How to avoid the dreaded breakage

We are all likely to suffer hair breakage at some point in our lives, and it’s a condition that often leads to much frustration and distress. Let’s talk aboutthe common causes of breakage and how to prevent it. 


Everyone is on a quest for beautiful, healthy hair and thousands of us commit to hair rituals to help us achieve our hair goals. But whilst on that journey, it’s not uncommon to encounter stumbling blocks which manifest as ailments like excess shedding and hair breakage. The words ‘damaged hair’ is likely to spark concern by anyone who experiences it, and rightly so. But the truth of the matter is we all damage our hair to some degree whether it is consciously or unconsciously. The key is to learn how to control damage and maintain hair habits that puts our strands on the road to recovery.


Hair Shedding - Growth Cycle

The hair growth cycle consists of three distinct phases: growing, regressing and resting, which scientifically is referred to as Anagen, Catagen and Telogen respectively


Each hair follicle lives in a cycle of a long period of growth, followed by a relatively short period of rest. During the rest period the hair is still attached to the hair follicle, but it is not growing. After the resting phase, the hair sheds and new hair begins to grow, marking a new hair growth cycle.


What is hair loss/shedding?


When your hair naturally falls from the root, you are experiencing hair shedding. Some hair loss is normal and to be expected. In fact, while you may not be aware of it, you’re likely to be losing up to 100 strands a day. This theory is based on the assumption that we have approximately 100, 000 strands on our scalp and lose around 1% of them daily.Additionally, the rate at which you lose hair can vary based on gender, diet and genetics, rapid or excessive weight loss, stress or emotional shock, as well as poor nutrition, protein deficiency, post pregnancy, fever, illness or surgery. 

When hair loss, shedding or breakage occurs it is important to visit a professional hair salon. A hairdresser will be equipped to analyze and determine the condition, as well as make recommendations or referrals. 

What is hair breakage? 


Hair breakage is a damaging condition whereby one or more parts of the hair are physically, environmentally or chemically altered to the extent that the hair is unable to return to its original state. Once hair is damaged it cannot be perfectly restored, therefore prevention is the first line of defense in fighting the battle against damage. 


Anything that reduces the hair’s strength and elasticity will leave hair prone to breakage, and this includes chemical processing (such as bleaching and highlighting), keratin straightening treatments, UV, salt and chlorinated water exposure, perms and overuse of heated styling aids. Chemical processing might be the worst culprit, as itpermanently raises the hair cuticle, allowing for continuous excess water evaporation from the hair’s cortex if not correctly conditioned.


To determine if you are suffering from breakage, look closely at a strand of your hair, and if hair has been lost through the natural process of shedding, you will notice that anagen hair has a rounded translucent bulb on the end, which is still attached, even when it has detached from the dermal papilla, often referred to as the root bulb. Strands that occur as a result of breakage will be in shorter sections and may not include the bulb entirely attached.


Curly hair is especially prone to breakage due to its natural formation. If you experience breakage, you will discover the severity of this condition when combing, detangling, or styling your curls. Breakage is most noticeable when brushing or combing your hair, removing a hair band, or in the shower.


How to prevent breakage 

o  Gently massage shampoo into your scalp.

o  When you rinse the shampoo from your hair and scalp, let it flow through the length of your hair and resist the temptation to rub. Use a conditioner after every shampoo.

o  The tighter the curl the more crème-to-water hydration is needed 

o  Wrap your hair in a towel to absorb the water and blot dry

o  Detangle textured hair or tight curls when damp with the aid of a good leave-in conditioner.

o  Be gentle with your curls and determine the method that works best for you. For some this will involve coating your strands with a high slippage conditioner and combing in the shower, for others this may be finger detangling after your shower.


When using a hairdryer, hot comb, or curling iron


o  Make sure that your hair is completely dry before you use tongs or straighteners.

o  Apply your heat protector prior to taking your sections and applying heat, just a mist over each section is sufficient if the correct prep has been carried out prior (shampoo, conditioner etc).

o  Use the lowest heat setting for your hair type and density (refer to manufacture’s manual)

o  Limit the time the heat touches your hair - 7-10 seconds at a time is a good rule of thumb. 

o  Remember, you're not a hairstylist who has been trained to work with heated appliances.


Recommended products:

KeraCare® StrengtheningThermal protector,

KeraCare®Natural Textures Leave-in Conditioner,

KeraCare®Silken Seal,

 KeraCare® Overnight Moisturizing Treatment 


Nutrition as a preventative method


To prevent breakage, it’s important to take a holistic approach to your lifestyle and good nutrition is a crucial step towards preventing 

breakage. The food we eat is converted to compounds that aids the way our bodies function.  For instance, glucose supplies energy for cellular reproduction which includes the cells within the hair follicle. The maxim ‘you are what you eat’ is more than a catchy phrase, it’s a life mantra.