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The main causes of breakage in curly hair - and how to prevent it

Curls are fragile things. They think they’re really tough, but on the inside they’re a delicate little strand that needs handling with care. And just like us, they can only take on so much stress until they reach breaking point. Your ends start to split every which way and no matter what you do you just can’t shake this crippling case of frizz. That’s hair breakage for you. You know what you’ve gotta do? Keep calm, love. Breathe. You’re about to get all the tender loving curl care you need. 

But first, let’s take a closer look at your curls. Each individual strand of hair on your head is covered by a protective outer layer of cuticles. When your hair is healthy, these cuticles lay flat against the hair shaft, locking in moisture, strengthening the strand and giving you that silky smooth texture and glowing shine that hair dreams are made of.

When your hair becomes dry or damaged, the cuticles begin to weaken, break apart and eventually lift up, exposing the delicate core of the hair shaft. Moisture escapes through the cracks in the cuticles, drying out your hair even more and making it brittle and easily broken. Split ends and frizz are just a snap away.

Heat and chemicals damage the hair cuticles, causing them to break apart and lose moisture.

What are the most common causes of curl breakage?

Don't stress. We've done the detective work. Here's what causes curls to break:

Damage from styling: Heat styling is a one-way ticket to frazzled and fried hair. Colouring and chemical styling are no better. First, the chemicals weaken the hair shaft. Then, they break down the pigment. This causes your cuticles to swell, and eventually alters the very structure of your hair. That’s thirsty work for your curls to deal with, leading to hair breakage.

Over-brushing: Despite what your mum may have told you, heavy brushing every day can lead to split ends and breakage. And wet hair breaks more easily, so raking your fingers through your hair in the shower is a big no-no. Start from the bottom up to gently tease out the tangles. If you hit a rough patch, apply some more conditioner to loosen up the knot before detangling. 

Tight hairstyles: Protective styles are great for guarding against breakage, but yanking your curls into a tight ponytail or rigid braids will only weaken the strands. Tension is created at the roots as the hair is pulled and stretched back, causing them to break away. The same goes for elastic ties, so swap them for scrunchies to take the pressure off your curls. 

The best products to prevent curl breakage

So long split ends and farewell frizz! Our Curl Heroes take care of your curls the natural way. Here's what to try:

02 Conditioner

Made with baobab oil and cupuaçu butter to keep your curls soft and beautiful, the 02 Conditioner also contains sweet orange essential oil and other citrusy scents for wash day bliss. It also contains yucca plant extract, a natural and gentle cleanser perfect for co-washing dry and damaged hair.

As a moisturising conditioner: Keep your hair soaking wet and drizzle water as you apply to keep the moisture locked into the hair. Leave in for a minute or two. Be gentle when teasing out the tangles, and avoid raking through your hair. Rinse and finish.

As a deeper treatment: Repeat the above and leave in your hair for longer. Turn up the music. Sing along. Steam up the bathroom and let the steam work its magic in your hair. For thicker curls, rinse out and keep some in for a leave-in. For finer curls, rinse out completely.

As a co-wash: Use just like you would a shampoo. Give yourself a dreamy scalp massage. Rinse out to remove product buildup, but retain moisture.

05 Curl Mask

 The 05 Curl Mask is formulated with FiberHance to penetrate the hair shaft to strengthen, repair and restore your curls. Moisture-boosting shea butter and nutrient-rich baobab oil work together to nourish, soften and hydrate. A match made in curl heaven.

Apply on dripping wet hair after cleansing. Use your pretty fingers to gently detangle or comb through. Wait at least 15 minutes before rinsing out. For some extra love and a deeper treatment, wrap with plastic and cover with a hot towel. If your curls are dry and damaged, leave some of the mask in to act as a leave-in. Keep diluting with water when rinsing instead of rinsing out completely. You can even use it for each wash instead of a normal conditioner for dry and damaged curls.

As a general curl care tip, try to avoid rinsing your hair in super-hot water as this can strip away the natural oils and make your hair drier. Lukewarm water is the way to go, your curls will thank you for it! Once you’re out the shower, swap the rough towel for an old cotton T-shirt to gently blot your hair dry instead of rubbing.

What are the best haircare ingredients to prevent curl breakage?

We've rounded up the three best ingredients for protecting your gorgeous curls against damage.


This active ingredient works at a molecular level to penetrate deep into the hair cortex, creating new hydrogen and ionic bonds that support and restore the internal keratin structure. Building up the inner strength of the hair fibre, it works from the inside out to repair damaged hair and bring back the power to the curl.

Chemicals, heat and harsh treatments don’t stand a chance. It also goes by the name of Hydroxypropyl Gluconamide. 

Baobab oil

There’s a reason why this superhero ingredient features in all five of our products. Extracted from the seeds of the fruit that blooms on the majestic Madagascan baobab tree, this nutrient-rich oil has been used by women for centuries for its deep conditioning qualities.

Packed full of fatty acids and vital vitamins, including all three omegas, this wonder oil absorbs quickly into the hair to nourish, moisturise and soften your curls. They don’t call it the Tree of Life for nothing.

Cupuaçu butter

Moisture-rich and filled with fatty acids, butters are a curl’s best friend. But not all butters were created equal. Cupuaçu is an Amazonian superfruit, and the butter pressed from the seeds is one of nature’s most powerful moisturisers.

With healing hydrophilic (water-loving) properties that lock in moisture and a whole alphabet of vitamins and antioxidants to feed your hair with nature’s goodness, this butter will banish breakages. Plus, it creates a protective barrier against the sun’s harmful UV rays. Hello, summer and shine.

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