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View Full Version : Longtime Lurker - What the heck does my hair want?



leilan
August 13th, 2014, 05:18 PM
I'm finally posting on the forum! I've been a lurker here for years, and even after I got an account it's taken me til now to actually post. I've been trying to troubleshoot on my own by reading others' posts, but I gave in and decided that I should ask you veterans for help!

So, a little background:
I dyed my short hair red in 2011 and later bleached it out and dyed it back to my normal blonde color. The damage from that is mostly, if not completely, grown out and trimmed off.
I sleep on a satin pillowcase, sometime but not always with my hair in a braid.
I use no heat or styling products ever.
I oil my ends with a bit of argan oil after my shower.
I only brush with a wide-tooth comb, my fingers or occasionally a bamboo pin brush.

http://i868.photobucket.com/albums/ab243/kicamh/DSCN0140_zps63db5201.jpg (http://s868.photobucket.com/user/kicamh/media/DSCN0140_zps63db5201.jpg.html)

Here is a picture of my hair today, second day hair.

So here's my issue: my hair is mostly straight with occasionally a little wave. I may be off base here, but I would expect my hair to be fairly soft and silky. Instead, when I run my hand over my hair, it feels rough and a little scratchy. My ends can get tangled, almost like velcro. They come untangled easily with fingercombing, but not without pulling out several hairs in the process.

I've gotten so many ideas from LHC, but I don't actually know what my hair is trying to tell me. Rather than guessing, please help me! Does it need protein? Moisture?

Thank you in advance for your help! Let me know if you need more info...

TrapperCreekD
August 13th, 2014, 06:03 PM
Sounds like your routine is on the right track. :D Rough and tangly sounds like protein overload, try upping your moisture. What are you washing your hair with? If shampoo and conditioner, check the label for collagen and any hydrolyzed ingredients, those are the proteins your hair may not be liking.

Entangled
August 13th, 2014, 06:08 PM
Try clarifying first. That seems to help many problems with crunchy, tangly ends. For softness, I use a white vinegar rinse. That's worked wonders for me! A factor to consider: is your hair brittle and breaking? If not, then I think it needs conditioning, not moisture. Conditioning/oiling gives hair slip and adds suppleness. Moisture/protein are more structural. If your hair isn't brittle, or limp/weak/stretchy, then I would look to what you're conditioning with. What is your wash routine?

leilan
August 13th, 2014, 06:24 PM
I'm currently using Yes to Carrots Nourishing Shampoo and Pampering Conditioner. I get my hair wet with lukewarm water, then use a small dollop of shampoo just on my scalp and roots. After I rinse that out I coat the length from my ears down with a big glob of conditioner and leave that on until the end of my shower. Then I rinse and put my hair up in a microfiber towel.

I don't think the shampoo or conditioner have any protein in them, from what I could tell. Plus, my hair has been in its funk while I used several different brands of shampoo/conditioner.

Entangled, I actually clarified yesterday. :( Using Giovanni 50:50 balanced hydrating clarifying shampoo. I only used a little on the length though. I will try a white vinegar rinse, I've read good things about it. My hair isn't breaking, as far as I can tell, it just feels rough. Should I maybe try an overnight coconut oil treatment?
Any recommendations on conditioners? I really don't know my hair's preference on cones, but I've been using cone-free. Maybe that's the problem?

Thank you for your replies! I need all the help I can get.

battles
August 13th, 2014, 06:36 PM
+Hi! Your hair is gorgeous. :)

F/M hair usually likes protein. Different types will work for different people, though. I tried a few and had bad results and figured my hair hated protein and ended up with dry, rough feeling hair even though I kept throwing moisture at it. If you're finding more moisture isn't helping, I'd consider looking into different types of protein. Especially if you're not using any at all.

http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/2013/09/more-about-protein.html

Entangled
August 13th, 2014, 06:58 PM
You could try an overnight heavy oiling. That has worked for for me in the past, and it couldn't really hurt. You might try cones again. Many people benefit from them, and they're not as evil as they are often made out to be. I think that many go cone free because it's a simple thing to change, as most people use it.

