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CatsAndCoffee
July 12th, 2015, 12:18 AM
I am hoping to get some tips on dealing with breakage.

I have some pretty serious breakage and split ends throughout my hair, but can't bring myself to do another chop (I kept it in a pixie for years, grew it out pretty healthy, and had a bleach-crazy stylist give me insane damage -- my intro post (http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=132708)gives a more detailed summary of hair history for anyone curious).

The damage is throughout my head, starting about 3-4" down from the scalp. I know there's no magic pill except scissors, but I'm looking to reduce/slow breakage and splitting, let the broken pieces grow and catch up a little, and prevent future breakage. If anyone has tips and product recommendations on caring for delicate hair, it's greatly appreciated!

Side note: I am on a budget and don't have a ton of time to devote to my hair. I know these two factors will prevent me from having perfect hair, I just want to see what I can maybe add into my routine to get better hair. I'd really like for my husband to be able to run his fingers through it again.

surruh
July 12th, 2015, 12:20 AM
What have you tried so far?

CatsAndCoffee
July 12th, 2015, 12:31 AM
Honestly, nothing. I didn't have to work to keep my hair healthy before the bleachpocalypse. I mean I know heat styling is a no-no, don't brush it when it' wet, etc. But I haven't tried anything specific, because I've never had long hair before and don't want to do anything to make it worse.

surruh
July 12th, 2015, 12:40 AM
How long is your hair now?

My suggestions would be wearing it in protective styles as much as possible, gentle handling, and search and destroy to keep splits at bay, which I've found just make tangling and breakage worse. You could also look into various treatments to help strengthen or prevent breakage, things like protein and/or treatments, cassia (can give a slight yellow tint if your hair is very light however), catnip tea, oiling. There is also a relatively newish treatment called olaplex I just recently heard of... I cannot vouch for it myself but it is supposed to do wonders for chemically damaged hair. Might be worth doing some research on.

restless
July 12th, 2015, 12:42 AM
Many people on here use oils. It wont actually repair any damage, but it will often make the hair feel softer and smoother. Some people use only tiny amounts (like a drip or two) as a leave in after showering and others do deep treatments where they slather on great amounts and let it sit for a couple of hours before its washed out. Two of the most popular oils (which are also pretty cheap and easy to find) seem to be coconut oil and olive oil, but there are a lot more out there. Check out the "recipes, henna and herbal haircare" -forum for tips :)

Welcome to the forum!

surruh
July 12th, 2015, 12:42 AM
How long is your hair now?

My suggestions would be wearing it in protective styles as much as possible, gentle handling, and search and destroy to keep splits at bay, which I've found just make tangling and breakage worse. You could also look into various treatments to help strengthen or prevent breakage, things like protein and/or treatments, cassia (can give a slight yellow tint if your hair is very light however), catnip tea, oiling. There is also a relatively newish treatment called olaplex I just recently heard of... I cannot vouch for it myself but it is supposed to do wonders for chemically damaged hair. Might be worth doing some research on.
Sorry that should say "protein and/or moisture treatments"

Wusel
July 12th, 2015, 12:42 AM
Watery Leave-In (I use Dove, made a thread about it) and Oil over the Leave-In. And in between when you feel that your hair is dry some pure water from a spray bottle. It helps me to moisturize my dry hair and moisturized hair gets less split ends. And S&D when you have time. I don't do it because I don't have splits but many people here do it regularly and it works.

Edit: Yes, and conditioners and shampoos with protein.

CatsAndCoffee
July 12th, 2015, 04:14 AM
Thank you everyone! I bought some coconut oil, and I'll try that next time I'm due to wash my hair.
I'll have to try to find some good shears to S&D ... All I have are dull scissors, and I think that might make it worse over time.
My hair is 4-5" below my shoulders now. I'm thinking of cutting it to a below the chin bob to get rid of the worse of it once and for all, but without going super short. I'll miss buns and braids. :(


You could also look into various treatments to help strengthen or prevent breakage, things like protein and/or treatments, cassia (can give a slight yellow tint if your hair is very light however), catnip tea, oiling. There is also a relatively newish treatment called olaplex I just recently heard of... I cannot vouch for it myself but it is supposed to do wonders for chemically damaged hair. Might be worth doing some research on.

I've had Olaplex mixed in with colour before, and it was fantastic. I credit it for how healthy my hair was before the "highlights". I'm considering using henna dye though, and I doubt those two would "play nice" together.

