Are you concerned about damaged natural hair and how bad your natural hair is damaged? Knowing the signs of poor hair health can help you protect it from further damage. This guide will tell you what damaged natural hair looks like and how to take care of it. Damaged hair is a common issue among curly girls and natural hairstylists. You might be asking yourself, “what does damaged natural hair look like?” or “is my hair damaged?” If you’re noticing you have brittle strands that are difficult to style or if you have frizzy locks that lack shine, is there anything that can be done and how long will it take to repair my hair? If left untreated, the damage can worsen, leading to breakage and other long-term issues.
Damaged natural hair is first and foremost characterized by its dryness and frizz. This can present itself in the form of split ends, where your strand splits into many pieces, or an overall dull look to your hair. It might also have a more irregular texture and less defined curls. Dryness can be caused by chemical treatments, repeated heat-styling or environmental damage. In order to assess the health of your hair, you should use a reliable water-based moisturizer regimen, hair heat protectants as well as protective styling techniques such as cornrows, braids and buns.
Split ends, also known as trichoptilosis, are common signs of damaged hair. Having split ends is a common sign of poor hair health. Split ends occur when the cuticle —the outermost protective layer of the hair— becomes compromised, causing one strand to split into many and fray. This can cause the hair tips to appear thin, uneven, look frizzy and tangle easily. In order to help hair look healthy, get into a habit of trimming split ends immediately, and regularly, to prevent further damage other hair strands. When hair is over-styled (think teased) or heat damaged from using tools such as flat irons and blow dryers, split ends can form. It’s helpful to trim split ends often to limit tangles and frizz that can lead to breakage and full hair strand fractures. It is also very helpful to use hair repair products that can moisturize your ends while building hair bonds. Hair products like Save Me From Chemical Conflict have silk proteins, creatine and biomimetic keratin to strengthen hair and build bonds but don’t dry out hair like other hair proteins do. Save Me From Chemical Conflict also contains babassu oil, castor oil, coconut oil, murumuru butter and more to give hair what it needs in strength but also hydration.
Dullness and Low Shine
Damaged hair can appear dull and lack the luster and healthy shine of healthy, nourished hair. Our natural hair should be soft and supple, however any signs of dryness or breakage may mean that our protective outermost layer is not functioning properly. When this layer breaks down, it results in less reflection of light leading to a lack of shine. Helping to prevent hair porosity is important but when hair becomes overly porous, ingredients like ceramides and phospholipids can help.
Increased Volume Due to Frizz and Texture Changes
When hair dryness becomes bad, the hair texture changes and hair looks frizzy. Damaged natural hair will also appear to have increased volume due to the rise in porosity associated with damaged hair strands. This can lead to a loss of curl pattern and overall texture changes, as the raised cuticle changes the way individual curls behave. You may notice an increase in frizz or split ends that seem unmanageable. Along with this, your natural coils will become easier to stretch and break when you brush or comb your hair. It’s helpful to look for silicone alternatives that will not weigh down the hair and effect the hair curl pattern but instead will provide a nice lightweight feel that reduces frizz. Hemisqualane, a natural ingredient derived from fermented sugarcane, has been shown to help reduce frizz and supply the lubricity hair needs.
Hair Breakage: Tears, Snags and Shedding
Damaged hair is most at risk for excessive breakage (which can eventually lead to hair thinning). Your hair can become weak and snap at any point along the hair – from the scalp to the midshaft and down to the hair ends - as a result of too much manipulation, either from heat tools or rough styling techniques like braiding and twisting. The hair can also become snagged in combs and brushes, making them difficult to remove without causing further damage. In extreme cases, you may begin to notice shedding in clumps, which is often a sign that it’s time to take a break from styling your hair until its health has been restored.
- To reduce breakage, be sure you’re investing in sulfate-free shampoos and avoid harsh detergents that strip away the helpful moisture from your scalp and on your hair.
- Also, be sure to comb hair carefully. Wide tooth combs are typically preferred but with my own fine and curly hair that tends to tangle easily, I have become very fond of the wet brush. HOWEVER I steer clear of brushing my hair while its wet, I still find this brush helpful with detangling. Also, be sure to always start with brushing hair from the ends and working your way up, always being gentle.
- Check out more ways to support healthy hair growth here.
The Ayurvedic Spice That's Changing Everything
It's worth mentioning the hair reparative benefits of Fenugen. Inspired by Ayurvedic medicine, we've harnessed the fenugreek's rich phytonutrients including medium and long chain fatty acids, terpenoids, polyphenols, phospholipids and vitamins A, C and B variety vitamins and paired these with bio-boosters like ubiquinone (also known as Coenzyme Q10 for hair), organic karanja (also known as pongamia) and medicum chain triglycerides (MCT’s derived from coconut). Through a patented eco extraction process, we've magnified these phytonutrients into our clinically proven technology. Fenugen possesses the rich nutrients of fenugreek seeds in a complex 5x more potent in polyphenols. These nutrients include Vitamin A, B Vitamins, Vitamin C and more. Fenugen is a good source for important biothiols that protect your hair from oxidative damage and rebuild disulfide bonds. Bleach, color, chemical services & heat cause internal disulfide bonds to break, leaving your hair weak, brittle & damaged. With Bond Reboot’s creatine, ionic bonds are also restored, making the hair stronger even when wet. Our Reboots quickly reduces split ends and reduce hair breakage while nurturing new hair that’s more resistant to future damage. With consistent, long-term use, hair bonds are rebuilt, hydration is restored helping to reduce frizz, the scalp is energized and nourished from within allowing hair that's more resistant to damage to emerge. Rooted in Ayurveda, our Fenugen is clinically proven to transform hair from tip to root, inside and out.