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View Full Version : Finally at waist length…. but horrible breakage?!



pocketsmall
October 1st, 2013, 07:15 PM
Hello! I have been a member of LHC for quite some time now, and although I am pretty shy (I rarely post) I do scan the forums almost daily!
I have been actively trying to grow my hair to waist length early September 2012. At this time, I chopped from BSL to just below arm pit length. My hair grows very quickly and I got a micro trim in February. Now, in September 2013, I have hit waist length! However, for the past month I have been experiencing horrible breakage. I have never had breakage like this before. I did experience extreme shedding (follicle attached) from Summer 2011-Summer 2012. I believe this shed was due to being severely underweight at the time (not eating enough and over exercising). I got my dietary habits under control in Fall 2011, I knew it would take a while for my hair to adjust and stop failing out. When my hair stopped shedding a year ago I thought my hair troubles were over.

My hair is 2a, baby fine and ii thickness under ideal conditions. It is 100% virgin, I do not heat style. I wear my hair in a brain or bunned (held with a claw-clip) daily. I never wear it down. I sleep in a satin cap on a satin pillow case. I comb using a wide-tooth comb (only when absolutely necessary), never when wet. Since joining LHC more than 2 years ago, I have experimented with several products and care methods. I have determined stretching my washes (once a week) works best for my hair. My hair does not usually like silicones and HATES protein. The only success I have had with oil is VERY light jojoba or almond oiling on ends only the day before washing. I usually wash with Nature’s Gate biotin shampoo (heavily diluted dime-sized amount on scalp only) followed by conditioning with Tresseme Naturals moisturizing formula (the “old” formula, I stocked up).

The breakage ranges from 2 – 5 inches long. I have not found any split ends. The breakage has gotten so bad I am unable to braid my hair without becoming discouraged with all the breakage collecting on the back of my shirt/around my fingers. I am not sure what to do. Should I cut it? I really do not want to. Would a micro-trim work or be a waste of time/effort? I have not trimmed since the first week of February. My hair looks healthy, it doesn't feel or look dry. Due to breakage, I have frizz when I put it down because every single strand is a different length.

If anyone has any suggestions of how I can prevent any future breakage, please let me know! I’m up for anything advice-wise... product suggestions, change in routine or treatment… I’m completely lost!

Crumpet
October 1st, 2013, 07:25 PM
Do you have pictures of the breakage?

pocketsmall
October 1st, 2013, 07:34 PM
http://i1344.photobucket.com/albums/p658/kelian3/APRIL2013iPHONE053_zps4934338b.jpg

http://i1344.photobucket.com/albums/p658/kelian3/APRIL2013iPHONE054_zps2603b544.jpg

http://i1344.photobucket.com/albums/p658/kelian3/APRIL2013iPHONE055_zps43df4b3c.jpg

The third picture is what the breakage typically looks like. There is usually a lot more than what is shown here, but I just got ready for bed and already tossed most of today's losses.

ETA: I usually lose 10-20 at a time, several times a day. Even when I don't touch my hair (I've gotten really good about not messing with my hair, took years of practice).

LAG93
October 1st, 2013, 07:36 PM
One thing I notice is that if your hair hates protein, natures gate might not be the best shampoo, it has a high protein content. I noticed I had more splits and fraying hairs when I used this shampoo, but I also henna, so any extra protein hurts my hair. Also yes a picture would help! If your hair is getting too much protein, I can see how the ends would become so "strong" that they snap right off

ETA: from your picture your hair looks like maybe you have breakage but also maybe the shorter strands are new(ish) growth?

pocketsmall
October 1st, 2013, 07:58 PM
I had not even thought to check the nature's gate shampoo for protein! TBH, I only look out for sulfates in shampoo (I do clarify every so often). Are proteins in shampoo common? I may need to find a new "natural" shampoo without protein.

