alt text
Hair health and science

What Causes Hair to Break (And How To Stop It?)

3 minutes

Breakage is the bane of your hair-rearing existence. Tangled clumps in your comb…ugh. And while it's usually not a sign that you are cursed by anything serious, it can be an indication that something is off in the land of follicle-dom.

Signs of hair breakage

Breaking hair can lead to emotional meltdowns. We've all been there at some point. But knowing what hair breakage looks like can help you make the right decisions early.

Check for these signs:

  • Your ends are thinning and look rough

  • Short broken hairs appear in your comb

  • Shedding during styling

  • More split ends, and white spots on strands

Hair breakage vs. hair shedding

Hair breakage is when the hair strand is broken or cut by a hard surface, like your comb as it goes through your hair. This is different from shedding, when the hair strand is lost naturally from an active growth cycle.

You can't prevent shedding. It's a normal part of every hair's life cycle. Don't fixate on it –  this is just part of having hair!

“Why is my hair breaking?” - here are some causes

It could depend on a number of things: from your hair routines to your general lifestyle. Everything can play a part!

Tight hairstyles: Anytime there's tension between your scalp and the roots of your hair for too long, it will cause it to snap off completely.

Stress: Extreme stress can cause hair to shed more rapidly than normal. It's called telogen effluvium; when your roots reach the resting cycle earlier than usual.

Dryness: When you have dry hair, the cuticle of each strand becomes roughened and lifted from the shaft of the hair. This can lead to split ends that begin to break off just above your scalp.

Heat damage: Heat affects the protein bonds inside your hair, which are what give it strength. Over time these bonds can weaken.

Chemical Damage: Chemicals in shampoo, hair dye and other products can strip your strands of moisture, resulting in dryness and a weakened outer cuticle layer.

Lack of hair trims: The longer you wait between cuts, the more likely your hair is to split and break at the ends.

Excessive brushing: Brushing your hair too much is one of the main causes of breakage. It weakens the hair, creating tiny split ends across the shaft.

How to stop the snapping

Consider a few positive lifestyle and habit changes. You'd be surprised at the wonders it can do for your hair.

Eat clean, eat well: Maintaining a healthy diet will go a long way to preventing hair breakage. Eating foods that contain essential nutrients like iron and protein is key in the production of keratin.

Say bye to dye:  Chemical treatments, like dye, tend to strip the hair of its natural oils, leaving it brittle and weak. Any attempt at covering up the damage with dye is just going to make things worse.

Put down the heat: You knew this was coming. Heat from styling tools causes swelling in your hair follicles which disrupts normal growth cycles. This results in thinner and weaker strands.

Prevention is better than cure

It's far easier to keep it from happening than trying to fix it once it's broken – literally. Check out these tips on how to prevent hair breakage:

Moisturise: If you’re experiencing hair breakage, it might be time to give your strands a little love and attention. Especially if your hair is curly – which tends toward dryness – it’s important to keep moisture in the picture.

Kill split ends early: Say goodbye to them with a daily split end sealer. Use a nourishing leave-in conditioner to smooth and seal split ends after you detangle, or as a curl refresher between washes.

Wash protection: How to prevent hair from breaking even when washing? When it's time to wash your hair, try braiding it before you shampoo! Braids lessen tangles and breakage.

Cool down: Heat up the hair game but don't go overboard. When using heat styling, always use heat-protectant products.

With these things in mind, you should see some serious results!

Regardless of type, all hair can break. The most important thing is to choose the right care products. Take our quiz and you'll find out which hair care products are best for you.

Share this article: