9 causes of natural hair breakage and the best treatments


Does your brush get full of hair after each use?

Unfortunately, breakage of black hair is a fairly common phenomenon.

It is due to the very structure of type 4 hair, whose tight curls prevent sebum from flowing through the hair fibers to the ends.

But the causes of natural hair breakage can be varied, I suggest you explore the 9 most common causes.

This is your chance to adapt your hair routine so that it regains its full health!


Why does black hair break?

The main causes of 4c hair breakage are :

  • Dryness of the hair
  • Poor nutrition
  • Heat damage
  • Inadequate brushing
  • Use of the wrong styling materials
  • Unsuitable accessories
  • Too frequent dyeing
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Let’s take a closer look at the reasons for Afro hair breakage, and then we’ll see how to remedy it.

1. Dryness of the hair

The main reason why black hair is drier than other hair types is because of its structure.

This is because natural hair has extremely tight curls that prevent sebum from circulating along the hair fibers, and dry hair is more prone to damage and breakage.

2. Poor nutrition

One of the main causes of hair damage is the lack of certain nutrients and vitamins in the daily diet.

In particular, it is important to eat foods rich in vitamins A, B, C, E and minerals such as iron and zinc. This strengthens the hair fibers and helps them gain thickness.

3. Heat damage

High temperatures cause the hair cuticles to open, making it easier for the water in the hair to evaporate.

As a result, hair is more vulnerable to everyday stresses.

But hot styling is often one of the main culprits for breakage, especially if you have tight 4b or 4c curls. However, some flat irons respect the hair better.

👉🏾 Discover the best flat iron for black natural hair.

Without proper protection, blow dryers and straighteners can dramatically lower hair humidity.

This is one reason why you should always make sure to apply a heat protectant before using a straightener.

4. Improper brushing

When hair is wet, it tends to be more fragile and lose a lot of its elasticity.

For most hair types, brushing your hair while it’s still wet can lead to breakage.

If you have nappy hair, however, dry brushing can lead to more breakage than when it is still wet.

It is therefore essential to use the right equipment. Feel free to consult my ranking of the best straightening brushes for african american hair.

In any case, to avoid traumatizing your hair during brushing, use a wide-tooth comb to detangle it, starting with the ends, then the mid-lengths and finally the roots. You’ll avoid breakage and get more volume.

5. Using the wrong styling tools

The main enemies to eliminate to avoid hair breakage are hard bristle brushes and fine tooth combs.

Prefer finger detangling at first, because you will inevitably be more delicate with your hands than with a utensil. With your fingers, you can feel the knots more easily.

A little tip: to detangle your hair more easily, simply coat your fingers with oil and work on segments of your hair, starting with the ends and working your way up to the roots.

I invite you to check out my article on how to detangle kinky hair for more tips on this.

When you’re done with a segment, you can curl or intertwine it to prevent it from tangling again.

6. Unsuitable accessories

Whether it’s a pretty pin, an elegant clip or colorful barrettes, it’s always nice to spruce up your hair with a little flair.

But are you sure these frills are ideal for the health of your hair?

The use of accessories hanging from your hair can eventually cause trauma to the hair and lead to breakage.

It may be worth sorting through your accessories to keep only the ones that are most friendly to your hair.

7. Dyeing your hair too often

If you frequently dye your hair, it can be a cause of frequent breakage or even hair loss.

The chemicals in many over-the-counter dyes are very harsh on the hair. Not only can they irritate the scalp, but they can also accelerate dryness and cause hair fiber breakage.

The solution? Ditch the ammonia dyes and replace them with natural dyes.

8. Stress

The expression “grey hair” is aptly named. Among the many causes that can cause hair loss, stress is perhaps the most difficult to manage.

An overload of work, complicated relationships or even everyday situations can cause anxiety that has repercussions on your health and especially on your hair.

By disrupting the development cycle of hair follicles, stress can cause hair breakage or loss.

9. Smoking

We know the deleterious effects of tobacco on the respiratory system, but did you know that it also directly influences hair health?

Many studies have shown that smokers’ hair is duller and more fragile.

Some of the compounds in cigarettes can be found directly in the hair. This is the case of nicotine, which can be detected in hair fibers up to a year after the last cigarette!

In addition to causing more frequent hair breakage, smoking affects the hair growth process and promotes hair breakage and loss.

How can I prevent hair breakage?

