Breakage vs Shedding: Do You Know The Difference?

Breakage vs Shedding: Do You Know The Difference?

Photo Credit: Hairstory| Joelle A.

When it comes to hair, there can be quite a bit of confusion. For example, what’s the difference between shedding and breakage. It is easy to misconstrue the two. But, in order to properly diagnose your issue, it begins with the strand.


When you comb or brush, its fills with long strands, you may be encountering shedding. One can shed up to 200 strands a day, and more depending on stress levels and health conditions.  When you don’t manipulate or comb your hair for period of time, you may see a high number of shed hair. In most cases, there’s no need for alarm.

If you feel that your hair sheds too much, you need to ask yourself these 3 very important questions.

Bulb Test for Shed Hair

You can do a quick bulb test to do away with any doubt. A bulb test is simple. It can easily confirm whether or not your hair is shedding.

Take a strand of hair from your comb or brush, and look at each end of the strand. If there is a visible white/opaque bulb, then its indicative of natural shedding. But, if it has no visible bulb, and tends to be shorter than the actual length of your hair, then you have breakage.

Breakage happens to the best of use but you here are 10 Preventative Steps You Can Take For Breakage.

Excessive Shedding

Shedding, in excess is an indirect diagnosis of internal health issues or abnormality. High levels of stress, diet change, sickness or ailment, medication change, hormonal fluctuations for examples, can contribute to excessive shedding.

Read: Hair Loss in Women: 3 Causes of Extreme Hair Shedding & Thinning Edges


Breakage, on the other hand, is caused by brittleness, dryness, lack of or too much protein, rough handling and other sorts of mistreatment. You can reverse the cycle by using conditioners with humectants that help achieve and retain moisture, by detangling properly without ripping through tangles, using alcohol free or low alcohol products which will prevent your hair from drying out.

Read 11 Things That Cause Breakage

Also, consider protecting properly whether through the use of satin scarves, wraps, pillowcases, low manipulation styles and/or protective styles. Be sure to add a great leave in conditioner to your regimen, implement the use of penetrable oils, such as essential oils, which can enter the shaft and seal the cuticle, and visit a salon frequently for trims.

When dealing with breakage, remember it’s important to have it assessed by a professional who can guide you through the causes and remedies of hair matters.

If you opt for wraps and hats, be sure to place a satin wrap underneath/between your hair and the head accessory, as cotton and other fibers tend to dry out the hair.

Love your hair and show it by caring for your strands properly post salon visit. If you have questions, ask your local professional stylist, who should be more than happy to answer and lead you to healthier, better maintained tresses.

Read: 6 Steps For Repairing Breakage and Best Products


5 thoughts on “Breakage vs Shedding: Do You Know The Difference?

    1. Markeita Pruitt Post author

      Hi. Generally around this time of year, the hair tends to shed a little more. If it is shedding so much so, that it appears to be thinning, I would recommend you not only visit a salon for a consultation, but also a physician. It is my experience that excessive shedding hair can be an indirect diagnosis of an internal imbalance: blood pressure, thyroid, diabetes, etc.

  1. Pingback: If Your Hair Sheds Too Much… Ask These Questions | KinkyCurlyCoilyMe!

  2. Cierra

    When I detangle my hair, I find more shed hair in the front and back and breakage in the middle. I detangle in small sections but my hair is always breaking in the crown area.


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