Plenty of people are longing for long, thick hair. However, it may seem like no matter how long you wait for it to grow, it doesn’t seem to get much longer.
When it comes to hair growth, it’s not entirely about how quickly your hair follicles can pump out fresh strands, you also have to make sure that the hair is strong enough to resist breakage and hair loss before reaching the lengths you are hoping for.
Below, we will cover 8 common causes of brittle hair which is prone to breaks, including ways to help avoid excessive hair breakage.
- Heat styling
It can be hard to break the heat styling habit.
But, the truth is that heat styling damages your hair and makes it more prone to breaking.
The more you heat style, the higher the heat and the less you use hair protecting products beforehand, the bigger the breakage problem will be.
If you can’t ditch the heat styling tools entirely, try to keep heat styling to once a week or so, and always use a heat protectant spray!
- Rough brushing
The way you brush your hair can lead to breakage if you aren’t gentle.
If you are prone to tangle, brush from the bottom up, and go easy on it to prevent too much tension on the strands.
When hair is wet it is the most elastic and vulnerable to breakage, so try to avoid brushing your hair until it is fully or mostly dry after you wash it.
Certain brushes can be harsher on hair than others, with plastic brushes being the worst (in addition to creating frizz). Opt for natural fibers like a boars hair brush to go easier on your hair when brushing, while leaving it with a slick and shiny look.
- Color or chemical treatments
Hair coloring treatments and chemical relaxants can dry out the hair shaft, as well as blowing open the hair cuticle and making strands feel rough, dry, and prone to breakage.
If you do decide to color or relax your hair, get it done professionally to help limit the damage and breakage afterward.
There are even conditioner coloring options available, which may temporarily add color to your hair without damaging the hair or making it more brittle.
- Tight bands or clips
Tight hairstyles can put extra pressure on your hair and lead to breakage or hair loss.
The tools that you choose can also damage the strands mid-shaft by being clipped or tied up too tightly. If you are going to use a clip or tye to hold up your hair, put the clips in loosely, and use covered elastic bands on loosely held hair.
This doesn’t mean that you have to ditch your top bun entirely, but loosen it up, avoid uncovered elastic tyes, and opt for letting your hair down loose on occasion.
- Excessive UV damage
The sun isn’t just damaging to your skin if you don’t protect it, it can cause your hair to dry out and become brittle, too.
If you know that your hair is in store for lots of sunshine (hello, beach weekend), protect it with UV-blocking hair products or a hat when you can.
Once you are done with your fun in the sun, give your hair a little extra TLC with a hydrating hair mask.
- Rough towel drying
Taking a towel to your hair to roughly dry it can damage your strands when they are in their weakened, elastic and wet state.
Terry cloth towels have a pretty rough texture, and can tug at hair or rough up your cuticle, leading to extra breakage or a rough and frizzy texture.
Air dry your hair when you can, or use a soft cotton, like an old t-shirt, to dry your hair off.
- Dehydrated hair
Your hair needs hydration to look its best and prevent breakage.
Dehydrated hair can start from within if you are not drinking enough water each day. Your hair is ⅓ water, so when your body is lacking in hydration, the water content of your strands can be compromised from the get-go.
After your hair has grown, heat styling, overly drying hair product ingredients like alcohol, and not using moisturizing treatments or hair conditioners can be a recipe for dry and brittle hair prone to breakage.
Drink your water, protect your hair, and apply a hydrating hair mask once a week to keep your strands happy and hydrated.
- Skipping your trims
If your goal is long mermaid-hair, you may be skipping your trims trying to maximize your growth.
However, you could actually be sabotaging your long hair dreams by worsening your split ends and letting them creep their way up your strands leading to more breakage.
The sooner those split ends are handled, the less likely they will lead to hair breakage down the line.
Even if the trim is minimal, head into your salon for an end clean-up every 6-8 weeks to make sure your hair gains are healthy and strong.