The top half of my head is LOADED with new growth, a lot of the hairs on my head are only 1-4 inches long, so my scalp looks frizzy but it's worth going through an extra frizzy stage for new growth!

biogirl87
October 1st, 2013, 08:16 PM
pocketsmall, I know L'oreal Eversleek Sulfate-free Intense Smoothing Shampoo and L'oreal Evercreme Sulfate-free Nourishing shampoo have no protein in them. Other lines of sulfate-free shampoo by L'oreal may be protein-free as well but they do have silicones in them. The Eversleek Intense Smoothing and Evercreme Nourishing shampoos are cone-free. I'm not sure how else you could change your hair care routine (as the frizzy hairs might be new growth, but could also be moisture overload, see this page for types of frizz: http://www.naturallycurly.com/curltalk/general-discussion-about-curly-hair/10134-masterpost-types-frizz.html), but I just wanted to mention the names of possible shampoos you could use that don't have protein in them.

Crumpet
October 1st, 2013, 08:41 PM
I'm no expert, but a lot of it looks fairly healthy and like newer growth to me. I'll let others advise on products who are more knowledgeable. But from my perspective, your sheds sound okay and your hair doesn't look bad!

Leeloo
October 1st, 2013, 09:35 PM
I'm going to agree with the previous posters that it might be protein overload from shampoo and/or new growth :)

emilylightning
October 1st, 2013, 09:38 PM
Your hair looks fine IMO, it's probably just new growth and shedding. :D

Panth
October 2nd, 2013, 01:15 AM
Protein overload is certainly a possibility.

Another consideration - calculate your growth rate and use that to figure out roughly which section of your length corresponded to the time when you were eating poorly and underweight. It is possible that during that time the hair that you produced was unusually weak because your body was using the "building blocks" (especially protein) for other, more vital things. If that's the case, then the best option would be to just baby that part of the hair particularly (although you sound like you're doing a great job with that already) and trimming (either to maintain length for a while or, say, trimming half of your growth) until the weakened section of the hairs is gone.

Firefox7275
October 2nd, 2013, 04:54 AM
It's extremely unusual for fine or older/longer or damaged hair to hate all hydrolysed proteins, these are very useful for strength and patch repairing damage IF used in the right amount/ balance/ type for your hair. What hydrolysed proteins have you used (wheat, keratin, collagen), in what format (deep treatment/ leave in conditioner/ shampoo), how have you balanced that with conditioning needs, how often?

Mid shaft breakage is associated with wet combing, shorter breaks with dry combing. it is not clear when you quit the damaging habits like wet combing and touching, past diet/ exercise issues may also have left weakness. Other beneficial ingredients for damaged hair include 18-MEA, ceramides and panthenol.

spidermom
October 2nd, 2013, 06:47 AM
I was going to bring up what Firefox said. Avoiding all protein sounds counter-productive to me.

From the pictures, I'd say that most of what you are seeing is newer hair. I have thousands of those little fly-aways. There is less weight on them because they're shorter, so they tend to fluff up. Of course if you're hearing a lot of snapping while you comb or style, then you're also getting breakage. Maybe you need a good deep treatment. The best ones provide both protein and moisture.

Dark Star
October 2nd, 2013, 09:50 AM
Caution: I am a writer by trade and a talker by nature so this is going to be LONG!

So...

Let us start with a, "Hello there!"

I too am going through breakage and for me, anyway, I highly suspect my hair has overdosed on the topical proteins. Now I am NOT saying that is what is going on for you. I cannot tell you what is happening to your hair because I am not a hair guru by any means and do not know each detail of your hair care regime, your diet, etc. No one can really--you have to figure it out for yourself though we can help you, give you some ideas (hopefully helpful ones though you are liable to be a bit confused as you are going to get some conflicting--though meaning-well--feedback). You can eliminate ingredients (like protein) for 2-4 weeks just to see how your hair reacts.

Why is it people do not consider diet so much? It would seem so anyway. I have a nutritional background and THE best place to acquire protein for your hair (your skin too and your nails!) is from within. Our bodies NEED protein and if we are not getting enough internally, our body being the wise creation that it is, will take what it is not getting from the 'lesser' important parts of our entity (like the hair, skin, nails) to feed the more important ones (like our organs, muscles, bones, etc.).