leilan
August 13th, 2014, 07:24 PM
Perhaps I'll try a coconut oil treatment soon. I think in the past, I used way too much, and it was impossible to wash out. This time I'll try using less. I think I'll look for a conditioner with cones when my current one runs out. Can't hurt to try, right?

battles - thank you for the compliment! :) Any recommendations on what kind of protein to try?

texangrrl
August 13th, 2014, 08:47 PM
It sounds like my hair has a similar texture to yours. I've done coconut oiling before (unrefined oil) but I think I need to try the protein. I've heard of putting egg yolk in hair, so maybe that's an idea? Not really sure, lol. I'm definitely going to try it this weekend.

molljo
August 14th, 2014, 12:11 AM
When clarifying, you really have to make you sure wash your length and ends, as that's where the buildup is going to be the heaviest. I would also investigate as what the water is like in your area in case chelating is in order (which is for mineral buildup). So before you try adding products, make sure there isn't anything lingering on your hair causing trouble.

If you've absolutely ruled out both kinds of buildup, a few things: have you tried using a leave-in conditioner (you can use your regular rinse-out as a leave-in) after washing and then sealing that with an oil? I'll second vinegar rinses and overnight oilings for things to try. You might consider using a blend rather than one oil (I've found coconut + olive oils to be much nicer used together rather than by themselves).

Don't try to get protein from eggs as a topical treatment; the molecules are simply too big to penetrate, and you've basically wasted a perfectly good egg. And remember, not all proteins are created equal. So if you try something with silk protein and it's garbage, that doesn't mean all protein is bad for your hair. It just means silk protein is. Try something else.

Sparklylady82
August 14th, 2014, 12:51 AM
Hi! Welcome! I agree with chelating and/or clarifying! If you go to the website above mentioned sciencyhairblog.com there is a recipe for a wonderful oil treatment! I can tell you the exact measurements tomorow if you like (I'm in bed ;-)). Anyway it has olive, grape seed, jojoba, coconut and Shea butter all mixed together. I leave on for 30 min before my shower. I then wash, condition, leav-in and use a tiny amount of the same oil mix to seal. My hair has been so soft and shiny!

Elven_Escapist
August 14th, 2014, 01:49 AM
My hair on the top layers is more coarse, somewhat dull, quite wavy, and tangles easily. No matter how many times I run my fingers through its always tangled up at the bottom. The under layers, however, are straight, shiny, and super soft. Could any of these help the top layers of hair, or would this be something else? My dad may have hard water, could that be causing it? I only go to his house every other weekend.
I do sleep with my hair loose, but I leave it over the top of my pillow, so if anything the bottom layers would be damaged by this, though they aren't.

MJ1972
August 14th, 2014, 06:40 AM
Perhaps I'll try a coconut oil treatment soon. I think in the past, I used way too much, and it was impossible to wash out. This time I'll try using less. I think I'll look for a conditioner with cones when my current one runs out. Can't hurt to try, right?

Just be aware that some oils cause the very effect you're describing -- the one you're hoping to avoid. For instance, I recently tried pre-pooing with jojoba oil and was astonished at how rough and coarse my hair felt afterwards. It was the exact opposite of what I'd expected. You, too, may find that you have to experiment with different types of oil. What works for some, doesn't work for others, and effects may differ between dry hair and wet hair, as well.

As for oil being hard to wash out, considering washing your hair with conditioner rather than shampoo. I've found that conditioner does a better job of removing oil from my hair than shampoo. Amazing, but true.

In addition to oiling your hair, you may want to try the famous SMT to moisturise and soften your hair: four parts cone-free conditioner, one part aloe vera gel, one part honey. My hair feels amazingly soft and healthy after I do this, although it will look a tad greasy if I don't rinse for an eternity. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

brickworld13
August 14th, 2014, 07:23 AM
Perhaps I'll try a coconut oil treatment soon. I think in the past, I used way too much, and it was impossible to wash out. This time I'll try using less. I think I'll look for a conditioner with cones when my current one runs out. Can't hurt to try, right?

