View Full Version : Need suggestions...not liking texture and way too much hairfall

October 7th, 2014, 10:26 PM

So I posted to this forum quite a while ago for general suggestions on restoring my hair to a healthy state as I began growing it out. I took a lot of your advice and suggestions but now I've hit another standstill and I'm not really sure what else to try at this point.

From the beginning:
For many years my hair care routine consisted of frequent box dying (although I have always used ammonia free hair dye), brushing with a plastic hairbrush (usually after showering), straightening every day, and washing every other day using Tresemme's moisturizing shampoo and conditioner. I learned all the important washing techniques quite a while ago (cold water rinse, letting conditioner sit while you go about your other shower business, air drying, only shampooing the scalp, etc). During this time, I had incredibly soft and shiny hair, although lots of tangling and reasonably unmanageable hair as far as styling went (which is why daily straightening ended up being the quickest and simplest way for me to do my hair).

Unfortunately, about a year after I had been growing my hair back out, I started having issues with damaged ends - even though at this point, I was no longer straightening every day but only occasionally, and I always assumed this was the most damaging part of my routine. I found this forum and posted here, and I got a ton of great suggestions.

Here are the changes I made:
- Began shampooing less. I started only shampooing once my hair started getting greasy. I have fine hair so this translates to once or twice per week, approx every 4-5 days.
- I threw away my hair brush and began only using a wide tooth comb to detangle my hair, and a fine tooth comb for styling.
- Stopped brushing/combing my hair when it was altogether, except for my bangs which cannot be styled after they dry due to a cowlick. I don't want to use a boar bristle brush because I don't like using animal products.
- Stopped heat styling my hair completely. I wear my hair completely natural now, unless I decide to wear it up - in which case I curl these two little framey pieces I have on either side.
- Stopped using hair ties almost entirely, which have a tendency to get extremely tangled in my hair and cause significant breakage. I use an octopus clip for updos, and secure braids with bobby pins.
- Started sleeping on a silk pillowcase.
- Began doing coconut oil treatments every other week.
- Began CWC. I like this and it always improves the texture of my hair, but I don't always remember to do it.

Things that didn't work for me:
- I tried using a silk sleeping cap, but it always slipped off while I was sleeping, so I stuck to the silk pillowcase.
- I don't do the coconut oil treatments anymore. At first, they worked pretty well but it's really difficult for me to get all the oil out since my hair is so fine. I had to shampoo at least twice, sometimes three or four times and I always ended up with spots that still had oil in them. My hair tends to be fairly dry after a wash, so I really can't afford to wash it again to remove the rest of the oil when the first four shampoos don't do the trick. Besides, I feel like I'm wasting shampoo, my time and any benefits of the oil by having to shampoo so much to get it out.
- I don't wear my hair in a protective style while I sleep, because hair ties completely ruin my hair and clips are SUPER uncomfortable to lay on.
- Another thing that was suggested was using henna to color my hair, but I'm not at all interested in trying this because it is WAY too much effort for me. I am red and have been red for years. I use an ammonia free hair color, and color my hair probably once a month (usually need touch ups after 4 - 6 shampoos). I count coloring as a shampoo, and my hair texture is always the best after coloring. The reason for this is the conditioner that they package with the hair dye. I have no idea what is in it, but it completely smoothes and softens my hair. Immediately after applying it, my hair is completely detangled.

Okay, so after making all those changes I did begin to notice a marked improvement in my hair and my damaged ends are a lot better (although I have declined to cut them off completely because I would lose at least half of my length). My hair was also super simple to style so that was awesome! However, in the last few months I've been getting increasingly frustrated with my hair texture. I stopped using Tresemme products completely. I switched over to the Natural versions a while ago, and I have had issues with the products going rancid (gross!). Not to mention, my hair was ALWAYS either dry or greasy. Never soft. Never easy to style. I picked up an all-natural, sulfate-free shampoo at Target a few weeks ago. I was looking for a shampoo for redheads because my color has been fading quicker than normal lately, but I couldn't find anything so I settled for sulfate-free because I knew it would at least prevent some more color stripping. I ended up getting a brand called Caroline's Daughter. Not sure of the exact product but it's black vanilla (which smells super good so that definitely aided my decision). The shampoo is fine, it definitely strips my hair less and I don't have as much build-up by shampoo days (so not quite as disgustingly greasy as it was). It doesn't really make my hair any softer, it just feels more fine and light which I'm assuming is pretty close to its natural state. It also hasn't really helped my color fading issue, at least that I have noticed. Not sure if I will stick with it just because it's pretty expensive and I'm not getting as great of results as I would like. For conditioner, I picked up something from TIGI that was on sale is some sort of color protecting conditioner. It detangles my hair significantly in the shower when I apply it (not as good as my box dye conditioner), but it really doesn't make my hair any less dry or any softer - although again, I have a lot less build-up with this product so my hair doesn't get as greasy which is good. It has helped my color from fading a bit so far, but it's only been about two uses and I haven't used it after coloring yet so it's hard to say. Once again, this product is pretty pricey, so I'm not sure if I will buy it again when I run out unless I start seeing more significant results.

