Q&A with Enitan Agidee - How to achieve strong, breakage-resistant hair

Words by Leah Ishmael-Lynch -

October 3, 2018

Whatever our hair textures or style choices, we have ALL struggled with hair breakage at some point! 

Enitan Agidee, hair coach and creator of Protein Defence, is passionate about helping her clients and customers achieve their hair goals, and whether it's regrowing edges, growth in length or thickness, all of these rely on breakage-resistant and resilient hair. 

Enitan recently took over our @AntidoteStreet Instagram Stories and did a Live Q&A to respond to our customers' and followers' concerns about breakage, protein, growth, and everything in between. If you missed the takeover we have put together a handy blog post with the main takeaways to help you keep your strands whole and healthy.

 1. WHAT CAUSES HAIR BREAKAGE?

There are several causes of hair breakage, but most fall under two categories - mechanical damage or chemical damage. 

Mechanical damage is usually self-inflicted (and therefore preventable!) Examples include:

    • Braiding hair too often and too small/tight;

    • Combing hair too often and not using a wide-tooth comb (note that poor combing practices are particularly damaging to tightly-coiled or kinked hair as the closeness of the kinks/coils means there is a higher breakage threshold than looser textures)

    • Abraded cuticles from towel drying or rough handling of the hair

    • Wigs that are too tight - while wigs are good for protecting your hair, be mindful of the pressure the band of the wig can put on your hair (often causing a demarcation at the hair line) and choose wigs with a soft and smooth inner lining

Chemical damage e.g.:

    • Colouring and/or relaxing/texlaxing/texturising your hair will make it more susceptible to breakage. However just because your hair is natural does not mean it is healthier than hair that is chemically treated - it is all down to your hair care practices and regime.

Other causes of breakage include:

    • Heat damage

    • Exposure to the sun 

    • Overhandling of the hair

    So many things make hair prone to breakage – therefore you need to ask yourself what you can do to encourage strength and breakage resilience.

    2. HOW CAN YOU TELL IF YOUR HAIR NEEDS A PROTEIN TREATMENT?

    We all need protein treatments for our optimal hair health - but how do we identify the best times to use them? 

      • If you have more fairy knots than usual -  it is unrealistic to expect that you’ll never have fairy knots especially if your hair is tightly coiled or kinked (this is due to the tight interlocking of these hair textures). However if you notice more of these knots than usual then this is a sign that you need protein

      • If you notice strands that are dangling and hanging off – this is also a sign that protein is needed, and also possibly a trim. Avoid the temptation to yank off these strands - give them a clean break e.g. by cutting off with a scissors as this will help to maintain the integrity of the hair 

        • If you swim a lot and expose your hair to chlorine (even with a swim cap chlorine seeps through) – protein is needed in this case to help protect and build up the layers of the hair

          • If you have greater than usual exposure to the sun e.g .going on holiday, protein will help protect your hair from the sun’s harmful effects

      3. HOW DOES PROTEIN DEFENCE DIFFER FROM A TYPICAL OR TRADITIONAL PROTEIN TREATMENT?

      What sets this product, Protein Defence, apart from other protein treatments? 

        • It’s not that traditional protein treatments are not good – in fact, many of them such as ApHogee are great. But most people end up using them incorrectly. Protein is designed to strengthen the hair – but when people use these treatments they find their hair becoming hard and think “Oh my hair didn’t like it”. The truth is that they experienced those results because the treatments were not balanced off with moisture. Therefore the traditional treatments need to be followed up with a moisturising treatment.

          • Protein Defence differs from these treatments since it gives you a balance of protein and moisture with one treatment with no need to do two separate treatments.

          • Protein Defence contains hydrolysed proteins which help to build up and fortify the hair giving breakage resilience without the stiffness associated with traditional protein treatments.   

          • The effects of protein treatments are temporary and have to be repeated. However unlike other protein treatments, the results achieved with Protein Defence are often immediate – it is very effective at restoring hair texture (e.g. curl pattern) and richness of hair colour. With continuous use you will see a marked difference in your hair.   

      4. WHAT SHOULD I DO DIFFERENTLY FOR MY HAIR DURING AUTUMN?

      How should your hair regimen change as the weather gets colder? 

        • If you already have a regimen that you see results from, when Autumn comes you may not necessarily have to increase anything but you may have to be more consistent.

        • If you do not have an effective regimen then you have to improve your regimen before you seek consistency. Before you think of consistency it has to be right first. When thinking of a hair regimen remember to make it convenient for your lifestyle because if it isn’t, you’re much less likely to stick to it.

        • Increase the amount of times you’re washing your hair e,g, if you wash it once every four or five weeks, then you may need to increase that to once in two weeks or once a week. This is important because if you’re constantly putting products in your hair, that layering of products will eventually leave your hair extremely dry and susceptible to breakage. Washing your hair regularly to remove the build-up will allow your products to remain effective and moisturising. 

        • Hot oil treatments will help protect hair from any damage to strands from regular washing – pure oil is preferred so look at the ingredients!

      5. IF MY HAIR IS LOW POROSITY HAIR, DO I NEED PROTEIN?

      You've probably heard that low porosity does not need protein - is that fact or fiction?

        • If you're shampooing your hair, then you need Protein. 

        • If you're handling your hair, then you need Protein. 

      Hair that is shampooed, twisted/braided (handled) - no matter the porosity level - needs protein to fortify it and prevent any damage. 

      There is no hair that is exempt from protein, because hair itself made up of dead keratin cells. To optimise your hair health, you need the correct type of protein.

      6. HOW DO YOU SAFELY BLOW-DRY NATURAL HAIR?

      Is safe heat-styling possible? 

        • Before you use any type of heat on the hair, again you need to build up your protein levels.

        • What heat does is break down the hair to change the shape – to go from a kink or a curl or a wave to a straight or stretched look and this has an abrasive impact on the hair. Make sure your hair is clean and do a protein treatment prior to heat styling.

      7. CAN I CRACK AN EGG AND USE THAT AS A PROTEIN TREATMENT?

      Eggs are full of protein, right?

        • Eggs are protein from a nutritional point of view but are not a protein hair treatment. The molecules are too large to penetrate within the core layers of the hair – eggs cannot do that. They will sit on the very top layer of the hair and give the illusion that something is happening but they do nothing for the core layer of the hair .

        • You need something hydrolysed so that the molecules are small enough and have the ability to penetrate into the hair. That is why Protein Defence contains hydrolysed proteins so that it is most effective.

       

      8. WHAT’S YOUR BEST ADVICE FOR SOMEONE TRYING TO ACHIEVE HEALTHY HAIR?

      The million dollar question!

        • You have to be a willing participant – that’s so easy to say and might seem obvious but not everyone is willing to put in the work.

        • You have to be consistent  and it has to become a systematic way of life – it reaches a point where if you know you have to wash your hair and you don’t do it, it would make you feel uncomfortable.

        • A clean scalp is the core – if your scalp is unclean then your hair is not healthy.

        • Moisturise and seal that moisture in.

        • Learn the right techniques.

        • But most of all – even if you have all of the best techniques and products, if you’re not a willing participant who is consistent and systematic, then you won’t see results.

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