What Causes Damaged Hair and How to Fix It

Young Woman Having Bad Hair Day
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Sometimes, hair problems go beyond singular issues such as dryness or frizz. There are times when damaged hair is beyond repair. No amount of conditioning, protein treatments or any miracle product can help. What went wrong and how can you make sure it never happens again?

Common Causes of Damaged Black Hair

The good news is that all of the causes listed are within your control. While it may take some work to turn your hair care habits around, you should be able to when you prioritize your hair's health over everything else.

Chemical Abuse

This is a major cause of damaged hair. When products like relaxers and hair color are easily accessible, most anyone can buy them and use them. A lot of the time, they aren't used properly and that's where damage comes in. It can be especially difficult to apply a relaxer only to your hair's new growth, which is why paying a professional to do this is highly recommended. Overlapping relaxers on previously relaxed hair makes it weaker and will eventually lead to breakage.

Applying harsh color on chemically processed hair is another potential damage scenario. Blonde hair color on bone-straight relaxed tresses is just asking for trouble. The lifting and depositing process on top of hair that's already processed is too harsh to leave in the hands of anyone who doesn't have experience treating double-processed hair.

When it comes to healthy hair, you sometimes have to make choices.

You can't always have that ultra-bright hair color if you also want chemically straightened locks, so decide which is more important to you in order to avoid excessive damage.

Heat

Whether your hair is chemically processed or natural, too much heat can hurt it. This pertains to daily heat abuse through the use of flat irons, curling irons or pressing combs.

It also applies to high temperatures used even once. Hair can and will burn if extremely hot tools are used on it.

Unfortunately, some women have found this out the hard way by using flat irons to straighten their natural hair. The too-high temperatures permanently killed their curl pattern and no amount of shampooing and conditioning is able to bring it back. There's nothing pretty about growing out your natural hair and then having stick-straight, damaged pieces throughout an afro.

Neglect

Truly healthy hair doesn't just happen. It gets to be that way with routine care, meaning you should have some type of routine in place. Some women see the word "routine" and think this involves hours upon hours of styling, grooming and pampering. Not so! Every good hair regimen should have the following in place:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioning
  • Deep conditioning
  • Protein (optional)

If you choose other treatments such as pre-poos and oil rinsing, that's fine, but they're not necessary. Smart style choices and a simplified care plan can result in spending no more than 20-30 minutes on your tresses most days, not counting wash and deep conditioning days.

Solution for Treating Damaged Hair

When your hair is just dry, even excessively so, you can work to get the moisture back in it.

It may take a while (at least several weeks), but it can be done. However, damage is completely different. Once hair is fried past the point of no return, there really is no return to healthy hair. The only solution is to cut off the damaged hair. This can be painful to hear if you really want your hair to grow longer, but long hair that's damaged won't do anything for your look. Instead, just get rid of the damaged bits, start over and vow not to repeat the same mistakes.