If you are getting breakage, try increasing your protein intake. I do not know your weight and height--but on average and as a young woman--you should be getting about 50-60 grams of protein per day. Perhaps more if you work out hard and/or are extra-stressed. Note that topical protein overload is not adversely affected by getting sufficient protein internally--to the contrary, actually, as it helps support the hair's recovery. Also consider iron intake, consider B-12 (and the other B's as well though ensure you are getting the RDA or only a bit above that if you choose to supplement since some can actually be toxic in higher amounts leading to acne, nerve and mental issues). Mind your iodine as well and for that, you can consume a small amount of seaweed once or twice a week. Mind that you are getting about 2-3 Tbsps. of EFAs each and every day (good fats like hemp, flax, coconut, olive, avocado, pumpkin, walnut, etc.)--this is imperative for hair health (helps keep it hydrated, resilient, strong and glossy).

When is the last time you had bloods drawn? It could be a simple nutritional deficiency that is easily corrected with the right foodies and supplements if necessary. Are you, perhaps, on any medications that could be adversely affecting your tresses? Some medications can wreak havoc on the system and in a multitude of ways.

Do you drink adequate water? You should be downing 8-12 glasses per day though don't be shy about going even a quart above that (fluids are best not gulped down all at once to meet that quota but sipped throughout the day at regular intervals). Yes, juices, green drinks, smoothies and herbal teas can, absolutely, count in that allotment but not sodas, coffee or conventional tea.

Your hair in the second photo looks a lot like mine does right now. It looks pissed off! But it sounds like you are NOT dealing with the dryness and the fused together strands, horrid tangles, etc. that I am at present which is good, obviously.

Topically, do not necessarily write off proteins forever..I agree with, "Firefox" there but like I said, you can try to eliminate it for a few weeks and see if the breakage slows or stops completely. Yes, "Nature's Gate" shampoos seem to have protein in what might be all their shampoos as far as I can tell. I have looked and looked for alternatives to what I have been using and studied their ingredients along with those of MANY other brands. Protein is a highly common ingredient in hair care products. I feel protein has gotten a bad reputation but that it may be over-used as well. It is common practice for product manufacturers to abuse the amount of nutrients they put into beauty products or even supplements and also, the way that they do so.

It is important, yes, that the protein be hydrolyzed for better penetration into the hair shaft, otherwise it might just coat the hair--doing nothing at all or causing some ill-effects. Proteins in products generally read as being, 'hydrolyzed (or not hydrolyzed) silk, milk, wheat, soya, keratin, blue green algae, seaweed' etc. Amino acids are, of course, components of proteins and methionine and cysteine are common aminos added to hair care products since they, especially, have hair-strengthening properties.

I suggest you omit the protein-imbibed shampoo entirely for a couple of weeks to a few weeks and maybe add in some more moisture to your regime--only to see how you do. It could even be a different ingredient in a hair product you are using (and not protein) causing problems if it is a topical issue only.There are natural products sans protein though it is a difficult search and so far, because I am a natural-minded person ( I HATE using any synthetics really), I am struggling to find a shampoo and conditioner (been perusing, "iherb" for days now)--so have settled on those formulated (just for now) by a local self-employed natural products formulator. I am keeping to the basics for now and am nurturing my hair with a goodly amount of moisture and by being especially gentle when I handle it.

Once again, please ensure that you take in high-quality proteins every day of your life (but overdoing those internally can be a bad thing too so do not get too carried away!). One of the best ways to help the hair (skin, nails and overall body for that matter) is to, first thing upon arising, enjoy a protein-imbibed shake or smoothie. Add a fine-quality, delicious-tasting protein powder (from either soya, rice, corn, oat, pea, almond, hemp, or whey sources) and/or spirulina to give it that protein-punch. I do this and I also eat a handful of almonds which contain 2.5 grams of protein for every ten of them (at 6 calories each).

I am learning and thinking that people can become far too caught up on what they are putting onto their hair and not putting onto it. My learning has taught me that if there is a problem with the body, it ultimately needs to be addressed from the inside. Everything else done (or not done) on the surface is just 'gravy' really.

