Why is My Hair Breaking! – Top 11 Causes of Hair Breakage

Broken Hair in a Brush

Has your hair been snapping like a potato chip? If so, don’t worry, the reason is most likely easy to fix.  The average person sheds about 100 strands a day but if your hair sheds significantly more than this, it is imperative that you discover why. If you’ve been reading my previous posts, you’re more than aware of the role not properly moisturizing plays in hair breakage. However, it’s not the only factor that can cause it.

Here are 11 other reasons why you might be experiencing hair breakage:

1.  Lacking a Proper Diet

It’s not surprising that what effects the inside of the body effects the outside as well.   If you eat foods that lack proper nutrients, especially protein, your hair potentially will be weakened and begin to snap. Think about it this way…your body needs nutrients to function properly and it is always thinking about your survival. Therefore, if your body is malnourished, any nutrients that it receives will immediately go to the organs, blood, etc. to keep you alive. The hair will be one of the last to receive nutrients because your body wouldn’t see it as a priority.

2. Constantly Manipulating the Hair

I know, I know, your coils are growing long and beautiful and it’s almost impossible not to touch. However, habitually playing in your hair can also lead to breakage. People fail to see how fragile natural hair is. The more you pull and tug on it, the weaker it will become, and the more its susceptible to breaking. Also your fingers strip the hair of its oils and moisture which is also damaging and can lead to breakage. Try to be more mindful next time you play in your hair. Like many habits, you may tend to do it subconsciously so try to make a conscious effort to avoid it.

3. Hair Products

Hair products like gel, wax, and certain shampoos can be a major cause of hair breakage. Firstly, some products, like gel, can dry the hair out and weaken the hair shaft, causing breakage. Other products may just be too heavy on the hair, like wax. Products that are heavy put too much pressure on the hair shaft, so when the hair is manipulated, it causes the hair to snap. Also, make sure to check out the ingredients in your shampoos. Shampoos that contain sulfates have the tendency to be really harsh on the hair and can also lead to breakage. (Find out what other ingredients cause hair breakage.)

4. Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamin B-12, Biotin, Zinc, and Iron are just a few of the vitamins that enhance hair health. Vitamin deficiencies can be a major cause of hair breakage. Without proper vitamins, the hair will become fragile and weak, easily being the cause of hair breakage. If you have a vitamin deficiency (especially one of the vitamins affecting hair health) make sure to increase your daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Also taking a multivitamin or “hair, skin, and nails” vitamin which will promote hair growth and decrease breakage.

5. Tight Hairstyles

I don’t care if you are twisting, braiding, pineappling, or Bantu knotting your hair, if your styles create a lot of tension on the hair and/or scalp, you are more likely to cause breakage. Pulling tightly on the hair makes the strands…you guessed it…weak. As you can probably figure by now, anything that weakens the strands can cause hair breakage. Whenever you are styling your hair, make sure to do it as loose as possible. It would be a shame for your protective hairstyle to be the culprit for your hair breakage.

6. Hair Accessories

Hair claws, hair clips,  bobby pins, etc. are irritants to the scalp and hair snaggers. Choose hair accessories with fewer “teeth”. The more teeth the more likely your hair will be snagged by them. Whenever you are styling/sectioning the hair, make sure to create clear parts so that you don’t end up tangling the hair in the accessory, which can lead to it snagging. Any irritant can damage the hair and lead to breakage. A good rule of thumb is if an accessory feels like it is irritating your scalp or snagging the hair, take it out…because it most likely is.

7. Combing

Your hair is extremely knotted and tangled and you’d love nothing more than to rake a comb through it…well don’t! Your hair is full of tightly coiled spirals, running a comb through your hair (whether wet or dry), is basically asking for hair breakage. Because your hair has so many coils and kinks, you are bound to run across knots on and you have more of a tendency to be heavy handed and not feel the tension being put on the hair when using a comb. Stick to finger detangling if you are experiencing hair breakage. Yes, it takes more time but it will save you greatly in the long run.

8. Heat

Just because you’re natural doesn’t mean you want to wear a natural style. I get it…and there’s nothing wrong with that as far as preference goes. However, be careful of overly heat treating your hair. Using blow dryers, curling irons, wands, flat irons, etc, too frequently and without heat protectant can dry out the hair and exacerbate hair breakage.

9. Manipulating While Hair is Wet

I talked about this a little bit in one of my previous articles. To reiterate the main points, water breaks down the hydrogen bonds in the hair causing the hair to stretch substantially.  Stretching the hair causes the hair shaft to weaken. Therefore, if you manipulate the hair when wet you are more likely to cause breakage. Whenever you manipulate the hair, whether it be for detangling or otherwise, try to do so on semi-dry/damp hair, using oils for lubrication.

10. Sleeping on Cotton

As you toss and turn at night, your hair constantly rubs against the pillowcase. The texture of your hair against cotton easily causes friction and abrasion which can lead to severe hair breakage. Sleep on a satin/silk pillowcase or wear a satin/silk bonnet to prevent this from happening.

11. Avoiding Trims

If you avoid trimming your hair, you are bound to get split ends and split ends eventually lead to hair breakage. Some may not think that’s a big issue however, a large problem is that your hair can break from split ends faster than it grows. Therefore, if your hair is excessively breaking, your hair will not retain any growth and may in fact lose some. Not to mention, split ends are very unattractive so make sure to get frequent trims.

Have you experienced hair breakage? Why was your hair breaking and what did you do to stop it?

Leave a comment below!

About author


Angie is the founder & Editor-n-Chief of napturalhairlove.com, a natural hair site and brand encouraging naturals to embrace the hair that God gave them. Through creating a platform where other naturals can shine and also sharing her journey, she hopes to help unveil the unique beauty of natural coils. You can connect with her via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.


  1. Justin 31 March, 2015 at 22:20 Reply

    These are great tips ! I always find myself pLayin in my hair periodically throughout the day . It really is a bad habit I now know is damaging to my hair. Thanks for the info 🙂

    • Angie 2 April, 2015 at 16:45 Reply

      I know I have a bad habit of doing that as well! Yes, try to break the habit because it really isn’t great for your hair. I’m glad to inform you. 🙂

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