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What Causes Hair Tangling, Breakage & Frizz?

Hair Tangling

No one likes a head full of tangled hair. Those pesky tangles are caused when the outer layer of your hair, aka the cuticle, becomes damaged and opens up. Unlike a smooth, closed cuticle that's healthy, the open layers of the cuticle become snagged on each other, resulting in tangles and knots in your hair. The more damaged the cuticle is, the worse the tangles.

Hair Breakage

Hair breakage is never a good sign and usually indicates you've pushed your hair beyond the limits. Common causes of hair breakage are perming, chemical relaxing or hair coloring (specifically bleaching). With perms you can give yourself the dreaded “chemical haircut” by using a perm that's too strong for your hair, causing it to swell to the point of breaking. Bleaching or coloring essentially does the same thing, usually when you've applied bleach onto hair that has been previously bleached. To avoid these damaging disasters use a gentle perm and always do an elasticity test on your hair before perming. When bleaching, apply bleach only to the regrowth.


Frizz is your hair telling you it's thirsty for some moisture. Curly hair is especially prone to frizz, but any hair type can get it. When it comes to dry and frizzy hair the culprits are usually heated styling tools. Blow dryers, curling irons or flat irons, and their repeated use, rob your hair of moisture and cause frizz.

Fixing These Stressed Tresses

So what do all three of these common hair ailments have in common? They all require some serious moisturizing to get rid of them. For those darned perma-tangles, a leave-in conditioner will usually do the trick. This helps coats the open cuticle and makes it “slippery,” so your hair will glide through itself instead of getting caught up and tangled. A bad case of the frizzies is just begging for some deep conditioning treatments to help restore your hair's missing moisture. Dialing down the heat settings on your styling tools will also go a long way toward beating the frizz. Hair breakage requires some serious therapy. If your ends are totally fried, get them trimmed before they split and break off more. Twice-weekly deep conditioning treatments help protect your hair against further damage. You'll also need to take a coloring and perming hiatus, because your hair just isn't up to the challenge. Keep trimming and conditioning your hair and, eventually, your hair will return to a healthy state.

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