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MissMoppet
January 4th, 2015, 11:40 AM
Hey guys,

I noticed about a week ago that there were several short hairs in my hairbrush, mixed up with long hairs, that come loose whenever I brush my hair. I thought that this was normal shedding, until today when I picked up one of the hairs. I tested it to guage its strength and was shocked when it broke apart almost effortlessly between my fingers with a snap. My hair used to have a bit of stretch to it! What happened!? Clearly the shorter hairs are breakage and not shedding.

Since joining this forum I have learned a lot about hair and have been trying to take care of it. I bought a mason pearson brush and have been brushing my hair 3 times a day with it, as I love how it makes my scalp feel. I take a bunch of vitamins now (biotin, msm, vitamin c, folic acid etc), all in the hopes of helping my hair grown. I lost a lot of hair last year due to a medication, and it started to grow back about 6 months ago. Since taking the vitamins I have noticed a big change. When a random hair sheds, I can see that the base of it is much thicker than the end - my hair used to be whispy and fine on the end and has definitely bulked up. :)

I have been experimenting with using oils in my hair for moisture. My routine has been to put oil in my hair before I shower, then shower with a shampoo and then condition my hair with conditioner. I used coconut oil for a few weeks, but I found that it dried out my hair and I was not a fan. I tried olive oil but it was too hard to rinse out. Then I switched to avocado oil and argan oil, and have been liking this combo. I feel like the hair at the top of my head is still dry though.

What am I doing wrong? Could my hair just hate oils? If so, what can I do to bring the moisture back so my hair stops breaking? Can something be done quickly so my hair doesn't continue break off? I have been working so hard to deal with all my new short regrowth, I can't have all the other hair breaking off. :justy:

I am desperate here, so any help would be appreciated. :(

gthlvrmx
January 4th, 2015, 11:59 AM
You can try oiling your hair with baby oil when you hair is wet or damp after a wash. This will help moisturize your hair. Baby oil can easily be taken out with shampoo or conditioner. I don't have much other advice though I hope someone else chimes in.

MissMoppet
January 4th, 2015, 12:20 PM
I think oils are the problem. I am reading that coconut oil and avocado oil contain protein. Maybe these are the wrong fit for me??? Anyone know how I can fix my hair? This problem is fairly recent, so I am hoping it is reversible.

Madora
January 4th, 2015, 12:50 PM
I think oils are the problem. I am reading that coconut oil and avocado oil contain protein. Maybe these are the wrong fit for me??? Anyone know how I can fix my hair? This problem is fairly recent, so I am hoping it is reversible.

Try clarifying your hair with a clarifying shampoo (Neutrogena Anti Residue Clarifying Shampoo has received several good reviews here). After you rinse out the Neutrogena, do a deep conditioning treatment.

After that, limit yourself to only one oil..and use it sparingly. I recommend mineral oil (aka baby oil) because it is very lightweight, leaves no after scent, is dead cheap and it moisturizes your hair. It also helps tame frizzies and is a great detangler. You apply 2 or 3 drops (not more!) to your palms, then run your palms through your hair several times until the oil sheen has disappeared from your palms.

Just hazarding a guess here, but it may be that your routine was actually working against your hair...drying it out and making it brittle.

You want to carefully check what type of shampoo and conditioner you have been using and see if they are truly gentle. Also, you might want to consider diluting both of them when you use them.

You also might want to cut back on the brushing. Limit your brushing to the morning and evening only. Are you detangling your hair before you brush? And are you brushing in the bent at the waist position? Do you brush every day? And how long have you been brushing?

lapushka
January 4th, 2015, 12:54 PM
I'd leave out the oils for a while, definitely the coconut oil. Limit their use to a sealant after a wash, where you use just a few drops spread over your lengths to seal in moisture. Try just shampooing and conditioning (no protein conditioners) for a while and see if that helps.

