How To Avoid Hair Loss or Hair Breakage Whilst Transitioning to Natural Hair
The recent lockdown provided many people with afro hair types with the opportunity to make the transition from chemically altered, relaxed hair, to natural hair or from dreadlocked hair to natural, loose hair. Physical presence in the workplace is no longer mandatory for swarms of the working population. This allowed for greater flexibility with hair styling and in some instances, more time to devote to caring for hair, which created the perfect opportunity to make that all important and overdue transition to natural hair. Transitioning from relaxed hair to natural hair can cause unnecessary hair loss and breakage. On the other hand, transitioning from dreadlocks to natural might require the 'big chop' if you are unable to untwist the locs. Cutting locs takes a lot of courage because the emotional attachment but it is often necessary to avoid further or permanent hair loss. Here are some tips to prevent hair breakage whilst transitioning to natural hair.
- Keep Hair Moisturised
When making the transition from relaxed hair to natural, it is important to acknowledge that you will be caring for two different hair textures at the same time. Your roots will be kinky whilst your ends will be straight. Sebum, a natural lubricant for your hair and scalp is produced just beneath your scalp and secretes onto your scalp and hair. Sebum, will only be able to flow down the first centimetre or so of your natural regrowth. The sebum is unable to flow down the full length of your hair from your root to the tip because of the intensity of the hair coil, so the sebum trail falls short of reaching the relaxed segment of the hair strand. The lack of sebum means that your hair ends/relaxed part of your hair will become excessively dry during the transition, thereby requiring increased moisture to prevent hair ends from becoming dry and snapping off or breaking.
With regards to hair which is no longer being loc'd keeping hair moisturised is equally important, whether the locs have been cut or untwisted, for reasons mentioned above. However, moisturising the scalp should be avoided, click here to find out why.
- Regular Trims
Because afro hair grows in a coil it can give the misleading impression that hair growth is slow, which creates a reluctance to trim afro hair. Afro hair, on average, grows by at least half an inch per month, but because it grows in a coil and not in a straight line, the rate of growth can appear to be somewhat deceptive. Therefore, hair trims should not be shunned but embraced. Regular trims are an essential part of a healthy hair regime because it keeps split ends at bay (preventing hair breakage) and helps to maintain healthy, thick hair. Whilst making the transition from relaxed to natural hair it is important to trim the relaxed hair regularly because it is probably damaged due to the chemical processing and therefore more prone to breakage. Click here to find out more.
- Frequent Conditioning
Cuticles along the hair shaft of afro hair are raised to accommodate the kinks and curls. Hair cuticles are similar to fish scales in appearance and function; they protect the hair shaft and seal in moisture and hydration. Cuticles alongside the relaxed section of your hair shaft are likely to lay flat because this part of the hair is straight. Hair breakage can occur at the intersection of where the raised cuticle (natural hair) meets the flat cuticle (relaxed hair), because the curly part of the hair, where cuticles are raised, is likely to fray and snap, causing the relaxed part of the hair to break away. Conditioning your hair flattens all hair cuticles, reducing the contrast in hair textures whilst transitioning to natural and mitigating the risk of hair loss or hair breakage.
Raised hair cuticles also allows moisture to be released from the hair shaft, making hair look and feel dry. Raised hair cuticles are a by product of curly hair, but you can flatten them by conditioning your hair with a good hair conditioner. A good hair conditioner smooths and flattens hair cuticles which locks in the moisture, making hair softer and shinier in appearance, whilst increasing its elasticity, which will reduce the amount of hair breakage during the transition to natural hair.
- Keep Hair Clean and Hydrated
Washing your hair at least once a week is important for hair hygiene, hydration and growth. Your hair is dead matter, similar to a plant and therefore requires water to flourish and thrive. Washing your hair allows your hair to receive the hydration necessary to its survival, as well as removing excess product and dirt which can make hair limp in appearance as well as clogging the scalp which can block sebum (natural lubricant for the hair) from being released to moisturise the hair and scalp, hindering hair health and vitality. Remember when hair is wet, it loses its elasticity which makes it more prone to breakage, so, avoid brushing and pulling wet hair. Wait until hair is nearly dry before you brush or comb it and work your way up gradually from the hair tip to the root.
- High Protein Diet
Hair is keratin. Keratin is formed when blood transfers oxygen and nutrients, which are predominantly protein to the hair bulb. One way to get protein, an essential nutrient required for hair growth into your bloodstream is through your diet. A high protein diet will assist healthy hair growth which will help to increase the pace of your transition from relaxed to natural hair.
- Protective Hairstyles
Protective hair styling is an easy way to make the transition from relaxed hair to natural hair. Protective wigs are ideal for protecting fragile hair that has been damaged by chemical processing. Protective wigs give your hair a break from daily hair styling which can put pressure and strain on your hair, making it weak and prone to breakage. Find out more about the advantages of protective wigs by clicking here.
ProTress Essential Scalp Therapy Energising Shampoo and Lotion is the UK’s most effective hair loss treatment for afro hair types and helps the journey from natural to relaxed hair because it prevents hair breakage and stimulates hair growth. The shampoo is made with natural extracts of Rosemary and Nettle and should be used at least once a week. Rosemary has natural anti-bacterial and antiseptic qualities which treats itchy and damaged scalp (a cause of hair loss) and dandruff. Nettle is rich in vitamins A, B and C and protein, which nourishes hair. The Lotion, which should be applied to the scalp after shampooing, contains the patented Si MATRIX PF which purifies the scalp to create a healthy environment in which hair can grow whilst accelerating peripheral micro circulation and revitalising hair follicles. This stimulates hair growth on affected areas, whilst making hair thicker and stronger. Find out more here.