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3 Ways You May Be Slowly Damaging Your Hair

Avatar • Feb 22, 2014

Young woman sitting with thouhtful expression.

 

Picture this: You walk into a salon to get your hair styled. Three hours later, you leave with the sinking feeling that you’ve just wasted your money and damaged your hair. After a few days your suspicions are confirmed. Your hair is dyed or fried and limply laying to the side. This is the kind of damage you can detect almost immediately. However, for many of us, it is not these instances of hair trauma that keep us stuck at one point in our hair journey. It is the slow, consistent damage to our hair that can cause greater frustration and discouragement over time.

Protective Styling without Maintenance

I am a huge fan of protective styling and low maintenance.  In fact, I attribute my consistent ability to retain length to these methods of hair care. However, I find that some women confuse low maintenance with no maintenance.  I know many of you have heard of someone who wore weaves and wigs for two years straight and emerged with long, thick hair. Well, I have also seen before and after hair shots of individuals who use constant protective styling and find that little to no progress occurred, even though the individual was intentional about retaining length. As a word of advice, not everyone can retain length by adopting the “auto pilot” method. Be sure to regularly moisturize and condition your hair, even if you are rarely manipulating it.

The assumption, “if you don’t touch it, your hair will grow,” can prove to be a mistake if your hair is dry and ultimately becomes damaged. Even while in braids, you should keep your hair moisturized using a braid spray (homemade or store bought). There really is no use in protecting your hair with the goal of length retention only to find that after a year or two, you haven’t moved an inch.

Haircuts with a Comb

This one was my downfall.  Haircuts with a comb, also known as, combing your dry unstraightened hair, regularly without using a moisturizer will keep you stuck indefinitely. The funny thing is my hair never really got shorter using poor combing practices. I almost wish it had because I might have realized that something was wrong sooner. My rate of growth and combing practices canceled each other out, leaving me with the same hair length year after year. You could use all organic products and keep your ends protected but if you rake a comb through your textured hair when it is dry and unmoisturized, you are likely limiting your length retention.

Too Many Products

Imagine being stunted along your journey only to realize that glycerin or coconut oil were drying out your hair or irritating your scalp for months.  Pretty lame, right? Using many different products isn’t inherently bad. I used to be somewhat of a product junkie and I don’t think that hurt my hair journey. However, I caution against using multiple products for the same part of your regimen (i.e. washing, conditioning, etc.) especially when you are relatively new to being natural or have yet to determine the products that don’t agree with your hair. For example, I only came to realize that aloe vera, slippery elm and castor oil worked well with my hair by using products that had those ingredients and without using five additional products at the same time. On the same note, you can determine which ingredients do not work for you if you judge its (in)effectiveness by using it alone versus using  multiple products at the same time. Be sure to evaluate what you put on your hair and scalp so that you can detect what doesn’t work as soon as possible.

 

Did you have hair practices that were slowly damaging your hair? What were they?

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AnnetteRWheeler
6 years ago

my co-worker’s mother makes $85 every hour on the internet . She has been fired from work for 5 months but last month her pay check was $13547 just working on the internet for a few hours.
site link„„„„„„„„„„„,

chalise
chalise
6 years ago

now you know that’s a lie

Tania
Tania
6 years ago

I like this article. After reading this and looking back at my hair journey has helped me to realize that I am finally on the right track. Being natural hasn’t always been easy but it has definitely been worth. I never knew I could ever truly love my hair more than what I do now!! Natural hair rocks!!!!

Jo Jo
Jo Jo
6 years ago
Reply to  Tania

It sure does rock to have natural hair… I’m new at it (about 2yrs) so I’m still trying to feel my way but your hair is thicker and more body.. I love it. 🙂

jl
jl
6 years ago

Imagine being stunted along your journey only to realize that glycerin or coconut oil were drying out your hair or irritating your scalp for months. This happened to me but it was with glycerin, coconut oil is fine. I would make a glycerin spray with water. I listened to people talk about how you had to do this or that in order to make it right. it didnt matter it dried my hair out..It took me a long time to find out that glycerin was drying out my hair badly, i didnt have regular splits but mid-strand splits, they were… Read more »

