aarp, sisters, hair, style
Getty Images
Getty Images
Style

SOS For Hair In Distress

What can sisters do about damaged strands? Our repair manual puts the brakes on breakage.

From scorching hot appliances, to harsh chemical relaxers and color, to tight lace front wigs, we put our precious locks through a lot, says Chicago-based, licensed hairstylist Tia Robinson. Tamera Mowry-Housley chopped off several inches after years of damage. Naomi Campbell admits she lost all her hair due to extensions and takes care of it differently now that it’s growing back. The good news? It’s never too late to make amends with our hair. Here’s what you need to know:

Spot hidden hair problems.
Lack of moisture, dullness and dry, brittle strands are visible signs of damaged hair. But even great-looking hair can have problems. High porosity (hair that quickly absorbs moisture) and unruly tangles even after a lengthy detangling session could indicate that your mane is crying out for some serious TLC.

Break that breakage cycle.
With kinks, coils, curls and waves, protective sebum (oil) from the scalp takes longer to travel down the entire hair shaft, causing dryness. The result: weakened strands. Other factors, including over-styling, excessive heat, over-processing and wearing tight ponytails can make us that much more susceptible to hair breakage. Sometimes, breakage hints at an underlying medical condition or an unbalanced diet. Mention this and any other physical changes to your doctor.

Trim an inch to grow two or three.
Regular trims every four to six weeks are an absolute must for growth and length retention.

Give thirsty tresses a drink.
Washing your hair once a week is fine. Find a good deep-conditioner that restores moisture to the hair shaft. Two options: Carol’s Daughter’s Monoi Repairing Hair Mask and DevaCurl’s Melt Into Moisture Matcha Butter Conditioning Mask.

Chill on the heat styling.
Limit your use of flat irons and blow dryers.

Mess with it less.
Opt for protective styles that don’t require daily manipulation, such as simple braids and twists. Just be sure they aren’t installed too tight, and that they are removed after four to six weeks. The way you comb and detangle your hair also plays a role in how it bounces back, says Robinson, who suggests brushing from the ends up to the roots.

Trade in your cotton pillowcase.
Use a 100-percent-silk pillowcase to reduce the amount of friction against your strands, which will ultimately lead to less breakage.

Finally, consider doing the big chop.
“When you feel you’ve reached the point of no return due to extreme damage and split ends, it’s time for the big chop,” explains Robinson. “The hair will no longer break off at the ends as it grows, making new growth more apparent.” Still on the fence? Consider this: Post-big-chop hair is easier to manage because you’re not dealing with multiple textures.

More From This Week

Black women are being promoted to manage chaos and dysfunction, and it’s called the Glass Cliff Theory. Here’s what to do if you’re on the edge.
By Bee Quammie
Here’s where to flow in your city.
By Gerrie Summers
A hundred women. Thousands of miles. One goal. “Do it for the culture.”
By Joy Duckett Cain
Airlines can charge up to $200 to check a single bag. These sister-tested, genius packing tips will save you big money while traveling in style.
By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
Can’t shell out $4,900 for Chanel? Look like you can for $78. These 7 designer handbag dupes offer runway style at real-world prices.
By Sierra Allia
I used to dread going to the gym. Making this one change got me off my butt and out the door.
By Veronica Hilbring
More of us are finding love with partners of a different ethnicity. Five things sisters in interracial relationships want you to know
By Jill Robi
Build in-demand skills and more marketability with free online courses that raise your professional profile.
By Kendra Lee
These 6 fixes from A-list clinical and makeup experts can make your brows look full and fierce again.
By Princess Gabbara
Beyoncé has your recipe for weight loss. Patti LaBelle is adding soul food to her line of pies. Oprah’s selling pizza and pasta. Hungry yet?
By Zulaika Jumaralli-Wiggan

More From Style

Close Video Modal
aarp, sisters, hair, style
Getty Images