Ewwww. Hair balls are unsightly, but taking a closer look at them can tell you a lot about the health of your natural hair. Is there a lot of hair caught in your comb? Is the hair dry? Taking note of these characteristics will help you figure out what your hair needs to be as healthy as possible.
First off, let's talk about why hair falls out in the first place. It typically boils down to either breakage or shedding. How can you tell which is which? Examine the ends of a single strand of hair. If you see a white bulb at one end, that hair has been shed. (The white bulb is from the hair root and came out of your scalp.) Shedding is a natural process that occurs in order to make room for new hair growth. You'll probably shed around one hundred hairs on any given day! If you think you're shedding significantly more than that, start by improving your diet. Drink lots of water, make sure you're eating enough protein, and exercise regularly. Hopefully that does the trick, but you might also want to visit your doctor to rule out other underlying reasons for the excessive shedding.
And now for the big bad B-word: breakage. The absence of a white bulb at the end of a hair indicates that the hair broke somewhere along the shaft. There are many reasons for which this might have happened, including:
These are the three things you can control to prevent breakage. By keeping manipulation to a minimum, you reduce the number of times your strands are subject to pulling and tugging forces, as well as friction. Since hair is composed of the protein keratin, it's also imperative that you eat enough protein. Even if you're a vegetarian, you can still stock up on nuts and greens that are packed with protein, such as almonds, cashews, broccoli, and spinach. Lastly, don't forget to moisturize your natural hair as needed. When it dries out it snaps like a twig, so keep those strands hydrated. Avoiding breakage will keep split ends at bay and ultimately allow you to grow longer, healthier, and stronger hair!
What's your secret to preventing breakage? Share it in a comment below!