I Need Your Help...Breakage

Over the past month, I've noticed that my teen daughter's hair seems to be breaking. She has extremely dense hair, so it is very thick and I've noticed it has been looking a lot thinner lately. So last night while I was doing her hair, there were a couple of areas where her hair is snapped closed to the roots.

She is completely natural but opts to wear her hair straightened. So every three weeks, I wash, deep condition, blowout as normal. I am baffled-completely baffled by this one because we only use heat once every three weeks. She claims that she puts the Olive Oil Sheen on her hair daily for a little moisture and only wraps a night. She went to the salon a few weeks ago and the stylist told her it was heat damage, but I don't see how.

The funny thing is that her hair did this same thing when she was relaxed. It just started breaking for no obvious reason. First, I blamed it on the relaxer, then the stylist, but now I don't know if that was the reason. It also did the same when she was going to the Dominican salons for blowouts and now that I think about it, it was during the winter.

So, now as I try to reverse this damage, I've been backtracking my steps trying to analyze what went wrong. Here's what I am thinking:

Dryness? Yes, because we all know that oil is not moisture. Her hair was thriving all throughout the year until now that the winter has hit. So I am thinking that we may be going too long in between conditioning. Maybe we should do it every two weeks.

Brushing? Yes, against my advice, she continues to wrap her hair tightly by using a boar bristle brush. She claims using the brush helps it become bone straight. I have repeatedly told her to stop because a lot of the breakage appears to be around the sides of the hair which it consistent with wrapping. So last night, I threw all the boar bristle brushes out.

Hormones/Diet? Possibly-I am iffy on this theory, but wondering if this is a possibility since this happened before. She drinks a lot of water, but her diet is questionable.

Heat? I doubt it because we use heat so infrequently, unless she is sneaking in my room to touch it up...uhm hmm!

Products? I don't think so because I keep it simple when using products on her hair. So we stick with Olive Oil Sheen daily. She washes/conditions with Organix or Cantu and Evoo. Last night, we did a protein second treatment.

Dual texture? She is also active with ballet so sweats out her blowout a lot. She usually just wrap it again and it smooths out. But I am wondering if the point of demarcation is where the friction is causing the breakage.

Hmmm, I have a lot to consider and figure out. I think I've covered all of my bases, but I am still trying to pinpoint the culprit that causing the breakage. Your suggestions will be appreciated.

Oh, one more thing, giving up the blowout is not an option for her. She refuses! lol
19 Responses:

aww. I was going to say let loose on the heat a little.. but you mentioned shes not willing to giving up the on blowouts...

Dryness is a major problem. I'll say seek a well moisturizing product for her hair.. and seal it with the oil.

I'm mainly thinking the moisture n protein balance thing...

If she's not willing to give up the blowouts she might be out of luck until the summer. You can't blowout as often in the winter as you do in the summer. Hopefully getting rid of the brushes will help. I would just make sure that she's really moisturizing well and remind her that natural hair isn't meant to be bone straight. Forcing it to do so can be harmful. If she wants it bone straight she needs to relax (can't believe I just said that).

Hope this helps.

i think a big part of it is the blowout. maybe you can try to convince her to do a rollerset then only blowdry or flatiron the roots. also, blowdrying on a cool setting works pretty well and often gives my hair some extra shine. then she could just wrap the rollerset so she's not rocking the shirley temple look, if that's what she's afraid of.

another suggestion is to try a protein deep treatment. hair that is frequently subject to chemicals and/or heat often need to be repaired with a protein treatment. you can start off with a light treatment, like aphogee 2-min keratin treatment (if i recall correctly), to see if that's all you need. i've also used sebastian's 2+1 conditioning treatment, which might be in the mid range since it's both protein and moisturizing in one. (i still follow up with a regular co-wash/co-rinse afterward though). but you may also need to look into the more heavy duty ones, like aphogee reconstructor or nexxus emergencee. these are more hardcore treatments that i know a lot of permies and naturals who use heat swear by. they need to be followed up with an intense deep treatment anyway. please do your research beforehand so you can see if this is something you might want to try, and what steps you should follow. i've used both in the past and they both work very well.

i also agree that maybe increasing the frequency of your moisturizing deep treatments might help. i know in ny, the winter weather is very drying for my hair. i'm not sure where you live but the weather might be a factor.

instead of brushing to wrap her hair, have you guys considered loosely pincurling it at night?

are you using heat protectants when styling her hair?

i really hope you figure this out, because nothing is more aggravating than not being able to determine why your hair is acting up. good luck!

I thought boars hair bristles were the better brush? If the hair is breaking in the same area, I'm willing to bet maybe it's a sensitive or weak area...

Protein treatments, if not washed out well can cause breakage, too. We all know what kind of damage aphogee can do if it isn's used right, huh?

