View Full Version : My sister needs your help and hair expertise!

July 5th, 2013, 07:58 PM
My older sister has many concerns about her hair lately. So, I told her about this forum, and she's interested in what you guys have to say or if you could help in any way. :) (FYI, she is 33 years old, layered armpit length. longest layers seem to end a bit below the nape of her neck) I'm gonna let her take over the keyboard now:

Thanks for listening guys! I've noticed a steady decline in the overall health of my hair over the last few years (mainly it has gone from thick and full to very very fine and thin). To back up a bit, in my younger years I had a very very thick head of long hair. It was heavy and unruly, I had to blow dry it straight and it was often too heavy on my head to wear in a pony tail. I really started to notice the difference around 2007. I will say that is when I started to have it colored. At this point now, I continue to color because I have a lot of gray. If that is a huge cause of my problem, I will need to find a solution that will allow me to cover those up. I have very dark brown hair so those grays pop out very very easily.

I style daily, use heat to blow dry and also use a curling iron. I have talked to my stylist over the last few months to try and look at some tips to help it heal. I now try use a lower level of heat and give my hair 1 free day per week. I started using biotin multi vitamins but found that I broke out so I have lessened using them. The funny thing about my hair is that it honestly grows pretty fast. That never seems to to be the issue. I generally need a root touch up a few weeks after I get my color done. The main thing am struggling with is the thickness. It is just so sadly thin now. I tried using plumping and volumizing stuff but realized that those actually damage your hair more.

Now I'm just on a kick to get it healthy and trying ANYTHING that might help get it thick again. I did my first castor oil treatment and if it works at all, I will use it 2x per week forever. My sister seems to think it is either age or my hair color since I noticed that the thinning had been in the last few years since I've been dying my hair.

Thanks for listening, I'm sure i have left vital information out so please feel free to ask :) Also, pictures to come...must find older ones to help with comparison.

July 5th, 2013, 08:33 PM
Hello! Welcome to LHC.
I found that when I stopped using heat and stopped coloring my hair thickened up. That may be the issue, however it could be many things; hormonal changes, health issues/changes, anything!
Oh! I also had success switching from sulfates and silicones to a sulfate/cone free lifestyle. My hair started to feel heavy, had volume and a life of its own! BUT: YMMV. Again welcome, and good luck!

July 5th, 2013, 08:43 PM
Hi-sad to say,dyeing,blowdrying and flat ironing [even with a protectant] in my mid 40's caused my hair to become dry,flat coloured,,brittle,breaking off and thin.Once I stopped all dyes and heat, my hair improved tremendously.Four years ago I had a dyed thin damaged pixie which I grew out.Today at 60 I have silver streaks ,thick ,hip plus length ,healthy, shiny hair.I thought I'd hate my gray but love it!I should have done this years ago!I regret all those younger years of dye.I use a floor fan to dry,it works very fast with no heat[am dry in 15-20 minutes and it's handfree]With age ,some people's hair just can't take the same treatment as when you were younger.You should have blood tests to rule out health problems but a lot of times it's just the dyes and heat as what happened to me.

July 5th, 2013, 09:00 PM
I'm not going to echo what has already been said (though they are right, unfortunately. :[)

But I wanted to add that I had been dyeing my hair since I was thirteen and honestly thought I just had thin, fine, straight hair, and now that I don't color anymore and only very rarely use heat, I've found that I actually have thick hair. The strands are still fine, but my density is vastly improved in a way I thought it couldn't be. (I should have known because my sister has the same fine but incredibly thick hair, derp.) And there are tons of non-damaging dye options, henna, indigo, and walnut hull dye all come to mind. But I'm with dulce, grey hair is awesome :D Good luck!

July 5th, 2013, 09:16 PM
You answered your own questions: heat styling and chemical color are what is making your hair thin and limp. Stop these, and it will grow back healthier. Hair cannot be "repaired". Once it's damaged, it's damaged until you cut it out. You'll have to wait a long time before getting your healthy mane back. Lower heat setting will still damage your hair further, just slower. And there's many way of coloring your hair without using chemicals.

July 5th, 2013, 09:27 PM
Every hair on our body, scalp and elsewhere is dead before it even emerges from the follicle. The very first thing to do is to get your diet on track making sure there is sufficient protein in it. Hair is 100% protein. Poor quality or insignificant protein is directly reflected in the coats of all mammals, including us. Biotin won't help if the diet is poor.

A blood panel consisting of thyroid function, cortisol function, testosterone/estrogen ratio and DHT levels. What you have described is a change of growth pattern. That doesn't happen because hair is being colored, using thermal tools or anything else. Growth chnages occcur because of internal changes. Using low end color and not using thermal tools without proper protection or excessive heat may cause your hair to become brittle and break off but has nothing to do with making it thin or losing density. If these were the problem the hair closest to the scalp would be normal since it is much harder to damage this hair as is the older mid-shaft to ends which is very fragile.

Find out and rule out problems that may be challenging your hair from the inside before looking for outside problems.

July 5th, 2013, 09:37 PM
Welcome! Seems to me you are completely focussed on the hair which is dead and not your largest organ (the skin/ scalp) which is living. First thing would be to get a check up from your family doctor or a dermatologist, a healthy female should not be experiencing simple age related thinning at only 33. Second would be to ensure your diet is nutrient dense, balanced and anti inflammatory, high doses of micronutrients in pill form is not a wise move unless under medical supervision, and the body needs the full complement of macro and micro nutrients for health.

