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How to Tell the Difference Between Breakage & Regrowth

Updated April 17, 2017

Determining the difference between damaged, broken hair and new growth can be difficult. These strands are normally found around the hairline, where the hair is thinner and more prone to damage from heated styling tools, hair dyes, relaxers and perms. Breakage occurs when hair has become dehydrated and dry. Once the hair reaches this stage, even simple brushing can cause the hair to break off. However, this is not always the case. New growth, known as baby hairs, begins in the hairline area and resembles broken hair. Close examination allows you to distinguish between baby and broken hair.

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  1. Examine your hair for damage. Check for split ends and breakage. Rub the ends of your hair between your fingers and listen for a rough, sandpaper-type sound. This signifies extremely dehydrated hair. This will give you an idea of the condition of your hair.

  2. Feel the hair. Baby hair will have a soft, smooth feel while damaged hair feels rough. New growth will also appear thinner than broken hair because it grows in sporadically. Damaged hair normally breaks off in sections, resulting in a specific area of broken hair.

  3. Determine the colour of the hair. New growth is usually one or two shades lighter than your natural hair colour and will darken as it grows. Broken hair strands will perfectly match your natural colour. Also, if you frequently dye your hair, new growth will not match the dyed colour, while breakage will.

  4. Use the pointed end of the rat tail comb to pull back a 1-inch wide section of hair directly behind the hair you are examining. Repeat steps 1 and 2. If the hair appears damaged and broken, more than likely, the other strands are broken as well.

  5. Tip

    Taking a daily multivitamin and properly taking care of your hair with conditioning and protection methods will reduce breakage and protect new hair from becoming damaged.

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Things You'll Need

  • Rat tail comb

About the Author

Melissa Lowery began her writing career in 1999 as a field reporter for the "Six Mile Post." Since 2000 Lowery has contributed to many different websites and print publications. She holds both a mastery makeup artistry and a cosmetology diploma, with more than six years experience in these fields.

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