Managing And Preventing Mid Shaft Breakage And Splits

Woman combing her curly hairRelaxed hair

Chemical relaxers work in a similar manner, breaking the bonds in the strand causing it to be weaker and more prone to damage.

It is possible to over process your hair if you relax too often, causing your hair to split  in the upper regions of the strand and even causing full loss of the strand in its entirety.

Regular heat use on relaxed hair can actually exacerbate minor problems that would otherwise not have occurred if heat was avoided.

Since your hair is already permanently straight, damage caused by heat may not be as evident as in natural hair but may present as mid shaft breakage.

If you have relaxed hair and you notice your hair breaking at various lengths, avoiding heat until the problem resolves would be the wisest course of action.

Finger Detangling Vs Everything Else

Natural Hair

What makes natural hair special is the variety of textures and patterns that you can find on any one head; however those very things could be the cause of potential damage as well.

The curlier your hair the more gentle you have to be with it, don’t get me wrong you have to be gentle across the board but every bend and twist that your hair strand makes is a potential breakage point.

Your curly strands are attracted to each other naturally; they twist and curl on each other, often forming little annoying knots, affectionately known as fairy knots or single strand knots.

Using styling and detangling tools such as combs and or brushes eliminates the possibility for you to ‘feel’ knots and tangles and release them gently. Basically the chances of your ripping through your hair is much greater when using a tool.

When you use your fingers to detangle you can literally feel your knots and it is much easier for you to unravel them with your ten digits that it would be while impatiently using a comb.

With that said combs and brushes are a huge source of mid shaft breakage, as your hair gets worn out due to the constant friction and improper use so you may want to switch to finger detangling in the long term.

Relaxed Hair

Your hair is straight so it should be much easier for you to use a comb or brush right? Wrong! Relaxed hair is just as fragile if not more fragile than natural hair in terms of strand integrity.

Using your fingers to detangle especially if you are stretching your relaxer can be quite beneficial to your healthy hair journey. If you have thinning edges, pay close attention to your favorite bristle brush and see if you are removing perfectly good strands by constantly trying to make sure your edges are laid.

It makes no sense to constantly find ways to get your edges to grow in, and then destroy them with your brush. Imagine a piece of string lying on a flat surface, if you use your favorite bristle brush and brush it a couple times you will notice sections of the fiber start to raise and the string starting to thin. This is the same thing that happens when Mr. Hair brush meets Mrs. Hair Strand, can we say worn out!?

Originally posted 2014-01-19 15:00:21.

About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.

About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.


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Iris BrockRenee AkperovSharol AllenToni Xing WanlissKaren J Recent comment authors
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Dina Davis


Shelica Kennedy Jackson

No. Or maybe not to my knowledge

Ivy Alondra Vera

NO! thank God i have enough fairy knotts to keep me annoyed on top of mid shaft splits!


What to use on kids hair that will stop the breakage

Lisita StayFabulous Huntley


Kyé Pettiford-Smith

I didn’t even know that was possible

Chaundra Temple
Chaundra Temple

Is heat really one of the culprits? Or could it be heat damage caused by chemically treated hair or improper heat usage? For example, perms and hair color? I have to agree to disagree. Yes, heat is our “frenemy” if the hair is chemically altered; making the hair more susceptible to dryness and brittleness weakening the hair causing breakage. Our love affair with heat began over 100 years ago with the press. Back then our hair was strong, healthy and shiny. It wasn’t until the introduction of lye plus the mixture of heat the problems begin. To often in my opinion, heat gets a bad rap as being a stand alone culpri.

Mari Gee

Yes. Hate it.

Patience Karpeh

does anyone know what I can do to prevent breakage from the root especially around the front I haven’t pulled it and its still breaks

TiffyTiff Marie Smith

No i havent on split ends

Marsha Buchanan

Oh yes! I’ve had to avoid heat since I decided to grow out the damage and because I am not all the way there yet on doing a BC, I have resolved to doing some search and destroy as well as trying some split repair options to glue them shut. I also do more finger detangling and lay off the grooming tools a bit. My hair has retained length so as soon as I am comfortable with the length I can trim off the damaged ends. I have noticed my shrinkage has returned as well as I have more defined curls without product.


Yes. I hate it. I kept thinking it was too much protein, then I thought my hair was over moisturized. The truth is I’m impatient and rip through my hair with a detangling comb. I’ll be planning my wash and styles ahead of time so I can take time to finger detangle my hair from now on. Thanks for the info.

Re Gina

I rebuke them in the name of Jesus!

Toni Xing Wanliss


Trese Hisoneandonly Jones-Simms

How do i treat mid shaft splits?

Zola Tara

once i noticed a midshaft split. i just cut it. i didb’t know what else to do

Patricia Roach

The Study of Hair is much needed

LaKeda Bivins
LaKeda Bivins

Yes.. Thanks for the info. I suffer from in the nape of my head. My curl pattern is much looser there compared to the rest of my 4c head. I think I have not been as careful as I should be when styling back there. Heat is my frenemy cause i don’t have color.

Karen J
Karen J

Yes. Like Karen(12) I’ve found that I need to be more gentle and take time with my hair when it comes to detangling. My hair is fine.

Sharol Allen

I sure do 🙁

Renee Akperov


Iris Brock

I’ve had mid and upper shaft split ends and breakage. It was right around the time I realized my hair was very protein sensitive. I was using gels for wash & go’s and by the time I figured out what was wrong, the damage had been already been done and was irreversible. I had my husband shave me totally bald so I could start on a clean slate with no gels of any kind.