Unintentional Hair Enemies

Living the textured life has its perks. Your hair has personality and is resilient. However, because of this, special consideration must be taken when doing what many people take for granted or perform by rote. So, this week, I’ll talk about some natural hair enemies that we unconsciously face and the need to take account of them in our daily life.


Caps & Scarves
Although it is now spring and many of us don’t have to worry about this part of our wardrobe right now, autumn and winter will eventually cycle back around. Many of the fabrics that caps, hats, and scarves are made of have proven to be drying to the hair. When I was growing up, wool ribbons were popular and my beautician grandmother forbade them asserting that “wool will make your hair come out.” What happens is that certain fabrics can leech the moisture out of our hair making it more vulnerable to breakage. Further, the cling can pull on the hair and lend itself to splits. Be aware that cotton can also negatively affect the hair in the same manner.

The workaround: opt for satin-lined caps and hats and satin and silk scarves.

You may remember the blog I wrote a couple of weeks ago about giving your hair a break. Kinky, curly, and coily hair is fun! It can do things that straight hair simply cannot do. This can get us in trouble. Between blow dryers, flat irons, curling irons, braids, brushes (generally a natural hair no-no), twists, bows, bands, clips, and rubber bands (amongst others), our hair can become overtaxed.

The workaround: Give your hair a rest. Know when to take down your protective style. Use simple tools like a wide-tooth comb or your hands.

Long nails
Speaking of using hands as a styling tool, I want to make note of nails. Our nails are pretty and can often accent our look. However, when our nails are long, whether real or acrylic, we risk snagging our strands and causing breakage by simply running our fingers through it or absentmindedly “playing” in our hair. This is also a concern while attempting to perform general hair maintenance. I can attest to having pulled out a strand or two in the process of shampooing, raking conditioner through my hair and twisting. The possibility of damage increases when nails are unkempt (hangnails, too sharp, etc…).

The workaround: Make sure nails are at a manageable length. If you have trouble performing everyday tasks at your current length, consider trimming them and making sure that they are well-maintained. If you can, avoid the impulse to “play” in your hair.

This one is pretty straightforward. I cannot count how many times I’ve had my hair caught in necklaces, on earrings, in watches, bracelets and my wedding rings (ironically while “playing” in my hair). Even embracing someone wearing elaborate earrings can cause unintentional snags.

The workaround: As a fan of jewelry, I cannot and do not advise shunning jewelry. But, I do advise being conscious about the fact that you are wearing jewelry and plan ahead. For example, wear an updo on the days you opt to wear a necklace. If you have a habit of running your fingers through your hair, make sure it’s not the hand with the ring or other jewelry on it.

We all work hard and every now and then, we get to lounge around and watch Netflix and do absolutely nothing. Even at work or in the doctor’s office we lean back on cloth covered chairs and couches. As relaxing as this may be, our hair may be baring the brunt of our leisure. In the midst of our lounging, leaning and resting, our hair is rubbing against these surfaces and…(you guessed it)…the moisture is again being leeched from our strands. I’ve personally experienced this issue with wicker furniture as well while wearing my hair down.

The workaround: If you’re lounging on a lazy day at home, go ahead and throw your satin or silk scarf on for extra protection. If you are out in public, be aware of the type of seat in which your are sitting. Personally, I always carry a clip so that in situations I cannot control, I can keep my hair out of harm’s way. If you don’t have a clip with you, or if clipping is not feasible, sit in a way that allows you to keep your head away from the furniture’s cloth but still be comfortable.

Next week, we’ll talk about protein. Until then, you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.

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  1. You forgot one that I and many others are dealing with now: Medications. Some of the meds we have to take, especially for blood pressure an diabetes, are leaving us with thin spots. I would love to find a way to undo that. Thanks

  2. Hi Mavis,

    You are correct that medication can bring havoc to the hair. I wanted to focus on problems that can be easily fixed. Hopefully, physicians will let their patients know if their prescriptions could cause changes in their hair. Usually, when a medication or supplement is causing an unwanted side effect, the remedy is to remove that factor from the daily routine. Unfortunately, since prescriptions are often necessary, they can’t just be stopped without physician approval and finding a suitable alternative. The best advise I can offer you for now is to speak with your physician and ask for alternative medications that won’t do so much damage to your hair and in the meantime, continue to care for your hair vigilantly.

    Thanks for responding!

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