FAQ | Hair shedding and Braids
This was recently asked me by a friend so I thought I would share the anwser with you lovely ladies (and gents)!
Under the "hair growth facts" and "hair myths" topics, I've already discussed that shedding is a normal part of the hair growth cycle. Hair goes through the growing, resting and shedding phases before starting again. The whole cycle can take anything from 3-7 years (maybe more in some cases).
On average, we shed between 50-100 hairs per day. How much you shed is determined by your genetics and your nutrition.
Braids and other protective styles
When your hair is in a low-manipulation or protective style, your shed hairs do not get be combed out regularly when they detach from the scalp. This means that, depending on the amount of time you leave that style in, you will have had more shed hairs that need to be combed out once the style is done.
In fact, a lot of women dread the take-down process so much because of fears of matting of the shed hair at or close to the scalp. Oweing to the curlier/kinkier nature of our tresses, we are more at risk of this. This is why patience and a good detangling routine are paramount when taking down protective styles.
Distinguishing healthy shedding
Healthy shed hairs will always have the white bulb of the root they came from on one end. You will have more hair in the comb when detangling compared to when you have been combing every week. I won't compute the amount of hair you would have in a comb after 2 months of protective styling - let's just say it's a lot!
Healthy shed hairs will not have hurt on the way out (tight braids) or leave an obvious patch of sparse hair.
Unhealthy shedding (or even breakage)
What I mean here are the occassions when you find a whole individual braid has fallen off randomly. Another example is when you have the "fresh face-lift" look with a new braid install. These are NOT normal nor should they be accepted as such!
These are actually instances of your hairstylist being too harsh when braiding or styling the hair. Your forehead should not feel tight nor should you have a headache after your hair is done!
Your style is not going to last longer by virtue of this. If you have a headache that started directly after your hair was done, you should ask the stylist to re-do it with a looser hand or undo the whole thing. Why do I stress this?
Click "Read More" to find out!
You have a new set of braids and you tough out the first few days of the headache and face lift. Well, day three you notice strands of braids falling off randomly. You find them everywhere. In the gym, in the pool, lounging on the sofa, or even at your desk at work! When people start handing you braids, you know it's bad. You leave them in.
Take-down time rolls round. You have lots of twisted roots that have broken hairs close to the roots. You now have thinner hair after your"protective style". With some luck, your hair is the same length you started with....not worth it.
You are fine with the new weave that feels a bit on the snug side, but you look good! You continue with your life, knowing you are "protecting your length".
Take-down rolls round and yours is the worst shock. Sections of your hair have broken off from the roots! You now have "patches" of hair less than an inch long. Add insult to injury, your edges (hairline) have receeded! You can't wear a bun or ponytail now! Aaaaaaaaaah!
Ok, one of the above has happened to me (the first). I was in school at the time and it was so embarrassing - not helped by the fact that I was one of 2 black girls in the whole school! Pretty hard to miss the girl with the tiny braids that fell off in the pool, classroom and sports classes. I thought getting bigger braids would do it....I just had thin hair for a longer time.
Until I started doing my own braids, I didn't realise that I could have been enjoying pain-free luscious protective styles! Moral of the story is, don't sacrifice your hair's health for convenience. Get your hair done gently and professionally or do it yourself. If your hair is screaming for help, let that style go!
I'm Lola - a hair obsessed doctor who stumbled into running long distances and baking all the cupcakes.
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