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View Full Version : Breakage for first time in my life - any help?



RustyRancor
January 29th, 2016, 06:46 AM
Hello folks! I'm new here. When I Google seeking hair information this forum always pops up so I decided to join. :-)
I haven't used shampoo in over two years. Did Dr. Bronners with acidic rinse for a while, noticed a little breakage and dry scalp - experimented with Terressentials, didn't work for me - and so I started making my own clay wash and using ACV rinse. I also started making my own soap nuts wash. It was beautiful for a while and I only needed to wash my hair once or twice each week. But I've been having pretty bad hair breakage at every length (even when I gently finger detangle!) and I'm at a loss! I use pH test strips to make sure everything I use is between 4.5-5.5 (except the ACV rinse which was lower, but I don't leave it in). Any advise? My hair is thick and wavy-curly auburn.

Arctic
January 29th, 2016, 07:06 AM
Have you been conditioning and moisturizing your hair in any way? If not, that would be the most clear issue with your routine(s).

And also, as Lapushka often says, often times our hair doesn't like the routine we intellectually would want it to like. We need to use what our hair wants, not what we want. From this short post of yours with limited information you wrote, it does look like your routines aren't working for you. Is there any reason why you want to avoid commercial products?

RustyRancor
January 29th, 2016, 07:15 AM
Thank you for responding! I was oiling my hair that whole time as well (sorry I forgot to mention - pregnancy brain!) My hair is thick and coarse enough that I could use oil as a leave-in without looking greasy. But around the same time the breakage got bad, the oil treatement started looking dull and dirty.
I am a bit of a crunchy vegan, and I want to have a simple routine for my hair. The commercial products bother me mostly because the marketing offends me and I wanted to see what going "natural" would be like. I'm going to a salon today for the first time in years for a consultation and cut, but I worry they're just going to try to sell me stuff rather than educate me on the science of healthy hair. :-/

lapushka
January 29th, 2016, 07:55 AM
Have you been conditioning and moisturizing your hair in any way? If not, that would be the most clear issue with your routine(s).

And also, as Lapushka often says, often times our hair doesn't like the routine we intellectually would want it to like. We need to use what our hair wants, not what we want. From this short post of yours with limited information you wrote, it does look like your routines aren't working for you. Is there any reason why you want to avoid commercial products?

Yes, it's often not about what we want for our hair, but about what our hair wants. I wanted to go natural, and wanted to be able to CO-wash, that didn't work, my SD (seborrheic dermatitis) responded badly. Then I tried sulfate-free. Same thing. So I am sulfate washing weekly now, and it keeps the SD at bay; so I'm happy. Yes, it's about what your hair and scalp can tolerate, not about *you*, as hard as that sounds.

I recently had some breakage, and went back to the rinse-out oil method for a few weeks. Patched it right up. The method (see signature) consists of washing as per usual, then using about 10 drops (yes DROPS) of an oil, any oil will do, spread between palms and apply to the very ends. Then rinse that out. Then apply your conditioner, let sit, rinse out. Done.

Arctic
January 29th, 2016, 07:59 AM
Well you could buy a clarifying shampoo from them, even if you'd avoid commercial stuff otherwise, a clarifying is difficult to do without a proper shampoo. You most likely have quite a bit of build-up right now, so don't be surprised if the salon visit leaves your hair feel amazing - it's the clarifying that strips the buildup from your strands.

You could also use moisturing treatments, oils - while amazing in hair care as they nourish and are emollient and prevent drying - do not really add any moisture (are not moisturizing) as they don't contain any water or water based ingredients. Maybe things like syrup, aloe gel and bit of oils (mixed) would be a nice moisture treatment for you? I think in addition to the build-up, the lack of moisture might be one of the biggest issues here. Many hairtypes strive on (water based) moisture.

And yet another point, even though you've been pH testing (very smart :thumbs up: ) to my understanding at least the soap based cleaners are always alkaline. I also would be worried about clay wearing of the cuticle layers little by little. Some people have great experiences with natural stuff, while some people feel strongly that they are not good for your hair's optimal health (especially if one has or wants to have long hair). You'll have to find your stance among the different information, but there is a possibility the hair washing ingredients and methods have damaged your cuticle layers. The hair stylist will be able to tell you this, I'm sure.

You can ask lot of questions from the stylists, I bet most customers would zone out in a second if the stylist would start talikng about hair science, so they might need a bit of nugging to share their knowledge. Questions and expressing interest (so that the stylist will feel you appreciate her information helps) might get her/him talking. (Also remember they are "just stylists" not hair scientists!) You don't have to buy anything, don't let them push stuff to your you know you won't need or use.

