Hair Breakage

Are you experiencing hair breakage or hair loss? Have you previously? Not sure why it’s happening or what has caused it?

There are many different reasons and causes of hair breakage and thinning. From things you may not realise you could be repetitively doing that can be causing the hair to break over time, to health reasons even what you may be using.

In this blog, I’m going to talk about different reasons hair breakage and thinning can occur, how to help reduce breakage with some of those causes alongside my personal experiences with breakage, thinning and hair loss.


What are the causes?

 Hair Products + Chemical Exposure 

Anyone who colours their hair on a regular basis, understands what a struggle it can be to keep it healthy and strong, as constant over-processing contributes directly to hair breakage.

There are many products and ranges that hairdressers use for lightening, colouring, perming, or relaxing the hair that contain chemicals that can weaken the hair and make it more likely or easier to break if it’s not treated right with the correct after care.

Anyone who loves chemical straightening, in particular, should consider switching to a Keratin Smoothening Treatment, which adds a smooth coating to each strand, but doesn’t mess with the cortex. Keratin is also a structured protein mineral our hair is made up of, meaning it’s a great service for those with dry brittle frizzy hair.

There are a lot of permanent straightening products on the market that may contain dangerous levels of formaldehyde.

Packet dyes or what we refer to as “box dyes” are extremely damaging to the hair. There’s a reason as to why it’s so cheap. They typically contain high amounts of ammonia, PPDs, nitro dyes, metallic salts, and even henna. These are all extremely harsh chemicals that are very damaging to the hair, once you put those chemicals into the hair cortex, they do not come out until it is cut off. The more built up these chemicals become in the hair, your hair will start to take a new texture and feel stiff or straw-like.

Even some shampoos can cause the hair to break, become brittle, or turn frizzy.

A 2014 study reported that the acidity, or pH, of a shampoo may affect hair breakage. Certain shampoos are alkaline, or basic, which can cause a negative charge on the hair which create more friction between the hair strands leading to breakage.

Products such as shampoos, conditioners, treatments, styling products ect purchased from supermarkets, chemists, pharmacies, ‘health shops’ weigh down the hair by built up residue left from the waxes and plastics (silicones) in these products, they are extremely harsh and will ruin your hair! They blow open the hair cuticle on your hair shaft, leaving your hair frizzy, lifeless and flat to your head!

Avoiding the application of harsh chemicals to the hair and choosing a shampoo with a natural pH can improve hair health.

You can also try salon-grade treatments such as Olaplex No.3 to help rebuild the broken bonds. 

At RDR Hair Artistry our salon always uses and stands by the Olaplex System in all of our lightening services to protect the hair from damage, you can read more about Olaplex here and what it does.


 Too much Heat Styling

 It’s no secret that heat styling your hair makes it weaker and more prone to breakage over time. And it can be even worse when you don’t use any heat protectant. If you heat style your hair very day, straightening it, curling it or blow drying it try switching things up and avoid using the hot tools. Try to only use hot tools once or twice a week, trust me it could seriously save your strands. ALWAYS use a heat protectant – this is crucial for preventing breakage when you do cave in and use your hot tools.

You should NEVER use over 180 degrees when using any heat tool. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions when you’re using one, and don’t exceed the suggested time on your hair (typically about five seconds).

The Quality of your hot tools makes a huge difference in not only the outcome of how it looks but also to the health of your hair. When purchasing a hot tool it is always best to look at the features such as having ceramic plates and adjustable temperature settings. We highly recommended MUK Electrical's

Hot weather and humid climates can also dry the hair out and increase the risk of breakage.



An Unbalanced Diet

Nutrition plays an integral part in promoting healthy hair. If your diet is lacking certain nutrients you may have weakened hair that appears dry, dull or brittle. Severe nutrient deficiencies may also lead to hair loss.

Hair grows from the roots, so the key to healthy hair growth lies in improving the health of the scalp and hair follicles.

Eggs and fish contain biotin, which is essential for healthy hair growth, and Bazil nuts offer hair-boosting selenium.

Your hair needs protein to stay strong. Protein can repair weak spots in the hair shaft, warding off breakage. But be forewarned: Too much protein has the opposite affect and can make the hair brittle. 

It is essential that people get a balanced diet that contains plenty of the following:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin D
- Iron
- Zinc

    Once you resolve any nutritional deficiencies, you will likely find your hair becomes stronger and healthier again.

    Health/Medical Conditions and Medications

    There are a wide range of conditions that can bring on hair loss, with some of the most common being pregnancy, thyroid disorders, and anemia. Others include autoimmune diseases, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and skin conditions such as psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. 

    Other reasons for hair loss include but not limited just to, include extreme stress, physical trauma like surgery or intense illness, dramatic weight loss over a short period of time and taking too much Vitamin A. Hair loss can occur after a couple of weeks to six months after any of these experiences. 

    Medications are designed to treat a variety of health conditions, but sometimes they can have unwanted side effects such as hair loss. This being the drugs interfering with the normal cycle of scalp hair growth.

    Many different types of drugs are thought to cause hair loss, including:

    - Acne Medications containing Vitamin A (retinoids)
    - Antibiotics
    - Antidepressants
    - Anticlotting drugs
    - Birth control pills
    - Cholesterol-lowering drugs
    - Drugs that supress the immune system
    - Drugs that treat breast cancer and other cancers
    - Epilepsy Drugs (anticonvulsants)
    - High Blood Pressure Medications (Anti-hypertensives), such as beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics
    - Hormone replacement therapy
    - Mood Stabilizers
    - Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
    - Parkinson’s Disease Drugs
    - Steroids
    - Thyroid Medications
    - Weight loss drugs

    *Please always ask a licensed health practitioner about medications and the side effects they may cause. This is a guide of known types of medications that are thought to cause hair loss, every patient is different and you should seek advice from your licensed health practitioner if you have any concerns in regards to any medications and hair loss*


      Repetitive Strains such as Tight Hairstyles + Brushing

    If your tying your hair back frequently in tight hairstyles, or using elastic bands to tie your hair up, this can lead to hair breakage. Tight hairstyles can break or stretch the hair away from the root.

