View Full Version : Daily handling and maintenance is just as important as avoiding heat!

September 26th, 2016, 10:25 PM
Hey guys, I did a search and didn't see anything that really tackled what I want to say, so here goes nothing. (I've never made a thread in the mane forum, if somehow I've put this in the wrong place or done something awful mods please correct me.) :couch:

So!! I wanted to say this because if not for my experience, I would have got the wrong idea about what's important in hair care. Up until a year ago, I never really did anything with my hair. It was long and tangled easily and I didn't have good brushing habits. I wasn't a particularly ferocious brusher, I never used heat, never used bleach, and I washed my hair about once a week. All good things, right?

But… I still ended up with hair that was completely fried. My ends were like straw, frizzy, and bent. I rarely brushed it so "detangling" was less a five-minute practice and more of a dreaded event that could take up to an hour. The tangling and neglect caused so much damage that I decided to just chop the rest of it off last week instead of slowly trimming it out. It was just bad.

I just wanted to post this as a warning to anyone who might make the mistake I did. Anyone else had a similar experience? I thought I was treating my hair just fine because I left it alone and never used heat, but not so!

Now that my daily management has done a U turn and I've cut off the damage, my hair is so much healthier. It's the small daily habits that add up sometimes…I don't know, I hope this is helpful to someone. :toast:

September 27th, 2016, 12:35 AM
This is so true - thanks for starting this thread! :) Patience and gentleness with the hair is key!

hanne jensen
September 27th, 2016, 03:59 AM
My hair has a lot of splits and tangles due to ingoring it. When I finally detangle it takes eternity and I break a lot of hairs.

I'm maintaining my length now as I don't want to chop short and start over. I'm trimming 1cm a month.

It appears that I too will have to make a U turn in my hair care. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

September 27th, 2016, 04:21 AM
I need to brush twice a day with my TT, if I neglect that for a day or two my hair becomes a mass of tangles! Even finger detangling isn't enough for my hair, it needs the tangle teezer. So it's all about figuring about what your hair needs!

September 27th, 2016, 05:04 AM
Hence 'benign' neglect, not neglect. Huge difference! :-)

Myself, I can easily go without untangling or brushing for a few days, as long as I make sure to wear my hair up.
I also used to be able to go without conditioner for a long while, but I notice that that's no longer the case.

The nice thing about hair is that it usually keeps growing, so when you've made a wrong turn you can baby it back, or even cut it off and know that time is on your side.

September 27th, 2016, 07:00 AM
That sounds like me. I would brush my hair a lot, but I would just rip the brush through it, even when it was wet. I was impatient, and I was in middle school, so I would always get frustrated my hair didn't look like I wanted it to, even though I didn't have the knowledge. Fortunately, even when I discovered straighteners, work they didn't really improve my hair's appearancewell, so I gave up and didn't get addicted to straightening. I cut it in chin-length bob. That was probably the best hair decision I've ever made. After that, I figured out the right way to detangle and handle long hair. That tremendously helped my growing out period. I'm so glad I got to start fresh.

September 27th, 2016, 08:35 AM
I definitely agree, while benign neglect can be good for the over-attentive grower hair definitely needs some care and protection to stay nice and damage free. Infrequent detanglings are some of the worst things I could do to my hair, it definitely doesn't take long for little tangles to turn into massive clumps of knots! Not nice!

Definitely a good message to spread because it can be easy to slip into thinking you don't have to do any more if you're not using bleach/straighteners/perms etc etc. it's definitely more about cumulative damage in my experience!

September 27th, 2016, 10:31 AM
This is a great thread, and thank you for starting it. It should prove useful to others.

I prefer not to use the term "benign neglect" because to me neglect isn't benign. "Limited unnecessary manipulation" actually covers the idea for me. Adequate and appropriate manipulation is necessary though.

You are right, you have to take proper care of your hair on a schedule (daily, twice daily, whatever your hair needs), not just occasionally. Doing a few things right and a few wrong will not give the best results, as you have learned.

