Good ends care = long hair secret
Keeping moisture locked into the hair shaft is by now a well-known way of giving hair the strength to make it to longer lengths. After all, moisture provides more strength than any known protein or other strengthening treatment.
However, the other side of the ends care question is the stress factor. Once you know you're keeping your hair well-conditioned, you have to make sure you've also mitigated the mechanical forces acting against the length of your hair. As well as checking your tools and hair accessories to make sure they don't damage your hair in the styling process, it's important to check for what is damaging your hair while you're not styling it.
The neckline-shoulder length plateau
Have you noticed that your hair grows steadily and quickly until around the point where it hits the bottom of the neckline to the top of the shoulders?
All of a sudden, you notice that growth plateauing. Your ends start tapering out and you even spot short hairs sprinkled across your shirt – a sure sign that your hair is breaking off. You haven't changed the way you care for your hair so you wonder why.
Is it because my hair is destined or programmed to break off at that length? Did I do enough protein treatments? Did I forget to put enough conditioner on my ends?
Most likely, however, these are not the reasons why your hair is hitting the shoulders and quitting. It's most probably because you are wearing your hair down. When you wear your neckline-shoulderlength hair down, the tips of your hair hit and scrape against your shoulders head on, which scratches minute fragments of hair off constantly, shaving it down to that minimum level of length.
Hair which has reached this point is also vulnerable to friction from the neckline of your coat, shirt, scarves – you name it; whatever is rubbing against it. All of which makes leaving hair free and unprotected at this length a major cause of breakage.
As it grows out. . .
As the hair gets longer, it is a little less susceptible to this type of breakage, since it grows lower down your back and is less likely to get caught up, plus the tips are not rubbing directly onto your shoulders anymore, so there's less head-on damage.
This means you can wear your hair down more frequently once it gets out of this danger zone.
That said, it's worth noting that wearing the hair up most – if not all – of the time, is one of the most common habits of long-haired people, all around the world. It makes sense as keeping your hair safely out of the way protects it from getting snapped, rubbed or ripped off as you go about your daily duties.
Making it work for your hair. . .
Now the question is, how can you weave this into your routine? Once your hair hits the neckline, start wearing it up most of the time, but choose styles that suit both your tresses and your style.
If you like your hair pulled back, then keep your ends up in a loose bun or ponytail, or a twisted updo. Be careful with your edges, though; don't sacrifice your hairline to save your ends.
If wearing your hair down best suits your features or your routine, then rock a loose style, but remember to strategically clip up the sections in the danger zone as long as they're at this vulnerable stage.
And be sure to support this mechanical protection with regular conditioning and sealing in moisture; layer your conditioners to insulate your hair, protecting it from damage and moisture loss, as well as carefully choosing – and not overusing – your hair tools.
With all of these factors working together for your hair, instead of against, as they too often are, the neckline-shoulder length plateau should cease to be an obstacle for you on your long hair journey.
|Ashley Webb| Dioburto Photography | Andre Mantelli | Abigail Toribio|
DHA Hair Care Experts
Dominican Hair Alliance