Johannah
January 4th, 2015, 01:00 PM
Use a wide tooth comb to detangle your hair before you use a brush. Also, what sort of brush is it? If there's nylon involved, this could be really bad for your hair. Also clarify your hair to make sure it's not build-up because this could definitely be the cause! If that doesn't work, you could stop using oils and see how your hair behaves. There are other ways to moisture your hair. You could leave your conditioner in your hair for 20-30 minutes, try SMT, use baby oil (mineral oil) as a leave-in, or try an ACV rinse after your washing routine.

meteor
January 4th, 2015, 01:29 PM
Hmm, that snapping you are describing seems pretty dramatic. I'd question the medication: can you look it up and ask your doctor if this is a common side-effect, and if so, maybe there are alternatives or some supplementation to help you along? Some medication can cause brittleness or thinning of hair, as we know...
Also, how exactly do you brush? Make sure your hair is properly detangled before you even touch the brush, and make sure that you are super-gentle while detangling and brushing. Consider brushing less (or avoid it altogether!) at the moment, as it looks like your hair is lacking in elasticity and "give" too much right now.
Check your products and avoid styling products with hold, but also proteins, drying alcohols... Instead, focus more emollients (they soften and give elasticity to hair).
Another thing to consider is: what's the humidity like - did it suddenly get much drier recently? If so, use humidifiers or steam up your room periodically.

Sorry, it's really hard for me to give any advice, to be honest, because I don't know what the cause is... :(
But I really, really hope it will get much better soon! :grouphug:

winship2
January 4th, 2015, 02:26 PM
I'd second the above advice:

1. Stop oils for now. If you eventually re-introduce them, I think a couple of drops of mineral oil/baby oil is the safest way to start.
2. DETANGLE THOROUGHLY WITH FINGERS AND COMBS before using a brush. I love my BBB but it would play merry hell with my hair if I didn't detangle before use. Sorry to shout the advice (all caps) but occasionally people think you can detangle with a BBB, and it's a recipe for disaster shudder:shudder:
3. Keep all added proteins out of your hair.
4. Oh, and clarify.

In other words, everything people have already said but I think these four are perhaps the most common culprits for this type of problem.

And good for you for all the positive things you've added to your routine. Glad to hear the vitamins are helping!

swearnsue
January 4th, 2015, 02:57 PM
In addition to all the above advice, there is a product that I found useful when I had breakage. It's Pantene Overnight Repair Serum. Along with all the other good advice, you add a bit of this product to your ends at night before bed.

It helped me a lot a couple of months ago.

Ambrielle
January 4th, 2015, 03:12 PM
Could you tell us a bit more about your hair texture/type if possible?

My guess is if you are oiling but your hair doesn't have enough moisture to start with they can do more harm than good since oils lock in moisture. I used to get a lot of little broken hairs like you describe and i find this is common among those of us with a coarser texture because our hair is naturally drier but also seems to have a high amount of keratin as opposed to finer hair, there are always exceptions of course.

If i were you i'd invest in moisturizing treatments. Aloe vera, honey, fruit and plant extracts are excellent ingredients to find in hair care products, just find what works for you. For example, i can't use straight aloe vera on my hair because it acts like a protein treatment. I'd also avoid ANY leave ins that contain hydrolyzed proteins, this was my main culprit, especially hydrolyzed keratin and animal proteins. See how your hair feels once you reduce the amount of protein usage. Not sure if you use cones or not, i find they help my hair, i tried going cone free for a long time and it was a total disaster, i still use cone free conditioners but only to wash my scalp with or as my first conditioner before applying the second (coney). My favourite coney conditioner is hello hydration, it leaves my hair very soft and sealed.

keep us updated :flower:

Ambrielle
January 4th, 2015, 03:25 PM
by the way, i can't use too much avocado oil on my hair but it's fine if i mix it in my conditioner. Avocado oil, argan oil and most nut based oils (except almond and coconut) act like a mild protein treatment on my hair but i do great if i use these say once a month tops. Also Jojoba oil is known to cause similar problems to those of us protein "sensitive", this one is a definite no for me. Some hair and skin types benefit best from oils either rich/ high in oleic or linoleic acid, might be worth to read about this a bit.

