Hey Girl Hey,
I tested the crown hairs of 10 of my friends. Keep reading to see what I found.
This post is long but informative! I encourage you to read the whole thing to get all the info you need!
Ok so let's jump right into this tea, shall we?
You would think that our crown would be the most protected, less manipulated, and therefore the easiest part of our hair to grow and maintain length. Not so in many cases. In fact, for some of us, it is the most fragile and kinkiest part of our hair. So what is going on up there?
First, I want to say that not everyone is suffering from crown breakage. If you have a tighter texture up there, it could just be that you have more shrinkage at your crown than other areas of your hair. This could make it appear shorter when it really may not be.
However, because of this fact, you could be manipulating your crown more to help shape your hair into that ever so popular heart shape. If your crown has a ton of shrinkage then you're left with mullet shaped hair (lol) which leads to tons of over manipulating to shape into a heart (put that pick down chile).
The over-usage of tools to shape your hair and volumize is a HUGE culprit in the crown breakage mystery. If your texture is tighter up there, it's probably more fragile and more prone to breakage, so the pick doesn’t make it any better.
So let's back up and talk about the structure of crown hair for a bit, shall we? I asked 10 of my friends to come over my house and let me examine their scalps and crown hair. Of those 10 friends, 6 had crown issues. All 6 of the ones with crown issues had type 4 hair. Of those 6, ALL of them had high porosity in that area, more shrinkage, suffered from reduced curl definition, breakage, frizz and dryness. The 4 without crown breakage were type 3 or less. Those 4 had normal porosity and didn’t suffer from any of the issues that my type 4 friends reported. I then kicked those looser curled friends out of my house (just kidding)!
After speaking with the remaining 6 with crown issues, they reported that they use tools to help shape their crowns on a daily basis (over manipulation).
So I'm about to get "Sciency" on y’all real quick. Let's circle back to porosity: Their porosity was different at their crown than any other area of their heads. They all had high porosity at their crown and normal or low porosity in most other areas of their hair. Strange right? After they left, I kept their hair in little baggies. No I didn’t do voo-doo. I applied a mild protein treatment to each of their strands to see if the porosity would change after this. And sure enough it did! Their little hairs either stayed on top of the water or floated to the middle. The protein filled in the little areas of their hair that were missing which initially caused their hairs to sink to the bottom. These missing areas contribute to the fragility of your hair strand and increase breakage. These missing areas are also what causes high porosity which causes your hair to easily accept and lose moisture. Protein helps fill in those weak areas and controls your moisture retention rates.
Alot of naturals think they are "protein sensitive" and therefore stay away from proteins. However, our fragile crowns seem to benefit best from proteins. Yes proteins may not give you that "slip" and they may leave your hair feeling like "straw". They are not meant to detangle they are meant to strengthen. So you may need to follow up behind that protein treatment with a moisturizing conditioner, but your hair will be stronger once that whole process is complete. One warning however: Stop using protein when you notice that its cause MORE breakage. Too much protein can also be bad. There is a delicate balance between moisture and protein that needs to be achieved, but once it is, your hair will be stronger.
Now let's talk about WHY the porosity in that area is higher in the first place. The hair in that area is growing out a totally different texture than the rest of your hair. I don't know for sure, but I'm going to take an educated guess and say that those of us with Sub-Saharan African roots have developed this trait to help protect our heads from the harsh sun. There are certain traits that we Africans have that other people don't which helped protect our ancestors from the hot conditions near the equator. Our dark skin, our wide noses, and our hair. So why would our crowns be any different? If our crown hair didn't adapt and become kinkier to protect us from the harshness of the sun, our ancestors' scalps would burn from the UV rays. Let's take a moment and appreciate the intricate way in which our God has shaped our bodies to protect us without us even knowing! (Praise break)
I'm more at peace knowing that there's a real reason for my crown issues and not some genetic anomaly that caused this.
Now let's get into how to minimize the breakage up there. Here are a few things you can do:
- Treat your crown separately from the rest of your hair. Give it it's own section on wash day and provide it with mild proteins every now and then. Also, moisturize and seal often.
- Reduce manipulation! Your crown is fragile due to its anatomic structure. The kinkier the hair, the more prone to breakage it will be. You'll have to baby it instead of becoming frustrated with it and manipulating it more.
- Which leads to my next point: Try to avoid using the pick so often. Instead of picking it out, you can use bobby pins to shape your hair.
- Provide your crown with Oils that have UV protection. Macadamia Nut Oil has an SPF of 6 and Red Raspberry Oil has an SPF of 4. Its not super high, but it may be just enough to make a difference.
- Understand that even once it begins to retain length, it will still have more shrinkage than the rest of your hair. And that’s ok.
- Reduce direct heat. Flat ironing and blow drying do not help your crown at all.
- Avoid permanent colors.
I hope you find this helpful! Did you know that UniQurl is launching its very own healthy hair care line specifically targeted for kinky hair? We launch July 2018! Go to www.uniqurl.com to sign up for our email list for updates and discounts!
Please be sure to follow us on Instagram @uniqurl and follow our Facebook page. Its brand new but I'll start posting there soon. I am also starting a Facebook group for all of us to exchange information and help each other out! More info on that soon.
Until next time Queens,
Alexis Stanley CEO of UniQurl