My other HUGE problem lately is hairfall. My hair has been really dry, so it's always really tangled in the morning and it takes a long time to comb it out. I am shedding more hair than all four of my cats, I think. When I'm done combing, the sink is completely covered in long red strands. This is really, really bothering me. I have always had significant hairfall, but never this bad, not even when I was brushing.

For the record, my hair type is 1c-2a/fine/ii.

I am wondering if you guys have any suggestions for my routine. The only thing I can think that has changed between my previous routine working very well and then not working at all is that I moved from an arid state to the PNW this year. Different water, possibly. I would really appreciate product suggestions, preferably things without animal products and things that are all-natural, if possible. If you have any suggestions about products for redheads, I'm very interested in those, as well. Just a note, I have been considering trying Avalon Organic's thickening shampoo because while I have a LOT of hair, it's super fine and I would like more substance, especially for hair styles. However, I have heard it's very drying so I don't want to try it out until I find a really moisturizing conditioner. If you guys have any insight on that, it would be appreciated as well. I am also open to oiling my hair again, if you know of any oils that are better suited to fine hair. Thanks in advance for any advice!

October 7th, 2014, 10:27 PM
I also apologize for the length of my post, I'm just trying to be as thorough as possible. Thanks again.

October 8th, 2014, 12:01 AM
Congratulations on your progress!! I will just mention a few things.

-If you choose too, argan oil is the lightest oil I have discovered, and you could use it to seal in moisture after cleansing.
-I think you should continue your search for a cleansing routine because your hair shouldn't be dry after cleansing.
-There was just recently a thread on protective night wear and there were many good suggestions on it including tossing the hair up over the pillow and a horse tail bag. There are sleep caps with ties so they tend to fall off less. You might be able to use an octopus clip right at the crown of your head to secure a single coiled braid or twist, and therefore you should not feel it as you sleep nor need to use pony tail holders.
-I used to love chemically straightening my hair because it was so soft and "conditioned" afterwards...I never associated the breakage months later with the chemicals---I really suggest you break the dye habit.

I am sure many others will have things to suggest.

October 8th, 2014, 07:55 PM
Ooops, maybe your question needs to be bumped to the top....

October 8th, 2014, 08:19 PM
You have a lot of hair you say. Then I'd avoid any thickening agents. They only coat the hair with another layer (added to whatever else you're putting on your hair. Before long, your hair will become snarlier than ever, which will mean you will have to clarify your hair with a clarifying shampoo (no baking soda!) and finish with a deep conditioning treatment.

As for the hair fallout, if it is really disconcerting to you, then make a drs appointment and have a complete blood panel workup I(to rule out anemia). Also a thyroid test.

The only other thing I can think of that might be causing the fallout: if you don't brush or comb your hair every day, then the fallen hairs get trapped among the hair that has not fallen out. Consequently, when you DO go to brush/comb prior to shampooing, you have a whole lot of fall out. Thus it is better for your hair to be brushed or combed every day.

Also, I'd avoid bobby pins for holding up styles! Bobby pins are only meant to hold tiny wisps of hair. If you need hairpins to hold your hairdo securely, then try 3 inch crimpled hairpins (with ball tips on the end of each leg). They are also called "Amish" pins and Good Days Pins (which are faux tortoiseshell in color and made of plastic.)

As far as using oils..mineral oil (baby oil) is a great moisturizer (you do not put it on your hair right out of the bottle. You only use 2 tiny drops, applied to your hands/fingers. Then you take your oil covered hands and run them through your hair several times, until the oil sheen has almost vanished from your palms.

Johnson and Johnson makes a great (and very inexpensive baby oil). MO should only contain MO and a fragrance. Additives make it less effective.

MO also helps tame frizzies and is a great detangler (that's what I use it for..in place of conditioner). It is very lightweight, leaves no after scent and washes out easily in your next shampoo.

If you do use oil, oil your length - from the ears down. Do not put oil on your scalp. You want to keep your scalp as natural as possible and not upset its acid balance. Good luck!

October 9th, 2014, 09:50 AM
One thing that has helped me with softness has been acid rinses. I use diluted white vinegar as a final rinse in the shower, and that has really helped with shine and texture without adding weight.