To prevent hair breakage, the first thing to do is to keep your hair moisturized, eat a healthy diet and avoid overuse of styling equipment.

There are also many solutions to restore your hair to full health.

How to avoid breakage of natural or curly hair? What treatments should be adopted to stop and avoid hair breakage in general? Let’s take a look at a few tips.

Avoiding hair dryness

If your hair gets dry, it is more likely to break. Also, cold weather can dry out hair and skin faster than heat.

If you have black hair, avoid putting it in contact with hats or other wool accessories if possible. The wool strands cling to the hair and attach themselves to it, adding unnecessary weight.

In addition, wrapping yourself in warm wool sweaters, hats and scarves also has the effect of absorbing moisture from the hair.

In case of low temperatures, you can apply a light oil on your hair to protect it. Drinking plenty of water is also essential to help keep your hair hydrated.

Eat the right diet

It sounds simple but you are what you eat! If you’re wondering how to deal with hair breakage, eat a healthy, balanced diet and your hair will be strong and healthy.

Hair is born from the follicles found in the scalp. These follicles get most of their nutrients from the blood.

With a proper diet that includes many nutrients and minerals, your follicles are well nourished, helping to limit hair breakage.

In particular, make sure you get your daily intake of vitamins B and E, as well as amino acids and iron. These elements all have a direct impact on hair health.

Damage from straightening

Hair straightening often involves a change in the structure of hair proteins, which make up 95% of hair. As a result, the hair is more vulnerable to daily aggressions.

This is especially true for black hair, which requires more effort to straighten.

Avoid applying a relaxer to your hair if it is already broken or damaged, as this will only damage it further.

Wait until your hair is in great shape to straighten. After straightening, regardless of the method used, relieve your hair by using a protein hair treatment containing keratin. Feel free to check out my article on which is the best shampoo to use after a brazilian blowout.

Hormonal changes

As a woman, your body regularly experiences hormonal changes, whether it’s due to menstruation or pregnancy.

This can lead to changes in the hair growth cycle, which can then break more during these times.

Also, if you find that the amount of hair breakage during your monthly cycle or at certain other times is particularly high, don’t hesitate to talk to your general practitioner.

How to grow broken hair?

To grow broken hair, you can

  • Cut your ends regularly,
  • Use products to promote growth,
  • Exfoliate your scalp
  • Rinse your hair with warm water
  • Massage your scalp
  • Let’s see how to apply these methods in more detail.

Cut the ends regularly

It may seem counterintuitive, but to get faster hair growth, you have to cut your hair!

By cutting them too infrequently, split ends are more likely to appear and hair becomes brittle.

By cutting the ends, you help your hair regain strength and vitality, which stimulates hair growth.

Getting into the habit of trimming your ends every few months can help 4c, straight or curly hair grow.

Grow your hair with dedicated products

There are a variety of products available to promote hair growth. Shampoos, lotions, conditioners and masks can give your hair a real boost.

We often find the same components in these products with for example :

  • Arginine, an amino acid that nourishes, shines and promotes hair growth
  • Marine glycogen, which revitalizes hair and promotes protein synthesis
  • Vitamin B
  • Zinc, involved in the production of creatine and collagen

👉🏾 Find out how to stimulate afro hair growth naturally.

Exfoliate the scalp

Like the skin on your face, the scalp can also benefit from exfoliation.

Excess sebum, dead cells, dandruff and impurities can hinder hair growth.

The solution? Exfoliate your scalp once a week to remove all those impurities. I recommend using natural products.

Here is an example of a recipe to exfoliate the scalp:


  • Coarse salt or coffee grounds
  • olive oil


  • Mix the ingredients
  • Apply to the roots
  • Massage in circular motions with fingertips for a few minutes
  • Rinse with a mild shampoo
  • Always rinse the shampoo with cold or warm water. This protects the scalp and helps give the hair a natural shine.

Rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water

When you wash your hair, it’s important to rinse it thoroughly and make sure there’s no product left that could prevent proper oxygenation of the scalp.

Another habit to adopt is to set a warm temperature for the rinse water.

Repeatedly using water that is too hot can eventually irritate the scalp and disrupt the growth cycle of the hair follicles.

Massage your scalp

Massaging the scalp activates blood circulation and promotes hair growth.

Twice a week, massage the entire scalp with your fingertips in circular motions for 5 to 10 minutes.

Start at the nape of the neck, continue to the crown of the head and finish at the temples.

