There is a such thing as having too much of a good thing. Initially, I assumed my breakage was due to not protective styling, too much combing, etc. After really thinking about what I’ve been doing to my hair, I figured it out. Too much caffeine in my homemade sage tea rinses. I didn’t do my tea rinses on every wash day. More like every other. But where I messed up is I made my tea too strong which dried out my hair and made it brittle and break off in the back. Caffeine is drying to your hair, something that never crossed my mind. Please learn from my mistake my lovelies. Do everything in moderation. Including tea rinses. They shouldn’t be very strong teas, and you shouldn’t do them too often.
I took the scissors and cut as much as the damaged ends off as I could. Yes my hair is uneven and shorter on one side of my head, but I don’t care about that at the moment. My main concern is getting my hair back healthy and keeping it moisturized. At the moment my hair is in micro braids and I’ve had them for about three weeks now and I LOVE them! I haven’t had micro braids in over 15 years! I’ll keep you posted on my progress.
I did not want to have to blog about breakage again, but here we go. I already know the cause of it:
- Not protective styling enough
- Becoming lazy when caring for my hair
- Using too much heat (blow dryer & straightening brush)
- Not moisturizing enough
It’s all shameful because I know better. I know better. However, I took a break from getting my hair braided this winter and I’m paying for it. I became a very lazy natural and now I have breakage as a result towards the back of my head. I noticed more than the usual shedding and unevenness. I have no one to blame but myself, and I know what needs to be done to fix it. I need to do the opposite of all four things I listed above!
I’m going to cut off as much breakage as possible (try to even out my hair back there), give it some extra TLC, and then get my hair braided. It’s time, it’s been almost six months since I’ve been to the shop to have my hair braided. I tried faux loc crochet braids recently (see picture below) but could only tolerate them for almost three weeks because the synthetic hair made my scalp itch horribly! But they were cute! As always, I’ll keep you posted on my breakage saga. 😦
I’m coming upon my third year of being natural, and boy have I learned some things! The number one thing I’ve learned is that being a lazy natural is not the business. You will cause yourself a lot of unwanted damage to your hair and grief to yourself. Let me help you not make the same mistakes that I made with some suggestions:
- Do not ignore your ends! Get regular trims or give yourself regular trims. I cannot stress this enough. This was the biggest mistake I’ve made since being natural. DO NOT ignore your ends. Just last night I cut A LOT of damage off of my hair, and I’ve been doing so every so often to try to get rid of the damaged ends – and there’s a lot. I have no one to blame but myself because I did not take heed to a lot of the advice given by other natural’s and professionals.
- You must come up with a regular hair care routine and STICK WITH IT. If you wash your hair once a week, once every two weeks, or once a month, stick to your plan and do not be lazy about it. Moisturize, deep condition, give yourself regular scalp massages. I saw much better results when I started to stick to a regular hair care routine.
- Do not be afraid of trying different protective styles. Braids are not the only protective style out there. Try wigs, crochet wigs, sew ins, etc. There is nothing wrong with braids, but if they are done too tightly then you’re defeating the purpose.
This past year I experienced scalp irritation (unexplained pain and a bald spot, and breakage in one concentrated area) which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It made me more aware of how I was treating my hair and scalp, and I was actually being too rough on it and scratching too much. I began to use a dandruff shampoo to help with my dandruff and itchy scalp issue, and I’ve now included pumpkin seed oil into my hair care regimen.
I’ve bought myself a pair of professional scissors to cut my hair, and I’ve been doing my own trimming. I’ve been gently flat ironing my hair just enough for me to see what my ends looked like, and then I cut. Eventually I will find my way to a professional, but in the mean time I like taking responsibility for my hair whether if it grows or breaks off. I know that may sound crazy, but that’s how I feel. I know my hair is super uneven, and I’m ok with that. I don’t care about uneven hair right now. I care about HEALTH. If there’s one thing about hair, it will always grow back (unless you have a condition like alopecia or some other condition that causes permanent hair loss).
