So you’ve been on your hair journey for a while or you’ve only just started, suddenly you notice that your hair is experiencing excessive breakage. You also notice thinning either all over or in certain sections of your head. You seem to have lost all the length that you had achieved in the last few months and you are bewildered.
Suffering a setback in your hair journey can be one of the most devastating events to happen. While many of us are lucky enough never to have suffered a major setback, a fair few of us have been in this situation with nowhere to turn.
In this article I will give you a battle plan to help you deal with major or minor hair setback situations if they should arise.
Dont Get Discouraged
Step away from the scissors! Don’t give up on your hair journey all together claiming that you don’t have the genes for long hair! I can point you in the direction of a few waist length hair gurus who have had their fair share of drama in their own hair journeys.
Remember that Thomas Edison failed more than 1000 times while trying to create a light bulb. He famously said ‘I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb’. With an attitude like that, it was only a matter of WHEN he succeded, not IF he would.
You must be the same way, recognize that this set back is just a minor failure and you only have to succeed once!
Hide Your Hair
People in emotionally charged situations tend to do things that they will regret in the heat of the moment. When you’ve just had a major set back, it’s not the time to get that trim that you’ve promising yourself, it’s also not the time to try that new straightening technique that is guaranteed to give you stick straight hair.
Take a step back by hiding your hair. Install braids, a weave or any other such style so that you won’t have to deal with your hair for a few weeks. This time away from your hair will be perfect to gather your thoughts and help you determine what it was that caused the setback and ensure that it never happens again.
This time away will also help you miss your hair (absence makes the heart grow fonder) so that when you are finally ready to deal with your hair again, you will do so with a renewed surge of optimism and faith that you will succeed.
Isolate The Culprit
Finding out what you did or have been doing to cause you this setback can be tricky. For some people it’s an obvious event like high heat straightening or going to a new stylist who did not handle your hair right. For some it may be more difficult to pin down the problem. Here’s a list of things that can lead to setbacks:
- High heat straightening or Dominican salon blow drying
- Inadvertent overlapped relaxer
- New hair products that may contain more protein than your hair can handle
- Detangling technique
- Weaves when installed incorrectly
- Henna* or other hair treatments like BKT causing dryness
- More manipulation than usual
- Micro braiding/twisting leading to breakage
- Stylist damaging or being scissor happy with your hair
- Hair bleaching
- Irregular clarifying
- Missed protein treatments
This is just a tip on the iceberg of things which can cause set backs so take your time in figuring out what you have done differently in your regimen that caused it. If you are new in your hair journey, usually it is a combination of factors so you may not be able to narrow it down to just 1. In this situation, starting a new hair regimen will be the best place to begin.
Fix The Problem
Now that you know what caused the setback, you are in a better frame of mind to deal with it. If it is a missed protein treatment then you can take your protective style down and treat your hair to what it needs. If it’s new products that your hair doesn’t agree with, get rid of them and revert to previous tried and tested products that you love.
If you problem is overlapped relaxers or color damage which cause irreparable damage to hair, it will be prudent of you to accept that you may not be able to completely fix the problem. You can slow down the breakage by using a hard protein treatment like Aphogee 2 Step or Nexxuss Emergencee but you will probably have to trim the damage as you go along. You will also have to change your hair habits drastically so that whatever is currently growing will remain strong and healthy.
Prevent Future Setbacks
Once you know, I mean REALLY know how to take care of your hair, it becomes second nature. You will always make time for your hair care routine regardless how busy you are. This alone should be enough to keep any major setback events at arm’s length but here are a few things you should look out for to prevent any future drama.
- Check ingredients of new products and check to see if formulas of your old products have changed since you last bought them
- Strand test new products or hair techniques to be sure that your hair responds positively to them
- Don’t jump on hair bandwagons. Just because something has worked for your favorite hair blogger doens’t mean that it will work for you. Do your own research!
- Learn your own hair so that you can tell when breakage has escalated past ‘normal’ levels and nip the problem in the bud.