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Fragile Hair Type Explained – And How To Treat it

Woman with curly hair and freckles.

Whether normal, dry, greasy, straight, wavy, curly, or kinky – any hair type can turn into a nightmare to manage and style. The phrase “bad hair day” can sometimes stretch into bad hair months and even years. I have been privy to several “hair breakdowns”, whereupon a friend would be at my apartment (or on the street), going on about how she has had enough with her hair, and she thinks she should just cut it all off and start from scratch.

How does it get to be this way? What causes the hair to look all lifeless, limp, and thin, devoid of luster, shine, sheen, and vitality? What causes seemingly healthy hair to acquire such an unhealthy look and feel? Well, it is all about how you maintain your hair. Your hair type, and your scalp type – you could blame it on genetics, but the way you take care of it is entirely up to you.

We can only play the hand we’re dealt, and as long as you know the nature of your hair, and its proper maintenance etiquette, you can get very far. Fragile hair is characterized by hair which is thin, brittle, and plagued with split ends. It’s the kind of hair which is found at the bottom of your shower drain – in unwanted, unhealthy quantities – and which frustrates many individuals to no split-end.

Too Many Hair Care Products?

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you are forty, it will look eighty-five. – Mary Schmich

Boy, did Mary have it right! The number one reason for hair turning against the head on which it is growing, is the excessive use of harmful chemicals in shampoo and other hair care products. Many hair products that are available on the market, incorporate a ‘one size fits all’ kind of approach. The cosmetics companies release a product out into the market, promising its users certain effects and visible results.

These effects and results can only be reached by bringing all of the users’ hair to the same level. In other words, these products force the hair to conform to the company’s product. It is a great selling angle, isn’t it? No matter what type of hair you have, this product will work for you! How do we know? Well, because it will completely take away your hair’s natural attributes, and cause it to look this way or that.

No chemicals warning over beakers.

Like with most things… Don’t use chemicals!

The cardinal rule of hair care is: the less chemicals you put into your hair, the happier it will be. There is no getting around this inalienable truth. Our hair behaves a certain way, looks a certain way, and feels a certain way because it has a genetic disposition to be so. To start meddling with it is not always the end of the world. Hair is also here so we can have fun with it, play with it, change it up, adorn it, and adore it.

However, there are those who take it too far, and who are unwittingly causing permanent damage to their hair. The very same hair they are seeking to beautify. Ironic.

Like Mary wrote, messing too much with your hair will cause it to double in age. Many sprays and treatments contain chemicals which will make your hair look fabulous in the short term, and fall out of your hair in the long run. There is only so much your hair follicles can take, before they will say: “I give up. I’m done.” At that point, the follicles will not have the necessary power to grow hair normally.

Obviously, there are usually many stops along the way. This isn’t a process which occurs overnight. It isn’t as if you go to sleep with a head full of hair one night, and wake up bald the following morning. It takes time, which means that – more often than not – it is also fixable. One of those stops is the state of fragile hair – brittle, broken, lifeless strands. This happens after the follicles are in such bad shape, that the sebum isn’t nourishing the hair, and the follicle isn’t giving the strand the fortification it requires to be strong.

There are ways to remedy this situation, through proper maintenance. In other words, use of natural products and/or appropriate essential oils, and avoidance of harsh treatments.

Be Kind To Your Hair!

Red-haired woman smiling with sunglasses in front of lake.

Proper hair maintenance will have you looking pretty.

Perms, mousses, gels, colors, extreme heat, extreme cold – these are all things which can make fragile hair go from bad to worse. This is true to many types of hair, but fragile hair in particular is sensitive to those conditions. Fragile hair requires a lot more care, since it is in a very gentle state. It needs to be treated with a very light shampoo, and a specially formulated conditioner. Shampoos and conditioners need to be left in for longer periods of time, in order to ensure scalp penetration.

Too often, hair care products are rinsed away before they settle into the skin. In doing that, those who are using them completely miss out on the purpose of the washing process. More on that will be discussed in the care and maintenance section.