Would henna cause breakage over previous chemically dyed hair? Would the cassia give some warmer/golden tones to medium brown hair?

Thanks again everyone for your answers. I'm sure my questions are silly to those who have experience with long hair, so I really appreciate it.

lapushka
July 12th, 2015, 04:59 AM
I'd use plenty of silicones on it, that's the only thing that can "contain" and preserve the hair before it snaps. I grew out a perm riddled with white dots (and almost all breaking hairs) from shoulder to hip that way. Yes, you still get breakage, but it isn't nearly as bad as it would be.

Wusel
July 12th, 2015, 05:53 AM
I'd use plenty of silicones on it, that's the only thing that can "contain" and preserve the hair before it snaps. I grew out a perm riddled with white dots (and almost all breaking hairs) from shoulder to hip that way. Yes, you still get breakage, but it isn't nearly as bad as it would be.

YES! YES! I forgot my beloved silicones!!! :)

lilin
July 12th, 2015, 06:20 AM
Not having a ton of money or time is fine. In fact, the less you mess with your hair, the better! Hair cannot repair itself, and like all inanimate things, everything it encounters in life inflicts a tiny bit of damage. Therefore, damage is not 100% preventable. However, this means that the less you mess with it (or let other things mess with it), the healthier it will be.

I'd go heavy duty. Your hair sounds a bit like my flatmate's, and she's growing! It just takes lots of protection. Try pre- and post-wash oiling, plus silicone conditioner.

Finding a coney conditioner isn't hard or expensive. Most have it! Just look for one with an ingredient that ends with "-cone" and I'm sure other members will give you their recommendations (I don't use coney conditioner personally, so I'm not up on the brands).

For pre-oiling before a wash, use a highly penetrating oil on the length of your hair. The coconut oil you have works well for this. Let it sit for a bit before you wash. You may find after a little while, your hair feels less oily. That's the oil slipping under the cuticles. The goal is to reduce the amount of water getting inside the hair, which reduces hair swelling, and helps keep your cuticles in better shape.

Along this same line, try a shampoo with SLES (sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl ether sulfate -- NOT soldium lauryl sulfate, or SLS). This type of cleanser causes significantly less hair swelling than SLS. In fact, it causes less swelling than even water by itself.

Reducing hair swelling will help your hair hold on to the protein it still has. Following it up with a coney conditioner will help protect the hair from day-to-day mechanical damage.

For post-wash oiling, you can try lightly oiling the ends with something that is non-penetrating. Some people like mineral oil (baby oil, essentially) for this. This is creating another slip barrier between your ends and the world. Just a tiny bit though! Since these oils don't penetrate, using too much will make your ends feel oily, and they'll stay that way until the next wash.

I'm not sure what kind of protective styles you'll be able to do, but I bet you could do a french twist. You might also try a braid with parandi (basically, lengths of yarn braided into the hair). Then, when you tie it off, you're only tying the yarn, not your hair. You could do fun colors too! There's a thread on LHC about parandi and how to use them. Here it is! (http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=91490) You could make 'em yourself pretty quickly for a couple bucks worth of yarn.

The more you keep hair contained, the less mechanical damage it will encounter in the world.

As far as henna, personally, I did find it drying. And that's on virgin hair. Some people find it helpful for avoiding splits, but it didn't work for me. Other people have different experiences, so that's not a rule. However, if the primary goal is to keep what you have, I think the fewer risks the better.

surruh
July 12th, 2015, 10:08 AM
Thank you everyone! I bought some coconut oil, and I'll try that next time I'm due to wash my hair.
I'll have to try to find some good shears to S&D ... All I have are dull scissors, and I think that might make it worse over time.
My hair is 4-5" below my shoulders now. I'm thinking of cutting it to a below the chin bob to get rid of the worse of it once and for all, but without going super short. I'll miss buns and braids. :(



I've had Olaplex mixed in with colour before, and it was fantastic. I credit it for how healthy my hair was before the "highlights". I'm considering using henna dye though, and I doubt those two would "play nice" together.

Would henna cause breakage over previous chemically dyed hair? Would the cassia give some warmer/golden tones to medium brown hair?

Thanks again everyone for your answers. I'm sure my questions are silly to those who have experience with long hair, so I really appreciate it.
I used a cassia/chamomile blend over my dark blonde (blonette I guess?) hair and noticed maaaaaybe the very very slightest golden tone, but it was so subtle I could have been imagining it too. Haha.

CatsAndCoffee
July 13th, 2015, 02:52 AM
Thank you, lilin, for all your advice!

