Breakage unlike shedding is neither a natural or normal process but rather an indication of an imbalance between important forces within the hair strand. These forces are protein and moisture. Broken hairs do not fall naturally from the head, they are signs of mishandling or abuse.
Breakage may be caused by damage from the use of heat, exposure to the sun, rough handling or mechanical abuse and chemical processes such as relaxers or hair dyes. The older the hair the more vulnerable it becomes to breakage. This makes the ends of hair likely to break from typical, everyday wear and tear. In addition to everyday wear and tear on the older parts of hair, breakage may also result from a lack of moisture (conditioning) in the hair strands or too much protein in the hair cause by excessive protein treatments.
Even with the greatest care and pamper, some breakage is inevitable due to the delicate nature of our hair, especially if you have fine kinks and coils common to most naturals. All you can do is try to keep breakage to the absolute minimum. A few broken strands while handling your hair is not cause for concern. However if you start noticing several broken strands over a short period of time then perhaps you should be mindful of your hair's protein or moisture balance.
Pay attention to your nails before you handle your hair, make sure there are no rough edges to snag hair. Always be careful when handling hair and detangle with care beginning at the ends and working your way up. Also, be mindful of the tools you use in your hair and whether they are contributing to breakage. Give your hair ends some TLC (tender loving Care). Always remember they are the oldest, weakest part of your hair so they will be more prone to breakage. Do not skip or shorten your conditioning step. Condition your hair after each shampoo and deep condition often. This is especially critical if your hair has been colored or dyed. If you co-wash with traditional conditioners, remember that these typically contain protein and too much protein will lead to breakage and other hair damage. Check and read your labels very well. Keep hair ends in shape with regular trims and minimize the use of heat. This should lead to a reduction in breakage and help in maintaining a strong and healthy hair.
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By Heather Cummings