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Hair: Thinned Hair from Daily Styling and Products We Use, and How to Reverse the Damage

hairIt’s no denying that as black women we love our hair to look fabulous at all times.  But having fabulous looking hair comes with a price and ultimate consequences if we are not careful.  Our hair care often includes flat irons, pressing combs, curling irons, dying our hair, relaxers, trying different products, constantly changing our hair regimen, and styles after styles after styles, to where we over process and over style our hair that it just becomes tired, thus breaking off, having split ends, thinning, falling out — an ugly cycle we all try to avoid. Photo collage from Google Images.

If you fall into this unending cycle of hair styling, perhaps taking a look at your daily hair care routine will help you decide on what you need to do differently to reverse whatever damage you are experiencing regardless of how little or extreme.  Think about your hair care regimen.  Have you recently tried new products that your hair may be reacting to?  This can very well be the cause of breakage, thinning, or even hair loss.  No one woman’s hair is the same.  Where one product may for your best friend, may not necessary work for you — keep that in mind.  Don’t try to solve the issue with chemicals.  Sometimes the old fashioned remedy may be just what you need (i.e., going back to basics of what worked the first time).

Next, what styles are you wearing that can contribute to damage regarding of how little or extreme?  You may want to think about what styles that causes you to over style your hair.  Are you getting regular trims to accommodate these styles?  If not you want to consider it just make sure your stylist is not a demon trimmer and trims more than necessary.  Sometimes if I over do my hair I notice prickly pieces of my hair that ends up all over my shoulders.  That is clue to me that I am over doing my hair and my hair is not liking being over worked.  This is when I turned to my “back to basic” products to help in this area.

Are you relaxing your hair at home?  Chances are you are over processing it.  I heard as well have experienced that unless we take extra precaution when performing a home relaxer, you run the risk of over processing your hair, especially if you throw dying or using a cellophane in the mix.  If you are not careful, you can unknowingly damage your hair causing it to break off.  And, too, if you do not evenly place the relaxer cream on your hair in order for it to process, you can also run the risk of your hair missing relaxing certain parts of your hair.  It is always wise to consult an expert if you have never one this before, or better yet, have a well trained expert do this for you.

Are you wrapping up your hair at night?  I have had this drilled into me over the last decades because it helps prevent breakage.  Using a silk or satin scarf works best, especially if you are not using satin or silk pillow cases.  But wrapping your hair up properly works to eliminate or reduce excessive heat.  Some of us are guilty of using heat every day for styling where as if we wear our hair straight, wrapping it up at night should allow us to just unwrap, comb and go.  There are a number of ways we can reduce and/or eliminate the amount of heat we use throughout the week to protect against breakage.

Hair weaves are another form of hair damage we don’t take into consideration as being a contributor to hair lost or breakage.  If you wear an excessive number of hair weaves and do not protect your edges, you will find that with each hair weave, your line is being reduced.  There are products on the market to help reverse that damage, but it is costly and can become as much as the hair weave you paid for to reverse the damage caused.  I have had two hair weaves this year.  One partial and one full — both for the purpose of giving my hair a break and for it to catch up with itself.  I am preparing to put my hair back up, but this time I an going with a lace front wig where I can braid my hair and sew in the wig around the braid line and a couple of areas in the middle and one along the part line.

Ultimately there are more natural ways you can reverse the damage of your hair.  I recommend wearing protective styles until the hair is repaired.  With protective styles I learned that using hydrated products and keeping your ends trimmed, and using no heat can play a major role in reversing the damage, but you have to want to commit to this if you are looking to restore your hair back to being more healthy.  The less chemicals you use the better.  The less hair weaves you wear the better and you will more than likely start to see a significant change within the first six months to a year, or depending on how fast your hair grow.

If your hair regimen works for you, then think about what you can cut out that has contributed to the damage while keeping your regimen in tack.  Or think about taking about

Live About gives up five good reasons to wear protective hair styles in the article written February 2017.

  1. Low maintenance
  2. Keeps hair soft
  3. Retains growth
  4. Versatile
  5. They are timesavers

These benefits can be applied even after wearing relaxers.  Even with wearing relaxers at some point you have to give your hair a break to give it a chance to recuperate from the day to day styling, heat usage, and whatever else you do to your hair that can over stress it.

In the article I read from 2013 from Ebony on Best Reason to Wear Braids in the WinterSusy Oludele stated that shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, Coconut Oil, Jamaican Castor Oil, 100% African Shea Butter, NuNaat Products and good ol’ H20 are the best products to use when you are wearing braids during the cold months, and I couldn’t agree more because I use or have used some of these products.  Now with wearing protective hair styles, they tend to work just as well because you are stepping away from the norm and your hair is getting the ability to be revitalized.

Drink plenty of water, maintain a well balanced diet, and take proper vitamin and/or supplements that help with hair growth.  Getting good exercise can also help as exercising is like a natural moisturizer to the scalp. If you choose to wear lace front wigs that you sew in, consider the care that goes into it.  Wear the best lace front wigs possible that allow for extended care such as washing, conditioning and styling.  Wear approximately for two months then remove and take down your hair and wash and condition.  Rebraid and put on a new/fresh lace front wig with the same care and styling capabilities.

Give yourself a timeline to which you want to wear protective styles.  Mark on the calendar when you started and chart your progress after you determine how long you want to continue this method.  You don’t have to stick to the 6 – 8 week period of trimming your hair.  Some people go as long as getting their hair trimmed every 3 to 6 months, but do what works for you as long as you are using oils to protect your ends at all times.

I would not tell you anything that I have not experienced myself or have talked with others who have gone through excessive hair damage, and had was able to reverse the damage suffered.  Hair does make its way back.  It’s what we do to maintain it.

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