The massage can be done without product or with a mixture of essential oils such as lemon, pine or thyme oil.

In addition to stimulating hair growth, this massage relaxes and relieves stress.

How to repair brittle hair?

In order to repair brittle hair, it is important to moisturize it well and to have a good supply of vitamins. You can also use natural plant-based products such as aloe vera or rosemary essential oil.

Moisturize your hair

The most effective way to moisturize your hair is to use water-based hair products. Make sure you only buy shampoos, creams, conditioners and styling gels that are mostly water-based.

The water in these products helps relieve hair from the dryness that often causes breakage.

You can also moisturize your hair by applying medicinal ointments or oils. These provide essential nutrients to the hair and enhance its ability to stay moisturized. Oils strengthen your hair and accelerate its development.

Olive oil is excellent for moisturizing hair. It is found in many moisturizing hair products.

Coconut oil for afro hair is also a great idea. In addition to moisturizing intensely, it brings an incomparable softness.

Among other oils to be favored to avoid hair breakage, castor oil or avocado oil are your best allies! Jojoba oil and its action against dry hair is also a great ally to give all their strength to black hair.

If you are looking for a way to moisturize and soften your hair, you can also turn to flaxseed gel on 4c hair. Its high vitamin E content helps nourish the scalp and stimulate the regeneration of hair follicles.

Take vitamins and herbal supplements

Taking vitamins and the best dietary supplements for afro hair is a great idea to help solve the problem of brittle hair.

This method is especially ideal if you are apprehensive about applying products to your hair.

Vitamins provide your hair with what it needs to regenerate and strengthen itself from the root.

Of the many good vitamins for hair, vitamins C and E are the ones to focus on.

Another good vitamin is vitamin B8. It is known for its effectiveness in helping hair growth. In addition to strengthening and thickening hair, it gives it a shiny and silky appearance.

Aloe vera juice and rosemary essential oil are also among the good herbal hair supplements.

Aloe vera juice is found in many hair care products. And if you want to make your own lotions, buying it pure can be just as useful.

Aloe vera is known for its soothing action on the scalp, which facilitates hair growth and strengthens it as it grows. It is therefore very useful if you have brittle hair.

Does broken hair grow back?

Most of the time, broken hair stops growing. Repeated trauma can cause the hair to stop growing. The hair eventually falls out and is replaced by a new follicle.

Knowing the natural hair growth cycle helps us understand why hair falls out.

Hair growth occurs in four stages: anagen, catagen, telogen and exogenous.

  • The anagen stage is the hair growth phase. The roots of the hair follicles create new hair fibers at an average rate of 1 cm per month for 2 to 7 years.
  • The catagen stage is a transition period during which hair growth slows down. The activity of the hair follicles stops and the hair begins to fall out. This phase lasts 2 to 3 weeks and when it is over, the cycle resumes.
  • The telogen stage corresponds to the resting phase of the hair. This phase continues for 3 to 5 months, during which another hair comes out of the root and gradually grows back.
  • The exogenous stage corresponds to the last period of the hair’s development cycle, when the hair completely detaches from the scalp and falls out. This is the hair you see falling out when you brush your hair. It is estimated that about 50 to 100 hairs go through the exogenous phase every day.

Does hair that falls out grow back?

Yes, hair that falls out is replaced by new follicles after a certain amount of time.

Based on the above cycle, we can deduce that the hair that falls out at the root corresponds to the hair follicle that has entered the telogen phase.

Hair that completes a telogen growth cycle falls out and is replaced by new hair.

Why do we sometimes lose more hair?

Sometimes we lose more hair because of an imbalance in the hair follicle growth cycle.

The hair growth cycle is cyclical, but the balance between the different phases is not always exactly the same.

If the proportion of hair follicles in the telogen phase is too high, this results in excessive hair loss.

This disturbance in the hair growth process can be caused by natural causes such as seasonal changes, or by external causes, such as stress, malnutrition or certain diseases.

Why does black hair break? In a nutshell

The main causes of natural hair breakage are dryness, poor diet, excessive heat, inadequate brushing, bad styling equipment, unsuitable accessories, frequent dyeing, stress and smoking.

Fortunately, there are many solutions to this phenomenon. Once you’ve identified the cause(s) of your brittle hair, it’s time to take appropriate action.

Changing your hair routine, taking special care of your hair or changing your diet can quickly have a beneficial impact on your hair health and prevent hair breakage.

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