There’s nothing more beautiful than a crown of
healthy, natural hair. So if you’ve ever had a
case of bad breakage, then you know it can be
a total bummer. Brittle, damaged hair gets in
the way of length retention, weakens strands,
and limits your style versatility. Definitely not a
good look. Luckily, breakage isn’t the end of
the world. If you find yourself in a tangled
mess, these tips will help get your kinks and
curls back on track.

First things first: It's important to identify the
culprit of your hair woes. Breakage can be
caused by a number of things, including lack
of moisture, overprocessing from chemicals,
heat damage, and overall poor hair-care
practices. According to New York City–based
celebrity hairstylist and Hair Rules salon owner
Anthony Dickey, textures that happen to be
naturally drier, like kinky, curly, or coarse
straight textures, are easily prone to breakage
and therefore require some extra TLC. “Split
ends, single strand knots, and tangles are all
red flags that your hair is insanely dry or that
your hair-care regimen is off,” he says. 
If
you’ve noticed that you’re losing hair at an
alarming rate, you see excess shedding on
clothes, or your scalp is hella dry, you might
want to reevaluate your hair-care routine.
Wearing tight hairstyles and a lack of
preparation when styling can also cause
damage. So, that Ariana Grande ponytail you
love rocking all the time? You may want to be
careful. Celebrity hairstylist Vernon François
explains, “With natural hair, I often notice most
breakage when it’s tied up in a topknot. 
This
causes unnecessary tension on the hairline. It
can often snap from the centre of the crown,
as this area is often neglected during the
prepping stages — for example not combining
hair thoroughly before putting it into your
desired style.”
All right, by now you’ve probably figured out
what’s causing your breakage, so how do you
bring it back to life? Read on for tips on what
to do (and what not to do) to stop breakage.

Co-Wash Daily
Washing with conditioner, also known as “co-
washing,” is a way to mildly cleanse hair and
replenish dry strands at the same time. Co-
washing keeps hair soft and hydrated,
especially during the colder months. 

“If your
hair is very fragile, particularly for type 4 kinky
hair, co-washing can be done very frequently
and even up to twice a day for intense
hydration and conditioning,” François shares.

To be clear, co-washing doesn’t mean you
should skip shampoo altogether. "When
looking for a shampoo, the objective is to
keep your hair away from ones that lather, as
these chemicals can strip hair of its moisture.
Use sulfate-free and nonsudsy cream
shampoos like Hair Rules Cleansing Cream
Shampoo to keep hair lubricated through
wash-and-gos,” suggests Dickey.

Deep Condition Weekly
Get ready to make deep conditioners your new
BFF. No, seriously. Use a deep conditioner
weekly with a plastic cap in the shower, under
a dryer, or even overnight to activate the heat.
To make your deep conditioner go the extra
mile, celebrity hairstylist Felicia Leatherwood ,
who has blessed the strands of Issa Rae and
Skai Jackson, suggests steam treatments.
 “I
like to do steam treatments with my clients.
Those are beneficial because they open up the
cuticle of the hair and deposit hydration. One
of my favorite conditioners to use during a
steam treatment is the Tgin Honey Miracle
Hair Mask .”
If your hair is still feeling drier than the desert,
you can add a hot oil treatment to your deep
conditioner. “Apply the hot oil at the scalp and
when you go to rinse off the conditioner, you
rinse through the scalp. 
It helps the oil seal in
the conditioner over the hair strand, because
oil is a sealant,” she continues. When all else
fails, Leatherwood recommends using an
ApHogee Two-Step Protein Treatment , which
repairs breakage on sight, or a rice water
rinse, to stop shedding and smooth out your
cuticles.

Detangle With Care
Detangling on dry hair is a major no-no.
Leatherwood advises, “It’s easier to detangle
your hair in the shower, when your hair is full
of conditioner and wet. Section the hair off
into two parts, then split that that into four.
You have to take your time — be gentle and
detangle from the bottom to the root.” 
Making
sure you have the right detangling tools is an
absolute must. Felicia recommends her
Detangler Brush, which catches fairy knots and
smoothes hair at the same time. After
detangling, put your hair into double-strand
twists and rinse out the conditioner with the
twists still in.
 “You’ll have a little bit of
conditioner, but dry it with your T-shirt and
your hair will feel like butter.”

Ditch Your Cotton Towel
A traditional cotton bath towel can pull and
stretch the hair, stripping out moisture, which
is not good at all.
 “A much better option is to
carefully squeeze and pat your hair dry with an
old cotton T-shirt or, ideally, a microfiber
towel. It’s far more caring for your hair and
really helps to reduce breakage,” François
shares.
Avoid Heat
Try to avoid heat drying and styling if you can
until your hair is in better shape. If you are
going to apply heat, use a heat protectant,
keep temperatures low, and use a blow dryer
with a comb attachment to prevent further
damage.

Protect Your Edges
ICYMI, damage usually happens at the hairline
regardless of texture, and that’s why it’s called
“baby hair.” It’s the finest, softest hair, but you
can avoid breakage by keeping your baby hair
soft and moisturized.

Get Regular Trims
Don’t be afraid to get haircuts, my friends.
Tangles, single-strand knots, and split ends
are characteristics of needing a trim and ends
that are begging to be set free. Getting a trim
every three and a half to four months will keep
your kinks and curls popping and looking their
best.

L.O.C. It Up
Adopt a routine of using leave in conditioners,
oils, and creams to keep your hair hydrated
and protected at all costs. Leatherwood likes
using the Curls Blueberry Bliss Reparative
Leave-In Conditioner for all hair textures and
Obia Curl-Enhancing Custard for kinkier hair.

Be Mindful of Protective Styles
Raise your hand if you live for a protective
style? Me too. Protective styles are great
because they give your hair a break from
constant manipulation, offer style versatility,
and literally protect your ends during colder
months. The key to wearing braids, twists,
weaves, and wigs is to not wear them for too
long or forget to take care of your actual hair
underneath. “Three to four weeks is as long as
you can wear a hairstyle before your scalp
gets funky and you have too much stress on
strands. Remember a protective style is meant
to protect your hair," says Dickey.
If your hair is shedding and breaking after a
style, then it wasn’t protective after all.
 To
treat the hair underneath your protective style,
we like François’s SCALP NOURISH~MENT
Braids and Locs Spray , which is packed with
hydrating and nourishing oils that soothe the
scalp and promote hair growth.
Not to be forgotten, your take-down method is
as important as your style preparation. 
“It’s
more about being preventative than what you
do after. So, when you do the prep work with
the moisturizers and oils, your hair is super
lubricated before take-down, and then the
process isn’t as damaging. Your hair won’t be
matted and dried out,” Dickey adds.

When taking out braids and weaves,
sometimes hair can collect balls of debris
(yup, pretty gross); for this, Leatherwood
recommends using a softening product like
Hawaiian Silky Miracle Worker 14 in 1.
 “I
would spray a little bit of that and dilute it with
water. Once you break it out, use the detangler
brush and it will loosen it up.”
Sleep With a Satin Scarf or
Pillowcase.

If you’re sleeping with a cotton pillowcase,
toss it right now. The fibers rubbing against
your already-stressed strands cause friction
and even more breakage. Swap it for a silk- or
satin-lined scarf and pillowcase to protect your
hair while you catch some zzz's.