Panth
January 5th, 2015, 04:22 AM
Thoughts:

Are these broken hairs that you are testing, or baby hairs that have shedded? If they are broken ends, then how long is your hair? Have you abused it in the past (e.g. dye, flat irons, etc.)? It is possible that your hair could just have reached the stage of "too much damage" even if you've been babying it for a while as the combination of old abuse and age is too much. If they are baby hairs that have shedded, it could be due to your medication. Speak to your doctor.

Brittle hair often is due to too much protein / too little moisture. Oils are occlusive (trap water - think of how oil and water won't mix). However, if you're using a lot of oil but don't have moisture to trap in, you could be trapping your hair in a dry state. Oils do not contain protein. However, because of their occlusive properties (and because some oils, e.g. coconut, can help prevent protein loss) they can cause symptoms similar to a protein overdose. Alternatively, check your other products to make sure you're not just plain over-using protein-containing products by mistake. The treatment in either case would be to increase the use of moisturising conditioners and/or deep treatments and reign in or temporarily stop protein and/or oil treatments. Note temporarily - this is not a "my hair can't handle this product" problem, but rather a matter of balance and both protein and oil can be very beneficial provided you don't over-use them.

Brushing. This can most definitely snap off hair and can cause damage. Firstly, you need to ensure that you are thoroughly detangling before using the BBB. Secondly, three times a day sounds very excessive. The whole point of BBB is to distribute sebum and to brush just enough to do that. It's about the balance between damage from excessive manipulation and abrasion versus the benefits of sebum distribution. Brush too much and you will tip the balance and cause damage. Also, be aware that not all hair types can tolerate BBB. The point where the balance between benefit and damage is tipped depends on your hair type and for some people (e.g. many fine-haired people, most curly-haired people, the damage always outweighs the benefit).

Vitamins. Supplementing is generally unnecessarily and in any case should only be done under a doctor's advice to correct a deficiency. As vitamins and minerals can enhance and prevent each other's absorption, it is possible to cause overdoses and deficiencies by taking supplements. If you are concerned about deficiency, I would have your doctor do a blood panel, particularly testing iron, B12, vitamin D, thyroid hormones and sex hormones. If you are deficient, you can then follow your doctor's advice and supplement accordingly. Otherwise, do not try to do targetted supplementation. The risks far outweight the benefits. With biotin in particular, you risk cystic (scarring) acne, headaches and kidney failure (yes, those are all biotin-induced problems reported just by LHC members). You may also want to read this (http://igorsbelltower.blogspot.co.uk/p/infamous-biotin-rant.html).

MissMoppet
January 5th, 2015, 07:32 AM
Hmm, that snapping you are describing seems pretty dramatic. I'd question the medication: can you look it up and ask your doctor if this is a common side-effect, and if so, maybe there are alternatives or some supplementation to help you along? Some medication can cause brittleness or thinning of hair, as we know...
Also, how exactly do you brush? Make sure your hair is properly detangled before you even touch the brush, and make sure that you are super-gentle while detangling and brushing. Consider brushing less (or avoid it altogether!) at the moment, as it looks like your hair is lacking in elasticity and "give" too much right now.
Check your products and avoid styling products with hold, but also proteins, drying alcohols... Instead, focus more emollients (they soften and give elasticity to hair).
Another thing to consider is: what's the humidity like - did it suddenly get much drier recently? If so, use humidifiers or steam up your room periodically.

Sorry, it's really hard for me to give any advice, to be honest, because I don't know what the cause is... :(
But I really, really hope it will get much better soon! :grouphug:


The medication did not do this to my hair. It was something to help with anxiety and I have been on it for a long while now. This problem of braking hair only recently started, over the past week or so. My hair never used to break like this with a snap when lightly pulled on. I think the oils I have been using have infused my hair with too much protein, making it brittle like this. I don't think oils were the answer for my hair, but everyone else seemed to do so well with them, I thought that I was on a good path.

The shampoos and conditioners I use are gentle, sulphate free. I have some that I have used no problem for years and some new ones by acure organics that I started that are very gentle.

