Ahhh! Why so much hair fall after braids?
A question I have been asked in person a few times is a variation on the above. Looking at recent google searches bringing people to this site, I found:
"Why does hair fall out a lot after undoing braids?"
"Why am I shedding a lot after taking down my sew-in?"
I remember being distressed when I used to have my hair done in braids by haircare professionals. In fact, it was one of the reasons I learnt to install braids on my own hair. Yes, I learnt how to apply extensions to my hair. It was that serious!
Like many women, I would leave braids in for a couple of months (three at the most) and then find that my hair was coming out in clumps as I removed the hair extensions. When I started installing the braids myself, this improved somewhat because I was making bigger parts and not putting on very heavy extension pieces in comparison to my own hair. However, what really allowed me to not lose so much hair - and allow others to do my hair without fear - was learning what was at the root of the hair fall.
There are three things to consider.
1) Was it shedding?
Shedding is the natural process of the hair completing its growth cycle and the root being extruded (pushed out) from the scalp. The hair grows over 3 to 6 years, going through Anagen (growth), Catagen (resting) and Telogen (shedding) phases. On any given day, 80% of hair are in the growing phase, 5% are resting and 5-10% are shedding. With around 100,000 hairs on each head, this can be between 50-150 hairs a day!
Now, in a braided up style lasting a few months, that shed hair cannot be combed down and removed daily. Hence, shed hair is the majority of what you will see when you take down the style. Phew! Wait though, what if the hairs are breaking off?
2) Was it breaking?
Breakage is when the hair strand splits and cracks at points of weakness. This can be because of harsh grooming practices (like using a fine-tooth comb on tangled hair) or weak hair strands (protein loss from daily wear and tear, heat styling or chemical processing). Another point of weakness is between chemically-processed ends and naturally curly/kinky roots. Whatever the cause of the weakened hair strand, it breaks off and thereby shortens that hair strand. The higher up it breaks, the shorter the strand becomes! Now, if you installed your braids without having treated your hair to a good protein treatment beforehand, your hair may be limp within the style and come take-down day, it will split and break off.
Now, how do you distinguish broken hairs from shed hairs?
That's actually quite simple. A shed hair will have a white bulb (from the root of the hair that was pushed out) on one end of it whilst a broken hair won't. A further clue will be looking at the ends of that hair strand: broken hairs tend to be thinner at one end as these have often split in two before breaking!
3) Was I looking after my hair in the braids/ sew-in?
This is the main step I was missing after learning to install my own braided hair extensions. Without a daily moisturising regime, my hair was dry and felt like straw when I took down the style. I often found that I had matted roots because I let dirt build up during the style.
A simple routine for caring for braided hair is simply spraying the roots and length of the hair daily with water or diluted conditioner. If you have hair that is chemically processed (coloured or relaxed) or regularly heat-styled, you may want to add an element of protein to your spray mix. I used Infusion 23 to keep my hair strong but moisturised each day.
The second part of your routine is your wash day. You need to clean your scalp (and hair) from the debris that builds up from the week (working out, product build up and lint...let's be honest here!). I recommend using a diluted sulphate-free shampoo to clean your scalp and hair. You can then use a conditioner for a few minutes to soften your roots. Some people use diluted Apple Cider Vinegar to clean their scalp and hair: this also seals the cuticle of the hair by bringing it to the optimum pH of 4.0- 5.0.
The final piece of the puzzle is being patient on take-down day! Yes, give yourself plenty of time and use the right tools to take down that hair. The only part of a fine-tailed comb that should come near your hair is the point! Use a wide-toothed comb or your fingers to detangle your hair. Furthermore, diluted conditioner or aloe vera juice (image below) sprayed onto loosened sections for 5 minutes before detangling, works to smooth the hair strands and helps the tangles (shed hairs) slide out.
So there you have it. Your hair is not ALL falling out! It is mostly the shed hairs that have been trapped in your braided style that are making their way down.
I hope you found this helpful. If so, say hello below and share this post.
Later, ladies and gents!
How have you all been, ladies and gentlemen?
So I thought a good old catch-up on life and HAIR was in order. First bombshell:
I moved to Cardiff!
Yep, I'm still reeling in shock too! lol!
And I'm totally living the Crochet twist life!
I think once I get hands on the fluffy braid version ...it's ON! I'll be all up in here crocheting everything! I haven't even tried the twist-out version of this hair style!
So yes, I'm protective styling because I love this style so much and I get to keep an eye on my own hair and scalp!
The best part, I'm getting used to big hair!
I might start trying out braid-outs and twist-outs again on my own hair (stretched of course!).
