Hair breakage is a common problem. With so many styling practices now available, it’s no surprise women’s hair is so vulnerable to snapping off mid-strand. But this can sometimes lead to frizzy broken hair on top of the head, which makes hair unmanageable and unruly.
So what can you do about hair breakage around the crown that causes frizz on top of your head? Here, find out why hair breaks, and what you can do to repair or treat frizzy damaged hair.
Hair breakage on top of the head manifests as short, frizzy hairs and flyaways that seem to defy gravity:
All hair goes through a shedding and regrowth process, so it’s completely normal to have some shorter hairs around your roots as newer hairs grow in. But when you have a noticeable amount of short frizzy hairs that are a different texture to the rest of your hair, this is likely due to hair breakage.
Broken hairs often have damaged ends, as they’re not cut cleanly from the rest of the strand. On a microscopic level, here’s what you might see:
Most people won’t see their hair breakage in this level of detail, but you might see split or frayed ends, which are telltale signs of broken hair.
If your hair breakage becomes more extensive, you might start to see your scalp through your thinning hair:
There are lots of possible reasons why your hair has become frizzy and broken at the top. These include [1-2]:
If you have longer hair, some breakage is more or less unavoidable. That’s why you need to get your hair trimmed regularly, to remove damaged ends and prevent further frizz.
Here are three groups most likely to be affected by frizzy, broken hair on top of the head.
Frizzy and broken hair is most common among people with Black and Afro hair types. Research suggests this is likely due to structural and grooming hair stressors that disproportionately affect this population [2-3].
The acute curls of Afro hair types make it more vulnerable to breakage and frizz, especially when combed. Sebum production is also high, leaving Black hair prone to excessive scalp oil and dry hair strands .
People with Black hair types are more likely to use chemical hair treatments like hair relaxers, which can damage hair.
styling is another key culprit for hair breakage. Scraping your hair back into tight styles leads to damage and hair loss around the hairline. This condition is known as traction alopecia, and it affects many people, including female celebrities with hair loss like Ariana Grande and Naomi Campbell:
As the hair grows back, it can be frizzy or wispy, depending on your natural hair texture. If you often wear your hair in tight hairstyles (including protective styles like braids or locs) try to give your hair a reprieve by wearing it loose a few days a week.
Regular use of heat or chemical styling on your hair can snap your strands, making them short and frizzy. Research suggests extensive use of chemical relaxers can even lead to hair thinning, as seen in this patient whose relaxer-induced frizz has widened her parting and led to dry, split ends :
Frizzy hair was the most common adverse effect reported by patients in this study, with two-thirds of patients saying they were affected .
Unfortunately, once your hair has broken, there’s not much you can do to repair it. Certain hair products can flatten your hair cuticle and make your hair feel smoother and shinier, but you won’t be able to repair hair breakage .
That said, there are ways to tame frizz and minimise the risk of future breakage.
Here’s how you can treat frizzy hair and breakage around your scalp and crown.
Removing split ends can stop damage travelling up the hair strand and causing further problems. Scheduling regular trims at the salon is a great way to keep hair looking healthy and intact while shorter baby hairs grow in.
It’s a good idea to get your hair trimmed every 12 weeks or so to keep it in good condition.
Reduce how often you expose your hair to treatments like keratin for hair (also known as a Brazilian blowout), relaxers, and even home styling processes like straightening and curling your hair.
If you want to use heat or chemicals for styling, space out these treatments to give your hair time to recover between applications.
Avoid tying your hair back as much as possible. Tight ponytails, ballerina buns, and certain protective styles tug on your hair follicles and make your hair snap off around the hairline. So try to wear your hair loose as often as you can.
If you need to tie your hair back for work or other reasons, try not to tie it too tightly. Use scrunchies or hair claws to hold your hair in place, rather than tight elastics.
Dry hair is more prone to breakage and frizz, so apply an effective moisturiser regularly to keep your hair healthy.
These images show the effect of using a 1% coconut oil leave-in solution on your hair :
Coconut oil and other effective hydrating agents can smooth out your cuticles, reducing the appearance of frizz and flyaways.
While it’s often tempting to try and break away from your natural hair type (especially if it’s difficult to tame), it’s usually better to work with your natural hair rather than trying to fight it.
If your hair is naturally straight and fine, add volume by cutting in layers rather than using curling tongs. For those with natural curls, use serums to emphasise and smooth out your waves instead of using relaxers or straighteners.
Everyone needs to brush and wash their hair, both of which can lead to hair damage over time. But there are some techniques you can use to minimise breakage and reduce frizz in your everyday styling practices:
Hair breakage isn’t the same as hair loss, though they do have some symptoms in common. These include:
The key difference between broken hair and hair loss is that broken hair snaps off along the strand, while lost hair comes loose from the follicle and doesn’t regrow. Not all hair loss is permanent, but it’s likely you’ll see some bald or thinning patches at least temporarily if you have true hair loss.
You can tell the difference between breakage and hair loss by looking at the length of the hair coming away. Broken hair tends to be much shorter than lost hair (although if you have short hair this may be trickier to determine). In addition, breakage is much more likely to cause frizz on top of your head.
Hair loss and breakage should be treated differently. Unlike breakage, which often requires patience and careful styling to fix, hair loss usually needs to be treated with specific hair loss solutions, such as Minoxidil and female hair transplants.
Women’s hair loss, in particular, is hard to treat, so you may need hair loss blood tests and other assessments to find the right female hair loss treatment for you.
Frizz is usually caused by hair breakage, rather than hair loss. But if you’re not sure what’s making your hair brittle and frizz-prone, book a consultation with our trichology team to get a diagnosis.
We specialise in treating female hair conditions, so we can help you understand and treat the cause of your hair breakage, reducing frizz and leaving your hair soft, sleek, and shiny.
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