Natural hair shedding on wash day is something that freaks out a lot of women. We see hair in the sink and immediately think of damage and impending doom for hair.
However, this isn’t always the case. Did you know it’s perfectly normal for hair to shed every day?
We lose around 50 – 100 strands of hair every single day. This doesn’t mean you’re going bald though.
If your hair is in a protective style for a week (twists) or longer (braids, weaves, and wigs), the shed hair can be a bit voluminous on take down and detangling day.
Depending on your hair type, length and thickness, you may lose more than 100 hairs.
But don’t panic yet. Remember curly hair has a tendency to wrap around itself when it’s not kept separated.
Let’s examine how to identify normal shedding hair and hair breakage from serious damage.
Differences Between Natural Hair Shedding and Breakage
Take a strand of hair out of the shed hair and lay it out flat. If it has a transparent bulb at the end, then this is shedding.
It should be the length of your hair but if the majority of the shed hair is all broken pieces much shorter than your hair, then this is hair damage.
Note – a few broken pieces of hair strands are fine.
You will need to take some steps to rectify this ASAP to prevent further damage. Usually, a strong protein treatment is necessary in this case.
By the way, too much protein can cause damage as well so if you’ve been overdoing protein previously, then you need a deep moisturizing treatment, not more protein.
How Much Shedding Is Normal for Natural Hair?
So how much is normal? This depends on your hair length, density, and the last time you had a wash day.
When you take all these factors into consideration and multiply by the average shed strands per day, you should be able to identify how much is too much for your hair.
For instance, below is a picture of my shed hair on wash day after three weeks of wearing my hair in cornrows under a wig.
This is pretty standard for me. When I start seeing more hair than this, I know I’m overdoing something or manipulating my hair roughly.
You should also consider additional factors such as your diet, stress levels if you’re pregnant when trying to keep track of your natural hair shedding levels.
These things may also affect how much hair is shed on wash day. It may be more or less than usual as a result.
Take Comparison Pictures of Hair Shedding
Take pictures of your shedding hair between wash days and compare after a few wash days. Is the hair shedding increasing?
Is it at the same levels? This will help you to identify and rectify what could be the problem ASAP.
Keep in mind – it is not 100% possible to eliminate breakage as you are manipulating your hair after all.
In this case, there are several things you can do while manipulating hair to minimize breakage as much as possible.
Note – hair does go through different phases. For more on this read, Understanding Hair Growth Cycle.
Related Hair Care Resources
How Do I Reduce Hair Shedding?
There are loads of ways to cut down on hair shedding but some quick solutions include:-
- Switch to finger combing and if you must use a comb, ensure it doesn’t have seams or very fine seams. For more on this, read Tips for Combing Natural Hair.
- Cut down on handling your hair i.e. there’s no need to shampoo and condition every day or try to detangle every day. This is too much. Once or twice a week is adequate.
- Avoid dry heat such as blow dryers and flat irons as much as possible and embrace wet heat such as hair steaming.
For more targeted tips to eliminate hair fall and shedding in the long term, I highly recommend The Ultimate Hair Growth Guide.
The Ultimate Hair Growth Guide
If you want to learn more about how to avoid, eliminate, and prevent hair loss issues on natural hair, then you may be interested in the Healthy Hair Care Series.
The Ultimate Hair Growth Guide: Stop Hair Loss. Regrow Bald Spots. Fill in Thin Areas is book 2 in the series.
It features over 15 proven and tested methods for hair regrowth and eliminating hair fall and excessive shedding.
It has helped many people and is rated an average of 4.8 out of 5 on Amazon and Goodreads. Peep some of the reviews below:-
The guide is an all-in-one package for addressing hair loss and thinning. You will discover it’s a lot more than just applying a few products to your hair. Learn more here.
Final Word on Natural Hair Shedding
Even though we all hate seeing that little or big ball of hair after detangling or shampooing, it’s no reason to panic and it’s perfectly normal.
Just keep track of it over several weeks before deciding you have a more serious hair loss issue.
If you determine your hair shedding is abnormal and the usual treatments aren’t making any difference, then consider speaking to a dermatologist or trichologist for further analysis.
Abi is a curly hair expert, researcher, product tester, and author of the highly-rated Healthy Hair Care Series. She is also the founder of Ade Ori Hair Care, Healthy Natural Hair Products, and Natural Oils for Hair & Beauty. HNHP has strict editorial standards and ensures all the information on Healthy Natural Hair Products is the best for natural hair care. Learn more about our Editorial Policies
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