So here's a video on the style I am loving and how Cardiff is treating me so far.
Have you tried out Crochet Twists? How did you find them?
I watched a fellow YouTuber, Borderhammer's video on being careful with the dreadlock version of this style: too heavy for fine natural hair types. I have been duly warned!
So I thought I'd share a recent experiment of mine! Unfortunately my phone is deciding to keep the photos to itself (it doesn't want to share).
I'll start from the beginning. Exactly, what made me consider blow-drying my hair?
Well, I saw a hair regime video by a fellow YouTuber, JoStylin who regularly blow-dries her hair to stretch it before braiding up and doing a braid-out. Similarly, I wanted a low manipulation lifestyle that also showed my length more.
So on Monday, I shampooed and conditioned my hair in chunky two-strand twists and unearthed my blow-dryer (Babyliss). I carefully finger detangled the sections then used the blow-dryer on the cool shot setting at the minimum speed setting. This was I never had any warm or hot air touching my hair. I held my hair at the ends with one hand whilst I moved the blow-dryer repeatedly down the hair. I made sure the roots were feeling smooth before focusing lower down the lengths.
I managed 4 sections before I gave up! I was just not feeling it.
This is just a quick update to say hello to you all in blog land!
I've been away from the writing and posting part of this platform but I have been busy posting pictures on Instagram and Facebook along the way! The above is an example of an unposed picture, in Bath last weekend!
So in May I had a flurry of hair event starting with Natural Hair Week UK 2015, which I was privileged to be part of! It was amazing! Seeing those cities and getting to talk about my passion for healthy hair is such a blessing! Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for coming and being so attentive and joining in! And the day after the London event, I ran my second half-marathon ever, 13.1 miles in 1 hour and 51 mins! (My first was in April!)
Next was Curlvolution which I was able to give a short talk at. Not without a hiccup or two but again, thank you for the opportunity to be part of your platform. Close on the heels of this was Afro Hair and Beauty Live 2015 which I could just be a spectator/blogger aka be spoiled and pampered in the bloggers' lounge by ORS! Big thank you's to the team for facilitating this.
Next was Woman in the Jungles's Natural Hair and Beauty show 2015 which was informative and great to be able to spectate and catch up with my fellow bloggers and the vendors! Got to meet the fabulous and down-to-Earth MsVaughn too!
Since then I've been focussing on work and family before giving a talk on building a hair regime at the United Kurls Event on 6th of July 2015! That was truly a pleasure to be part of an I need more of Belinda in my life as she is such an awesome organiser! I don't know how she does it!
On that note, I will leave you with some pictures covering this time period. Enjoy these whilst I get back to work and finishing my second book! Check this space out for more.
Do follow me on Instagram @lolascurls_official and on Twitter or Facebook as Lolascurls for pictures which tend to come more regularly!
UK to Paris | NHA 2015!
Once again, I booked Eurostar tickets to escape to the Continent...well, across the Channel to France. Don't I sound glamorous!
This year's event was great, as usual! However, I did miscalculate and showed up rather late in the day...like 4pm, by the time I had trekked across town to the venue! On the upside, the Metro was free for the weekend again - thank you, Pollution! Whoops!
I managed to catch the end of Carol's Daughter's panel with HairCrush (Chime Edwards) and Naptural85. It was serendipitous that I met the lovely ladies, Vinna Best (officiallyNatural.com), Sian (@IamSiantheBaker), Amanda (@BeautyinBlack247) and Pree (@Miss_Sugar_Sweet)! We saw a presentation by Anthony Dickey of Hair Rules before the piece de resistance: MyNaturalSistas!
They all looked so good and their talks were Uh-MAZING! And what better way to follow this by having Soul Food at an all-you-can-eat restaurant called "Mama Jackson" in the middle of Paris! lol!
On the Sunday, I did the usual amount of sightseeing (pictures below) and again managed to bump into Vinna! Even managed a 10K run through Paris in the morning! (Yep, I'm obsessed with hair, running and baking). Oh and I'm getting a selfie-stick - those things looked very useful for being seen in your sightseeing pictures..lol!
It was a lovely weekend which I want to keep recurring in my calendar in the following years, God-willing.
Did you make it over to Paris this year? If so, do share your stories (and blog links) below!
Below is an anonymized (by myself) email I recently received and I thought I would share it with you. I have the permission of the person in question to use her question for a post:
Q: "Recently I have noticed that my hair breaking quite badly. I do not use heat on my hair, other than a hooded dryer when I do a deep condition or oil treatment. I do use combs to detangle as I cannot master finger detangling. Is there any advice you could give to stop/prevent this? I also noticed that although I wear a satin scarf at night and also trim my hair regularly it is splitting and has a lot of single stand knots. Would you suggest that I big chop and start again?"