September 27th, 2016, 10:47 AM
This is a great thread, and thank you for starting it. It should prove useful to others.

I prefer not to use the term "benign neglect" because to me neglect isn't benign. "Limited unnecessary manipulation" actually covers the idea for me. Adequate and appropriate manipulation is necessary though.

You are right, you have to take proper care of your hair on a schedule (daily, twice daily, whatever your hair needs), not just occasionally. Doing a few things right and a few wrong will not give the best results, as you have learned.

Benign neglect is what I use because it encapsulates my philosophy. When I was a newbie, I wanted to try a million things, and had the belief that hair required special washing, detangling, handling, and products. I tried BBBs, tangle teezers, finger detangling, wide-toothed comb detangling, egg washing, CO washing, stretching washes, CWC, WCC, sulfate free, low-sulfate, three different conditioners (and I wanted to try more products, but my mom is very practical in terms of beauty and would question switching shampoo and conditioner even after I finished a bottle. Thus, I didn't even try all of the things on my list, like shampoo bars and other oils), ACV rinses, baking soda, olive oil, coconut oil, SMTs, leave-in conditioners, and more. Now, with my original goal length hair, I wash with shampoo and conditioner, detangle with the same stuff I've been using since I wash a kid, and occasionally do a coconut oiling if I'm feeling special and a vinegar rinse when I remember, which is rare.

So for me, I don't really have a special routine, at least not the exotic and complicated route I thought I would need. I basically do the same thing I did when I was younger. After coming full circle, the only different thing about my routine is that I am gentle with my hair and avoid tangling by wearing my hair up. Most of the time, I forget about it. I don't have to go to the salon every few months, and don't need to follow an extensive routine. I just have to let it grow and cut out the things that would stop growth. That's why the term "Benign Neglect" works for me.

You're right about limited unnecessary manipulation. I misunderstood what protective styles were when I started lurking around here, and ended up trying a bunch of styles (mainly from moms doing their daugter's hair) that were fancy looking, but not at all protective. Fortunately, I didn't have much energy for that and stopped before my hair got too long!

September 27th, 2016, 12:22 PM
This is very true! I became seriously ill about a month and a half ago and up until now just didn't have the strength to do much so my hair was left to fend for itself. Thankfully I've been improving and can now tackle getting it back into shape, it was just SO full of oil and gunk not to mention very dull. And this is from a girl who WO washed for a year, a little oil really doesn't bother me. But this was just ridiculous. D: Even after two clarifying shampoos the other day it's still not happy with me, although it is much better.

Kat-Rinnč Naido
September 27th, 2016, 12:54 PM
Thank you TheaLee for starting this thread. I spent the most part of my free time today trying to search the LHC forum to learn what exactly "benign neglect" entails. Because without knowing it I spent 2011- 2015 practicing benign neglect but not knowing that I was. I shampooed and conditioned once a week and lightly oiled to get rid of the knots that I struggled with. Long story short I constantly had terrible splits and dry ends. And finally had a cut this year because I just did not like my hair anymore. Now I have a routine and very rarely see splits and my hair is better than it has ever been. However I am still learning about my hair. And who knows what my hair will be needing a year or two from now. But for now doing a lot more keeps my hair healthy and happy.

September 27th, 2016, 12:54 PM
Definitely. My biggest sins were brushing my hair harshly and the perma-ponytail. I was one of the untold millions who would hold my hair between my head and the brush, then just power through the tangles. It's not heat, it's not bleach, but it causes damage and makes hair that much more tangle-prone, so the problem simply compounds upon itself.

September 27th, 2016, 04:50 PM
I feel this way. I used to leave my hair in the same braid (single English braid straight down my back) for a few days, thinking I was saving it the stress of redoing it, buy it would always be matted and tangled and awful when I undid. Daily brushing from now on.

