PHOTO COURTESY OF PRINCESS SHANICE

In the wonderful world of sleek and unique hairstyling, we admire the creativity of polished twists, braid-outs, perm or flexi rod sets, and flat twists alike. Whether it's one of our favorite YouTubers or a beautiful Instagram famous naturalista, one of the first things we notice is their baby hair perfection--also known as having edges laid for the gawds.

However, the real question about baby hairs are what do they actually say about the health of our hair. Are they a sign of breakage or simply new growth?

What do baby hairs actually say about the health of our hair? Are they a sign of breakage or simply new growth?

According to New York City dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon Dr. Neil Sadick, it is difficult to spot the difference between short hairs growing in and short hairs as a result of breakage without a trained eye or microscope.

Snap, crackle, pop... breakage

Sometimes achieving beautifully sleek buns, fro hawks, and blow-outs means putting a lot of tension and heat on each strand. The end results in strands decreasing their elasticity and eventually leading to snapping and breaking. Blunt, split hairs, and hairs with white ends are immediate signs of breakage as a result of mishandling your tresses. These short damaged baby hairs are usually found in areas that suffer the most from tugging and pulling--the nape, sides, and around the crown.

New growth or breakage?

When most people talk about baby hairs they are primarily referring to the hair along our temples and side burn region. Contrary to popular belief, they also appear throughout the nape and crown. Some hair experts suggest that when sectioning the hair, small strands that appear amongst longer hairs are signs of new growth, especially in areas where breakage is less likely to occur.

The ends of new growth vary from those of broken hairs because they are tapered. This allows them to lay flat against each other and not snag like broken hairs. Sadick suggests that when placing the hair in a ponytail to make note of the length of flyaway. Dr. Sadick says long flyaways show growth of those sections. Pieces that are no longer than the base of a ponytail are a result of breakage.

Keep every part of your hair healthy

When handling your baby hairs, amongst other things, its important to remember they are more delicate than other areas of our hair. Always Keep an eye on the amount of tension and stress placed on the frontal region will allow for better damage control. Bi-weekly deep conditioning will help minimize the amount of trauma placed on hair. Always use a heat protectant when straightening or using a heat styling tool.

If you’re someone that uses hair pieces with metal parts replace them without Ouchless and metal-less hair pieces; metal pieces cause snagging and will eventually leave the ends frayed. Last but certainly not least, do not buy products that promise to fix split ends; only a good haircut can fix those.

Baby hairs are the children of our growth cycle. Nourish them to health so they’ll grow up to hair glory.