Just like flowers bloom in the spring & leaves turn scarlet in autumn, your natural hair goes through cycles of growth, transition & shedding. This process is a natural part of our hair’s growth cycle—and in most cases, a little shedding is nothing to worry about.
In fact, according to the American Academy of Dermatology or AAD, we shed anywhere from 50–100 hairs per day as part of this natural process.1
Still, there are factors of our health, our environment & even how we style our hair that could affect how much & how often we shed hair. Understanding these elements can help you to keep your curls at the height of health & stay in tune with your crown’s natural cycle.
What Is Natural Hair Shedding?
To understand why your hair sheds, we first need to zoom in on the hair growth cycle & how your fancy follicles become their curly selves in the first place.
Believe it or not, some shedding is actually built into that process. According to hair science, this process has four different stages:2
- Anagen – This is the growing phase of your hair cycle. The hair follicle on your head can produce hairs for anywhere from three to seven years or even longer.
- Catagen – This is the transition stage during which your hair growth begins to slow down. During this period, which often lasts about seven to ten days, your hair follicle starts to shrink & separate from your hair.
- Telogen – In this phase of your hair growth cycle, your hair is no longer growing—but it’s not shedding yet, either. Once they’ve stopped growing, your hairs can remain on your scalp for up to three months. At the same time, new hairs are already beginning to grow in your strand’s former follicle.
- Exogen – In the final stage, aka the shedding stage, your hair falls from your scalp. This can happen naturally, but you may notice more of it when brushing, washing or styling your hair. That’s simply because of how the manipulation encourages the shedding that’s already happening.
This process is a normal part of your hair’s health & that’s true whether you’re curly, coily or tight-textured. Still, there are factors that could cause your hair to shed at a faster rate than usual.
Factors That May Contribute to Hair Shedding
It may be impossible to map out the intricate, wonderfully unique curl pattern of your natural hair—as it should be. But we can trace a few of the factors that might contribute to increased curly hair shedding.
Changes that could increase or contribute to hair shedding include:
Styling methods – According to the AAD, hairstyles that pull tightly on the scalp, such as a protective style, can increase shedding or even contribute to hair loss.3
Harsh treatments – Excessive use of harsh chemical treatments such as bleach & relaxers can also damage your hair strands & follicles.3
Pregnancy – It’s fairly common to temporarily experience excessive hair shedding during or after pregnancy due to related changes in your hormones.4
Hormones – Other hormone-related changes, such as menopause or stopping the use of hormonal birth control pills, can also cause increased shedding.1
Genetics – Some people are more likely to experience increased hair shedding, hair thinning & hair loss as they age due to their genetics.1
Stress – Any kind of stress, whether caused by an illness or by life changes, can contribute to increased shedding. 1According to the AAD, however, that shedding typically ends within a few months of the stressful event.
Hair Shedding vs Breakage & Hair Loss
It’s important to know that hair shedding is not the same as hair breakage or hair loss. While shedding can be part of your natural hair process, natural hair breakage & hair loss are usually influenced by other factors:
You can treat & prevent hair breakage with a healthy hair routine or by seeking help from a hair care professional. However, any sudden hair loss or increase in shedding may be a symptom of another issue. You should seek support from a dermatologist or another healthcare professional if you notice:
- Sudden bald spots or thin patches of hair
- Hair that sheds or falls out in multiple strands or clumps
- Other symptoms that accompany increased shedding
How to Reduce Shedding in Natural Hair
As the proud owner of curly, coily or tight-textured hair, one of the best things you can do to care for your locks is to maintain your whole body’s health. But when you’re wondering how to stop natural hair from shedding, there are also steps you can take to support the health of your hair & minimize damage.
Building a healthy hair care routine may involve a few different steps depending on your curl type, hair porosity & your preferred style. However, there are a few components that can benefit any natural hair care routine:
Wash – Follow a consistent wash day routine using a nourishing shampoo and conditioner for curly hair specifically. And, be sure to not wash your hair too often.
Style – Minimize heat styling, the use of harsh chemical treatments & overprocessing.
Hydrate – Keep your hair hydrated with moisturizing ingredients like jojoba oil for hair, aloe & honey. Try a leave-in conditioner like PATTERN’s Leave-in Conditioner for daily use or a monthly hair treatment like our hydrating hair mask for an occasional boost.
Protect – When using a protective hairstyle, opt for styles that don’t pull at the scalp. In addition, if you wrap your hair at night, try to avoid wrapping tightly around the hairline.
Nurture Your Natural Hair with PATTERN
Just as Mother Nature needs nourishing ingredients to stay vibrant in every season, your natural hair sometimes needs extra support to maintain all its breathtaking, sky-high curl power. Of course, what’s good for your body is also good for your hair—so keep on with your routines of hydration, rest & health. But what if your hair needs a little extra TLC?
At PATTERN, we’re here for you at every stage & season of hair care. We designed our natural hair care products just for curly, coily & tight-textured hair so you can deliver the hydration your hair needs no matter what shape it takes.
For hair that grows stronger with every season, start with PATTERN.
Please remember that PATTERN Beauty is not a medical provider. If you see excessive shedding, please note it could be caused by an underlying condition as previously mentioned. Please consult your physician for medical advice.
- "Do you have hair loss or hair shedding?" AAD. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/insider/shedding
- Burg, Dominic et al. “Promotion of anagen, increased hair density and reduction of hair fall in a clinical setting following identification of FGF5-inhibiting compounds via a novel 2-stage process.” Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology vol. 10 71-85. 27 Feb. 2017, doi:10.2147/CCID.S123401
- "Hairstyles that pull can lead to hair loss." AAD. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/hair-loss/causes/hairstyles
- "Pregnancy and Hair Loss." American Pregrancy Association. https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/hair-loss-during-pregnancy/
- Forbes, Jihan. "Here's What's Probably Causing Your Hair Breakage." Allure. https://www.allure.com/story/reasons-your-hair-is-breaking-off