    The repetitive strain from a hair elastic being put in the hair tightly in the same spot can cause the hair to eventually snap off where the hair meets the elastic. Generally, this occurs around the front hair line, mainly around the front section of the ears as well as the nape area (back of the neck).

    Switching up where you wear your hair up by alternating between low, med and high ponytails or buns, various styles of loose soft buns and ponytails can relieve the pressure and tension on the hair reducing risk of the hair breaking. The more lightened (bleached) the hair is, the more likely hair breakage from wearing it up will occur. We highly recommend to use scrunchies, especially silk ones are the best for the hair.

    If you regularly wear your hair in tight styles such as buns, cornrows, or braids, it may lead to a type of hair loss called traction alopecia. Although this can be temporary hair loss that the hair can recover from, it can become permanent if it keeps happening.

    Are you guilty of ripping through your hair from the roots when brushing it? Are you guilty of using a small tooth comb to brush your hair?

    If so, you are more likely to experience hair breakage or hair loss from the roots. You should always brush your hair from the ends/tips and work your way up to the roots. This will help remove the knots in your hair rather than ripping through them and possibly causing the hair to snap off. Using a detangle brush is the most beneficial for your hair – these brushes are generally made with soft bristles which reduce the strain and damage on the hair when brushing and are also incredible to help remove knots and tangles.

    Did you know that excessively brushing your hair every day causes too much strain on the hair strands and can result in hair loss or breakage? We recommend to only brush your hair once a day.



    If you go through extreme stress, whether this be from issues to do with work, family, friends, relationships or any other reasons that are ongoing it can cause damage to the hair and a condition called telogen effluvium.

    A severe shock or stress can cause the hair roots to reach the resting stage of their hair growth cycle before they are meant to and the hair becomes loose from the scalp.

    Once the stress has passed, you will usually find the hair does start to regrow. If you notice unusual amounts of hair shedding, you should see your licensed health practitioner to check the underlying cause.


    Irregular Haircuts 


    If you avoid cutting your hair, you will get split ends. Split ends will continue to split up the hair shaft until they eventually break off and your hair can snap.

    Getting regular haircuts, even if you’re growing out your hair, can help keep the hair healthy and strong to allow it to grow.



    Towel Drying and Over Washing 

    While it might feel like the instinctual thing to do post shower, rubbing your wet hair with a towel can cause damage and increase frizz. When the hair is wet, its elasticity is high which means its stretchier and can break easier. Instead of vigorously rubbing the hair post shower, gently squeeze the water out or try using a soft microfiber towel or hair wrap.

    The more you cleanse your hair, the more you strip it of the natural oils it needs to stay in a strong healthy shape.

    We recommend to only wash your hair 2-3 times a week at max. If you find your hair is excessively oily, this could be due to your sebaceous glands over working and producing too much oil. If this may be the case for you we recommend to try a volume shampoo or normalizing shampoo.


    Cotton Pillowcases

    Believe it or not, your beloved cotton pillowcase could be causing your hair to break. Cotton pillow cases cause friction between the hair and fabric while you sleep, this breaks down the hair shaft eventually resulting in breakage.

    Instead, invest in a silk pillowcase. Along many benefits they have on keeping your hair healthy, less frizzy, hydrated as well as preventing split ends. They have many benefits for skin including helping acne and preventing wrinkles.




    Ever since I was 12, I have dyed my hair with blonde highlights. At the age of almost 16, I transitioned from blonde foils to an on scalp. Barely knowing anything about the upkeep or what damage could occur, Until I started my hairdressing career. From then onwards, I knew what I had to do to keep my hair in healthy condition.

    I had a bad bleach application that happened at the start of my apprenticeship that resulted in my hair starting to fall out and then snapping off.

    From then on, I did everything to try and get my hair to grow. I tried tape extensions, I used all the treatments I could and surely enough, EVENTUALLY it started to grow.

     It took me years of persistence with great hair care, whilst staying an on scalp, to have my hair become healthy.

    And then… all of a sudden at the start of July 2019 this was happening.

    I was confused, I did everything right to keep my hair healthy. I barely wore it up, I treated it regularly, trimmed it every 6-8 weeks, I had a normal diet. I Just couldn’t figure out why…

    A few months later, by the end of August my hair looked like this.



    It was devastating to say the least. I was heartbroken. Being a hairdresser my hair is absolutely everything to me!

    I tried to figure out what had caused this to happen to me. And then I realised… I suffered from severe stress through the months June 2019 onwards, which resulted in my hair slowly thinning and eventually snapping off… in that one section.

    It was so weird and strange, but it now amazes me how much our body, mind and health really can affect your hair and skin.

    I tried absolutely everything possible to reduce the stresses in my life. I continued to do everything right; I maintained my diet, kept up with my regular moisture treatments and Olaplex No.3. I trimmed my hair every 6-8 weeks. I did Olaplex intense treatments every second month. I started taking JS Health Hair and Energy Vitamins. I put in Jadore Skin Weft Tape Extensions, just in the sides of my hair to fill in the gap and add a little bit of thickness.

    Just over a year later, Today 21st of October 2020 and this is what my hair looks like now without any extensions.



    Persistence is key. Understanding WHY this may be occurring, looking at all possible reasons and then working to try and overcome or change what you need to, in order to get your hair back into health is the only way to solve the problems.