Hairmares seemed to be a thing of the past when the natural hair movement came about. Women were lopping off inches of relaxed hair and trading straight tresses for coiled fluff, a fluff that brought joy and wonder to each day. Once they went natural, they were seeing fuller looking hair that grew out nicely and certainly brought new attention to their appearance. Natural hair was meant to be a healthier option for thousands and a more economical way to care for their hair. But just as the movement grew, so did the industry that catered to naturalistas. At first there was Carol’s Daughter and Jamaican Mango and Lime products, today, there are so many product companies that the industry has become over saturated and the joy in handmade products has almost completely been replaced with cheaper more accessible products, especially when crisis strikes and Walmart or Walgreens is open!
How have hairmares come to be? There are a number of reasons where men and women are now facing hairmares after having gone natural one year or even five years ago! Take a look a the following issues:
Hair Thinning- Many are struggling with thinning hair along the edges, in the very front or in the middle (crown) of their hair. This is most often something that happens over time, but seems to appear suddenly. When noticed, people often go into “prevention mode” and they will start getting sew ins or braids to “give their hair a break”. Most will not look into seeing why their hair may be thinning. Over time, these protective styles may likely add stress to the thinning areas, causing more thinning or it can lead to hair loss. What happens is that over time, after having braided styles whether they are under weaves or in extensions, the thin hair may become lost hair and when it is discovered, a panic sets in throwing one into crisis mode. Solution- If you notice that your hair is thinning, investigate it further. Don’t just cover it up and hope it stops or the issue goes away! Check to see if you have been stressed, got a new prescription, are ill or was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder or if you’ve lost a lot of weight. These are only some of the factors that can lead to thinning. There are many more and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask your doctor about it or to even get a referral to see a dermatologist. A doctor or dermatologist may be able to help you pin point the root cause of your thinning hair and could prescribe a regimen that can help restore your thickness and/or length.
Scalp Conditions- Truth be told, it seems like we either wash our hair too often or not often enough. Both can lead to damaging conditions such as scalp buildup and flaking, thinning or hair loss. Some examples of poor maintenance include:
- Shampoo without conditioning
- Lack of detangling
- Lack of moisture
- Neglecting the scalp (many only apply shampoo to the top of the hair)
- Holding onto damaged hair
- Ignoring excessive shedding or build up
There are more ways to call out poor maintenance, but these are the main ones. Many shampoos are drying. Even if they are sulfate free, if they have ingredients such as African Black Soap, Lavendar, Rosemary, Tea Tree or Mint, they may be more drying to the hair. Every shampoo is different, they are not all created equal, so if you shampoo and strip the hair of their oils but fail to replenish with a conditioner of some sort (creamy, moisturizing conditioner for loose hair or a light water based leave in for locs) then you may wind up with dry, brittle hair. Also, if you neglect the scalp by only shampooing the top of your hair, you are missing the opportunity to remove dirt and debris from the scalp which can lead to clogged pores and buildup that turns to scales, flakes and if unresolved, hair loss in patches. Any time you notice a change in your hair, you should be checking to see what you have done differently to see if you can find the problem and fix it before it is too late. Solution- Follow up a shampoo with a conditioner, always detangle your hair to avoid knots and little locs forming, keep your hair and scalp moisturized, be sure to wash your hair beginning with the scalp, trim away any damaged hair and pay attention to the changes!
Other things to consider– If you are over 40, you may begin to see less of your hair. It happens as we age, and with menopause often. As the hair turns grey, there will also be thinning. It doesn’t matter if you color it black, it’s still grey underneath and is still a thinner strand than hair with its pigment. If you are sick or suffering from some chronic illnesses, you may have thinner hair or patches of missing hair. Sometimes it can be regrown as your treatment sets in, but this isn’t always the case. Learn to accept your hair if it is at a point of no return. There are some cases, where people who have the wherewithal to, they seek treatments from a dermatologist or even consider stem cell regeneration or surgery to replace dead hair follicles with live ones from another area of the hair.
Hairmares can often be prevented. Much of the time, the hair is neglected in one way or another. Paying attention to your haircare needs makes a world of difference in whether or not you can retain the hair that you already have and prevent future issues.