Also, are you especially stressed at all or depressed? Are you not getting adequate amounts of rest/sleep? Do you not exercise at all? All those things can adversely affect the hair as well.

I am shy too. I recently decided to join this site and post more out of my own hair's current woes. Don't be too much of stranger though. I, for one, would really like to know how you get on.

Good luck and I sincerely hope things improve for you and your locks!

(((Many Hugs)))

~Star~

spirals
October 2nd, 2013, 08:45 PM
^ All that's great advice for the hair that's growing out of your scalp right now. It has no bearing on the mid-shaft (the breakage point) because that was affected by diet years ago, when it was coming out of your scalp.

Panth
October 3rd, 2013, 01:31 AM
Do you drink adequate water? You should be downing 8-12 glasses per day though don't be shy about going even a quart above that (fluids are best not gulped down all at once to meet that quota but sipped throughout the day at regular intervals). Yes, juices, green drinks, smoothies and herbal teas can, absolutely, count in that allotment but not sodas, coffee or conventional tea.

Whilst I agree with the rest of Dark Star's post (in relation to the hair you are growing now), I have to say this one is a (very famous, very commonly stated) myth. Yes, the human body needs 8-12 glasses of water daily. However, that calculation when originally made (before it was taken by diet gurus and journalists and other people who don't understand the science and didn't read the article properly or at all) - it included the water present in food. Also, it is a myth that coffee, soda and regular tea don't count - yes, caffeine has a diuretic effect, but the quantity of caffeine even in very caffeinated beverages is not sufficient to result in loss of the equivalent of the entire volume of the beverage (i.e. the beverage as a whole hydrates you, though perhaps a little bit less than a non-caffeinated one). Of course, you may have other reasons for cutting out soda in particular (i.e. the sugar content), but worrying about water intake should not be a reason.

A related myth is the "drink lots of water because you don't feel thirsty until your body is severely dehydrated". It too is rubbish. Just eat sensibly and drink when you are thirsty and you'll be fine.

spirals
October 3rd, 2013, 12:08 PM
Yes, drink when you are thirsty; that's what the thirst mechanism was created for.

sunflowersmiles
October 3rd, 2013, 03:25 PM
I have the same problem. My hair is just now a little past waist and I am having a good bit of breakage. Right now I am just trying to S&D so that the damage doesn't travel up my hair and wearing it up as much as I can. I do the best I can, but I have decided not to stress about it too much. I micro trim 4 times a year, and I figure eventually the damage will grow out and be trimmed off. Just keep doing the best you can. That is all any of us can do!

CurlMonster
October 4th, 2013, 04:22 AM
Thank you, Panth, I always get bothered by the repetition of that "8 glasses of water a day" myth, and the idea that it's good to force yourself to drink when you're not thirsty.

I think from looking at your hair that your hair after you started your new routine is healthy and that this breakage is caused by old damage. I think also the appearance of breakage could be coming from your new growth, as others have said. Your hair looks lovely to me. :)

pocketsmall
October 4th, 2013, 05:13 PM
I greatly appreciate all the advice contributed to this thread! Thank you all so much.

Today was my worst day breakage-wise by far, but I am surprisingly feeling optimistic about my hair health. I am going to focus on keeping my new/future growth healthy (good diet, proper treatment, ect). This weekend I plan on finding some L'Oreal EverCreme Intense Nourishing Shampoo (my wash day is Sunday).

I will add, I am usually VERY stressed out (I am a full-time college senior and I work 20 hours a week), but I have been this stressed out for a couple of years now so I figure my body is used to it.

My diet has been pretty solid for the past year to 1.5 years, I am sure there is a "lag period" before my hair health can catch up to my healthier diet.

I appreciate all the comments on how healthy my hair looks. It's just difficult for me to believe this is new growth when so much of it is breaking off.

Panth
October 5th, 2013, 04:22 AM
I greatly appreciate all the advice contributed to this thread! Thank you all so much.