September 27th, 2016, 10:51 PM
Years ago on this list it was common to hear folks say that we need to treat our hair like beautiful antique lace; that is, carefully, very gently, and tenderly. Those who use the term 'benign neglect' do not mean not removing the tangles from their hair every day. They just mean using simple care, not long, complicated hair care routines. Some enjoy their long, complicated hair care routines, so more power to them, but that kind of hair care is not needed by everyone. When you don't ever color or bleach or use heat on your hair, a simple routine is usually plenty. If you do those things, then you may need to do lots of extra steps to try to compensate for the damage coloring, bleaching and heat styling will eventually cause.

One also needs to know how their own hair responds to various hair care methods. For instance, finger detangling is one method that confuses me. For my hair it is fine to finger detangle just slightly when I have just washed my hair, and it is wet. Then once it is dry, removing the tangles with a comb or brush is much easier and less damaging than brushing or combing while my hair is wet. But some use finger detangling as their only or at least primary method for removing tangles. For my hair this would result in terrible tangles and knots that I would most likely have to cut out. My hair has to be carefully detangled twice daily with a good hair brush to keep it manageable. Yet some say finger detangling is enough for their hair. So we apparently need to find what works for our own hair, not just follow everything others suggest.

Upside Down
September 27th, 2016, 11:34 PM
Brushing can be really harsh on hair, depending how you do it.

And for me also, keeping it up! I have had a stall at waist for years before I started putting it in buns daily.

Kat-Rinnč Naido
September 28th, 2016, 12:08 AM
Hence 'benign' neglect, not neglect. Huge difference! :-)

Thank you Shiranshoku that explains it to me

... kind and gentle; not hurting = benign neglect

September 28th, 2016, 04:18 AM
I think one of the biggest things for me was brushing my hair everyday, instead of only twice a week. I used to just forget to do it (I was a very busy teenager), but when the time came to brush it, it would take me ages because of the huge tangles. Now I keep on top of it by brushing every morning, and I know if I skip a day, it will be that much harder the next day. Also, bunning instead of ponytailing to protect my ends.

September 29th, 2016, 11:38 AM
If I even go a day without detangling, I regret it. I normally need to every morning, and do every night before bed too, and still end up with a lot of tangles, which, when removing, just breaks my hair. I get fairy knots all the time too, and find them when I'm s&ding, so I'd be scared if I left it alone for too long. Even on long distance hikes, I need to be careful to remove tangles, and put my hair into braids always for the hikes. (wind is an enemy)

I recently watched this video to motivate me to be extra cautious about tangles. I also think it's lovely that people can save hair when it's this bad, I know some seniors and those who are bedridden will appreciate this type of care when they've been neglected.


September 30th, 2016, 11:51 PM
Wow! I can't believe the response, I'm glad to have started a good thread. :o Lots of great stories and tips, I can't wait to read through every one and take notes.

And of course, chopping it off was entirely my decision. I didn't mean to suggest that it is the only option. It is truly amazing the amount of repair one can achieve with improved hair care. If I'd known about LHC at the time, perhaps I would have stuck with it, but what's done is done and I'm happy. I had one section left long from the chop that I'd usually braid, and I recently snipped it off to match the rest of my head, in part because it was so fried despite babying and oiling to high heaven. It's entirely personal preference though!

So true about method of brushing. Gentle, slow, after detangling vs. that terrible ripping/hacking motion I've seen so many of my friends do. What a difference! One prevents damage, one causes damage at the same time. It's not just the brush you buy, but how you use it for sure.
(I swear I must look like a shocked grandmother when I see people positively attacking their hair with a brush lol. "Heavens!" I gasp in awe and fear, clutching my own hair protectively.)

October 1st, 2016, 12:21 AM
Heh, neglect as you all are describing it is a common way to start locks ... In Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare describes the fairy Queen Mab as the mischievous creator of "elflocks," i.e., hair knotted by gentle neglect. In the story, the tangled hair she creates on people and horses has auspicious meaning, so people left the gently matted clumps as-is.

Shakespeare says these knots can form as quickly as overnight, but leaving them to tighten further can cause "foul, sluttish" ("sluttish," as in dirty or untidy) results.