Good luck whatever solution you all come to :-)

The same thing would happen when I straightened my hair this winter. When I stopped with the heat, my hair stopped breaking and my hair retained its length. My guess would be the winter + concentrated heat = dryness and breakage. Some more intense moisture would most likely help if she really won't give it up.

I also agree with rollersets. Having her sit under a hooded dryer etc... Maybe you can convince her to get some cornrows or twists as well.

I agree with the roller set and then flat iron. Moisture, too, as you suspected could be an issue. Good luck!

Hey UC! I think it has alot to do with the winter and the need for more moisture. I'm pretty sure things will be ok. do you give your daughter hot oil treatments?

Hmmmm I honestly think it is a combination of all the things you mentioned but what you eat and your lifestyle plays a huge role on your overall health including your hair. She should limit her dairy intake, check out (notdairy.com), she should increase her colorful vegetables and fruits to her diet (if she’s not allergic) and she should cut out ALL junk food and see if she notices a difference. Also does she get enough rest? The body needs enough time to rejuvenate itself. Hope it all works out. Love your blog!

I think it may be due to the dryness and tension combined. The best combs and brushes in the world will still contribute to breakage if the hair is being pulled tightly. The fact that the hair is breaking at the point of demarcation tells me that she is wrapping her hair way to tightly. I also believe that dryness is a big part of the problem. If she won't give up the blow-outs then it seems like she needs to get more dcs. Which then leads to more blowouts but I think if they occur once a week, always after a natural protien/dc treatment such as a combination of egg or mayo with coconutmilk, evoo and avocado then maybe her hair will be fine. As long is her hair is being water and treatment infused once a week she can pobably survive the heat.

Also, I agree with the idea of rollersetting and then following up with a low-temp blowout. When wrapping, is she using a silk or satin scarf? When I used to wrap my hair at night I found that after my hair was wrapped if I rotated my scarf once around my head in the direction of the wrapping, my hair would come out just is flat as if I used a brush.

Either way, I don't think relaxing is the answer since you had this problem before when she was relaxed. May be in the winter she needs to keep her hair in braids or twists to preserve the hair.

I hope this helps.

I had this problem as well. My issue was a very dry scalp. I would scratch my head without realizing that I was scratching. So whatever you do also focus on moisturizing the scalp.

i think she needs more moisture and fewer blowouts. rollersets can get the hair really straight and are easier to maintain (from what i remember).

wash, condition and get some braids, her hair needs some rest

I agree with most of the other posts - seems like heat damage. In addition to the protein treatments others have mentioned, perhaps she can also do some protective styles to give her hair a break from the stress of styling her own hair. Box braids (not too tight or too small) where the ends are left loose and flowing might be something she'd like; or a sew-in weave (again, be careful about tightness); or half-wigs or phony-ponytail extensions.

My advice would be to stop shampooing. Instead do co-washes, or conditioner washes. Use Giovanni Conditioner, or even Herbal essence Hydration for a conditioner wash. Shampoos with sulfate is too drying. Also, give her a protein treatment with Aphogee leave-in. She has to moisturize more, I know she doesn't want to add water based products to her blow-out, so she should use shea butter, pure unrefined. Or Carol's Daughter Hairmilk.

My daughter has very fragile hair and it broke off due to heat styling, our dry environment, and the lack of moisture. I began to wash and deep condition her hair every week instead of waiting every few weeks. Her hair needed consistent moisture and protein, and she also needed to get the product buildup out of her hair on a regular basis. ORS Replenishing deep conditioner is a great product, Elasta QP Mango Butter Moisturizer and Carol's Daughter Healthy Hair Butter are great for providing ample moisture and stopping breakage. The Dominican product Apretadora is great for shedding and hair loss and can help get the hair back to a good condition. I agree with those who said that roller sets are probably the way to go because you may be flat ironing and blow drying her hair at too high of heat. Best wishes with everything!

I think its the oil that is suffocating her hair. Going three weeks between washes is a little long. So not only has the moisture in her hair been depleted by daily styling and all her daily activities, you are also sealing into her hair the salts from the air and her sweating with the additional oil. Salt is very drying to the hair. Babygirl should at least co-wash her hair once a week and maybe put it in a bun or ponytail between shampoos and blowouts.

Sounds like your baby is a candidate for a perm. I don't understand why you are even bothering with straightening out her hair if she never wears it natural.

I'm almost positive that the damage is because she sweats it out and rewraps it.

Same thing happened to me (breaking close to the root and shedding) and it definitely was due to lack of moisture. Weekly deep conditioning for moisture and bi/tri weely deep conditions for protein as well as daily moisturizing with a butter (shea/mango..oil alone doesn't cut it for moisturizing) has turned my hair around.

it's all about that balance between moisture and protein.

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