Today was my worst day breakage-wise by far, but I am surprisingly feeling optimistic about my hair health. I am going to focus on keeping my new/future growth healthy (good diet, proper treatment, ect). This weekend I plan on finding some L'Oreal EverCreme Intense Nourishing Shampoo (my wash day is Sunday).

I will add, I am usually VERY stressed out (I am a full-time college senior and I work 20 hours a week), but I have been this stressed out for a couple of years now so I figure my body is used to it.

My diet has been pretty solid for the past year to 1.5 years, I am sure there is a "lag period" before my hair health can catch up to my healthier diet.

I appreciate all the comments on how healthy my hair looks. It's just difficult for me to believe this is new growth when so much of it is breaking off.

Sorry to say this, but your body doesn't just "get used" to stress - chronic stress is just as or more damaging than acute stress. You personally, mentally, may get somewhat accustomed to it, but if you are still stressed then your body is still producing stress hormones (e.g. cortisol) and that is still going to negatively affect many aspects of health including hair health. If you can't get rid of the stress, then one very beneficial thing you can do is to learn coping strategies - e.g. for a student that might be prevention strategies like planning and organisation so that you get assignments and revision done early, but also "treatment" strategies (or at least "preventing escalation" strategies) e.g. learning to make yourself not think about work when having a day off, or learning not to get into mental feedback loops of worrying and fretting. Those will help keep your cortisol levels lower and thus benefit your health all round.

pocketsmall
October 5th, 2013, 10:37 AM
learning to make yourself not think about work when having a day off, or learning not to get into mental feedback loops of worrying and fretting. Those will help keep your cortisol levels lower and thus benefit your health all round.

This is something I really struggle with but never really thought about!

BlazingHeart
October 5th, 2013, 10:48 AM
Even 15 minutes a day of meditation has been shown to decrease the presence of stress hormones in the body. Finding a guided meditation you like can be a very good place to start! I have medical issues that respond badly to stress, so meditation every evening is important for me.

Panth
October 5th, 2013, 12:54 PM
This is something I really struggle with but never really thought about!

I think everyone really struggles with it (if they try it at all). It is really hard. However, it's also really good for you - both mentally and physically.

Some people find meditation helps. One type that is currently quite popular is "mindfulness". Personally, it doesn't work at all for me. However, lots of people find it very helpful so perhaps you could see if that's something you like. Other people find exercise quite meditative (or at least they can't stress or even think much whilst doing it) plus it can help for that "tired mind, awake body" problem which can cause sleeplessness.

Claire_
March 16th, 2014, 09:23 AM
From the pictures of your hair I can see that you have baby fine BUT healthy hair! all I can think of is that maybe you notice the shedding only when you braid your hair because as you said you only wash it once a week, rarely comb it and almost never let it down.. In other words all I can think of is that your hair is in a great shape and that you notice the whole week's shedding when it comes to braiding! moreover, your hair cannot be in the same length without regular trimmings simply because every follicle growth on a different rate, since they are not all in the same growing cycle! It's also really good that you notice new growth! I would not worry if I were you, and hope I've helped :)

UP Lisa
March 19th, 2014, 10:11 AM
Yeah!!! I would agree with this!



Whilst I agree with the rest of Dark Star's post (in relation to the hair you are growing now), I have to say this one is a (very famous, very commonly stated) myth. Yes, the human body needs 8-12 glasses of water daily. However, that calculation when originally made (before it was taken by diet gurus and journalists and other people who don't understand the science and didn't read the article properly or at all) - it included the water present in food. Also, it is a myth that coffee, soda and regular tea don't count - yes, caffeine has a diuretic effect, but the quantity of caffeine even in very caffeinated beverages is not sufficient to result in loss of the equivalent of the entire volume of the beverage (i.e. the beverage as a whole hydrates you, though perhaps a little bit less than a non-caffeinated one). Of course, you may have other reasons for cutting out soda in particular (i.e. the sugar content), but worrying about water intake should not be a reason.

A related myth is the "drink lots of water because you don't feel thirsty until your body is severely dehydrated". It too is rubbish. Just eat sensibly and drink when you are thirsty and you'll be fine.