A: Thank you for emailing me. I would advise first and foremost to put the scissors down. Lol!
Next, if hair is breaking, the first thing is that it is usually weak, aka protein-deficient. The best move for that is a protein treatment. An at-home treatment is simply adding an egg to a handful of your regular conditioner in a small mixing bowl. Apply to your hair and leave on for 20-30 minutes without heat (or eggs will cook, oops) before rinsing it out. Another alternative is an avocado and coconut milk deep condition treatment.
Enjoy the above 3 Easy Styles and your Valentine, of course!
So you did it!
You are finally all-natural!
So why are you bored already? Why don't you feel more psyched!
I found that I was dreaming about my natural coils and kinks for almost 3 years (during my LONG transition) and yet just ran back to protective styling right after my transition chop!
See if any of the below feel like you:
The above three can make a lot of people fall at these stumbling blocks.
Here are some other home truths to help re-inspire your journey,
You may still be in big-chop or transition-chop shock!
I think I was still in shock that my transition was finally done. I also realised that a chop back from hip-length was actually quite a big length change to bra-strap length. I was anxious for my hair to grow back and that was feeding my fears of wearing my hair out.
Find new hair inspiration:
I have found at least 3 new YouTube channels to inspire me (a 4th one in German, lol - a girl can brush up her skills, right?) I found NaturallyHigh, Bootyfurl and Cassandre Beccai in the last few days (re-discovered the latter) and I've been given more ideas. It is great to know that I can stretch my hair without heat in Curlformers (it seems that I needed more than Naptural85 to give me courage).
Trim your ends for a fresh start:
I will be trimming my ends in February by God's grace. Nothing drastic, just an inch to clear my split ends and have that smoother ends feel. I still don't want a hair cut yet but I would like a new feel to my hair.
Take your time to understand your hair:
My hair as a natural is not in any way the same as my relaxed or texlaxed hair! They both grew out of my head but one is A LOT thicker and stubborn (guess, which one?) and needs a bit more TLC to keep looking good. My relaxed hair was just happy to have a co-wash! Now, I need to be careful to avoid sulphates and keep deep conditioning bi-weekly! I think a good deep condition with tried and tested loves like avocado and coconut milk treats is in order!
How do you feel about your natural hair?
I will put this out there on other platforms to see if I can garner more answers. I will also be doing more Featured Natural posts on here this year by God's grace! More reviews in line with my plans to stretch my hair and try out more homemade conditioners will also feature here.
See you on YouTube!
Another thought-provoking Video I found this week!
Please watch part 1 and 2 and tell me what you think.
The first get-together of 2014! Let's Meet up and share our 2013 stories.
On a hair journey.....but not sure how you're doing?
Come to this meet up for the natural, relaxed and the curious.
Date: Saturday 25th January 2014
Time: 1pm to 4pm
Venue:Seminar Room, The Mella Center,73 Oxford Street, London, W1D 2EP
Venue Contact: email@example.com
Ticket price: £5.00 (+0.78 processing fee).
Short talk: Basics of Healthy Hair: starting your hair journey!
Preview of "8 Weeks to Longer Hair" - healthy hair journey handbook.
Meet our Vendors: Sister E of the Calabash Hub and ManeDivas
Upcoming Events schedule!
Giveaways and Samples: KeraCare Naturals line and more!
Hair Clinic (ManeDivas and LolasCurls): From 1.30pm to 2.30pm.
Meet, (Eat) and Mingle: refreshements available
Hair and Product Demos: sussing out hair products and their promises.
Question & Answer session with Lola of LolasCurls.com
Bring the product you CAN'T be without! Share and learn about product ingredients.
Natural Products on Sale by Sister E of The Calabash Hub and ManeDivas.
Attending this meet-up gives you 10% off next Hair workshop or the price of my book: "8 Weeks to Longer Hair!" AND an invite to the Book Launch on the 15th of February! (book your free tickets for that from Friday).
The Calabash hub: http://www.thecalabashhub.com/blog/
The Mella Center
I'm Lola - a hair obsessed doctor who stumbled into running long distances and baking all the cupcakes.
I blog about life, running and of course, hair! I'm an Altra "Team Red" Sponsored Athlete, so I will do the occasional running shoe or gadget review.
For business enquires, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I do not own the copyright to all the pictures so I will credit the source, where that is the case.