My main vice is heat styling. I hate having wet hair, so every time I wash, I blow dry. This is usually every 2-3 days, but even still that's not ideal. Especially since I do curl it with heat between washes sometimes as well. I'm trying to find a good heat protector, but so many leave my hair kind of crunchy after.

I have been using Pantene, just because I'm in between more expensive shampoos that let me down, lol. Searching for me "holy grail". They're chock full of 'cones, but it contains both Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. So, I may look for another. That being said, my hair looks and feels better with the Pantene than any other shampoo, and new breakage seems to have slowed on its way up my head. We'll see.

I will try oiling before I wash. I've tried oils (even "dry" oils made for hair), with dismal effects. I use as little as I possibly can, but even in braids it just looks greasy. I might be "sensitive" to it, though, since I have such an oily scalp.

I have an appointment with my friend/hairstylist to talk about my options. I might take off the lower 4", which are super dead and start (again) from there. I don't think I'll ever fully forgive the Bleach Monster.

restless
July 13th, 2015, 03:10 AM
The bleach monster is bad, but heat is pretty mean too, especially if you have fine hair. Have you looked for alternative ways to curl your hair? There are plenty of heatless ways to get bouncy curls and pretty waves if you seach on this forum or youtube.

The blowdryer cant be helped, I get the feeling of not liking wet hair. If its possible to switch to cool setting, maybe you can try that instead though. Also, microfiber towels seem to be rather popular on here, so why dont you try one of those and see if it can reduce the drying time.

copperlites
July 13th, 2015, 03:50 AM
QUOTE=CatsAndCoffee;3044802]I am hoping to get some tips on dealing with breakage.

I have some pretty serious breakage and split ends throughout my hair, but can't bring myself to do another chop

I'm hearing you on this one!
My own hair is just past bra strap length and suffering damage from a botched Keratin straightening in December 2014. I too was experiencing considerable breakage before joining here. I am a coconut oil convert I use it prior to every wash, which I do every 3 to 4 days. Sometimes I leave it on just for a few hours, sometimes overnight. I have found it has made a HUGE difference to the look and feel of my hair and has seriously reduced breakage. I have also accepted that my chemically treated hair needs silicones. Some people on here do not like silicones but I find they add a bit of weight to my super-fine, fragile hair. I use an Australian made shampoo conditioner called "Precious" (http://hairjamm.com/pure-precious-bath-and-rinse.php[)I makes my hair feel amazing and contains a lot of botanical extracts to nourish my hair as well as a silicone "band aid" as I slowly grow and micro trim. My husband cuts a inch every one to two months, as my hair grows about to 1 inch a month I am still getting some growth whilst slowly eradicating the damaged hair. I use a leave in product called Pearl Miracle Milk (http://hairjamm.com/pure-pearl-miracle-milk.php) Its not cheap but i am still using the bottle i bought in January and i use it 2 to 3 times a week.

lilin
July 13th, 2015, 05:29 AM
Thank you, lilin, for all your advice!

My main vice is heat styling. I hate having wet hair, so every time I wash, I blow dry. This is usually every 2-3 days, but even still that's not ideal. Especially since I do curl it with heat between washes sometimes as well. I'm trying to find a good heat protector, but so many leave my hair kind of crunchy after.

I have been using Pantene, just because I'm in between more expensive shampoos that let me down, lol. Searching for me "holy grail". They're chock full of 'cones, but it contains both Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. So, I may look for another. That being said, my hair looks and feels better with the Pantene than any other shampoo, and new breakage seems to have slowed on its way up my head. We'll see.

I will try oiling before I wash. I've tried oils (even "dry" oils made for hair), with dismal effects. I use as little as I possibly can, but even in braids it just looks greasy. I might be "sensitive" to it, though, since I have such an oily scalp.

I have an appointment with my friend/hairstylist to talk about my options. I might take off the lower 4", which are super dead and start (again) from there. I don't think I'll ever fully forgive the Bleach Monster.

It's going to be hard to maintain your hair's health with near-daily heat styling. Heat protectors make hair feel better than it is to the touch, but the hair is still being heated underneath. At the end of the day, if a heat protector was truly protecting your hair from heat, the heat styling wouldn't work because the hair would not be exposed to heat.

There's stuff you can do to replace your current habits, though.

You can blowdry on cool, for a start. This should be pretty non-damaging. Maybe not quite as fast, but pros and cons. And certainly faster than air-drying. Although it's worth noting your hair might dry a little faster once all of it is healthy; it won't be as prone to taking on water and swelling up.

