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Young African-American woman in maroon top with pulled back braids looks at her laptop at a coffee shop along the street.

Whether it’s cooler temps, heat damage, or just using the wrong products—it seems like there’s always a new nemesis actively fighting length retention on natural hair. So, what should you do? Just give in and cut your hair short? Well, not so fast! While we’re fans of a cute, cropped cut, maybe hold off on the clippers for now. If you’re looking to reduce hair breakage and maintain your hair length, keep reading for our top tips to avoiding hair breakage and getting the length you want.

Causes of Hair Breakage

Before we dive into these recommendations, let’s examine a few of the different ways in which hair breakage occurs in natural hair. Many times, the primary cause is dryness in the strands. Breakage occurs when a hair strand snaps throughout the length of the strand, rather than naturally shedding from the root.

Not applying the correct products, not moisturizing your hair regularly, frequently using gels, and other factors lead to dryness, which then makes the shaft prone to breakage. Once the hair is in an extremely dry state, friction causes the strand to snap at any point along the shaft, whether that’s close to the root or not. Friction can come from brushing, combing, hats, or even pulling a shirt over your head—which could force breakage at the crown of your head or nape of the neck. Constant breakage can make your hair appear shorter, and you may need a trim to get it looking healthy again.

How to Reduce Hair Breakage

Moisture! Hydration! Conditioning! Keeping your hair properly moisturized with leave-in conditioners, creams and lotions, and sealing in that hydration with a hair oil is a great way to lock in moisture for longer periods of time. Your hair is unique, so you’ll know exactly how much product to apply, but something you may experiment with is frequency. Increasing how often you refresh hairstyles, like wash-n-gos, twist outs, or more can help stop dryness in the short term.

How to Maintain Hair Length

Length retention is a big concern for many naturals. That’s where protective styling comes in. Braids/twists/locs, wigs, weaves (with minimal leave-out) bantu knots and silk headwraps are key to unlocking length retention. These styles usually last a few days to a few weeks, and require little maintenance to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

These styles can indeed be a bit pricey if you have a professional handle them, but learning how to achieve a few of these styles at home, with the right products, can save you money in the long term, and save your hair years of hard-won growth.

The entire Royal Oils Haircare Line is dedicated to protecting natural hair and protective styles, so you can achieve your hair goals. From scalp elixirs, tonics, and creams, to cowash, conditioner, and frizz tamer—our bottles are designed with nozzles to help reach your scalp through protective styles, and we cover all your needs from washing to styling. Go here for more tips to indulging your crown in the royal treatment.

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