Top 3 Reasons You’re Having Crown Area Hair Breakage

When the rest of your hair is growing on cue, it can be really frustrating to deal with a stagnant crown area.  Although natural hair tends to mask crown area breakage better than relaxed and transitioning hair, crown area breakage can affect anyone.  Crown area breakage is a chronic breakage problem that results in hair that is noticeably thinner or just stands or sticks up right in the center of the head.  When the hair is straightened, it usually falls in a W-shaped pattern along the back, rather than falling in a standard U or V-shaped hemline. Luckily for us, most crown area problems can be addressed by identifying the physical concerns/practices that contribute to the issue.

1.)  Texture & Curl Pattern Differentials

It’s not uncommon to have a slightly different texture or curl pattern in the crown area of the head. Often, this area will naturally have different moisture and handling requirements to ensure that it thrives.  If your crown area is finer, coilier or kinkier than the surrounding strands, customize your hair care to this area by giving it extra moisturizing and conditioning time.

Texture/curl pattern changes can also occur along the same fiber for those with with relaxed or transitioning hair. If your hair is relaxed or transitioning, your texture contrast between the chemically straightened length and the new growth will create demarcation issues that you’ll need to be aware of.  The demarcation line will likely be more pronounced and any major shift in curl pattern will be a prime area for breakage. You are essentially working with a fiber shape that looks like: ~~~~——–  rather than ~~~~~~~~~~.  Both types are vulnerable to crown area breakage, but the first example is more so. Handle your hair with care!

Many people also notice that their crown area is well . . . itchy.  I find this to be true for me when I’ve allowed my scalp to get dry and tight– which usually happens just before it’s wash time.  Avoid scratching the crown area recklessly into oblivion as this can break the hair and lead to a tender scalp.  If you’re itchy, carefully massage the area with the pads of your fingers and get some moisture to the area ASAP.

2.)  Physical Trauma

Physical trauma culprits for crown area breakage include styling stressors like:

  • sew ins, braids and other weaves done too tightly
  • picking out and fluffing the hair with hair tools (combs/picks)
  • pinning hair in the center/crown repetitively (or putting weight on the crown area w/ ponytails, etc)
  • wrapping the hair (especially if you are contending with roots (pressed, reverting roots, or standard relaxer new growth)
  • overlapping during 4-quadrant chemical services (relaxing, texturizing or coloring.)
  • high pressure shower water

Free form styles like braidouts, twistouts, twists and rollersets (provided tangling is kept to a minimum) are good for maintaining and growing out a crown.  Puffs can also work, but they may stress the edges and hairline if not drawn properly.
Our trusty friend the hooded dryer has also been well regarded in the healthy hair community for its delivery of indirect, safer heat.  But we also have to be careful with hooded dryer heat because the delicate crown area can receive a lot of heat attention under this type of dryer. The crown area is often the very first section to dry. Make sure that your dryer model circulates heat well and that you are able to adjust your heat settings as needed. Check your crown area regularly if you’re setting your hair. If your crown area dries first, lightly mist the crown area to allow the other areas of hair to catch up and dry. To reduce heat to the crown area, use the hooded dryer to dry your hair to 80-90%, and allow the surrounding air to dry your hair to completion.

Discontinuing these stressful physical practices will turn your crown area around in several weeks.

3.)  Improper Conditioning

Lack of proper conditioning is another cause of crown area failure.  Because the crown area is the most exposed area of the head to the environment and elements (and   may often be the coiliest/kinkiest)- it can really take a moisture beating if it is not singled out and given specific attention during regular moisturizing and conditioning.  You really want to focus your conditioning and moisturizing efforts in the middle!  It’s very easy to miss the crown during moisturizing and conditioning because many of us tend to graze over the top and sides of the hair without really digging in deep to get the underlayers of crown hair.   You’d be surprised at the number of people who simply coat the edges, barely scrunch through the middle, and slather the ends with conditioner or moisturizing product. You have to get in there good and make sure the crown area gets some love!

When all else fails, attacking crown area breakage from the conditioning angle almost always works.  Isolate the area and give it some extra TLC.




  1. This is such a good explanation! So many people assume it’s just because of tight weaves and braids which it mainly is but, there so many other things that cause breakage.

  2. but what if the problem is due to medication?any solutions available then?

