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bumblebums
December 16th, 2009, 11:26 AM
Hi everyone. I have been spending a little too much time scrutinizing my hair lately, and I've noticed that some of the shorter individual hairs thin out and taper, coming to pointy tips. I've searched through this forum, but most of the results discuss the shape of the hair ends as a whole, as in "fairy tale ends," not the individual hairs. In my case, these pointy hairs thin out over the last 1/2 inch or so. The ends are not split, just weirdly pointy. I've been pretty good to my hair lately: no 'poo since mid-October, hair sticks, wet my hair no more than once a week, no rubbing with towels.

Now the question: is this what new growth looks like, or is this some kind of damage? Should I be dusting/S&D-ing these or leave them be?

ChrissieM
December 16th, 2009, 11:39 AM
:cheese: That's most likely new growth! I have a lot of short (2-4 inches)hairs that do the same thing...I know it's new growth because I haven't cut in a long time.

Sara Smile
December 16th, 2009, 11:52 AM
That sounds like new growth to me. :) I think some people S&D them, so they are blunt at the end and lie better, but I leave mine. Without cones or oil, they tend to stick out in my hair, but with either cones or oil, they lie flat.

Wind Dragon
December 16th, 2009, 12:08 PM
Yup, that's what a healthy, virgin (uncut) hair looks like.

Congratulations! :flowers:

Gumball
December 16th, 2009, 12:09 PM
That is new growth. The ends are usually blunt when they've been broken or cut, which means the pointy end has come off. The hair starts out pointy kind of like a blade of grass. If the grass is mowed or torn it's no longer tapered and pointy, but if left unchecked that's how it grows. :)

bumblebums
December 16th, 2009, 12:35 PM
Ah, okay. I'll leave them alone, then. I thought at first that it was damage, because it looks almost as if the hair has been pulled off violently. But, there are so many of these ends that I can't imagine what I could have done to cause so much damage. Also, quite a few of these new pointy hairs are only 1" long, which means they are two months old--dating back to my no 'poo switch.

I will count this new growth among the nice side effects of not using shampoo!

spidermom
December 16th, 2009, 03:15 PM
Everybody who isn't bald sheds old growth and gets new pointy growth all the time, regardless of what is or isn't used, like shampoo, which is a good product for hair as long as you aren't allergic to anything in it.

bumblebums
December 16th, 2009, 07:22 PM
Well, those of us who have given up shampoo all have our reasons :) I used to find big clumps of hair in the shower drain every time I shampooed, and this has not been the case since I stopped. I see your point--not using shampoo does not necessarily translate into increased or accelerated growth. It certainly won't make new follicles sprout up all over one's scalp--nothing can. On the other hand, I also think that it might just be possible that the scalp benefits when it is given a break from absorption accelerants and other synthetic compounds with effects that are not fully known even to the manufacturers. But then, who knows. I feel safer knowing that the methods I've switched to (egg, shikakai, camomile and black tea rinses, etc.) have been used for hair care for centuries with no ill effect. I also see some real changes for the better in how my hair feels and looks, but, as you said, plenty of people use commercial shampoo to no ill effects. To each her own.

spidermom
December 16th, 2009, 07:24 PM
Well, those of us who have given up shampoo all have our reasons :) I used to find big clumps of hair in the shower drain every time I shampooed, and this has not been the case since I stopped. I see your point--not using shampoo does not necessarily translate into increased or accelerated growth. It certainly won't make new follicles sprout up all over one's scalp--nothing can. On the other hand, I also think that it might just be possible that the scalp benefits when it is given a break from absorption accelerants and other synthetic compounds with effects that are not fully known even to the manufacturers. But then, who knows. I feel safer knowing that the methods I've switched to (egg, shikakai, camomile and black tea rinses, etc.) have been used for hair care for centuries with no ill effect. I also see some real changes for the better in how my hair feels and looks, but, as you said, plenty of people use commercial shampoo to no ill effects. To each her own.

Absolutely.

bumblebums
December 22nd, 2009, 07:33 PM
For posterity, in case someone else has the same question: the following chart lists taper as one of the types of split end damage: http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showpost.php?p=904564&postcount=19

So it could be new growth OR damage, and it's hard to know which without examining the hair under the microscope.

The reason I was worried about these is that I sometimes find hairs like that among the ones I shed. If this was all new growth, it would mean that some of my follicles have an anagen span of 2 months. This is not only frightening but kind of improbable... A more likely explanation for at least some of those shed hairs is that they were torn off by my boar bristle brush, which I have since banished.

Conclusion: there are known knowns, there are known unknowns, and then there are pointy hair ends.

spidermom
December 22nd, 2009, 07:57 PM
The reason I was worried about these is that I sometimes find hairs like that among the ones I shed. If this was all new growth, it would mean that some of my follicles have an anagen span of 2 months. This is not only frightening but kind of improbable

I'm absolutely positive that some of my hairs do this as I regularly find very short hairs (2-4 inches long) that are pointed at one end and have a little root bulb at the other end. Some of them probably split/broke off until they were short hairs, but I'm positive that some of them are brand new hairs that didn't grow for very long.

getoffmyskittle
December 22nd, 2009, 08:44 PM
The reason I was worried about these is that I sometimes find hairs like that among the ones I shed. If this was all new growth, it would mean that some of my follicles have an anagen span of 2 months. This is not only frightening but kind of improbable... A more likely explanation for at least some of those shed hairs is that they were torn off by my boar bristle brush, which I have since banished.

Conclusion: there are known knowns, there are known unknowns, and then there are pointy hair ends.

A lot of my sheds are short, 6" or under. I get really teeny ones every now and then too, but I'm guessing they're hard to spot, so I probably shed more than I notice. I've spoken with various LHCers about this and many of us seem to have this. I don't think it's damage, just that not every hair on your head has the same terminal length.

And :rollin: at your last line. :D

bumblebums
December 22nd, 2009, 09:23 PM
I agree that it's possible that some of these bulbed-on-one-end-pointy-on-the-other hairs are at terminal length, but it's really hard to know. Many of the hairs on my temples are pointy, and they have never grown that long. Who knows if it's due to breakage (I'm a very spinny sleeper) or to short terminal length.

I have actually tried to get to the bottom of this by looking at dermatology research, and I've turned up bupkis. The usual number of 2-6 years for anagen length is given with no citations, which suggests that either (a) it came from a very old study that nobody has tried to replicate or that (b) someone made it up a long time ago and everyone else has just been repeating it. I think most research in this area is aimed at combating male pattern baldness rather than establishing some basic facts of physical anthropology. Any professional dermatologists lurking in here: this is an opportunity for doing some publishable research!

Is it even meaningful to talk about average terminal length? If hair on one individual's head can vary from tailbone length to a mere two months', then it clearly varies too much. But I suspect that examining hair tips of shed hairs is not as effective a method of establishing terminal length as it might seem.