Waiting too long to deal with microtangles (elflocks) definitely can make brushing arduous and damaging. So be careful and don't let the neglect get out of hand!

March 11th, 2017, 12:32 AM
Not that I understand the mysteries of forum code but I'm bumping this thread in case anyone's looking for the info. I may as well update! :o

I'm actually at a pixie cut now :rolleyes: I'm happy with it for sure, but my main reasoning was to grow out my natural color. The story behind it is a crazy one. How can you -forget- that you dyed your hair? idk but I sure did lol. I've put the story in a new thread since it got away from me lol.

So yeah, I'm at short short length rn. I'm gonna baby it right from the get-go, antique lace and allll that jazz. Taking with me what I've learned from this thread and the forum about maintenance, of course! Hopefully this thread will continue to inform. Perhaps I'll update in a few years when my hair is long enough to demonstrate the difference my new hair-care knowledge makes. :wink:

March 11th, 2017, 12:55 AM
I finger detangle every time I take my hair down out of a bun. Every time. Helps tremendously. I haven't used my tangle teezer in a week now because I've been finger detangling and used cones again.

March 11th, 2017, 07:38 PM
This is a nice thread, I agree that you have to treat your hair like antique lace. Damage from rough handling is permanent too. I'm also careful when changing clothes, some of my t-shirts have tight neckline, my hair can get a bit tangled if I'm in a hurry.

March 12th, 2017, 09:31 AM
Not sure if already mentioned. But rings can and do cause damage if left on when you handle your hair. Especially rings with stones where the prongs in the setting can catch your hair. But also the stone itself, especially if many smaller stones set tightly together will create a surface that is rough for your hair.

March 12th, 2017, 09:49 AM
I am guilty of leaving on my rings when I handle my hair. I try to remember, but I don't always. I've been experimenting lately to see if I can use a comb or brush between washes, and I think I need to stick to fingercombing. When I was 12 I used to try to beat my hair in so submission with a wet brush on dry hair, in a humid climate. My hair stopped growing past my shoulder. I'm much more gentle now, but I think fingers only are best for my situation.

March 12th, 2017, 10:49 AM
I've noticed now that my hair is shoulder length and I wear it down most of the time that my hairs sometimes get caught in the front hinges of my glasses. The only solution is to clip/braid the front of my hair away from my face. Sigh ... getting my hair cut was supposed to free me up from having to pull it up and back.

March 12th, 2017, 11:35 AM
Not sure if already mentioned. But rings can and do cause damage if left on when you handle your hair. Especially rings with stones where the prongs in the setting can catch your hair. But also the stone itself, especially if many smaller stones set tightly together will create a surface that is rough for your hair.

Wow yeah, I remember that from back when I wore my engagement ring. Thing got hair wrapped around it. :P My wedding ring is a simple band without any stones, and so much better for me personally. (I originally went that way because it's easier to get latex/nitrile gloves over it and because I liked the idea of matching, but I find I vastly prefer the simplicity and look of it on myself to something fancy.)

March 12th, 2017, 11:58 AM
Sometimes I chop vegetables too quickly and the knife slips and chips my nail. I try to remember to file the nail, otherwise the hair gets caught in the broken nail, very annoying.

March 12th, 2017, 04:52 PM
I can admit I never cared gently for my hair in the past since my big chop in Jan this year, and reading all these forums have helped me to treat my hair like antique lace for sure. I have only used heat maybe 2 times total and that was with a hair dryer on low heat since the beginning of Jan and I am so gentle with minimal brushing and manipulation and just in the past few months I have noticed a dramatic difference in how soft and manageable and overall healthy my hair is. I love all your tips everyone!

March 12th, 2017, 07:04 PM
Thank you for starting this thread! Everything you said is definitely true. I didn't start to see a difference with my hair until I started taking more care with handling. I never use heat and I don't bleach anymore but my ends were always dry and had a lot of splits. I was so confused because of this since I thought I was taking such good care of it when this wasn't the case! My hair stayed the same length (SL) for 4 years, and now it's finally reached APL after I changed my poor habits!