Have you ever felt like you have done everything right when it comes to your hair regimen, and your hair still seems not to cooperate? Well, I’m here to tell you that it may be something entirely unpredictable causing damage to your hair. Many factors contribute to the health of one’s hair; likewise, a large number of factors could contribute to damage as well, they might be harder to point out. With that being said, I would like to shed light on 3 damage causing factors that you’ve probably never thought of.
Moisture … Wait What?!
Yes, I said it… MOISTURE! If you have read any of my posts, then you know that I am a moisture nazi! I live it and breathe it. It’s the key for the healthiest hair you can have, but you know what they say, “Too much of anything can be bad.” Well, this applies to moisture as well. The term for too much moisture is HYGRAL FATIGUE. When our hair gets to a hygral fatigue state, it means the strands have swelled up
due to moisture overload. The passage and absorption of too much moisture can overwhelm our strands leading to limp, gummy hair that doesn’t bounce back when pulled. Avoiding protein treatments, deep conditioning for too long, and excessive use of the LOC method are the three main factors leading to hygral fatigue. in order to prevent this from happening to you, try to:
- Get your hair on a regimen that evenly incorporates deep conditioning and protein treatments. Balancing both restores movement of the hair and maintains elasticity.
- Never deep condition overnight; usually 30-45 min is plenty but try not to go over 2 hours.
- Cut back on moisturizing in between washes if needed. Your hair will tell you if less moisture is better.
- Pre-poo with oils to make sure that the oils penetrate the strands. The oils will protect the strands from being swollen with excessive water.
The Sun . . . Hold Up.. What?!
When you hear “heat damage” you probably think of flat irons and blow dryers, but there is one heat damage culprit that often gets overlooked… the sun. I experienced an extreme amount of breakage and dryness in my crown area 2 years ago. It wasn’t until after experiencing months of this damage that I realized the sun was to blame. During those days I was wearing my hair in puffs a lot with no protection from the sun. The heat caused my hair to dry out every day, increasing fragility and decreasing manageability.
Some days I would realize that the dryness was only in my crown so I wouldn’t re-moisturize, leading to an extended dry spell in my crown area. Other days I would re-moisturize multiple times within the week, causing me always to be manipulating my hair; this, in turn, led to unnecessary breakage from over manipulation. I could not win, and I didn’t know what to do until now. If your hair seems to be unexpectedly dry in the crown area for long periods of time, you might be suffering from sun damage. As a remedy, try this:
- Wear more hats, wigs, weaves, and clip-ins when temps are high
- Wear more two strand twists and buns when you know you’ll face the sun. This way you can re-moisturize without having to manipulate your hair.
- Use sealants that can act as natural heat-protectants against the sun while moisturizing hair. SPF 10 provides 90% protection for the sun’s harmful rays, so any oils/butters close to this will be beneficial. Shea butter (SPF 5-6) and olive oil (SPF 7.5) are most commonly used to combat this problem.
Edge Control . . . Really?!
It’s the trend that will never die; nothing satisfies a natural more than slick baby hairs or swooped edges. Sorry to break it to you, ladies, but that edge control could be suffocating your hairline. Most edge controls are used daily and maybe even multiple times a day depending on the person. With excessive use comes buildup, and unless you have adjusted your regimen to accommodate this buildup, your hair is suffering underneath. Build up can lead to clogged pores, making your edges an unfavorable environment for hair growth. The buildup also prevents any moisturizing product from absorbing, leading to dryness and breakage. In my opinion, edge controls are not a necessary product. I have done without them for years, and my edges thank me for it. Here are some alternative options for your edges:
- Spritz with water and oil, then cover with a satin scarf the night before. They won’t be slick as when you use edge control but they will be tame.
- Diy gel using flaxseed and slippery elm. These two cause very little to no buildup with everyday use. This will last you until your next wash day without flakes.
If you insist on the continual use of edge controls, make sure you have a consistent shampoo schedule in place to avoid build up.
Learn more about hair care for the winter.
Photo Cred: Shelli from Hairscapades.com