Hair breakage.

Ugh.

The number one enemy for everyone who wants healthy hair, or even tries to grow to new lengths. Literally, the number one reason why hair won’t grow longer and the worst offender when it comes to making our mane look kind of frizzy.

But why does this actually happen? And what can we do to finally stop our hair breaking?

As usual, there are several possible causes and several possible treatments. But don’t worry. They are all very logical, and you’ll find out all about them right here!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Hair breakage versus shedding

First, we need to make an important distinction. Hair breakage and hair fall are not one and the same thing!

A quick definition of breakage might help make this a little clearer: Hair breakage is when hair that already grew out of your scalp, breaks off somewhere along the hair strand. (Logical, huh?)

Hair loss, on the other hand, is when your hair falls out from your scalp, follicle and all.

You can make the distinction by looking at both ends of the loose hair. Did it come out with the hair root? Then this hair fell out. If it doesn’t have the root attached anymore, the hair broke off.

Related: Hair loss dream: How to interpret it!

Hair breakage or new growth

Another thing you want to make sure is that your supposed hair breakage isn’t simply new growth.

Having a lot of short, wispy hairs flying around your head might give you the impression that your strands break off right there. But again, look at them a little more in detail. Do they have thinning out, natural tips? Or are they really blunt and broken off?

Breakage can be a reason why your hair is not growing. Broken hair usually has a white tip like the hair in the picture. If your short hair has tips like this, it's not real baby hair.
Hair breakage with the characteristic white tip

If you find that it’s the first, congrats! New hair growth is always nice and means your body has the nutrition and energy to grow new hair!

For tips on how to deal with baby hairs and flyaways read here!

If it’s indeed the dreaded breakage, keep reading below.

5 common Hair breakage causes

The next step is to determine the reason for your hair being damaged like this. Like I said above, there are quite a few possible causes for hair breakage, so let’s go through them one by one.

1. Hair breakage from bleaching

A very common cause for hair breakage that starts right at the roots is bleaching. We all know that bleaching is EXTREMELY bad for your hair.

It literally destroys it.

So it’s no surprise that after bleaching, you’ll deal with increased hair breakage. Through treatments like bleaching or even perms, your hair structure gets weakened to the point that it simply crumbles.

2. Hair breakage due to bad diet

Image of a bowl filled with oatmeal, raspberries, banana, and yogurt

A bad diet can be another reason for seeing more breakage than other people. But it’s not as immediate as you might think.

What you eat now doesn’t affect your hair health as of now. It affects your hair structure in the future.

Your diet determines how many nutrients and vitamins can be put towards producing new hair. Meaning, if you’ve had a vitamin deficiency in the past, the hair that was “prepared” by your body at that time will be weaker than hair that was “made” when your body had everything it needed.

3. Hair breakage after keratin treatment

Funnily enough, a keratin treatment could be the cause for your hair breaking off. It sounds counterintuitive because keratin treatments are supposed to strengthen your hair, but once you learn about your hairs moisture-protein balance, you’ll understand why this can happen.

While proteins like keratin are good for your hair in general, there is definitely such a thing as protein overload on hair. If your hair is either protein-sensitive or already gets enough protein through your normal hair care products, a keratin treatment could put it “over the edge”.

And one of the clear warning signs of a protein overload is – you guessed it – a lot of breakage.

4. Hair breakage at ends

If your hair breaks off mainly at the ends, there is another big enemy of hair care behind your problem: mechanical damage!

Mechanical damage is anything that happens to our hair while we’re out and about, minding our own business. It’s your hair sliding over your sweater. Or being stuck under your shoulder strap. It’s washing your hair very often, especially if you use hot water.

In short: mechanical damage is anything that weakens your hair structure, in the short or in the long term.

And while, obviously, all these things are bad for the whole length of your hair, the ends are most exposed. Additionally, they are the “oldest” part of your hair, meaning they have been weakened over time.

5. Hair breakage from stress

Image of a red crayon having written the word "stress" in capital letters

One thing that is probably NOT the cause for your hair breaking off is stress. While stress weakens the whole body and therefore also the new hair that is produced at the time, it will not directly affect your lengths.

