Breakage, Shedding & Thinning: How I Overcame All 3 to Achieve Waist-Length Hair

kara natural hair

by Kara of NaturalCurliesTV (pictured above)

Breakage, shedding and thinning I have experienced them all! I am almost 100% sure that most of you have experienced at least of one them. I am going to give you a rundown of times in my life when I have experienced breakage, thinning and shedding and how I managed to resolve them.

Breakage

Visiting the hair hairdresser was a regular trip for me before I decided to embark on my healthy hair journey. Each time I went it was the same story. The hairdresser would say, “your hair is breaking you know,” and look down at my kinky hair displeased like he was doing me a favour for having to deal with it. I would think to my myself yes my hair is breaking but are you going to help me resolve this and what is causing my hair to break. After he had massacred my hair by cutting inches and inches of hair each time I visited, I waved goodbye and set out on my journey to healthy natural hair.

I noticed there was a particular section of my hair, just below the crown, that was a lot shorter than the rest. But to be honest, I was suffering from what I call ‘global breakage’ or breakage all over that gives the impression your hair doesn’t grow past a certain length. I researched and used YouTube to find ways to resurrect my hair and soon learned my hair was breaking and not able to retain length due to the lack of moisture. Below are these are the tips I followed to stop the breakage in its tracks:

Deep conditioning: This was done on a weekly basis, using a product which was meant for deep conditioning. I always applied heat by sitting under a hooded dryer for up to an hour.

Water: I drank lots of water and I saturated my hair with water weekly. Water is the best moisture you can give your hair.

Seal: I learned very quickly that sealing in whatever moisture you apply is highly important, if you do not do this it is just defeating the purpose. Shea butter was my best friend and still is, as it acts as a terrific sealant.

If you are doing all these things and your hair is still breaking, then there may be lifestyle factors to consider. I know that if I have slight breakage, it is down to low iron levels in which case I start to eat more foods that are rich in iron, I will also take a B12 supplement.

Kara natural hair profile

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Shedding

We all shed hair in fact I believe it to be 100-150 per day which sounds like a lot right? I have only experienced post-natal shedding which was in excess, I lost hair from the temple area on both sides. Each time I began to finger detangle I noticed that my hair was ridiculously tangled to the point where it seemed matted. My initial thought was to get a pair of scissors and chop it off. However, I just had to take a deep breath and begin the tedious task of slowly releasing each shed hair, strand by strand! It took forever.

On three separate occasions, I washed my hair and shed so much that when I finally finished, I was more or less bald on both sides. Post-natal shedding didn’t worry me because I knew why it was happening. If you are unexplainably shedding large amounts of hair, I would seek help from a professional.

Some things I did to help with post-natal shedding were scalp massages to increase circulation and applying Jamaican black castor oil to my temple area

kara natural hair ponytail puff

Thinning

I experienced thinning when I was a teen back in high school, I thought I looked cute with my eyes looking like they had been pinned back to my ears due to such tight styling. I can laugh about it now, but if I hadn’t stopped pulling my hair into ridiculously tight styles, I could have caused damage to the follicles leading to my hair not being able to grow back. Thankfully, the thinning was slight so my hair grew back without any problems.

Thinning doesn’t only have to occur from tightstyling or a bad weave on the edges of our hair, it can also occur throughout the head. Typically, you will notice a change in thickness; again this can be related to stress, diet or medication. Let’s not forget that as we age our hair will begin to lose its thickness. It’s just part of the ageing process.

What have you done to deal with your breakage, shedding or thinning share your tips below?

Kara is a London-based health professional who teaches individuals with physical and mental health disabilities how to live independently. She is also an active natural hair vlogger. You can find her on YouTube at NaturalCurliesTV and Instagram @NaturalCurlies

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The good hair myth

Often, African Americans have felt that women with a lighter complexion and softer, more subdued curl patterns are given partiality over women who have darker complexions and kinky hair. Those who participate in existing discriminatory practices, such as favoring persons with lighter skin tones or more European-style hair textures, become a part of this system.[citation needed]

Many scholars attribute this mindset to be the residual effects of slavery in the United States. Anthropologist Audrey Smedley traces “the creation and reification of race as a new form of social stratification with all its cultural integument… involved the differentiation of blacks as distinct beings, a magnification of the social distance between blacks and whites, and the formulation in the white mind of a stereotype” created a grandiose iconic image of the Blacks in a derogoratory manner. Smedley continues, “once reified, that is crystallized and rendered as substantive reality, the folk idea of race assumed an identity and autonomy of its own, [confirming that] ideas and ideologies, when institutionalized in people’s minds, often develop a fluidity and refractivity that allow them to persist even drastically altered situations.[2] To that end, the usage of good hair as a determiner is still evident in today’s society.

This worldview has been reiterated throughout the history of film. Imitation of Life is one iconic film that depicts the social sanctioning of intra-racial tension. In Fannie Hurst’s 1933 novel with the same name, there is a troubled character, Peola, who is often classified as a tragic mulatto. Unlike Morrison’s troubled, dark-skinned, kinky-haired character, Peola is fair-skinned with straighter hair than her African American mother. In fact, Peola’s complexity centers around her grappling with her biracial identities, until she chooses to identify with her White heritage, a choice that is not without consequence. However, Peola and Pecola share a desire to move beyond the established societal positions for the African American women.

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