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A common misconception regarding black hair is that it doesn’t grow. In reality black hair is extremely fragile and very dry, making it more prone to breakage than any other race. It requires extra care to retain length, but many black women lack the knowledge or just prefer styling their hair to actually caring for it.

Before I delve into the causes of breakage, it is important to address what breakage is. Unlike shedding, breakage doesn’t occur at the root but within the hair strand. It is easy to distinguish shed hair from broken hair because shed hair will have a white bulb attached to it. Excessive breakage indicates weak and damaged hair. Here are the main reasons for hair breakage:

Dry Hair

Lack of moisture means dry brittle hair. Daily moisturizing and sealing with an oil will add elasticity to your hair. Your ends are the oldest and weakest part of your hair, so pay close attention to them. If your ends are breaking off at the same rate that your hair is growing, you will see no changes in length.

Be sure to wash with a moisturizing shampoo and deep condition after every wash.

You can also try the baggy method:

  • Pull your hair back in a ponytail
  • Moisturize and seal the ends
  • Wrap the ponytail up in a shower cap and secure it overnight

Too Much Moisture

Yes indeed, there is such a thing. Overly moisturized hair feels mushy and extremely stretchy. To counteract this, you can wash with a clarifying shampoo and do a protein treatment.


If your hair is relaxed or dyed, it will naturally be weaker than virgin hair. This doesn’t mean it won’t grow, but it will break more if it’s not properly cared for. Chemicals strip the hair of protein so make sure you incorporate protein treatments into your hair regimen.

Overlapping Relaxers

Relax your new growth only. Do not spread your relaxer all the way down to the ends! It will weaken and thin out your previously processed hair even more.

Too Much Protein

Some people have protein sensitive hair. Too much protein will leave your hair feeling stiff, brittle and dry. Always make sure to deep condition and moisturize after protein treatments.

Heat Tools

Excessive heat will damage your hair and cause split ends. Opt for styles that don’t require heat and if you must use heat, be sure to use a heat protectant first.

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