Ok, we all know the difference between a broken hair and a shed hair, right? If not, a shed hair is a hair that naturally falls out the scalp (with the root bulb attached) at the end of its natural life. A broken hair is broken at a place along the length of the hair. Hair can be broken anywhere along the hair shaft where it has been weakened or simply because the hair was pulled too taut i.e. rough handling. It’s rumored that everyone sheds (not breaks) around 100 hairs a day standard.
I’ve been eyeing the hair I lose since I cut my hair in February. Let me tell you I am so pleased (in a southern voice)! I’m pleased because when I was permed, I shed like a cat. I know that’s a common saying, but I’m for real… Like… strands of hair was all over the sink and counter and floor and shower and wall (not really but you get my drift) every.single.morning. I know most of these were BROKEN hairs because there were no roots attached and the hairs were different sizes. I used a wide tooth comb and hardly brush it, so I can’t say it was from rough handling. It was breaking because it was essentially damaged (perms work by breaking down proteins along the strand and all that jazz I don’t want to get into right now), on top of that I have microscopically thin strands and perms made it that much more fragile. I also learned that this chronic shedding was my hair rebelling against the perm, it was dry, and grease wasn’t my friend. What a recipe for a mess! I’m surprised I had bra strap length straight hair actually… It was getting nothing that it needed on a regular basis *clears throat* umm water and good oils! I think I retained length because I never wore my hair down (so no damage from the environment), wrapped it up nightly, and I wore ponytails that I didn’t pull too tight. Low manipulation saved my hair.
Now a day, my shredding has been massively reduced and it consists mainly of shed hair instead of broken hair. I see the lost hair when I finger detangle during cowashes during the week for my wash and go’s and when I comb by hair when deep condition every other week. In between these times, there is no hair on my shirt, on my pillow, or on the floor like before. I’m sure I still lose hair, but it’s caught up in the curls and can’t easily fall out. This is why when I do detangle, I expect more than 100 hairs, maybe even double this, but even then I don’t think I get that much.
This is my shed hair. ATTENTION: If you don’t like hairballs, this may be graphic!
The hairball is after I detangled with a comb when I lose the most hair. Does this look like 100 hairs to you? This is a serious question. I have no clue. I thought about counting them but I chickened out because that may be a tad insane. I did audit 10 hairs and only 2 of the 10 were broken! This says so much! I handle my hair, in my opinion, way more than I ever did when I was permed and the shredding is zilch compared to then. The individual hairs on my head are super thin, even though I have a massive amount of them, and I would think they would be more susceptible to breakage no matter what kind of tender loving care I gave to my tresses.
This difference in shedding alone has been a huge payoff in going natural. If I retained length when my hair was fundamentally unhealthy, what amazing things are in store now that I am actually more concerned about the health of my hair this time around?
Have you noticed any difference in shedding since you’ve become natural?