How to Protect Curls and Prevent Breakage
Breakage, thinning, and stunted growth: all too often we get questions about these topics. Many of these questions come from curlies who are transitioning from chemically treated hair to wearing their natural curls, or are using weaves/extensions to protect they’re delicate curls. Can you imagine how it feels to spend countless dollars, hours, and energy to protect your curls, only to find out you now have less hair than when you had it unprotected!?! To help prevent this this type of undue stress, we’ve outlined (4) things for you to consider to properly protect your curls, and be pro-active in the fight against hair breakage!
1.Duration – Protective styles left in for too long can cause damage.
While we may not see it as readily with a protective style, it’s important to remember that our hair is still shedding approximately 100-150 strands a day! When you have a braided or twisted protective style, the shedding hair has nowhere to go, which can lead to unintentional tangling, matting, and unwanted dreading. This makes it nearly impossible to carefully and gently take your hair down, making it more likely that you might break or rip the hair that you were attempting to retain! To avoid this, continue daily hair maintenance and don’t leave your protective style in for longer than 6-8 weeks.
2. Hair quality – The quality of the faux hair matters!
There are literally hundreds (maybe more) of different options for wigs, weaves, and extensions, so choosing can be difficult. If you decide to intermittently wear faux hair (wigs/weaves/extensions) try to ensure it is pH balanced between 4.5 -5.5, lightweight, and tangle resistant.
3. Style– Choose your protective hairstyles wisely
The style you choose will greatly impact the health of your scalp and how long the style can be maintained. While smaller twists or braids may last longer, each braid/twist is a tension point, so the more braids/twists, the more tension points. Too much tension pulling on your scalp can easily lead to breakage or temporary bald spots. Protect your scalp and hair by choosing styles that have low tension, such as crochets. Also, to better ensure that too much tension isn’t applied to braided styles, consider visiting a professional stylist experienced with protectives styling AND curly hair maintenance.
4. Products- Quality products can help prevent breakage
Curly hair needs hydration to grow and stay healthy. Dry curls are brittle and prone to breakage, while moisturized curls are more pliable and resilient. To ensure your curls get enough hydration, be sure to make water-based conditioning products (where the most prominent ingredient is water) a consistent part of your hair care regimen.
Products like our Untie the Knot Nourishing Leave-In Conditioner are water based and include humectants like aloe vera to further hydrate; in addition to light natural oils like avocado and broccoli seed oil to gently nourish hair strands. For protective styles like twists and braids, thick, creamy, water-based products can help to seal in moisture and provide hold to your styles. Our Curl Supreme 4-in-1 Hydrating Creme hydrates, strengthens strands, protects against moisture loss, and adds a soft, supple hold using a blend of light natural oils and butters. The thick yet airy consistency prevents product buildup that can come from heavier oils and butters. Last but not least, an often overlooked product in a healthy curl care regimen is a good cleansing product. While it can be tempting to no-poo and/or co-wash (wash hair with only conditioner) for extended periods of time, curls usually need a good cleansing at least every 1 to 2 weeks to remove buildup and debris that can weigh hair down, clog pores, and cause breakage. Our Curl Renew & Restore Gentle Cleansing Rinse was designed to gently clease and remove buildup without stripping hair of the moisture needed for healthy curls.
Have you learned any lessons about how to avoid hair breakage that we didn’t include? Let us know in the comments below!