October 9th, 2014, 11:11 AM
Well, my guess is that my hair is pretty similar to yours. No telling if what works for me will work for you (especially since your hair's been heat-treated and dyed and mine hasn't), but it's worth throwing out there.

First, I know you're still on the fence about henna. Yes, it takes longer, but it's a nice red hair color because it doesn't fade. If you like a warm red, it's worth looking into, and root touchups are very easy in my opinion.

Looking at the conditioners from box dyes in the past, most of them are pretty full of silicones, especially amodimethicone. Keep an eye out for that ingredient in conditioners. Herbal Essences Hello Hydration comes to mind as a good one for it. On the topic of conditioners, others that I find are quite good are Biolage Conditioning Balm (I typically get a knockoff from Sally) and SMTs made with Suave Naturals conditioner (which is my go-to because I'm cheap and usually don't require heavy conditioning). I've never had much luck with Tresemme products either. I tend to have issues with too much protein, so you'll find that most of my product suggestions are protein-free ones -- whether that applies to you is highly individualized.

Regarding the hairfall, I agree the suggestion to get a blood test done next time you go to the doctor's. Ask if you can get thyroid and iron checked, particularly. They're really common problems (especially for women) and can contribute to losing hair.

That said, have you noticed your hair becoming thinner? It's fairly common around here to see people noticing that they seem to be shedding a ton compared to a year ago when their hair was shorter, but when they actually count the strands it's about the same. Longer hair means that what you do shed looks like more, even with the same or fewer hairs. Eliminating breakage as a possibility is also important -- if you have damaged hair that is breaking off, it can look like shedding but has completely different causes. Keep an eye on your length and ends -- if you have many little white dots and broken ends up in your length, it's likely that some of what you see is hairs breaking off.

October 9th, 2014, 11:26 AM
If you're already dyeing your hair red, then henna is definitely something you should look in to. There are many members here who have streamlined their application/root touch up process and I doubt it would be too much of a time suck. Plus it adds strength and shine and doesn't fade. Your rough texture is most likely due to chemical damage from the dyes and while SLS free shampoo and the right conditioner will help, your hair is still damaged. I've noticed an incredible difference in softness and shine between my highlighted ends and my 10 inches of virgin growth.

October 9th, 2014, 12:27 PM
Just a thought on the hair falling issue. When I went Sulfate free, I started to shed a lot more... Maybe try another shampoo to rule that out?

Also, I used to have the same hair as you describe back when I dyed my hair red with box dyes. When dyeing, do you cover all your hair or just the roots? If you do all of the hair, the ends have been exposed to A LOT of dye the last years, and even if it's ammonia free, it certainly does some damage. Also, if you used to heat style before, the damage you did back then will still be in your hair even after quitting it. If you don't want to try henna, maybe a coloured hair mask might help to keep the colour vivid? I used one when I still did box dyes, every other week or so, and it kept the colour from looking washed out between dyeing. Deep condition and freshening up the colour at the same time :)

Also, coconut oil isn't for everyone (my fine hair hates it and I.Just.Can't.Get.It.Out!), try other oils, but keep in mind that some oils strip a little color (olive oil for example...) and try to apply less. If you have to shampoo multiple times you probably used to much. Maybe a leave-in is a better option than oil for you? Just smear some on the ends when you get out of the shower to seal some moisture in.

October 9th, 2014, 04:03 PM
First of all, go back to what did work for your hair. You are experimenting with lots of products right now and that might not be good.

Second, it is the season for shedding, so... I'd wait it out a bit, at least.

October 9th, 2014, 05:41 PM
Just a thought on the hair falling issue. When I went Sulfate free, I started to shed a lot more... Maybe try another shampoo to rule that out?


^^ This (ruling out anything medical, of course). There are quite a few people on this board who have had that experience. I can tell you when I went sulfate/ silicone free, I lost about half an inch of hair circumference, which on my fine/ thin hair was a lot. Silicone free further exacerbated it because of tangling/ breakage & the go to solutions on this board that helped others didn't work. It's also possible you might have some build up and not realize it. The Carol's Daughter shampoo has quite a few ingredients with build up potential, including several polyquats, which can build up on hair worse than non soluble silicones. Maybe try a plain clarifying shampoo & see if that helps?

Also with the coconut oil, how much were you using? A fingernail's scraping on ends only should be enough. It's one of those "less is more" things. If it's taking that much effort to get it out, chances are you are using too much. Maybe just touch the coconut oil until your fingertips are shiny & work through ends only & leave on overnight (14 hours if possible) & see if it's any easier to get it out. If you were already only using a tiny bit, perhaps coconut oil is not for you.

Good luck!