You can also use non-heat curling. Cocoon and rag curls are very popular, and also very pretty -- I think they look more natural than heat curls, personally.

An oil used for pre-oiling should pretty much be washed off the hair. Some will remain under the cuticles, but this shouldn't make hair greasy since it's not on the surface. It doesn't need to be directly on the scalp, and in fact, I would avoid it -- a lot of people experience increased shedding when they get too much oil directly on their scalp. I don't, but there's no reason it needs to be there, so no need to take the risk.

For post-oiling, try only oiling the ends. This may look better with healthier hair underneath after a trim -- the damaged ends maybe just don't lie well after being oiled. But even if it just doesn't work for you at all, at least you've got the 'cones.

Yes, the bleach monster is terrible! I bleached and dyed BSL length hair, and it was horrendous! Endless matting and snapping and gummy and ugh... I only did that because I had been planning to cut it all off, but my hair was so bad that it was sweet relief to get rid of it!

Horrorpops
July 13th, 2015, 11:20 PM
Hey, I had extremely bleach damaged hair (it was breaking off inches shorter and felt like wet spaghetti noodles.... so bad!) At the time what I found that worked for me:

DO:
1. Hydrolysed protein treatments: these can be drugstore brands and cheap, just make sure it has hydrolysed proteins - my favourite was hydrolysed keratin. Hydrolysed just means the protein is tiny enough to actually get inside the hair and temporarily patch repair damage. I would do one every week at the beginning, and needed to do this for maybe a year or more before I cut off the worst of the damage. I didn't see this recommended above but this seriously saved my hair. I combined the treatments with a highly moisturizing, protein and silicone rich shampoo and condition like the Schwartzkopf Ultimate Repair (http://www.schwarzkopf.com.au/skau/en/home/hair_care/care-products/ultimate-repair.html) range, or Hair Repair with Liquid Keratin (https://www.catchoftheday.com.au/product/schwarzkopf-hair-repair-deep-nutrition-400ml-2pk-320502/?gclid=CMX0k-Tw2cYCFYKXvQod1J0HYw&utm_campaign=shopping&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=google). Pantene Repair and Protect or Keratin Repair (http://www.pantene.com/en-CA/hair-care-collections/damage-repair-new.aspx)was also really nice but a little more pricy than the others (but still less pricy than specialist products. I used links so you can see the packaging, but this is all available at supermarkets and isn't expensive. I don't use them anymore because my hair doesn't need it, but at the time it was a godsend.

2. Oil with coconut oil. Amazing, and worked a lot better for my hair than olive oil or other treatments. I buy cold pressed coconut oil from the 'health' section of my supermarket.

3. Cut unnecessary heat styling and be gentle as much as possible. I still wore my hair down etc but I also started braiding it before bed and not straightening it so much. Although straightening and blowdrying made it appear healthy and smooth it made it frizzier and more damaged long term. Also keep in mind there is only so much a heat protectant can do. I had to stop my daily heat styling because it just wasn't sustainable.

4. Washed my hair MUCH less. I used to wash my hair every day or two, but I couldn't do that after my bleach disaster. My hair got so weak and waterlogged I only washed my hair once a week. This also helped with heatstyling because if I blowdried my hair after a wash, it would stay relatively nice for the whole week - as opposed to getting washed out daily and so needing to blow dry daily. My heatstyling would obviously not look the same the whole week long, but it kept enough of a style that I didn't feel the need to straighten/curl etc as frequently as before.

5. Trim when you can. I grew my hair out with regular small trims to remove the worst damage over a few years. It meant my hair grew slower but got healthier.

TL,DR: Use products with lots of hydrolysed keratin, silicone and oils + less washes + less heat styling + trims = It can be done :D

Thats about it, and while it took a while it did get better and stopped breaking and splitting so much. Now with my bleached ends I only really S&D and oil before washing, I don't really do the weekly (or any) protein treatments because my hair has recovered. Good luck! :)

CatsAndCoffee
July 14th, 2015, 04:27 AM
Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who's taken time to respond.

Right now, my weekly routine is washing 3-4 days a week. It used to be every day, though, as right after the bleaching incident my hair felt super greasy. Now, I know that was actually the gummy feeling caused by bleach and water logging, but then I was desperate to make it look "okay". I do blow dry after I shower, but lately I've been trying to blowdry only my roots. It gives me some volume and deals with my cowlicks, but the really delicate ends are mostly left out (obviously, some hot air probably touches them).