Also would be worth switching your focus to scalp health. Cut out sulphate surfactants - in most commercial shampoos - because these thin and dehydrate the skin even in healthy subjects, and can contribute to hair loss in susceptible individuals. Note that sulphates are in many permanent box dyes, so read the ingredients there too. Switch to a super gentle sulphate free shampoo ideally at pH 4.5 to 5.5 and stretch washes to alternate days; if you have salon colour switch to an acid dye - these changes will respect the skin's protective acid mantle/ beneficial flora which are key to dermatological health.

Not sure what you mean by 'a few weeks' but do understand that most hair dyes are alkaline and all contain ingredients that negatively affect scalp health, the more often you colour and shampoo the delicate skin on your scalp will have no chance to recover. This can lead to chronic irritation and micro inflammation (this will not necessarily be visible) which again can cause or contribute to hair loss in susceptible individuals. The turnover of the top layer of the skin barrier is up to six weeks so ideally wait that long between colours.

A different hairstyle will help you disguise your roots and stretch colour - straight parted styles reveal roots easily, root volume and half ups help disguise roots, layers look thinner than a blunter cut. The fact that you say you 'have to blow fry your unruly hair' straight suggests you have hidden waves which you could work with instead of fighting. It is actually extremely common for wavies to be unaware of their true hair type because standard haircare techniques (eg. brushing and towel turbans) turn waves into kinks and fluff/ poof. Consider researching the Curly Girl method.

Beneficial ingredients for patch repairing and protecting colour treated or damaged hair include hydrolysed protein, coconut oil, ceramides and panthenol. Gentler products


July 6th, 2013, 02:19 PM
I'm older than you, and my hair is better than it's ever been.

You need to drastically cut back the heat and chemical color. (In that order. I think heat is more damaging than chemical color, but that's my opinion.) You can't undo what you've already done, so oil the dickens out of the ends, grow out the damage, and cut it off.

I have a BUNCH of gray, especially at my temples. I use henna every 3 or 4 weeks on my roots, but I prefer red to other colors. (My hair was bright, strawberry blond until my mid-20's, then became ash brown.) You can use plant dyes --henna and indigo--to maintain your dark brown, but the chemistry is different than chemical color. Plant dyes work slowly, but once they're in, you will be unable to remove the color. They are rock solid permanent. (That's what I love about henna. I can swim in chlorinated pools, ride in a convertible car, work in the yard without a hat, and my color is just as bright as ever!) Highlights and bleached streaks are not possible for me, but I couldn't care less. I haven't seen a split end since I joined TLHC, and my color is fabulous.

If you can, cut the heat back to once or twice a month for 6 months. By then, you'll have 3" of healthy growth, and should see a difference between your roots and your ends. Good luck, icallitbliss'sSister! Keep us posted!

July 7th, 2013, 08:21 PM
Thanks guys for all of your help! I made her buy the Caruso steam roller kit and so far she's loving it. Also I'm pushing her to cut her hair to collarbone length (about). It will probably get rid of a lot of damage. Even if she doesn't stop using heat altogether, she's excited to make new changes for her hair, little by little. :D

July 7th, 2013, 08:37 PM
I'd stop the blow drying dying and flat iron. I'd start babying your hair and oiling it.

July 7th, 2013, 09:21 PM
I'm a year older and gave up the dye when I was 32. Yes I have brown hair and yes I have silver bits but I generally get positive feedback about my new natural highlights. I threw out or gave away every heat related implement I owned. You tube has a ton of heatless methods for curling or straighting. I get wanting to hide the silver and started when I was 19 years old however unless you have to for a job or other fantastic reason to keep up the dye I would give it a break and start looking into the non chem methods to hide those babies. Scalp massage to get circulation going and maybe stretching washes slowly may also be things to look at.
I hope I didn't come across as all judgy it's been hard to let my natural color or lack of shine through but now that I have I can't fathom goiing back to spending all that time and money every month!

July 7th, 2013, 10:03 PM
I'm thinking that while you decide if you want to delve into henna and indigo you could use catnip to turn those silvers into blonde highlights. It might take a couple of soaks or spraying it on and leaving it in. It has helped to seal my ends better, which would be a plus. I have less splits and breakage. I only have a couple of silvers, so this may be my first move when they start to bother me, though I don't mind them yet. (They are on the top of my head, and I don't usually put catnip near my roots because my scalp may not like it.)

November 24th, 2013, 04:34 PM
Years ago (in my perm/color/cut/heat phase) I asked a hair dresser how I could grow my hair long. (Kept cutting due to recurring split ends) He said "Leave it alone, no color, no heat, no chemicals, but most people just can't do that." Well, I stopped coloring and perming. Swore off anything with heat, and as soon as it was air dried I put it up to protect the ends. I did this for years and just made myself not measure or pay attention to the length. When I finally paid attention to it it looked better than it ever had before. Got a bit (ok, alot) vain about it looking so good and started oiling or "vaselining" the ends and discovered that completely stopped split ends. So then I French braided it every day (I am a nurse and didn't want it to fall in anything yucky) and vaselined it every day. It grew down to below by rear end, all one length. I looked like Cousin IT from the back. Still no split ends, by this time I was still going for "evening up" micro trims once a year. My hairdresser (different guy) always examined the ends and asked why I didn't have split ends. He never believed me when I told him about various oils and Vaseline. Anyway, all that worked for me so maybe it will work for you. If you experiment with oils and vaseline start out with small amounts because not all oils work on all hair types. And yes this did take a few years and lots of patience, but it was worth the wait for the healthy shiny hair I had. I hope this helps you in your quest for long hair. Oh yea, and I took a vitamin called Healthy Skin, Hair, and Nails by Natures Bounty that helped alot, too.

By the way, you came to the right place for info about your hair. The ladies (and gentlemen) here are hero geniuses about hair and will give you good educated advice. Listen to them and you won't go wrong.