I find that perfect amount of oil is when my hands are just starting to be shiny. They aren't even really all that slick. Then I brush to get better distribution of the oil so I don't get really dry spots.

spidermom
August 14th, 2014, 08:24 AM
What you did wasn't a proper clarifying. Get a clarifying shampoo and massage the suds from scalp to tips. It might take doing it twice before you see/feel a difference.

My hair benefits a great deal from pre-wash coconut oiling (usually the night before) in terms of feeling smooth and silky.

leilan
August 14th, 2014, 03:51 PM
Wow, thank you all for the help and suggestions! I guess troubleshooting your hair can be a really involved process.

Next time I shower, I will try clarifying again, and I'll be sure to really suds it up all over and work it in.

As far as hard water and mineral buildup, my area has kind of hard water, enough to get a buildup on the faucet, but I was told that that wasn't very bad in comparison to a lot of places. I'm in Colorado, and a lot of our water is mountain run-off, so there are minerals dissolved naturally in the water. Would it be worth trying a chelating shampoo too?

I have the page for SMT bookmarked, I definitely want to try it out! I just wasn't sure if my current conditioner is a good candidate for the recipe.

I tried using my conditioner as a leave-in a while back, but it ended up making my hair look unwashed as soon as it was dry. I'll try it again with my current conditioner.

I will try clarifying again soon and report back. Thank you all so much for your replies! Everyone here is so nice. :D

molljo
August 14th, 2014, 08:11 PM
As far as hard water and mineral buildup, my area has kind of hard water, enough to get a buildup on the faucet, but I was told that that wasn't very bad in comparison to a lot of places. I'm in Colorado, and a lot of our water is mountain run-off, so there are minerals dissolved naturally in the water. Would it be worth trying a chelating shampoo too?

Yes, absolutely. If there's mineral buildup on the faucet, I can promise you there's buildup on your hair. I think getting a combo clarifier and chelator is a good idea, just to cover all your bases at once. Joico K-PAK Clarifying Shampoo and Redken Cleansing Cream do both. It's important that after you work in the shampoo to wait about 5-10 minutes before rinsing it out. And it's pivotal that you follow it up with a deep conditioning treatment. You can do an SMT or just your regular conditioner left on for half an hour before rinsing.

leilan
September 25th, 2014, 05:10 PM
Alright, so it's about time for an update.

molljo, I took your advice and grabbed a bottle of the K-PAK Clarifying Shampoo. I made sure to wash from scalp to tip, and then I let it sit on my hair for about five minutes. Afterwards, I loaded up on conditioner and let that sit for half an hour before rinsing. Once it was dry... no difference. It felt pretty much the same. To be sure, I waited a few weeks and did it again, this time leaving the shampoo on for ten minutes after really lathering it in. I followed up with an SMT treatment left on overnight. ...Still no difference. :(

Actually, the one thing I've changed that seems to help a tiny bit is using some conditioner as a leave-in after towel drying my hair and sealing it with argan oil. It makes my hair marginally softer and a smidge less tangly.

I'm still having tons of trouble with the ends of my hair. They get tangled together in knots in a heartbeat. I've been snipping any split ends I see, of which there have been many. It's driving me bonkers. The only thing I can think of is that they are splitting from friction with my clothes.

So, what do you guys think? I tried the clarifying/chelating and SMT route, do you think it's time to experiment with some protein? Is there anything more moisturizing that I should try?

I read through the post that battles linked to, on the Science-y Hair Blog about protein. I'm leaning towards that as my next thing to try. I've heard good things about Aubrey Organics GPB conditioner. Thoughts?

The struggle for soft, silky, not-super-tangly hair continues...

lapushka
September 25th, 2014, 05:25 PM
Might want to try a different washing method, like CO-washing, CWC or WCC (link in my signature). This might or might not help with the tangles. Conditioning more is key, though!

