It’s a natural’s worst nightmare: Hair that was once soft and luscious has turned dry and brittle. It’s breaking and shedding at an alarming rate and styling has become a hassle. Dry or brittle natural hair is something that none of us want to deal with and the stress of it all can make hair more susceptible to breakage. Not to worry! While there are many causes for dry or brittle hair, it can also be fixed with a little bit of time, patience, and care.
Deep Condition Regularly
Deep conditioning every wash day is a great way to combat dry and brittle hair. By smoothing the hair shaft, deep conditioning repairs your natural hair while also moisturizing. Deep conditioning will also help restore your hair’s elasticity which will help prevent breakage. If you are experiencing severe breakage, look for ingredients like honey, aloe vera, almond oil, and cetyl alcohol which is a fatty alcohol and helps the other ingredients mix together.
Avoid Products with Protein
Protein treatments are great for hair that is limp or damaged however, using too much protein can leave hair feeling brunch and can cause breakage. Many products use hydrolyzed protein as an ingredient that will help repair damaged hair. While this is true, using products with protein in them regularly can cause hair to lose its elasticity making it brittle and easy to break. If your hair is breaking more easily than normal, is uncharacteristically dry, and looking dull, you may have protein buildup. An easy fix for protein buildup is shampoo with a clarifying cleanser and focus on using moisturizing conditioners and styling products without protein.
Get Regular Trims
It seems like trimming your hair is the answer to every natural problem but it really works wonders! Trimming your hair will get rid of the oldest part of your hair that is more prone to damage. Your ends are more likely to be dry and split which can travel the length of your hair and damage it further. Many stylists recommend trims every 6 to 8 weeks but you know your hair best. If you feel that you can stretch your time between trims, you should but if you feel like your hair is in desperate need, get a trim or cut as soon as you can.
Avoid Using Excessive Heat
There is absolutely nothing wrong with using heat on your natural hair but it can leave your hair feeling a little crazy. There are really no rules to how much heat to use on your natural hair but if you have been straightening or blow drying regularly you may be experiencing some extra dryness or breakage. When this happens, many naturals will swear off heat altogether while others will simply limit the amount of heat that they use. Alternatives to heat are heat free or low heat stretching which can help give the look of a blow out without the possible damage.
Another natural hair cure all? Protective styles. While naturally curly hair is beautiful in all forms, it can be fragile and sensitive. Daily exposure to outside elements, manipulation, and everyday stressors can affect the health of your hair and cause brittle hair that breaks easily. A great way to combat this and alleviate hair stress is to do low manipulation, low tension protective styles. While it is still important to care for your hair and make sure your strands are getting what they need while in protective styles, they can help prevent dry and brittle hair.
Taking excellent care of your natural hair can help combat dry and brittle strands. Try to use the ingredients that your hair loves and style your hair in a way that encourages growth and you’re on the path to success? What do you do when your natural hair is feeling dry and brittle?
Marra Joelle (or Green) is a natural hair and style blogger based in Upstate NY. She loves experimenting with new styles and tries not to take her hair too seriously.