Hi all! I stumbled across this wonderful forum a year ago when I was web searching for ways to keep my chemically-dyed hair color from fading. What I actually ended up finding is pretty much everything I was doing for my hair, was "wrong." Or rather, wrong if I wanted it to get any longer and actually be healthy.
Pic from June 2011:
As you can see, it looked pretty frizzed, and the color wasn't natural - that, if I remember correctly, was chemical purplish-black dye that had faded to ugly brown, which I then tossed some kind of reddish color over. Also I was at about waist length, because I hadn't had a major chop since about 2005. But here's a cringe-worthy list of all the stuff I was doing that turned out to be wrong for my hair:
1. SLS-heavy shampoos, specifically Pantene (I know it works great for many here, but for me I was shedding majorly with every wash - and I thought that was NORMAL).
2. You know those nubby brushes with the ball-capped bristles? Yeah, I had one, and I spent a lot of time just ripping through my hair with it.
3. Chemical dye. I can actually now see on individual hairs that my hair was actually thinner when I was coloring it with chemicals! I bet my hair's actually more a M rather than a F, once it grows out a bit more.
4. Poor diet, including a medication I didn't really need that was actually causing hair loss.
5. Cutting 2 to 3 inches off every time I went in to see the hairdresser (this wasn't wrong, per se, but I was cutting off all of my growth).
6. Picking a totally wrong hair color for my skin and wearing it like that for YEARS. I am a "true" or "cool" winter, and the hair color was rather warm-toned. Clash!!
And so I came here and learned about BBBs and co-washing and wide-tooth combs. I also learned that my hair, while damaged from the dyes and years of harsh handling, wasn't really as damaged as I thought it was.
What I changed:
1. Switched to an SLS-free shampoo. Recently bought Toadstool shampoo and conditioner, and have been completely obsessed with them.
2. Got a BBB, wide tooth comb, and Tangle Teezer, and actually use them. Tossed the nubby brush straight in the trash!
3. Switched to veggie-based dyes. Dabbled in henna, and henna-indigo, and I think I've settled on veggie dyes as being better for me for a variety of reasons. Currently trying to get Pravana Vivids to work for me.
4. Hair sticks and forks. I wear my hair up almost every day, and it's actually helped me look and feel more professional at my job.
5. No haircuts since last year, except a quick little trim I did myself (with good hair cutting scissors, I might add!) after chatting with a hairdresser friend who told me she thought I only needed an inch off. In reality I do need a few inches off, but wanted to wait till I took this pic, ha!
So after all that, here is a pic I took just a few minutes ago:
I'm currently hovering around BCL, and my hemline looks actually better than I thought! It's still a little frizzed, but I think that's because it really wants to be wavy, but is too long right now to hold it. But it's still acting like I'm a wavy-head, because when I comb/brush it, it frizzes up. Still trying to figure out the best way to handle that issue, but oh well. Also been toying with cutting back to just below waist (this is where my shortest part is - my hair grows really uneven, and I'm super envious of all the lovely, thick hemlines I see around these parts!), but I think I'll just take it slow.
A couple of unfortunate negatives I've run across: I now spend WAY too much money on hair stuff, I've discovered BPAL and now spend way too much money on that, and I'm also for some reason exceedingly neurotic about lice! I hadn't thought about lice in years, not since I had it as a kid, but now just the word makes me itch compulsively and want to check my hair. Last weekend my sister brought my 2 year old niece over and borrowed my BBB to brush out her hair. I verified that she doesn't have lice, and washed the brush, but I swear, I haven't used it since! Crazy, right?
But none of that's really all that bad. Really just wanted to thank all the wonderful ladies (and gents!) round these parts who've opened my eyes to all sorts of new stuff, and helped set me on the path to beautiful long hair, which I never really thought was possible. Thank you!!