Good luck with the appointment!

spidermom
January 29th, 2016, 08:09 AM
My guess is that a clarifying wash would help. Just about everything we use to condition our hair, including oils, leave a residue that builds up over time. A clarifying shampoo will take that off.

Gaalsong
January 29th, 2016, 12:13 PM
Thank you for responding! I was oiling my hair that whole time as well (sorry I forgot to mention - pregnancy brain!) My hair is thick and coarse enough that I could use oil as a leave-in without looking greasy. But around the same time the breakage got bad, the oil treatement started looking dull and dirty.
I am a bit of a crunchy vegan, and I want to have a simple routine for my hair. The commercial products bother me mostly because the marketing offends me and I wanted to see what going "natural" would be like. I'm going to a salon today for the first time in years for a consultation and cut, but I worry they're just going to try to sell me stuff rather than educate me on the science of healthy hair. :-/

You said "pregnancy brain"... Pregnancy can cause all kinds of hormone and chemical changes in the body, and often your hair will change color/texture/strength. Sometimes the changes are permanent and sometimes your hair goes back to normal after you have the baby. It will probably take some experimenting to see what your pregnancy hair routine should be. :) And it might not be your routine at all, but the fact that you're pregnant. You may need to tweak your vegan diet a bit with the pregnancy, make sure you're getting enough digestible fat and protein, or experiment with foods as well. Just some advice from a mommy and the daughter of a crunchy midwife.

Anje
January 29th, 2016, 02:42 PM
OK, this is a odd one, but one of the recent interests around here has been washing hair with fermented rice water. Apparently it leaves hair quite smooth and non-tangly but clean-feeling. I haven't tried it, but it makes sense to me that it might have some moisturizing properties, and it seems like it might fulfill your crunchy tendencies. Anyway, the thread on the subject is here (http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=134907).

That said, I agree with the general suggestions to try using a clarifying shampoo just in case you have buildup contributing. This wouldn't have to be something you did frequently -- clearly if you're getting buildup it's a slow process, so maybe once every several months at most, but it's a good way to make sure you're working with clean hair and not hair that's coated with miscellaneous environmental substances that your gentler washing methods just weren't entirely able to remove.

chen bao jun
January 29th, 2016, 04:58 PM
Yeah, clarify first--and then moisturize. Since you are breaking, clarification can make hair dry.

Pregnancy can be adding to this, but since you said its two years, I don't think you've been pregnant that long. I agree with Lapushka that you need to consider the possibility that your hair is best with whatever shampoo you were using before and whatever else you were doing before, since you have never had this issue. I would try your old routine and if your breakage stops, your answer is right there.

How long have you been vegan? It is possible to be a vegan with healthy hair, but it takes more trouble. Hair needs protein and vegans have to go the extra mile to get it. Also, I am going to use shouting capitals here to get your attention, HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PREGNANT?

I assume you got pregnant as a vegan. This could be an issue that's much bigger than some hair breakage. Babies in the womb need protein and some other nutrients to grow and develop properly, especially in the first few months. If your hair is telling you (and I hope it is not) that you are not getting enough nutrition to keep it healthy, I would definitely consider the possibility that you are not getting enough nutrition to grow a healthy baby. Of course, your body will steal from your hair, and from your in general and put the baby first if you are in the first few months (the critical stage, its before you even show), but you really really really want to be sure that your diet is sufficient at this time. As I said, its possible to do this being a vegan but you need to go the extra mile. I would run, not walk to a nutritionist, and one at a hospital or other place where they need to be certified (not the person who says they know about nutritional at your local whole foods or whatever). a pregnant women's hair is normally lusher, thicker, and obviously healthier than it usually is, and this a sign that all is going well so far as nourishing the baby. If your hair has suddenly started being troublesome during pregnancy, that could be a reason for concern, seriously.

You will also need to be careful to get proper nutrition if you are going to breastfeed, but that's for later, jsut be sure to check out your diet now. a nutrionist could tell you exactly what you are deficient in and need to add, if this is the case, and s/he can do it so that you can remain vegan.

Good luck.