I’ll be honest, I’ve had my freak out moments, moments of self doubt wondering “Should I just cut it all off again and start over?” Matter of fact I thought about cutting off all of my hair and starting all over just last night! I shared that with my husband and he said “You’re overreacting.” He was right. Sort of. 😉 Even though I’m three years in, I have to keep reminding myself that this is a journey. It has it’s highs and lows, but you have to keep going. You have to make the best of whatever situation you’re in. It’s funny to read my earlier blogs from when I first went natural to where I am right now. I was very naïve about some things, but experience is definitely a teacher! Lesson learned.
Ok guys, I’m clearly thinking out loud as I try to figure out this whole bald spot/breakage thing. As I examined the area where the bald spot is, it looks as though there is more breakage happening around that area although it’s very small. (Any breakage is bad breakage in my opinion!) I’m trying my best not to go into panic mode, but I want this breakage to STOP! Losing hair at the front of your head is one of the worst areas to have this happen in my opinion. I’m just glad that there is plenty of hair there to camouflage the affected area right now. Anyhoo, I’m still reading and looking things up on the internet regarding all the possible reasons and causes of breakage and hair loss. Now granted, I know all of the basic causes, but I just want to make sure I’m not overlooking something. Then the light bulb went off in my head. Yes, I had another EUREKA moment. 😉
Just a few weeks ago I took out my kinky twist braids. I had them in for almost 3 months, and I blogged about how upset I was that my new growth caused me to take them out sooner. Remember how I talk about I’m “team save the edges” and how I didn’t put my braids into cute buns on top of my head or any other up-dos that would put stress on my edges? Well while I didn’t do any of those things, I did have the (bad) habit of flipping the braids in the front to the back to keep them out of my face. My husband even told me I needed to stop doing that because it was pulling on my roots. The one time I should have listened to him…
You know where I’m going with this, right? Where is this new breakage that I’ve found? In the front, in those same areas where I was flipping back my braids. The stress I was putting on my fragile roots for almost three months of constantly flipping my hair back was clearly too much. Now that the braids are out and my hair has had a chance to breathe, I’m seeing the effects of my rough treatment of my hair. AND, I might add, my braids were more than likely done too tight even though I’m not tender headed. It’s sad when you expect your braids to hurt because that’s how most hair braiders braid hair – tightly. They catch every edge and every nap so tightly that if the wind blows on your scalp, you’re in tears afterwards. Braids should never hurt. NEVER. Now I’m not saying that I’ll never get braids again, because I will. I think from now on I’ll lean more towards crochet braids, and even with those you have to be careful of how tightly your cornrows are braided and the type of hair you use for your braids as certain synthetic hair can cause irritation and breakage to your hair.
In the end, I think I figured out where I went wrong you guys. I’m dealing with two issues here:
- The unexplained scalp pain that comes and goes and the small bald spot that occurred in that area BEFORE I got my braids
- Breakage in the area where I continuously flipped my braids to the back
Reading other blogs and surfing through YouTube and other places on the internet on this subject has helped me to figure out a solid game plan of how to attack these issues. I’m going to stick to a regular hair care routine that consists of deep conditioning and hot oil treatments, and I’m going to start back taking my biotin supplements. I’m also going to continue to be gentle with my hair and not manipulate it (comb, touch, pull, etc.) too much. I know in time I will see the results that I’m looking for, which is healthier hair, but being patient is key. Good things come to those who wait. 🙂
As I take on the battle of breakage, bald spots, and very dry natural hair, I’ve gone back into research mode. I’ve stumbled upon Red Palm oil. There are so many benefits of using this rich oil from cooking with it, using it on your skin, or what I’m more interested in, using it on your hair. It contains the hard to find toctrienols, which are members of the vitamin E family. The common form of vitamin E, tocopherol, has long been used to treat many skin ailments and is found in many anti-aging products. Here are some of the many benefits of Red Palm Oil:
Red Palm Oil is loaded with the following phytonutrients:
- Carotenoids (alpha-,beta-,and gamma-carotenes)
- Sterols (sitosterol, stigmasterol and campesterol)
- Vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols)
- Water-soluble powerful antioxidants, phenolic acids and flavonoids
Subsequently, the health benefits of palm oil include reduced risk of a variety of disease processes including:
What about the benefits for the hair, you ask? Well, it is a wonderful moisturizer especially since it’s loaded with vitamin E and other healthy vitamins. Red Palm Oil can be used as a pre-poo, deep conditioner, or a daily moisturizer. To use as a pre-poo, wet your hair with water from a spray bottle. Make sure you wear an old t-shirt that you don’t mind getting dirty because Red Palm Oil will stain. You do not need to use a lot of the oil unless you have really long hair. A little of this oil goes a long way. Section off your hair and work the oil through from root to tip, finger detangling as you go along. Make sure to massage the oil into your scalp as well. Continue this process until your entire head is done and then put on a plastic shower cap and let it set for 30 minutes to an hour. Shampoo with warm water 2-3 times to ensure that you get all of oil out and then proceed with conditioning.
