1. Are you wearing a beanie or headwrap to protect your natural hair from the cold?
If so, you may want to wear a satin bonnet or scarf under your beanie/tam to prevent the hair from rubbing against the fabric and causing friction. The constant rubbing against the fabric will tug on the hair and eventually cause breakage.
2. Are you wearing twists/twistouts or braids/braidouts often?
Make sure you are moisturizing the hair with a sufficient and slightly heavier creme than you would normally. The colder temperatures will suck the moisture out of your hair and trust me, your hair will need it. Don't forget to seal those ends. The winter is when I like to put my whipped Shea butter to work on my ends. This keeps my ends from drying out and breaking off.
3. Are you over manipulating your hair?
I know, I was obsessed with my hair when I first discovered my kinky coils and still am. But, one thing I learned is that constant pulling, tugging and styling the hair can cause breakage as well. I've learned to coil or twist my hair and leave it in for at least a week so that I'm not tempted to constantly
play in put my hands in my hair. Protective styling such as braids, twists and cornrows are longer lasting styles that can really help you to stop over manipulating the hair.
4. Are you protecting your hair at night with a satin bonnet or pillow?
The same applies as wearing a satin bonnet/scarf under your beanie. When sleeping, your hair will constantly rub against your pillows causing friction that leads to breakage. Try purchasing a satin bonnet from Walmart for under $3 or a satin pillowcase.
5. Are you protecting your hair when heat styling?
Heat styling, especially for a natural girlie and even more so during winter months should be kept at a minimum. Excessive heat styling can severely damage the hair shaft and cause the texture of your kink/coil pattern to change. Always always use a heat protector to keep the hair cuticle protected from damage. A few naturals have had to learn the hard way that heat styling can be just as stressful to the hair as a chemical relaxer, without the harsh long-term effects. Many have 'big chopped' a second time due to damage caused by improper styling techniques and/or extremely high temperatures without proper protection when blow drying, flat ironing, pressing, etc.
6. Are you properly cleansing the hair and scalp?
I know there are naturals who swear by co-washing and don't get me wrong, I don't know where I would be had I never learned about it. However, I feel the need to shampoo my hair at least once every week or two. Product buildup can strain the hair and clog the scalp. I like to shampoo to ensure that the gunk is washed out thoroughly. In addition, excessive buildup can cause he hair to dry out, become brittle and even break off from the scalp.
7. Can you totally stop your hair from breaking off?
Naturally, hair sheds and you will experience some breakage. Again, this is natural and you shouldn't be alarmed that a few hairs are shedding. If your hair as been braided or in some form of protective style for 3 weeks or more, you will notice a moderate increase in breakage. This is normal as your hair continues to shed but by not having anywhere to go, it stays tangled with the rest of the hair until the protective style is taken down. T
The tips mentioned above are simple techniques for eliminating unnecessary breakage. If you are experiencing severe hair breakage or loss of hair from the scalp, you may want to consult a trichologist or dermatologist to determine what is best for you.
Has anyone else been experiencing an increase in breakage since the winter months?