Happy Wednesday lovelies!!
Ever since I announced my unofficial/official transition, a question that I have been getting a lot is if I'm getting more breakage and/or shedding than normal. Since this seems to be a common question, I figured I should make a post detailing my experience thus far.
Am I experiencing increased breakage?
Prior to transitioning, I would experience minimal breakage when I would do normal hair care practices like combing my hair or heat styling. More often than not, this breakage would come from the ends of my hair (which makes sense-my ends are the oldest, weakest part of my hair). This type of breakage is expected. However, I felt that I could do more to minimize the breakage that I saw. Last year, I figured my hair would benefit from me doing protein treatments (which would strengthen my hair) weekly. As you guys saw in my various posts, use of Komaza Protein Strengthener, Apoghee 2-Min Keratin Reconstructor and/or the Sally's GVP Protein Reconstructor had great results for me. I still saw some breakage due to styling but it was wayyyyyy less than it was before.
This is a practice that I continue to use now that I am transitioning but with a different focus.
As a transitioner, my focus has been to prevent any and all breakage at the line of demarcation. Therefore, on wash days you can find me applying my protein treatment like a relaxer to my new growth. Yes, this makes the process take a little bit longer but it is so worth it. So far, I'm not having any of the breakage.
In addition to my protein treatments, I am consistent in giving my hair the moisture it needs via deep conditioning with a moisturizing DC. This keeps my hair from becoming dry and (as a result) prone to breakage. Furthermore, the protein treatments also aid in imparting moisture because it allows my hair to readily accept whatever moisture I am giving it.
So to summarize a long story: when it comes to breakage during your transition, it is STILL important for you to maintain some sort of moisture/protein balance. The need for that doesn't go away just because you are transitioning.
What about shedding?
First, let me say that shedding is a normal process. It will happen whether you want it to or not. In terms of shedding, my hair tends to shed more in the winter than in the summer. That's just what it is. I accept and embrace that.
So if you thought I was about to tell you ways to stop your regular run of the mill shedding.......sorry?
But I will tell you how I keep my shedding to a range that is acceptable for my head of hair.
A big thing for me is diet. If your diet is crap and you aren't getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs, there is a strong chance your hair isn't getting the vitamins and minerals it needs. That can result in increased shedding. While I do have a weakness for certain junk foods (just last night I was craving a nice slice of caramel cake), I try to ensure that I am drinking enough water, eating a balanced diet (with lots of fruit and veggies), and I take a multivitamin for good measure. The key take away is this: shedding is a normal, internal process. It's your scalp's way of saying "Hey, everything is all good over here!" The only time your hair is going to have abnormal shedding is if there is something going on internally: poor diet, illness, hormone fluctuations (due to birth control, pregnancy, menstruation, menopause, etc), anemia and other chronic disorders. Your hair is not going to decide to shed like crazy because you are growing a relaxer out. I cannot stress that enough.
Bottom line: my shedding is normal (for me) even though I'm transitioning. In addition to diet, I also try to watch how I style my hair. I know that finding hairstyles during your transition is hard. However, you don't want to resort to styles that place unnecessary stress on the hair follicle (ahem....braids that are too tight).
Hopefully that answers the breakage/shedding question! I know quite a few of you are transitioning also and I am interested to hear what your experiences have been. Tell your story in the comments below!!