Others use it as a daily moisturizer, some mix it with their favorite shampoo, while others mix it with their favorite conditioner. Either way your hair will reap the benefits of being very moisturized, soft and have a lot of body. Your hair will stay this way for at least a week or until your next wash.
I plan on incorporating the regular use of red palm oil in my pre-wash routine and then following up with the L.O.C. method every night. Consistency is key! No more being the lazy natural that I used to be. I’ll keep you posted on my results.
If you’re interested in purchasing Red Palm Oil, it’s available on Amazon and in most health food stores.
With the current state of my hair, I’ve decided not to have crochet braids installed. Instead I’m going to focus on getting my hair healthy again. I don’t think the tension and pulling of my hair is the best idea right now. One of the top things on my to-do list is to find a natural hair stylist who can give my hair the full treatment it really needs. If it means cutting off more hair than expected to get rid of the damage, then so be it. Next I have to find a really good moisturizer that is specifically good for the 4c hair that I have. If any of you have any suggestions please let a sista know in the comment section!
I have a funny story to share! Well, I can laugh about it now, but at the time it scared me to death! Last week I dreamed that I went to a shop and got a relaxer put in my hair. *GASP* The horror, right? There was no rhyme or reason for me doing it. All I remember from the dream is looking at myself in the mirror with all this hair on my head that was straightened and styled, and I was so upset because my afro, kinks, and coils were all gone. When I woke up I felt so upset and stressed as if this really happened!
If that dream isn’t proof that I’m in this natural hair journey for the long haul, I don’t know what is. Just as in life, there will be bumps in the road. There will be highs and lows, but they don’t last forever. My hair woes are of my doing, but they are fixable. It’s simply going to take time. So while I won’t be having another protective hairstyle installed just yet, I’m going to work hard at getting my hair healthy again.
Thank you to my fellow naturalista’s who have reached out to me with your encouraging words here on my blog or via Facebook! Thank you for your positivity and support. That is so needed in our community, especially for the newer naturalista’s like myself. Let’s keep encouraging one another and lifting each other up ladies. 🙂
On top of having a bald spot from making my bantu knots too tight, after taking out my kinky twist braids I noticed that my ends look like the picture above. Not good. That’s not a picture of my hair by the way, but when I saw this picture I had to post it because that’s exactly how my hair looks at the top and in a few other places. I will admit that I do not clip my ends often enough, and honestly I’ve been neglectful of my ends. As a result, split ends and breakage is what I’m currently dealing with.
I’m also dealing with very dry hair, which means I need to do a much better job at moisturizing and deep conditioning, and do it more often. Now I understand why some Naturalista’s big chop more than once. However, I’m not ready to throw in the towel with my hair. I want to focus on getting it back healthy, stop being so lazy, develop better routines. I’ve been the true definition of a lazy natural, and the above picture is what I got as a result.
Last night while preparing to twist up my hair before I went to bed, I stood in the mirror in my bathroom, grabbed my scissors and began to clip my ends. I didn’t do a dusting, I did some serious cutting. I know my hair will grow back, and I’ve never been afraid of cutting my hair. I’m going to keep doing this until my ends no longer resemble the hot mess above. Another thing to consider is the change of seasons. I live in the Midwest and the cold weather is now coming in. I have to change up my hair care routine for the dry, winter months, and be diligent about it.
I’ve gone a long time being a lazy natural. I still believe that less is more, but I truly need to do MORE to get my hair back healthy. I’ve got my mission. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. 🙂