1. You have product buildup
You may be surprised to find this on the list since product buildup is most often associated with weighing hair down, but the problem with product buildup is that it can suffocate the hair and prevent water from getting in. The same problem occurs if you are not shampooing or cleaning the hair often enough, as the dirt and products coat the hair, causing all of the moisturizing products you apply to just sit on top of the strands. If hair is being starved of moisture, it becomes dry and brittle and can break.
Using products that contain silicones can cause this problem, especially if you are not using a clarifying shampoo to remove them. When hair stays coated with products for too long, moisture is prevented from nourishing the strands. Co-washing is a great option for many curly girls who want to cut down on drying shampoos, but an occasional clarifying shampoo is necessary when hair is heavily coated.
2. You're not deep conditioning
Deep conditioning should be a staple on your wash day, but many rush through the process or even skip it entirely. The whole purpose of the deep conditioner is to make hair more manageable, softer, more pliable, less frizzy, and help prevent breakage. How can one product do all those things? The ingredients, that’s how!
A deep conditioner is a thicker conditioner packed with ingredients that can penetrate the hair shaft and temporally repair while nourishing the hair’s cuticle. Their very ingredients help moisturize and strengthen hair, and regular usage fights off dryness, which can lead to breakage.
3. You use oils the wrong way
There are a few oils that actually moisturize by penetrating the hair shaft, like coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and sunflower oil but most oils can only be used to seal. Sealing oils like avocado oil, olive oil, or argan oil simply seal in the moisture and soften the strands. Many confuse oils as moisturizers and simply coat the hair and leave the strands vulnerable to dryness and breakage. First moisturize the hair with a water-based moisturizer, then seal the strands to prevent moisture loss and avert breakage.
4. You dye your hair
Temporary hair dyes can wash out within a few washes with a lower risk of damage, but permanent hair color is an entirely different animal. Permanent hair dye makes hair more porous, as it has to lift the hair cuticle, with the help of peroxide and ammonia, and enter the cortex to lighten the hair’s natural pigment and then add the new color.
Permanent color can weaken the hair and make it brittle, which is why using moisturizing products or color-treated products are necessary to combat the ill effects of permanent color, lifting, and bleach.
Bleaching hair is the harshest act and can cause extreme damage and weakened elasticity. Whenever using permanent color expect some damage and focus on maintaining your moisture.
5. You wore a protective style too long
All protective styles have an end date or a timeframe when they need to come down. Going past that timeframe can cause hair to mat up, break off, or become severely dry, especially if hair is neglected while in the protected style. Depending on the style, it should be removed anywhere from a few weeks (cornrows) to a couple of months (6 weeks or 8 weeks at the latest for styles like sew-ins). Hair also needs air and shed hair needs to be removed so keeping hair in the style longer than required allows for massive tangles. The difficult removal of those tangles can result in breakage. Adhere to the removal timeframe and make sure to keep hair clean and moisturized while in the protective style so that your hair is healthy when it is time to remove it.