I live in a high humidity environment. I have been here for about 2 years now and this did not affect my hair's elasticity one way of the other.

My hair is normal/fine of average thickness. I think it is low porosity. It is probably 3a or 2c in terms of curl. It just looks wavy if I let it air dry, but if I add gel I can get curls.

MissMoppet
January 5th, 2015, 07:44 AM
Thoughts:

Are these broken hairs that you are testing, or baby hairs that have shedded? If they are broken ends, then how long is your hair? Have you abused it in the past (e.g. dye, flat irons, etc.)? It is possible that your hair could just have reached the stage of "too much damage" even if you've been babying it for a while as the combination of old abuse and age is too much. If they are baby hairs that have shedded, it could be due to your medication. Speak to your doctor.

Brittle hair often is due to too much protein / too little moisture. Oils are occlusive (trap water - think of how oil and water won't mix). However, if you're using a lot of oil but don't have moisture to trap in, you could be trapping your hair in a dry state. Oils do not contain protein. However, because of their occlusive properties (and because some oils, e.g. coconut, can help prevent protein loss) they can cause symptoms similar to a protein overdose. Alternatively, check your other products to make sure you're not just plain over-using protein-containing products by mistake. The treatment in either case would be to increase the use of moisturising conditioners and/or deep treatments and reign in or temporarily stop protein and/or oil treatments. Note temporarily - this is not a "my hair can't handle this product" problem, but rather a matter of balance and both protein and oil can be very beneficial provided you don't over-use them.

Brushing. This can most definitely snap off hair and can cause damage. Firstly, you need to ensure that you are thoroughly detangling before using the BBB. Secondly, three times a day sounds very excessive. The whole point of BBB is to distribute sebum and to brush just enough to do that. It's about the balance between damage from excessive manipulation and abrasion versus the benefits of sebum distribution. Brush too much and you will tip the balance and cause damage. Also, be aware that not all hair types can tolerate BBB. The point where the balance between benefit and damage is tipped depends on your hair type and for some people (e.g. many fine-haired people, most curly-haired people, the damage always outweighs the benefit).

Vitamins. Supplementing is generally unnecessarily and in any case should only be done under a doctor's advice to correct a deficiency. As vitamins and minerals can enhance and prevent each other's absorption, it is possible to cause overdoses and deficiencies by taking supplements. If you are concerned about deficiency, I would have your doctor do a blood panel, particularly testing iron, B12, vitamin D, thyroid hormones and sex hormones. If you are deficient, you can then follow your doctor's advice and supplement accordingly. Otherwise, do not try to do targetted supplementation. The risks far outweight the benefits. With biotin in particular, you risk cystic (scarring) acne, headaches and kidney failure (yes, those are all biotin-induced problems reported just by LHC members). You may also want to read this (http://igorsbelltower.blogspot.co.uk/p/infamous-biotin-rant.html).

I have zero split ends and no damage along my hair shaft. I guess my hair is fine because I find it hard to see a root on my hair - I have to use a magnifying glass. <grin> I have not used heat on my hair in months. Previously, I got a keratin treatment about 2 times a year, but that never caused any visible damage. The apparent hair breaking has only just started this past week, and I have been experimenting with various oils in my hair for about 3-4 weeks now, so I feel like that is the problem.

I think what you describe about the oils is what is happening: trapping my hair in a dry state and not allowing moisture to infuse into it. I have been putting on a lot of oil on dry hair, before I go into the shower, thinking that this was the best practise for haircare. I have done this for 3-4 weeks now. :(

If I were to start to use deep conditioners, can anyone recommend something good for my hair? (Fine-normal, low porosity, medium thickness, 2c-3a type hair) Unless I use something natural found at the grocery store, I will have to import something in, since I am working overseas right now in a place with limited products to buy.

I think my hair is in good condition because I never get split ends and have zero white spots or damage along my hair shaft. Even the little hairs in my brush did not have frayed ends to them. It just looked like a clean break.

