Although the huge blown-out Afro Oprah Winfrey sported on a recent cover of her same-named magazine was achieved with a wig, the look sparked an immediate Internet buzz. Her Afro sure caught our attention, but that’s because African-American hair in its natural state is very fragile. In general, women who wear their hair this way must take really good care of their tresses to avoid dryness and other mishaps that can easily lead to damage and breakage, as reported by one of the Urban Bush Babes.

What follows is a brief overview of three common reasons why natural hair may be so prone to damage and breakage. Of course, not every single solitary thing that causes these problems is discussed, because everyone experiences different effects.

Overmanipulating the hair. To get just the right shape and look for an Afro, hair often requires a whole lot of handling. Where African-American tresses are concerned, too much manipulation can lead to stressed-out strands that break and fall out.

Unprotected hair. When the hair is worn in an Afro, strands become vulnerable not only to air whooshing through tresses but also the harshness of the elements. This exposure is simply not good for hair ends and they can become dried-out and brittle in no time.

Tangles. Some textures of African-American hair is super curly. When women and girls with coily, springy hair wear an Afro, their strands tend to intersect in all directions and this can create a mass of tangled tresses.

As a result of these problems, big, poufy Afros can become small, shriveled halos in no time.

Healthy hair growth also depends on what nutrients you feed your body. Click here for more information.