When it comes to our natural hair, we want to do everything we can to stop damaging our curly hair. You will find a lot of advice on maintaining the health of our hair, some of it is good, some bad and then there are those tips that seem to make sense but can actually be damaging to curly hair. Here, we share with you the top 6 most common ways you are damaging your hair and you don’t even know it.
1. Air Drying is Damaging to Curly Hair
Contrary to popular belief, air drying is not the gentlest way to dry our hair. This might seem shocking to most. Wet hair is in a weakened state. Sot then, you add products to your hair and let it air dry which will lengthen the amount of time it takes your hair to dry. Now, your hair is in a weakened state for a long time. This causes more damage to your hair than light blow-drying to the cell membrane cortex or CMC. The CMC is what holds the cuticle and other parts of the hair in tack.
We recommend: Sitting under a hooded hair dryer or using a diffuser on your hair dryer. You want a gentle heat to dry your hair.
2. Protein Treatments When You Don’t Need Them
Should you be doing protein treatments? This might be a question you are asking yourself right now. Maybe you already are doing your protein treatments, or using products with protein in it.
What you might not realize is that if your hair isn’t damaged, then you might be damaging your curly hair by making it brittle and dry with protein treatments.
We recommend: If you color your hair, have heat damage then a protein treatment might be good for you. Check out our guide on them here.
3. Deep Conditioning too Long/too Much
On the flip side is deep conditioning your hair too much which can be damaging to curly hair. Deep conditioning is a great way to hydrate and repair damaged hair. Normally, you would use heat to open the cuticles of the hair so your conditioner’s active ingredients can be effective.
However, over-moisturizing your hair will cause your hair to become limp and lifeless. This is called hygral fatigue. Hygral fatigue is when your hair cuticles are damaged because they have been taking in or exiting an excessive amount of moisture.
We recommend: Deep condition your curly hair every other week at most for no longer than 30 minutes at a time.
4. Too Tight Styles Could Be Damaging Curly Hair
Hairstyles that are too tight can lead to hair loss. Traction alopecia is hair loss that occurs when your are constantly pulling on your hair. Styles that pull on your hair include braids, ponytails/buns, cornrows, extensions/weaves, dread locs and even sleeping with your hair in rollers.
These styles every once in a while won’t harm your hair or cause hair loss. When they become our ‘go-to’ styles then that’s where the damage occurs.
We recommend: Loosening up your hair styles and not braiding your hair so tight.
5. Same styles/buns/updos
Similar to too tight styles and wearing your hair in the same style all time. For example, if your hair is always in a ponytail, then you might start to notice breakage around where the ponytail holder is. These types of style create breakage points because your hair is constantly being put in the same stressful state.
We recommend: switching up your styles and letting your hair down as often as possible to let our hair ‘breathe’.
6. Leaving Protective Styles in Too Long
During the colder months, most of us like to put our hair into ‘protective’ styles. A protective style is any style that tucks your hair away to reduce friction and minimize manipulation. This can be effective in helping you to maintain length, but if you’re not taking your protective style out ever 2-3 weeks, you are damaging your curly hair even more.
You can read the 4 ways your protective styles can go wrong here.
Stylists recommend not leaving in any protective style for more than 3 weeks, 4 tops if you must, but this shouldn’t be the rule. You want to be able to take your protective style down to wash your hair.
Did we miss anything on our list? Let us know what you think in the comments.