RustyRancor
January 30th, 2016, 08:14 PM
Thank you everyone for the responses! It seems the biggest issue was indeed buildup. The stylist was impressed with my hair routine and felt that I can continue with my clay washes and my soapnuts washes as long as I also do some clarifying. She suggested clarifying shampoo (Soma brand) twice each week. I don't think I'll be clarifying that frequently given that I only wash my hair twice per week anyway. I also don't think I'll be clarifying that often because I've only noticed the need for about a month but I've been using the clay and soapnuts since last spring and haven't clarified since July or August. I'm going to continue my DIY experiment by continuing with my clay and soapnuts, and also will attempt to clarify using baking soda. I've read the horror stories and the successes in regards to baking soda, and I'm thinking if I only use it rarely for clarifying and do thorough moisturizing before and after, I might be ok. If it is a failure, I will fall back on Soma brand (they're vegan and seem responsibly made). I will also continue tweaking moisturizers - I do like currently mixing aloe and jojoba oil but I'd like to expand my repertoire. I found it encouraging that the stylist didn't see ANY problems with my ends. I haven't had a trim in at least 6 months and she only took off a half inch. She also said that the breakage didn't look like a concern to her, so that was good. She thinks I need to switch up my hairstyles more because wearing my hair in the same updo, even with a Flexi-8, stresses the same areas repeatedly and will cause breakage.
The DIY experiment continues!
Oh and just to answer the pregnancy stuff - I'm 30 weeks into my second vegan pregnancy and I do have good nutrition resources (read: certified, licensed professionals) so I don't think that was the issue. It could be pregnancy hormone fluctuations but the clarifying seems to be the bigger more glaring issue, I think.
Thanks again, everyone!

lapushka
January 31st, 2016, 04:55 PM
I'm going to continue my DIY experiment by continuing with my clay and soapnuts, and also will attempt to clarify using baking soda. I've read the horror stories and the successes in regards to baking soda, and I'm thinking if I only use it rarely for clarifying and do thorough moisturizing before and after, I might be ok.

Baking Soda is extremely alkaline and not suited for hair. Just FYI. :)

meteor
January 31st, 2016, 05:20 PM
I have a suspicion that the fact that you haven't used commercial shampoos & conditioners in 2 years and are experiencing breakage for the first time in your life are related.
Dr. Bronners, soaps, clays that you mentioned... can all be drying and leave build-up behind on some hairtypes - and even if you don't notice the effect right away, it can get worse over time, if you don't clarify. Baking soda is both alkaline and abrasive - not suitable for gentle and effective hair cleansing... if the hair is already fragile and breaking, I'd certainly avoid anything abrasive and alkaline. Also, check your combs and brushes for seams or other snaggy areas. Avoid wet detangling with anything other than fingers or wide rakes and be very, very gentle when washing, drying and grooming hair. Sleeping on silk/satin (pillowcases, bonnets, scarves) can really help fragile hair as well, and it preserves hairstyles overnight better and reduces frizz and tangling a bit.

Also, what do you use for conditioning? Only the ACV rinse that you mentioned? This may not be enough - especially for longer or more fragile hair that breaks easily or hair that is very textured or tends to dry out fast. I'd certainly introduce good conditioners and oils to add elasticity and combability and reduce breakage (pre-poo oiling, oil rinses, oil added to conditioner, LOC - to seal moisture, etc).

I wonder if clarifying from time to time and using a gentle wash at other times (e.g. low-poo with diluted shampoo, WO, CO, WCC, CWC...), combined with more conditioning, LOC/pre-poo oiling/oil rinses might be of help in this situation? :hmm:

LongCurlyTress
January 31st, 2016, 07:19 PM
I slowly and gently detangle in the shower using a Madora comb and gobs of conditioner starting with a small section and detangling length tips and on up to scalp. I experienced alot of breakage when I started detangling after towel drying, but now that breakage seems to have decreased now that I am detangling again in the shower with gobs of wash out creamy conditioner with cones. We are having a severe drought here where I live so I thought I would be water conscious and not detangle in the shower and waste water. Oh well! You do what ya gotta do!! I would try to find a wash out conditioner - many use Aussie 3 Minute Miracle- and detangle in the shower with that using a wide tooth comb.

Good luck! Breakage is no fun. I will be regretting my experimentation with detangling out of the shower for years to come I fear. My halo is pretty bad now!!;(

RustyRancor
February 1st, 2016, 07:23 PM
Ok so now I'm going to sound like a real rookie, but... How do I clarify without using baking soda? I don't like the clarifying shampoos that I have - I'm not a fan of "fragrances" and would prefer to keep to DIY if possible. Is there another option?