Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Reader Question

A diva by the name of Kyaira submitted the following question:

"Thursday I took out this sew in I had and man, I probably had about 5 pounds of hair that shedded off. My new growth did grow in. I'm in my 5th month [of transitioning]. I was happy about the way my curls were forming and I knew I had to expect breakage because it's just what happens when you transition, but I don't know if this is normal or not. It was just soooooo much. I can't explain exactly how much, but I don't think it's normal. It was like OMG, and now my permed hair is like super duper thin and broken. My new growth is getting bigger though. I recently co-washed my hair and did a bunch of plaits and twisted the ends around clips. It's in a bonnet and drying as I type. Do you think my hair will be fine? What should I do?"

ANSWER: Whether or not the shedding you experienced after removing your sew-in is normal or not depends on how long you had your sew-in in. Keep in mind that we shed anywhere from 50-100 strands a day, so if you're weaved or braided up, then that hair that would normally fall out as you comb or rake through your hair gets trapped inside the braids. When the braids and or weave is removed, what you see is the accumulation of that shedding. Thus, if you kept your sew-in for two months, then you could easily see 3,000 to 6,000 strands of your own hair come out with the extensions (That is the result of 60 days multiplied by 50-100 strands a day).

True, breakage is common for those who transition, but you can guard against excessive breakage and shedding by keeping the hair well conditioned and moisturized. Hairstyles such as braids and weaves can create too much stress on the hair, especially since the point where the relaxed and natural hair meets is extremely fragile. Therefore, the relaxed portion of your hair is probably thin and broken now as a result of the stress it was under from the tension and pulling caused by the braids and extensions.

At this point I think you should focus on keeping the hair well moisturized, and be sure to give it a good moisturizing, deep conditioning treatment. Protein isn't needed as much during this time because it's the moisture that will keep the new growth soft and prevent your hair from drying and breaking off at the point where the two textures meet. I would also suggest you lay off the extensions for a while and try styles that place little to no stress on the hair.

For style ideas, check out: Styling Options for Transitioners

To learn how Extra Virgin Olive Oil can be used to keep your hair well nourished during the transition process, see Olive Oil As A Conditioning Treatment

1 comment:

Avillacorta said...

Losing that much hair after taking a sew in out is tramatic. It does happen sometimes, but you have to prep your hair for it. I do suggest not leaving it in for longer than a month. I know it's too expensive to not leave it in the full 2 months, but if you leave it in 2 months, let your stylist take them down because they know how to prevent that much hair from coming out. Sometimes it's all in what you do after you take the threads out and unbraid the hair. Before shampooing your hair you should comb through it to keep it from dreading when you wet and shampoo it. It will matte up if you have had the sew in for 2 months and immediately wet it and add shampoo in a circular motion. Even if you just finger comb it before wetting it will help. But don't use Shampoo right away. Put conditioner on your hair, let it sit so that the hair softens and detangles enough to allow you to comb through your hair with a wide tooth shower comb. Once you do that you can shampoo to clean the scalp and hair. When I get a sew in I started adding hair butter to my hair before they braid it, not too much so that the hair doesn't hold but enough to get a good bit of moisture in there and I only leave it in for 1 month. Hope this helps you. In the mean time I would lay off of braids, where a no heat low stress style for a while. Let your hair breathe. Do hot oil and deep conditioner treatments.