If you notice increased breakage during a time of high stress, it is way more likely that due to your stress, you simply can’t make as much effort in your hair care.

Related: 10 practical things to put in a Stress Relief Goodie Bag

A similar thing is if your stress is of a medical nature. Thyroid issues, for example, can easily mess with your hair health. But again, this will impact the hair that will grow or might cause hair loss. It cannot change the structure of already “existing” hair.

The causes of hair breakage: bleaching, (former) bad diet, keratin treatments, daily mechanical damage, stress is not directly correlated to hair breakage

The best treatments for hair breakage

Now that you have a better idea what might have caused your breakage, it’s time to look at a few “hair breakage solutions”.

Obviously, the best breakage fix will depend on why your hair is this damaged in the first place. So let’s tackle this in order!

Hair breakage repair products for bleached hair

Bleached hair is structurally damaged. This means that the cuticle layer of the hair is broken and needs repair. While you cannot fully rebuild the cuticle as it was, you can fill “holes” with protein treatments on your hair.

Related: What you need to know about protein on your hair

The easiest way for this is to buy some hydrolyzed protein* and spike your shampoo or conditioner with it. But to really pamper your hair, you can get one of the following products, as they also contain moisturizing ingredients.

Bleached hair needs both!

Of course, you could also make your own products at home. Some people swear on rice water for hair as a regular protein treatment.

Related: How to make rice water for your hair

Hair breakage fix for bad diet hair damage

It’s probably no surprise that the first, and most important step for this problem is to fix your diet. Make sure you get all your nutrients and especially your daily protein! You can get some more input on a healthy hair diet here. This will make sure that, in the future, you won’t have this problem anymore.

But as we already know, eating well cannot fix the hair that’s already there.

So what to do about the existing breakage?

Two things will help you:

  1. Like the people with bleached hair, you want to “fortify” your hair regularly with protein. Use the treatments above, and use coconut oil on your hair, as it helps with protein retainment. (My hair loves this Monoi coconut oil*!)
  2. Protect your hair from damage. It’s structurally weaker than normal hair, so it cannot withstand everyday mechanical stresses as well. Wear it up more often, and use a lot of care when handling it.

Hair breakage treatment for breakage from keratin treatments

As we’ve learned above, keratin treatments can be too much for your hair if it already has too much protein or is naturally protein sensitive.

So if you’ve done a keratin treatment recently and found a significantly increased amount of breakage since then, you’re very likely suffering from too much protein.

Obviously, this means to avoid protein in ALL of your products from now on. You’ll also need to moisturize your hair heavily for quite a while until it finds balance again.

Find out everything about how to deal with protein overload and protein-free products here!

Hair breakage remedies for damaged ends

The best remedy for breakage at the ends of your strands is protecting them from pretty much anything harmful, and keeping them well moisturized to keep them as flexible as possible.

Protecting your hair tips from mechanical damage is not hard. In fact, there are quite a few options you can select from. (Obviously, it’s best if you combine them all!)

To keep your ends well moisturized, you can mix yourself your very own “hair breakage oil” from whichever hair oils your hair likes best.

Related: How to pick the best hair oil for your hair type

You can also try the LOC method, as its’ whole purpose is to moisturize the ends of your hair.

Hair breakage solutions for stress

Like I said above, stress won’t directly cause damage to your hair. But if you simply don’t have the time to do extensive hair treatments, detangle carefully, and generally to take care of your hair much, I recommend learning a few simple updos, for example with a hair stick.

These hairdos are super quick to make, so they will save you time. They are hair friendly, as they protect your tips. And you will look presentable without having to worry about the condition of your hair.

Once the biggest stress is over, you can get back to pampering it. Maybe with a nice homemade hair mask?

What’s your plan?

So now that you’ve found out all about the typical causes of hair breakage and treatments to help you deal with it, which steps are you going to take?

Following a clear plan will help you beat all that damage in breakage in no time!

If you have any other questions or remarks, let me know in the comments and make sure to share this post and pin it to your hair care board!

*These links are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.