Hair loss (shedding) and hair breakage commonly get mixed up but the main difference comes down to the length of the hair you’re losing. Shedding is a natural part of your hair cycle, and on average, you can shed anywhere between 50-100 hairs a day. You'll know it's shedding if the hair is long-whole strands, not short pieces of hair.
Breakage has to do with your cuticle and the overlapping scales that keep your strands together. When your hair is healthy, these scales line up together but when it's not, these scales can begin to split from one another, leading to dry and brittle hair that is prone to breakage. These strands tend to be shorter and can break off anywhere from the tip or even closer to the root.
What commonly causes breakage?
Hair Type 1 - Excessive brushing
There's a common misconception that brushing your hair 100 times a day is good for you. Spoiler alert, it's not! The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends brushing your hair ONLY when you’re styling. Once you achieve your specific style, put the brush down.
Using a wide-tooth comb also helps from excessive pulling and tugging on the hair. If you happen to come across some tangles, make sure to remove them as gently as possible.
GE Tip: Cut down on your brushing time with our satin-lined caps. The smooth satin-lining helps preserve hairstyles longer and prevent your hair from becoming a tangled mess in the morning. Fewer tangles lead to less brushing, which leads to less breakage!
Type 2 - Protect your hair from heat
Excessive sun exposure, blow dryers, and styling tools such as our favorite curling iron can cause our hair to break off. High heat can be recommended to achieve a certain look but if done incorrectly, you can damage your cuticle from the high temps.
The best way to protect yourself from heat damage is to limit your usage as much as possible. Now that most of us are working from home, let your hair dry naturally, and limit your styling tool usage. The AAD recommends limiting the use of heat to once a week or even less often, and always use the lowest heat setting when possible.
GE Tip: Protecting yourself from heat damage can be as simple as throwing on a hat! Our baseball caps are all lined with our famous Charmeuse Satin, to help protect your hair from the sun and preserve your hairstyle even longer.
Type 3 - Switch Up Your Hairstyle
During this pandemic, it's been more tempting than ever to just braid your hair and leave it like that forever. But you shouldn't do this, because although protective styles protect your hair from daily physical or chemical manipulation, they also can leave your hair dry and prone to breakage if done wrong or overused.
When using protective styles, don't over tighten your do. The tension can cause your hair to break and eventually lead to hair loss. We suggest leaving your style in for 6 to 8 weeks max. Leaving your protective style in for too long will cause excessive build-up, and your new hair growth will add more tension leading to more severe breakage.
GE Tip: Once you take your protective hairstyle down, don't go right into another one. Give your hair and scalp some time to regroup. If you want to get your hair out of your face, try wearing your hair gently pulled back with one of our silk scrunchies. These super soft hair ties avoid pulling and tugging on your delicate strands.
Type 4 - Use your fingers to detangle your hair
Type 4 hair is prone to shrinkage which can lead to so many tangles. Using your fingers to detangle takes patience and isn’t the easiest thing to do, but once you learn, your hair will benefit greatly from it.
The biggest benefit from finger detangling is it's a much gentler approach. When using a brush, you can easily tug on your hair and yank out precious strands. With your hands, you can actually feel the areas that need to be detangled and can stop prior to yanking out those knots. Finger detangling can be very time consuming, but the more you do it, the faster you'll be.
GE Tip: Style your hair with shrinkage in mind and go for a twist out. This will help stretch your hair and give you a nice textured look. Finish this look with one of our knot turbans to help keep your hair moisturized and frizz-free!