anastasia
anastasia
6 years ago

Negative hair practice for ME: At the outset of my latest ‘hair journey’ and after much research, I too jumped on the henna bandwagon hoping to thicken my fine strands while also coloring the massive crop of grey emerging from my scalp. Blinded by conspicuous praises of henna and a desire to maintain an image of youthfulness, the excessive hair shedding (hair fall) that I was experiencing could not and would not be attributed to henna. How could I blame Henna? I refused to believe what was before my eyes and questioned why MY hair would rebuke this gift of nature…Could… Read more »

shayshay
shayshay
6 years ago
Reply to  anastasia

I’m so sorry, anastasia! I hit the thumbs down accidentally. Fat finger syndrome on mobile phone. 🙁 I meant to THUMBS UP.

anastasia
anastasia
6 years ago
Reply to  shayshay

Awwwwww how sweet of you Lady shayshay :D… no worries here =)

Sasha
Sasha
6 years ago
Reply to  anastasia

I thought I was the only natural that had the bad henna experience? It’s been over a year since I used henna, and my hair is still drier. It’s growing out and I have regular trims, but nothing dried my hair like henna. Because it simply sits on the hair it’s a nightmare.

Thetruthisoutthere
Thetruthisoutthere
6 years ago
Reply to  Sasha

I use henna indigo regularly when coloring. My hair has not exceeded 6 inches and I big chopped in 2009. It leaves it wretchedly dry, but it’s supposed to be better for you.

I just don’t know.

Dananana
Dananana
6 years ago
Reply to  Sasha

Nope, you totally aren’t the only one. I loved the effects of henna when I first tried it–my hair was shinier, my strands were thicker, and the color it left behind was my favorite part of using it. But once I hit my second or third application, the breakage was dreadful and my head was a tangled, knotted up desert. I kept using it for over a year, thinking “Maybe it gets better over time…” No. It doesn’t. If you have fine, kinky strands like me, just say no to henna.

Tyler
6 years ago

This is so true! I think so many people are damaging their hair without even know it.

Tyler
http://www.onelittleblackdress.com

Yas
Yas
6 years ago

Glycerin is great, but I only add it to my concoctions during the warmer months. Cold air dries it up too quickly and my hair is left looking ashen and dry instead of shiny and moisturized. Also, if your diet is horrible or you’re super stressed or otherwise ill, it won’t matter how many products or protective styles you put in your hair. You have to address your overall physical health to grow and maintain healthy, strong hair.

krokan
6 years ago

Coconut oil was not a friend of mine lol. I would use it on my ends and it didn’t take long before my ends just felt constantly hard and look brittle. It’s great as a pre-poo but as a leave-in? Nah son lol.
http://www.shop.kinksandall.com

Tyrena
Tyrena
6 years ago

Lavender ! I use to mix things using lavender and coconut oil I hand to stop using them together to see which one disagreed with my hair. It was the lavender I no Longer use anything with lavender in it.

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Thetruthisoutthere
Thetruthisoutthere
6 years ago

I suspect bantu knots contributed to damaging my hair I recently performed another BC because my strands were riddled with mid-strand (needle eye) splits. I first attributed the damage to protein overload and tugging while recently applying curlformers, but looking back over the years the splits have always been present in my hair (not just as bad as they were recently). The only style I have consistently used that put tension on my strands were the bantu knots. I have fine stands, medium density 4c coils, and I was styling my hair wet or damp in bantu knots and anchoring… Read more »

HB
HB
6 years ago

I am so new to this journey, i did my bigchop a month ago. And i am so confused to what product to use and in what other. So far am using: 1.coconut oil 2.Jojoba oil 3.castol oil 4.Olive oil and during my wash i use: treseme conditioner and treseme deep conditioner and i use hair mayonnaise too. My hair is growing good. But how do i know if the products are working??? I normally just combine all the oils on my hair everyday. I have a 4c hair i think. they are so many videos on the internet, i keep getting… Read more »

Tia
Tia
6 years ago
Reply to  HB

If your hair is growing and you have no scalp issues such as itching and no bad hair shedding, you are doing good. Keep it up.

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