Wednesday, 17 September 2014

How to Prevent Breakage with Under-processed Hair

A while back, I wrote an article about one of the major pitfalls of stretching your relaxers for extended periods - Underlapping.
The discussion which followed made me realize that there are many of us out there struggling with this issue. Just to recap, "Under-lapping" is what results when all your new growth isn't reached when you relax, leaving you with a pattern which resembles a) and in more severe cases, b). Oh Dear! 

Now if we are not careful, some major breakage can result since we are dealing with a number of demarcation lines which represent vulnerable points on the hair shaft. So how do we avoid breakage in this situation? Let's find out:
Tip #1
This tip is true for any hair type, but even more so for those with the above phenomenon. Be EXTRA careful when detangling. Try gentle finger detangling followed by your wide-tooth comb if necessary. Throw out your fine tooth combs! I'm serious! The other day, while working in small sections to install my ever so convenient rope twists, I thought it was a good idea to give my hair a once through with the small comb after I had already detangled....WRONG. I saw right then and there that that was a huge mistake. Even though my hair wasn't at all tangled, the fine tooth comb just does not work well with my 'situation'.
Tip #2
Keep your hair strong and hydrated to maintain the integrity and elasticity of the strands. Doing this will ensure that your hair can withstand the manipulation it has to endure. Which brings me to ...
Tip #3
Execute low-manipulation and/ or protective styles. These will ensure your hair is not placed under too much stress and that you keep your hair on your head.
Tip #4
Do a corrective relaxer. That is, during your next relaxer session, for the last few minutes, apply some of the crème to your underprocessed sections, taking them to a straighter texture but not to a damaged state. Alternatively, you can let relaxer run-off do the trick. In this case, when using your oil or conditioner or whatever barrier you choose to coat the previously relaxed sections, do not coat the "under-lapped" area. Instead leave it bare and allow the run-off (while rinsing the relaxer from your hair) to gently take those sections to a straighter texture over time.
Tip #5
My final tip is to NOT ignore this issue. Don't pretend your hair is not a weaker version of itself, because it is. Be more careful. Be gentler. Be more aware than you would, had your hair not been this way. Not taking heed to the above will cause breakage!  
How do you prevent breakage with underprocessed hair? Add your tips below.


  1. thanks so much abbi.saw this post and practically squealed.I needed this as I'm am really under processed.thanks

  2. This is a timely post Abbi! My hair looks exactly like a) :)

    1. Glad I could help! My hair has a lot of the a) pattern with some b) mixed in.


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