Tag Archives: hair breakage

Quick Tip #17: Use Coconut Oil CAUTIOUSLY!

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Fresh Coconuts (Set of 3)

Ok, scientifically coconut oil IS NOT a protein but, in a sense, I feel like it behaves like one because it contains lauric acid (a medium chain fatty acid that binds easily to protein in hair). Because of this, coconut oil has the ability to penetrate the hair shaft (due to its low molecular weight), reducing protein loss and strengthening the hair’s structure. It also creates a “hardening effect” due to its ability to change viscosity so quickly (i.e., from a liquid to a solid state) at low temperatures. As a result, harsh winter winds, for example, can create stiff hair very quickly. In addition, repeated use of coconut oil can cause protein build-up, drastically reducing hair’s elasticity and causing follicles to become dull, dry, brittle, easily tangled, and more prone to breakage.

Have you been overusing coconut oil? If so, consider utilizing a deep conditioner or moisturizing hair mask to restore the protein:moisture balance of your hair. Need a complete restart? Try a reconstructor instead.


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Filed under Hair Styles & Tips

2016: A Year in Rear View

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.),  which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

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Creative Commons License by WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Photo shared by Famartin
Photo Adapted

2016, for me, was a year of setbacks. After more than half of the year was over, I discovered that most of my hair’s lack of hydration was due to the fact that I live in a hard (to very hard) water area. Ever since I purchased a new shower filter, I have noticed an exponential reduction in split ends and single strand knots (SSKs). However, after gaining and retaining an additional three inches in length during the last quarter of the year, I lost it all (and more) due to a foolish decision to put my hair in mini twists. After that, my hair’s health declined dramatically. It’s been an uphill battle ever since to recover from fragile, damaged ends and extensive hair breakage (I lost as much as 5″ in some areas)! I’ve dusted my ends multiple times to try to get back to the status quo for my hair.

When my hair growth continued to stall and I observed that I still had split, scraggly ends, I bit the bullet and chopped off an additional 1″ – 1 ½” (around the beginning of December 2016). Unfortunately, that meant losing more length on top of what I had already lost due to breakage, but I wanted to start fresh in the New Year. Plus, I always choose the health of my hair over the length of my hair. So, I’m not afraid to get scissor-happy when necessary. 😉 Besides, only a month later, it has proven to be the best decision I ever made since my hair grew (and I retained) 0.5″ in the last 30 days (finally)!

As a result, in 2017, I will be focusing predominantly on restoring the health of my hair and length retention. It’s back to basics for me … Moisture! Moisture! Moisture! I will continue to moisturize my hair twice a day (in the morning and at night before I go to bed). I am thinking of reincorporating the GHE method back into my regimen on a more consistent basis. I totally failed to do this last year, which I think only exacerbated my dry hair woes. I also plan to experiment with a few more hair growth aids and styling products to make up for lost time. 😉

So far this winter, the main struggle I’ve noticed is that my natural hair is in this awkward stage where the length of my hair, when down, (i.e., in wash ‘n gos and twist-outs) sometimes brushes up against my clothes, especially after day 4 or 5 when my shrunken freshly washed hair starts to loosen and become more voluminous after repeated stretching from twist-outs or general styling. I think that might have contributed to a lot of breakage as well. So, I hope to twist AND pin my hair up or do more roll ‘n tuck styles. Because my fine strands do not like being in protective styles over extended periods of time, I’m going to try to minimize over-manipulating my hair. In addition, at night, I have been loosely bunning my hair or tucking in my ends and pinning it in place to better protect the oldest part of my hair.

I’m also toying with the idea of ditching shampoo altogether and co-washing exclusively. If that doesn’t work, I may add a pre-poo or oil rinse to my regimen. I haven’t thus far to try to keep my hair wash day as minimal as possible, but I definitely think my current hair regimen needs a revamp, so I will be tweaking it from time to time as I start the journey of finding new products and methods that will work for my hair’s current needs. I’ve already incorporated a mid-week co-wash back into my routine. I used to do this when my hair was relaxed and I was transitioning to natural. So far, my hair seems to like it. Because I exercise an hour a day 6-7 days a week, I think an additional wash may be necessary to better maintain my hair’s moisture and to keep my scalp free from bacteria (i.e., from sweating during workouts) and excessive debris.

Here are the current measurements of my hair. As you can see, I lost 6-8″ in overall length from the continued breakage I experienced from hard water, the damage I suffered from wearing my hair in mini twists, and much-needed trims (to cut away fragile, split, tangled ends).

Current Measurements

FRONT: 14″

SIDES: 11.5″ (LEFT); 12″ (RIGHT)


BACK: 11.0″

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Filed under Hair Regimens, Length Checks

HAIR SETBACK ALERT: What Do You Do When Things Don’t Go as Planned?

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.
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                    Source: stock.xchng



Well, things have been going swimmingly since I went natural. I have been natural for eight months now and, so far, my hair has been growing slightly faster than average. And, I have also been maintaining my length successfully each month. I have had no major hair setbacks … until now … Sigh.

Lately, I’ve been noticing a lot of hair fall: excessive shedding, single strand knots, more hair in my sink, etc. I didn’t pay too much attention to it until after 4-5 weeks, and I realized that my hair was a tangled mess and was still shedding excessively. It also didn’t appear to be growing. Even though I wear my hair in its curly/coily state 95% of the time, I usually can tell each month whether my hair has grown at least a half-inch before I pull out my measuring tape. Well, this month, for the first time, I couldn’t! I started to worry, but I told myself it was my overactive Alice-in-Wonderland-sized imagination. But, when I measured my hair in various places all over my head, the immutable truth stared back at me in the mirror … I had lost a 1/2″ of growth. My hair went from 6.5″-7.0″ to 6.0″-6.5″!

I felt angry and confused. I wracked my brain to try to figure out the cause but, like most things, this didn’t happen overnight. I analyzed and reanalyzed my routine, and I realized that for the last month, I hadn’t been following my routine. Heck, I hadn’t been following ANY routine!

I recently found out that my mom has stage one kidney disease. That, on top of some other ailments, had left her completely demobilized. So, my sister and I have been sharing the responsibility of taking care of her around-the-clock while my dad is at work. I hadn’t realized, until now, that I had only deep conditioned my hair ONCE in the last month. I normally deep condition my hair ONCE A WEEK! I hadn’t been moisturizing and sealing my hair properly. I hadn’t been doing much of anything (in regards to my hair). And, to make matters worse, I haven’t been getting proper sleep.  Honestly, given all the stress I’ve been under, it’s a wonder I still have hair on my head!

I’ve been neglecting my hair, to say the least, which left my tresses parched, lackluster, and broken. My first order of business (after a five-minute pout session)? You guessed it! I ran to my beauty cabinet to grab my deep conditioner. I added some grapeseed oil and rosemary essential oil, and liberally slathered it on every strand.  Then, I sat under my hooded dryer with a conditioning cap for 30 minutes. I usually only sit under the dryer for 20 minutes, but I figured my hair could use a little extra love. Thankfully, after rinsing out the conditioner, my hair was 100% revived. It instantly felt tangle-free and strong. I think my coils drank every drop of that deep conditioner. LOL! After that, I moisturized and sealed my hair.

The lesson? Even when unexpected things in life happen, don’t forget to take care of yourself! Obviously, the health of my mother is more important to me than the health of my hair, but it is too easy to forget yourself in the equation of life. So, remember to treat your hair kindly ladies. Things may not always go as planned (as far as hair goals are concerned), but when in doubt, go back to the basicsMOISTURE! MOISTURE! MOISTURE!


Filed under Length Checks