, you detangle it in order to avoid matting. Daily detangling can lead to breakage, but there's no way around it: You've got to detangle before you wash, or you're likely to wind up with a mess of matted hair that's practically impossible to work with. The answer might be to rethink your daily co-washing practice.

Frequent Color Touch-Ups
Just like a relaxer, when a color treatment is being rinsed off the scalp, the chemicals run down the hair strands and slightly process the length of the hair that is already processed. Color-treated hair is naturally drier than virgin hair, so over-processing will lead to dry, brittle hair, which in turn leads to breakage. Try to stretch out your color treatments if you can — it'll help keep your hair healthy.


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