First, I LOVE healthy hair! Healthy equals PRETTY! Pretty does NOT equal healthy! Second, I am NOT a licensed cosmetologist, but I did attend cosmetology school. Third, every product that I have tried, I researched it before and after buying it. My research is based on what's in it and how my hair reacts after I use it. Such as, if it makes my hair greasy, dries it out, makes it frizzy etc. By knowing that and knowing what's in each of the products, you can figure out what your hair reacts better to and what causes certain issues. After comparing ingredients in the products that you like and don't like way you will learn what to look for and what to stay away from.
Another key factor to growing healthy hair is knowing what your hair is doing before using any products. You will need to know the difference between shedding and breakage. You will also need to know what causes hair breakage and shedding. Once you learn the difference between the two and what causes it, you will need to then figure out if you have breakage or shedding is it from chemicals, heat, something internal or all three. I will explain shedding and breakage as best as I can to give you idea of what your hair may be doing. If at any point you are not sure what your hair is doing please go to a professional that you trust.
Hair Breakage occurs when the cortex is damaged. The cortex is the middle layer of hair and when it is damaged the hair becomes fragile and breaks. The most common reasons for hair breakage is over using chemicals, styling products and heat. Chemical damage occurs when chemicals are overlapped on the hair or applied improperly to the hair and stripes hair of moisture and weaken the cortex. Once you apply any chemical treatment to your hair, your hair is borderline damaged. The reason I say that is because any chemical treatment that you apply breaks the hair down and causes it to lose protein and moisture. Protein and moisture loss causes the hair to become dry and when stretched it does not bounce back easily which means the hair is weaker and the elasticity is low. When the elasticity is low and the hair is pulled any kind of way it does not bounce back it breaks off. Our hair needs elasticity in order to endure washing, combing and styling. Protein gives our hair strength and when the protein is gone our hair becomes fragile and breaks easily. Moisture loss causes the hair to become very dry. When the hair is dry, it becomes fragile and fragile hair breaks. Moisture loss also cause split ends and once the ends are split it continues to split up toward the hair shaft. Once at the shaft and sometimes before, if not treated or trimmed the hair will break. Chemical breakage can come from overlapping or simply mixing the wrong products. I would recommend that if your hair is breaking to stay away from all chemicals until your hair regains strength. I also recommend seeing a professional for future chemical treatments. Heat damage normally occurs from overheated and overused styling tools. Heat takes away moisture and dries out the hair which causes it to break as well. Most of our heat damage comes from using extremely hot styling tools on freshly washed hair. When the hair is clean you do not need your styling tools on high. Always style hair on the lower settings when applying direct heat. If your curls or hair does not come out the way your like it or don't last as long, try getting your ends trimmed in order to keep the heat on your hair low and to a minimum. Also, if you find yourself applying heat everyday or needing higher heat to get a style you either need your ends trimmed or a relaxer. Styling products can be very harmful to the hair as well depending on what ingredients they have in them and what your hair needs more or less of. Some styling products stripes the hair of it’s natural moisture which causes the hair to become very dry and break. I suggest when using a product use the entire product line, that way you will know fore sure they were made to work together. Stay away from hard shampoos with sulfates, because they strip the hair too. Always, always know what ingredients that you are putting on your hair, because the wrong mixture will cause hair breakage or shedding. With the combination of the things mentioned above, you must know when to use certain products, how to use and what it is used for in order to stop breakage. To sum it up over using chemicals causes breakage. Too much heat causes breakage. Products that stripes hair of moisture causes damage. Not knowing what to stay away from causes breakage.
Hair Shedding is more normal than you think. The average person loses up to 100 strands of hair per day. If you are losing more 100-120 strands max, it may or may not be normal. Hair shedding is a tricky thing, because we all lose hair daily. Excessive hair shedding is caused by stress (good or bad), a change in your diet, starting or stopping a medicine or just being a women (hormone changes). Shedding can be caused by a lot of other reason, but most of the reasons are internal. We shed hair to get new hair. We shed hair because of stress. Stress could be good or bad (losing a family member, starting a new job, losing a job, planning a wedding). A change in your diet. Starting or stopping a medicine. Sometimes our bodies adjust to having or not having certain things and the side effect show with our hair. Hair shedding can be from so many different things, but you have to know what's going on in your life to determine if your hair shedding is normal. If you find your hair to be shedding more than normal I would suggest you visit your doctor. Yes, I said doctor even though we are talking about hair. Excessive shedding can let your doctor know to look for other things that may not have been talked about. Also, excessive shedding can cause hair thinning which none of us wants. Pay attention to the amount of hair that you are shedding each day. To determine if it is shedding or breakage look at the end of the strands. If you see a white bulb, it is shedding. If you don't see the white bulb, it's most likely to be breakage. Now I know you are going to think this is weird, but count the strands if hair that you lose each day to kinda give you an idea if you are in the normal range or not. If you feel you are not make an appointment with your doctor to determine what steps you need to take from here.
Now that we have the major causes of hair breakage and shedding we’ll know to look. Once we know what to look for we can stop the breakage and shedding and get our hair to growing healthy.