View Full Version : Elastics and white dots?

July 25th, 2014, 07:18 AM
As my hair has gotten long enough that I can see the ends, I started noticing lots of white dots. I wear it braided because I have a long commute (30 minutes of neck craning due to bun + head rests designed by short-haired people is no fun). And the ends would have a couple dozen new white dots every day (I broke them off because I'm fidgety and don't carry scissors with me everywhere). That seemed like a LOT.

It started bothering me to the point where I did an experiment with tying my braid off with yarn for a week instead of elastics (what is that thing called made of yarn with a three-way knot for braiding?). It's more hassle to work with a big hunk of yarn going into and coming out of the braid, and I had to learn a new knot to get the ends to lay straight instead of sticking out in three directions (single half-hitch knot it is) - but my white dots have decreased by about 75%. I thought at first maybe it was because I could braid my hair further with the yarn and less ends stuck out, but I've done a couple of S&D's with my hair loose, and it appears that the ends are actually faring way, way better with yarn vs. elastic braid ties.

I had always seen that elastics were considered generically bad for hair, but don't remember any specific association of elastics with white dots. I guess the hard pressure forces a 180 bend in any hair caught in the elastic and "breaks" it, creating the white dot (one of the characteristics of a white dot is that the hair shaft will bend there up to 180). Am I just really behind the times in realizing this?

July 25th, 2014, 07:36 AM
I've read the pressure from elastics can break hair, but haven't read they can cause white dots. I guess I always assosiated white dots with chemical damage, but I could be wrong. Maybe the white dot comes first and then it breaks?

I wear braids often and use elastics, but I don't get much breakage or white dots. I don't use the really thin kind of elastics and don't put them on too thight. But it's good you found a better way to tie your braids! Is it parandi you're talking about?

July 25th, 2014, 08:02 AM
Elastics can be very snaggy. To me it sounds like it's a combination of the gentler hold of the yarn and the fact your ends are even more covered and protected inside the paranda, like you said. Very happy for you :D

July 25th, 2014, 08:26 AM
Do you have previous heat damage?

July 25th, 2014, 08:40 AM
I know those clear silicone elastics cause white dots and sharp bends in my hair when I use them to tie off braids. I don't have similar troubles with many other hairties, including poly elastics. Try changing it up if you don't love the paranda, see if a different type of elastic is better with your hair.

July 25th, 2014, 08:59 AM
I am very prone to white dots anyway, but tying braids off with anything elastic is white-dot-mageddon for me. Tying it off with a ribbon is preferable. I have been sleeping in a braid that isn't tied off at all because it's too hot for my sleeping cap. I am finding I don't need to tie braids off for them to stay. Have literally just stopped S&D-ing and have probably got rid of another 50+. I don't really know if that is to do with the braid and the ends being exposed, or it being hot and ends being dry or what though.

July 25th, 2014, 04:52 PM
Do you have previous heat damage? No, this hair's never been blown dry or dyed (other than a henna shampoo bar) or ironed or any other kind of heat. I normally CO once a week, or every few weeks use a shampoo bar, so it's not like I'm drying it out with lots of washing. I guess I'm just prone to the dots. It's comforting to know some others have the same problem.

I've tried the silicone elastics and they are way to tight to work with comfortably when they're new and way to stretched out to use easily when they're used... my mainstay has been the old style covered elastic with the metal crimped bit.

The pirandas are OK, and I'm certainly excited at the better condition on my ends from using them, but it would be nice to have a non- or minimally-damaging other option. Any favorite brands out there you'd suggest I try?

July 25th, 2014, 04:55 PM
No, this hair's never been blown dry or dyed (other than a henna shampoo bar) or ironed or any other kind of heat. I guess I'm just prone to the dots. It's comforting to know some others have the same problem.

It's just that all this talk of white dots popping up when there's been no previous heat damage is kind of alien to me - very hard to believe (not that I don't believe you, that's not what I mean).

Any favorite brands out there you'd suggest I try?

Just the plain fabric covered, black hair ties (without metal pieces). They have them thick and they have them very thin as well, for the ends of braids.

July 25th, 2014, 04:59 PM
This is actually why I stopped using elastic bands, and well, even hair ties. I also got the dreaded 'white dots' and also split ends. - I now strictly use hair sticks and this is no longer an issue.- But I also wanna say, you probably shouldn't break off the hair. Just wait and S&D. I know it's difficult, but breaking off the hair only makes it to where you have to cut even further up. The hair you break off ends up being a split end.

July 25th, 2014, 05:09 PM
I get white dots from tying my hair too tight, and I don't use heat. I found that ribbon elastics (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_11?url=search-alias%3Dbeauty&field-keywords=ribbon%20hair%20ties&sprefix=ribbon+hair%2Caps%2C163) are so much gentler. They can be kind of bulky done on braid ends, but they look cute in different colors, are gentle, and cheap. Plus I can wear them on my wrist without being irritated by them

July 25th, 2014, 07:03 PM
White dots are where the outer cuticle has worn away/ frayed. Elastics generally press and drag on the cuticle when put on and taken off. I had a lot of mid shaft breakage when I wore a ponytail 24/7 tho my hair was already weakened by box dyes.

July 25th, 2014, 09:06 PM
I stopped using anything to secure my braid end (mine stays put pretty well anyway), and it has reduced splits and breakage for me. I've heard of people using a tiny claw clip, but when I've tried that it hasn't seemed all that secure (and you don't want it between your back and a chair!). Maybe one of the silicone-grabby claw clips would hold better than what I tried. The last elastics I bought were "Pony Socks" brand from a dollar store: just small tubes of knitted fabric (no metal) with the edges curling on themselves, sort of like I've heard of people DIYing by cutting rings from an old pair of tights. I like the yarn idea if it's working for you. Learning a new knot is always good!