Back in high school my friends and I would always tease each other about having tufts of hair that couldn’t be tied in a ponytail or any style for that matter. Without hair gel there was nothing to keep them down and they were great at making any hair style look scruffy and unkempt in no time…. Lol. Are you having flash back ladies? Or maybe this is what you are still dealing with on a daily basis? Either way it’s something that needs to be discussed because it is a very common hair issue for us black women. Just like hairline our nape need extra care because it can thin out, break, become uneven…the works…good thing though is it can be fixed 😀 I have been working on mine for a whillllle now. and it has not been easy especially if after my relaxer incident. Any way lets get in to it…
The photo below is a random one I found on the internet of those tufts…. I must say though that those tufts are quite full… some people are thin and even or even balding like the hairline….. this can be avoided.
What is your Nape?
The back of your neck and the hair that is in that area
Why our nape is so sensitive to breakage?
Ø * Structural differences of hair
This I believe is the main reason why. Structurally you know now that our type 4 hair is structurally weaker anyway and usually the hair around our nape and hairline is a lot softer/weaker with a different curl pattern to the rest of our heads. This hair and scalp is very sensitive on MY head around my nape. It needs a lot of TLC as it will be the first to break off as a result of manipulation, friction and stress from styling. However all is not lost. There are a number of things that we can do to reduce the breakage along our nape and retain length.
If you are anything like me you know alllll to well about this. The aching of the scalp, the bumps, the constant relaxer burns… ugghhh. It’s no fun, and because my scalp is sooo sensitive I have to be even more cautious with my scalp and pay special attention to the sensitive areas like my nape or else BREAKAGE. I baby my nape as much as I baby my hair line…It’s VERY NECESSARY and luckily it’s yielded the results…hard work pays off 🙂 if you have your jbco and are doing the castor oil challenge besure to massage it into you scalp along your nape.
What causes breakage along the nape?
Too much tension – When we braid our hair too tightly we cause a lot of stress to our strands that become weaker and break. There’s no need to have your hair extremely tight when braiding. It looks nice and ‘neat’ to tart out but give yourself a few months and there will be no hair to braid. Even a simple bun or pony tail when put in too tight is detrimental to our hair.
Lack of moisture – Our hair needs to remain elastic, so that when we brush it, it doesn’t not snap off. Rather it should stretch and spring back into place. Dry hair WILL break.
Heat damage – Our hair is structurally weaker than other hair types and constant exposure to direct heat causes excessive breakage at the nape as the hair becomes dry, thin and brittle.
Over brushing– Our hair likes to be left alone and so when we constantly brush and manipulate it we experience breakage.
Tight hair accessories – From head bands, head scarfs to hair scrunchies all of these things can be of detriment to our sensitive nape as they pull and tug and cause tension and friction.
Friction – there’s a lot of friction between our nape hair and whatever we are wearing ALL day long. It’s the first point of contact, so whether it’s scarfs or shirts when our hair comes in contact with it, eventually it weakens and breaks off.
So what shall we do to stop breakage?
The opposite of all the things that cause breakage! Lol
but…Here are a few key things that have worked for me…. and I have the results to show it…. My nape is not perfect but it’s definitely good work in progress…and I can tie a good pony tail without worrying about “tufts” anymore….I can pull my nape hair in all directions as it’s growing along with the rest of my hair *fist pumps
……Pictures of my nape hair taken today… (I even photo edited a little for fun 🙂 )
Caution when relaxing
Now that we understand how relaxers work from my post on hair teams, I don’t need to go into much detail on the impact of chemicals on our hair. Given the hair around the nape is a lot softer/weaker breakage is most likely to occur here if the hair is not pre-treated before relaxers and well maintained after.……..When I relax my hair I apply the relaxer to my hairline and nape right at the very END. This is something I decided to do recently after I read more about differences in hair texture and I was sick of constantly getting burns on the base of my scalp. I also drench the hair in an oil or vaseline to slow down the relaxer process on my hair.(texlaxing)
Make your nape your baby…
The same way your sensitive hairline needs TLC is the way our nape does too! It’s just as sensitive and yet people tend to forget about it until they want an up do and alas, their hair doesn’t reach.lol… When washing your hair be gentle. Don’t use harsh aggressive strokes, rather gently create the lather in the shampoo using circular motions and gently rise out. Carry out protein treatments and always keep the hair free of tension and moisturized. Also be gentle when combing, detangling…finger combing IS your friend!
Also one more random thing…. when you shower/ bath… try not to yet your nape get wet. This is something that happenes to alot of us when our hair is in protective styles. I say this because our nape get dirty very quickly and so that contact with water makes our hair get matted together. then the day come to un do out hair and we experience stuck matted hair that’s impossible to detangle/comb….BREAKAGE!!….
Remember ladies ….”HEALTHY HAIR IS FOR US ALL”