I do detangle my hair carefully and slowly before brushing. I have been using a Mason Pearson brush that is a mixture of boar bristles and nylon. I have a 100% boar bristle brush on order and one from widu (wooden bristle brush). I have been trying to brush my hair 3 times a day. This seemed to work really well for my hair, up until last week when I started to see shorter hairs in my brush. I am definitely cutting back on brushing now. I have just started lightly combing until this problem resolves itself.

Thanks for the info on vitamins. I will look into this further, although the really seem to be benefitting my system.

Thanks again!

MissMoppet
January 5th, 2015, 07:51 AM
by the way, i can't use too much avocado oil on my hair but it's fine if i mix it in my conditioner. Avocado oil, argan oil and most nut based oils (except almond and coconut) act like a mild protein treatment on my hair but i do great if i use these say once a month tops. Also Jojoba oil is known to cause similar problems to those of us protein "sensitive", this one is a definite no for me. Some hair and skin types benefit best from oils either rich/ high in oleic or linoleic acid, might be worth to read about this a bit.

Sounds like our hair reacts similarly. The first time i used avacado oil and argan oil my hair felt amazing (previously I had been using coconut oil, but felt like it was drying out my hair). The 2nd and 3rd time though my hair stopped feeling silky and began to feel dry again. Obviously I need to only use oils once in a while and not soak my hair in them on dry hair, before each wash.

Thanks again for the info!

jeanniet
January 5th, 2015, 09:59 AM
I'd vote for heat damage. If you haven't entirely grown out your heat/keratin treated hair, that's very likely the problem. Heat damage is cumulative, and sometimes doesn't show until your ends are older. You might not have seen any damage before, but that doesn't mean it wasn't there--damage can be microscopic but still significant. Measure your hair and calculate the growth since it was last flat ironed, and you may have your answer.

Ambrielle
January 5th, 2015, 10:32 AM
you mentioned low porosity, i recall various sources pointing out protein issues with low porosity hair. I can also see oils being an issue with this. Since you're using a sulphate free shampoo i can't recommend many conditioners, i hope someone else will chime in. My favourites all have cones. A cone free line i love is the shea moisture one, i like both their coconut & hibiscus conditioner and their Yucca& baobab one.

I think i'd focus on moisturizing conditioners rather than those heavier on the oils if i was in your situation. You may also like the deva curl line, it seems popular among wavies and curlies (i have not tried it myself so can't comment on it). Look for aloe vera, plant and fruit extracts, honey, royal jelly and panthenol (vitamin B5) on the ingredient list. Then perhaps along the way, switch to a nut free based oil or mineral oil to seal the moisture, a few drops is enough (i use about 5-7 but i have a lot of hair and coarser strands). An oil that i am in love with is the camellia japonica tusbaki oil, it does not effect my hair in any way most nut oils do.

MissMoppet
January 7th, 2015, 10:24 AM
Just wanted to follow up on this thread, in case anyone else ever has this problem after using oils, and needs a solution. My hair is definitely classified as low porosity. This link really helped me figure out what to do. The oils were definitely causing me the problem:
http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/2014/07/moisturizing-low-porosity-hair.html

I washed my hair with my shampoo and then added my old conditioner (design line: Olive oil conditioner) which has always worked wonders on my hair. I added a tablespoon of honey to the conditioner, warmed it all up , and then drenched my hair in it and left it on for 5 minutes. My hair is air drying after the wash and already feels less dry. I think it will take a few more honey/conditioner sessions, but I believe I am on the road to getting the elasticity of my hair back to normal levels. :)

Thanks again guys!