Aurum
September 25th, 2014, 05:34 PM
Well, there *is* a simple solution to the tangles and split ends: wear protective styles. I haven't read any of your thread, so I'm not sure if you've already tried it, but it's worth a shot. Braiding every day has kept my tangle-prone hair from suffering the worst effects of general wear and tear. There are tons of fun styles that will protect your hair as well as being cute, elegant, professional... Whatever you want. :-)

leilan
September 25th, 2014, 05:59 PM
lapushka - I love your username! As far as trying a different wash method, I'm willing to try again, but I have tried CWC and CO-washing before. I CO-washed with Suave Naturals Ocean Breeze and hated it. My hair never felt clean and after a few times washing that way, it started being lank and greasy-looking. For CWC, I didn't notice a difference from just shampooing and then conditioning, I just went through more conditioner. I didn't try either for very long, though, and perhaps the brand of shampoo and conditioner just didn't work for those methods.

Aurum - I have my hair up in a clip about half the time, down the rest of the time. My hair is really fine and slips right out of styles. Do you have any suggestions for different styles to try? My only problem with that is that I love wearing my hair down... but since that's probably what's causing the splits, I may just have to suck it up.

JustPam
September 26th, 2014, 06:31 AM
Try braided updos, braids are much easier to grab into with pins/clips or whatever you use. Have you tried oiling? I found that took the rough feeling out of my hair. I used extra virgin olive oil and left it on overnight, washed it out the next day and it was very sleek and soft.

leilan
September 26th, 2014, 02:02 PM
I will give some braided updos a try. My biggest problem with braids on my hair is that I have to pull them very tight, otherwise they slip out over the course of the day. And when I pull them tight, inevitably some tresses are not pulled flush with my head, and stick out awkwardly. Hopefully that makes sense! If I try to brush the sections of hair over as I'm french braiding, I can't hold the other sections tightly in place so they fall loose. I usually end up with tangles and frustration. :/ Is there something I could use to give my hair more hold?

I've done overnight oiling with coconut oil before. It seemed to help a bit, but my hair went back to its usual texture a day or so later. I can give EVOO a try, but I wonder if it might be too heavy for my hair. Only one way to tell!

JustPam
September 27th, 2014, 11:33 AM
Ah I don't really French braid much for daytime styles, and when I do it for sleeping in its always a bird's nest so can't help you there!

Johannah
September 27th, 2014, 11:46 AM
Have you tried a heavy oiling? Before I reached waist, this solved everything for me.

leilan
September 27th, 2014, 04:08 PM
Johannah, what do you mean by heavy oiling? Like using castor oil, or just using a ton of oil?

leilan
October 6th, 2014, 05:07 PM
So I've been looking through the few products I use on my hair. I have the Dermorganics Leave-In Treatment with Argan Oil, and I've been using it to seal in my leave-in conditioner after I shower. I've just been using it up since there's only a little bit left, and I figured it was argan oil, which most people seem to love. I reread the ingredients list though, and dimethicone is the second one listed. Could part of my problem with troublesome ends be from build-up of cones from that?

lapushka
October 6th, 2014, 05:58 PM
So I've been looking through the few products I use on my hair. I have the Dermorganics Leave-In Treatment with Argan Oil, and I've been using it to seal in my leave-in conditioner after I shower. I've just been using it up since there's only a little bit left, and I figured it was argan oil, which most people seem to love. I reread the ingredients list though, and dimethicone is the second one listed. Could part of my problem with troublesome ends be from build-up of cones from that?

If you've been having problems with your ends and they don't feel like they should, then just clarify. A normal sulfate (no silicone) shampoo should do for the most part. Try it first. If you clarify regularly, then using this product is absolutely no problem.

leilan
October 6th, 2014, 06:30 PM
Based on advice earlier in this thread, I got a chelating/clarifying shampoo, and since then I've been using it every two to three weeks. So I guess build-up from the oil isn't the problem...

I've been toying with the idea of trying a protein treatment out - I've never done one on my hair before, so I don't know how it will take it. GPB Aubrey Organics conditioner seems like a popular choice, for starting out mildly with protein.

Do you think that's a good idea?