I've been doing this and learning to deal with damp ends for about a week and a half, and there's less depressing "snap" sounds when I comb/brush it dry, so maybe it's helping.

I'm looking into heatless waves and curls. I'm not sure how they'll work for me, because my hair is naturally straight and doesn't even hold heated waves well. I maybe curl my hair once every 2-3 months for special occasions. Most of the heat I use is drying it, and blending any wild bits back in on the second day. So far, I've only tried braid waves, which left me with an odd, uneven, 90's crimped looked that made my husband snort and choke on his coffee the next morning (I put my hair back in the braids for that day, lol).

I'm trying one right now actually, that looks a bit like some Princess Leia buns. Fingers crossed. I'll look up the cocoon and rag curls, along with some of the other products recommended above. :)

Horrorpops It was awesome to read your story of bleach recovery! It's giving me hope.

Thanks again!

lapushka
July 14th, 2015, 06:45 AM
Try looking at the channel "beautyklove" on YT. She has 1a-ish type hair and does gorgeous no-heat curls in many different ways (even using baby wipes). It's worth checking out!

Horrorpops
July 14th, 2015, 06:52 AM
Right now, my weekly routine is washing 3-4 days a week. It used to be every day, though, as right after the bleaching incident my hair felt super greasy. Now, I know that was actually the gummy feeling caused by bleach and water logging, but then I was desperate to make it look "okay". I do blow dry after I shower, but lately I've been trying to blowdry only my roots. It gives me some volume and deals with my cowlicks, but the really delicate ends are mostly left out (obviously, some hot air probably touches them).
Your routine sounds like its improving! If you definitely want to blow dry your hair another thing I did early on to reduce damage was blowdry on warm (not hot) and let my hair air dry 60-80% before using the hair drier. That way there was less heat used (and needed).

That might be helpful for you?

My hair gets really nice heat less waves from braiding overnight but therr are sooooo many tutorials and different techniques out there which I am sure you're discovering need experimentation and practice lol :D I had a horror attempt with overnight damp rope braid buns - my curls looked like a crazy perm lol

And no worries! When I first had my bleach disaster I was so mortified and scared but it isn't always as bleak as it seems :) it sounds like you're on the right track!

dancingrain91
July 14th, 2015, 08:12 AM
Comb slowly, from bottom moving upward. Try combing in front of a mirror to be sure you aren't rushing. then keep it up or braided as much as possible. Even messy buns are more protective than wearing it down.

CatsAndCoffee
July 14th, 2015, 10:07 AM
Update on my heatless curls:

I followed this tutorial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsGuWokn47A) (kind of, I have waaaay less hair) and ended up with some Princess Leia type buns near my ears. My hair was dry, so I actually lightly oiled (just a little bit of argan oil) it instead of having it damp, and I only left it twisted for about an hour before a friend called me, and it came out like this:

http://i.imgur.com/pOhxcMHm.jpg

Excuse my giant box of wine bottles and the dirty elevator mirror ... I ended up going to a winery and don't have a big mirror in my flat. It looked better right after, but since I was walking outside for several hours in this insane heat wave, so the sweat flattened it out. Even still, I think it looks good. Someone mistook them for natural curls, so I was very excited about that.

My hairs due for a wash tonight, so I'll try again with better prepped hair and sleep on it. :D

Horrorpops
July 14th, 2015, 08:00 PM
Update on my heatless curls:

I followed this tutorial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsGuWokn47A) (kind of, I have waaaay less hair) and ended up with some Princess Leia type buns near my ears. My hair was dry, so I actually lightly oiled (just a little bit of argan oil) it instead of having it damp, and I only left it twisted for about an hour before a friend called me, and it came out like this:

http://i.imgur.com/pOhxcMHm.jpg

Excuse my giant box of wine bottles and the dirty elevator mirror ... I ended up going to a winery and don't have a big mirror in my flat. It looked better right after, but since I was walking outside for several hours in this insane heat wave, so the sweat flattened it out. Even still, I think it looks good. Someone mistook them for natural curls, so I was very excited about that.

My hairs due for a wash tonight, so I'll try again with better prepped hair and sleep on it. :D

Hahaha I love the giant box of wine! :D

The waves look lovely! Very beachy and natural. In my hair I sometimes use seasalt spray when scrunching and creating waves.
I have to say those waves look way nicer than my previous damp bunning attempts! Good job! :)

restless
July 15th, 2015, 01:57 AM
It looks great in the picture :) Glad you found something that works for you.