Ambrielle
January 7th, 2015, 11:08 AM
Just wanted to follow up on this thread, in case anyone else ever has this problem after using oils, and needs a solution. My hair is definitely classified as low porosity. This link really helped me figure out what to do. The oils were definitely causing me the problem:
http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/2014/07/moisturizing-low-porosity-hair.html

I washed my hair with my shampoo and then added my old conditioner (design line: Olive oil conditioner) which has always worked wonders on my hair. I added a tablespoon of honey to the conditioner, warmed it all up , and then drenched my hair in it and left it on for 5 minutes. My hair is air drying after the wash and already feels less dry. I think it will take a few more honey/conditioner sessions, but I believe I am on the road to getting the elasticity of my hair back to normal levels. :)

Thanks again guys!

that's great to hear :thumbsup:

just out of curiosity, have you ever done the porosity strand test? you take a few strands of your hair and drop them in a bowl full of water, then let them sit for about 4 to 5 minutes and see what happens. They say if your hair floats in the surface of the water you have low porosity, if it sinks, the porosity is high. Mine varies between half way floating and sinking and some sink completely (mostly my damaged, driest strands i am assuming), so i am normal to high porosity.

jeanniet
January 7th, 2015, 11:38 AM
The strand test isn't reliable. The best way to determine porosity is via microscope, but observing how your hair absorbs water and how long it takes to dry will also give you ideas. My hair will float for hours, but I've had an analysis done and it's normal porosity.

MissMoppet
January 7th, 2015, 12:05 PM
Yep, I did an at home strand test a while ago and recently did another one. My hair never sinks in water and just floats. I have not had anyone look at my hair under a microscope, but it does seem to respond best to products and techniques designed for lower porosity hair though.

curiouskitty
January 7th, 2015, 01:17 PM
Although at this point I would advise against any more unnecessary brushing, I totally do recommend using a wooden brush. I've had the same problem for a few months as I was transitioning into APL, and found out that static electricity was the main cause of all the mysterious breakage. Wooden brushes (good ones) don't cause static and they help distribute natural oils from the scalp down the lengths of your hair without all the friction that a pearson brush might cause. I love my wooden brush - I swear by it now.

Ambrielle
January 7th, 2015, 03:00 PM
i think there is someone on etsy who does a full hair analysis, i can't remember their name but it's been mentioned on this forum before. Things like weather and water effect mine greatly so i need to make adjustments to my routine accordingly, thankfully the water in my area isn't too hard (but i travel a lot).

Ambrielle
January 7th, 2015, 03:06 PM
The strand test isn't reliable. The best way to determine porosity is via microscope, but observing how your hair absorbs water and how long it takes to dry will also give you ideas. My hair will float for hours, but I've had an analysis done and it's normal porosity.

yes, that's true jeanniet. I am assuming since my hair absorbs water quickly in spots, those correspond to the higher porosity areas. But in general my hair can take forever to dry ( 6-8 hours), i get confused.

meteor
January 7th, 2015, 03:56 PM
i think there is someone on etsy who does a full hair analysis, i can't remember their name but it's been mentioned on this forum before.
:) Yes, there is GooseFootPrints on Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/listing/158218594/hair-analysis-physical-properties-of) and Komaza Care Personal Hair Analysis (http://www.komazahaircare.com/personal-hair-analysis.htm).

LHC thread and reviews on Goosefootprints hair analysis: http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=120738
Discussion on Komaza hair analysis: http://www.naturallycurly.com/curltalk/general-discussion-about-curly-hair/163282-komaza-hair-analysis-results.html

Ambrielle
January 7th, 2015, 05:26 PM
:) Yes, there is GooseFootPrints on Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/listing/158218594/hair-analysis-physical-properties-of) and Komaza Care Personal Hair Analysis (http://www.komazahaircare.com/personal-hair-analysis.htm).

LHC thread and reviews on Goosefootprints hair analysis: http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=120738
Discussion on Komaza hair analysis: http://www.naturallycurly.com/curltalk/general-discussion-about-curly-hair/163282-komaza-hair-analysis-results.html

thanks meteor, that's very helpful :) i'd forgotten about it all until today, i am seriously thinking of having mine analysed. Did you have yours analysed meteor?

meteor
January 7th, 2015, 05:52 PM
thanks meteor, that's very helpful :) i'd forgotten about it all until today, i am seriously thinking of having mine analysed. Did you have yours analysed meteor?

I haven't done it, unfortunately, but I think a few ladies on the LHC (serin blackwood comes to mind) did, so you could start or resurrect a thread on hair analysis or just PM the LHC-ers who have done it. :)