  3. Thanks Hafsa!
    Shilda, if your hair changes are brought on by medication, that is harder to get around. There are a few meds that will cause you to produce a more brittle, drier quality hair that is more prone to breakage. Since medication does affect the quality of the hair before it leaves the scalp, we can only try cosmetic fixes on the hair we end up with at the end. You can still work to influence your hair’s moisture profile by staying on top of your targeted conditioning and moisturizing- and handling the hair with care. However, the medication will still be working against you until it is discontinued. And usually for at least 3 months thereafter as your body re-calibrates. Speak to your prescribing physician– they may be able to prescribe a more “hair friendly” medication for your condition… but never never, never stop taking your medication on your own because of a hair side effect. Only as directed =)

  4. Gave me hope! I have consulted 4
    doctors and this is the most sensible advice I have gotten!

  5. if this happens (which it is for me) would you suggest to cut the hair to even things out; start over?

  6. hi audrey,i’m jawanna ward i spoke with you on FB about my edges that wont grow.i wash my hair once a wk using Palmer’s olive oil formula,then i use their condition only i mix 1egg yolk,honey ,mayonanaise,and a drop or two of tea tree oil unde the drawer for 20 to 30 min. i then dry my hair a little with a cotton t-shirt ,actuallu i just let the shirt absorb most of the water,i then use shea buttermixed with coconut oil seal with jojoba oil,castor oil,or almond oil either or, I forgot i use organics leave in conditioner,i always make sure i always use the products in massaging my edges.recently i’ve started using Jamacian Black Castor oil in massaging into my edges,seems as though i am seeing a little new growth very little lol any other suggestions you can give me,oh also the two strand twist is my protective style and i sleep in a silk cap m please e-mail with any help you can give me

  7. Lisa Ling says:

    I have fine, wavy hair that tends toward dryness and frizziness. I use about a dime-sized amount of the Shielo Antioxidant Leave in Protectant on wet hair and then air-dry. I end up with shiny, wavy, frizz-free hair, which is amazing since I’ve tried pretty much every frizz-fighter around. Also, after a month I noticed my hair is breaking a lot less and overall looking healthier. Plus, the smell is amazing. Great product!

  8. My has just stop growing.I do take medications mostly prescribed pain meds.I have been on meds for some years.

  9. My crown area is stunted! No matter how moisturized it wont get longer! i don’t if it’s because most of it is relaxed of if it’s my genetics 😦

  10. I have natural hair now(may texturizer), but in my case its medical. I always thought the breaking was because of the braids or not treating my crown area good over the years. I recently found out that it’s a mild alopecia I have. Could harely see it, but it’s there, I tried to hid it when I go out. My mom on the other hand thinks it’s nothing and just breakage or nonsense.
    Which may have been caused by the off and on use of heat(only like 2-3 times a year) or maybe too tight braids when I was younger or it can just be stress.
    I don’t really know, but at least I know now there’s a reason behind my short crown area, it does sucks. Hopefully it can grow back longer by the treatments, doing my oilings and scalp massages again. 😦

  11. Stephanie says:

    I’m more of a Caucasian stylist but I have a few black women clients .. I’m not sure what to tell them to use for shine and to help with smoothing out hair I did Brazilian blowout cause she didn’t want relaxer it relaxed curl a bit ..what should I use for the shine or to help straighten hair a bit more.? Is there anything?help!, I really want to start with doing ethic clients .

  12. I noticed my hair thinning in the crown and scalp itch excessevly when I began taking hypertension medication. Can you recommend a shampoo and conditioner and perhaps some steps to take that could result in a better scalp and hair condition.

  13. Hi,
    I could really use some help. So I’ve researched , take vitamins, change hair care regime, trimmed, done about 3 protein treatment but I still don’t see a change. My hair continuously just breaks off when I slightly pull on it, Especially when it’s wet and I have always had really soft thin hair. BTW this all started about last August, all I see is a bunch of broken off short hairs and the left has visibly less hair than the rest of my head…im soon frustrated, I was even crying today when I washed it because I don’t know what to do.
    Please help

    • I have the same issue. I’m actually afraid to wet and wash my hair too much because this happens all the time when wet. I started dry detangling for this very reason. Did you get your problem fixed?

  14. Makul Malik says:

    My Hair is Broken within the centre…. after straightend… Any suggestions/help????
    Plzzzzz…. its important

  15. I have crown breakage!!! I got it from ponytails so I switched to buns and it really help me but now idk. I think maybe the parting like when I do mini-braids.

  16. I dugg some of you post as I cogitated they were very beneficial very helpful


  1. […] Top 3 Reasons You’re Having Crown Area Hair Breakage ( Share this:FacebookStumbleUponRedditDiggEmailPrint Filed Under: Beauty, Relaxed black hair Tagged With: Relaxed hair basics […]

Tell Us What You Think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: