Asian woman wearing glasses and blazer with messy ponytail

You notice wispy new strands around the hairline and think, “Finally, I'm getting some Kendall Jenner baby hair action.” Before you get your hopes up over what you think is healthy hair growth, check again. You may be seeing hair breakage in disguise. 

It can be challenging to tell whether you are dealing with baby hair or breakage. However, don't start pulling your hair out in panic. You can differentiate them based on growth location, texture, and hairstyling habits. Here is everything you need to know about baby hair and breakage.

Baby Hair vs. Breakage

The International Journal of Women’s Dermatology states that baby hair is also known as vellus hair, which is Latin for "wool." Just like wool, this growing hair needs delicate care. You can usually find short, thin baby hair around your hairline and nape. 

Breakage, on the other hand, is a sign of damaged hair. Moreover, it can show up anywhere from the roots to the ends, not just the hairline. May factors can affect breakage, such as wearing your ponytail too tight or rubbing your hair with a towel. The broken hairs can appear uneven in length and usually also have split ends. Still confused? Here are more characteristics that differentiate baby hair from breakage.

They differ in texture, appearance, and placement.

Baby hair tends to be finer in texture than the rest of your hair. As noted in a study by BioMed Research International, baby hair is often soft, delicate, and light. If you see wispy hair along your hairline, this is most likely new hair — not damage.

On the other hand, damaged hair can feel rough or dry, and appear frizzy. The ends will also appear visibly broken. It's worth mentioning that of course, certain hair types can also appear frizzy without necessarily being damaged. Consider your hair type when making this assessment.

Moreover, healthy hair lays naturally on your hairline to frame your face. On the other hand, breakage appears rougher and can stick out from the rest of the hair.

They have different causes.

Keep your hair in the best condition to promote new hair growth.

Breakage and damage can result from different factors. Heat styling, which includes blow-drying, straightening, and curling (especially without heat protection), can cause damage to the hair, according to the International Journal of Trichology. Regularly wearing tight hairstyles, like ponytails, buns, and braids, along with harsh chemical treatments also contribute to breakage.

If you’re suffering from breakage, then try to let your hair rest. You might want to step back from heat styling since this can make your hair even more brittle. Let your hair dry naturally. If you must, then keep your hairdryer a few inches away to protect your hair from excessive heat. You might want to wear your hair down to loosen your hair ties, too.

However, according to the Journal of Critical Review, baby hair can multiply because of hormonal changes. Experts trace hair growth to testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. An imbalance in any of these hormones due to puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, can affect hair growth.

Since baby hair is softer and more fragile than the rest of your hair, it requires a bit of reinforcement. Sunsilk Smooth and Manageable Shampoo gently cleanses your hair while making it stronger. It has a formula of coconut oil and olive oil, which nourish the hair, plus sunflower seed oil, sweet almond oil, and kernel oil. It also has five flower essences that make your hair five times smoother and more fragrant.

Styling Your Baby Hair

FKA Twigs can be one of your inspirations for styling your baby hair.

Styled baby hair is popular among celebrities and influencers. You can take inspiration from FKA Twigs, Lisa from Blackpink, Rihanna, and Kylie Jenner. Fine, delicate strands are meticulously laminated along the hairline, creating interesting shapes while framing the face. 

Recreate this look by spraying Tresemmé Compressed Micro Mist Smooth Hold on a fine-toothed comb or eyebrow brush. Then, use this to comb your baby hair into place. Its micro-mist formula reduces frizz, which can be helpful for baby hair and split ends. This spray is also fast-drying and humidity-resistant, leaving you with beautiful hair for any kind of day. 

Styling baby hair is both exciting and challenging. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can add character to your natural hairstyle. If you’re thinking about joining the baby hair trend, then make sure you're not working with breakage.