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View Full Version : hair won't seem to absorb moisture



oatmeal1991
April 30th, 2017, 08:32 PM
Hello,
I've been lurking this forum for awhile and finally decided to join to seek some advice! My hair just does not seem to absorb any moisture. I've been growing it from about chin length to my current BSL, and no joke, it has taken me almost eight years to get there!! My hair just seems to break off or need a trim faster than it can grow (and I know it is actively growing, I'm growing out my bangs and they seem to be gaining a steady 1/4 to 1/2" a month). I don't dye my hair, don't even own heat tools, only dry my hair with t-shirts, and wash about twice a week (I recently started CWC). It's somewhere around types 1B/2A, mostly fine, and quite thick. I've tried so many conditioners over the years, and either they weigh my hair down and leave it feeling sort of gunky, or don't seem to do much at all. Jojoba oil seems to help a little (coconut and pure argon oils make it even drier!) but if I use even a couple drops too many, it also weighs it down. Now maybe BSL is my terminal length, but I'd love some possible tips to help keep my ends intact before I give up the waist length dream.

Hopefully you can see how frazzled the last few inches of my hair are in this photo, I won't be able to get a good photo from behind for a few days but couldn't wait to post :flower:

http://i68.tinypic.com/6jev78.jpg

Sarahlabyrinth
April 30th, 2017, 08:35 PM
Do you wear your hair loose?

oatmeal1991
April 30th, 2017, 08:38 PM
Do you wear your hair loose?

I did quite often for the last couple of years, up until when I started working in a restaurant about four months ago.

MoonRabbit
April 30th, 2017, 09:26 PM
Do you deep condition? My hair started drinking up moisture when I started deep conditioning once a week.

akurah
April 30th, 2017, 09:33 PM
Have you clarified recently?

My hair is visually similar to yours, but my hair isn't fine. I generally only wash 1x a week. I normally don't condition or oil. On the rare occasion I do condition, I use something with cones. I also only apply conditioner to the length (jawline down, sometimes a bit lower down).

Other things to consider:
Fox's Shea Butter Conditioning cream (http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=4586)
The much-recommended SMT (Snowymoon's Moisture Treatment) (http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=128)
Ursula's Mega-Moisturizing Oil-SMT-Aloe wash (http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=128&page=3&p=66716&viewfull=1#post66716)

I also sometimes do an Aussie 3MM treatment when my hair gets dry (or when I feel like it, which happens too). I don't follow directions on the bottle, I leave it on for as long or as little as I feel like.

If you poke around in the recipes section, you might be able to find something more to your liking if the above suggestions aren't to your tastes (or hopefully someone pops in and says "Oh yeah, I do this, here's the recipe if you want to try")

I also almost always wear my hair up. Between having my seatbelt retract with my hair, buckling my hair, rolling over my hair with a desk chair, and almost anything else you can think of, I've come to the conclusion that up is the only way to go. Mechanical damage can be as harmful as anything from styling products or tools like flat irons.

I doubt your terminal length is BSL.

Are you SURE you need to be trimming? Like, genuinely sure? I haven't had scissors touch my hair in over a year. Most longer haired people (waist+) don't trim very often, and when they do, they often do it themselves to keep an overzealous stylist from taking off too much. In this case, I suspect you're trimming a lot more than your hair needs, and that's why it's not growing past your current length. Yes, it does mean your ends will have some damage, but I suspect you'll find it's less damage than you would expect.

oatmeal1991
April 30th, 2017, 10:44 PM
I don't deep condition because the few that I've tried just seem to sit on my hair without moisturizing it whatsoever. Feels just as dry after, with a layer of film coating it. I'd like to keep trying different products but am on a tight budget, and tend to get overwhelmed by drugstore products because there are just so many choices (which really isn't a bad problem to have!).

oatmeal1991
April 30th, 2017, 10:51 PM
akurah, I haven't actually used a clarifying shampoo because I'm so scared of them stripping my hair and making it even dryer, so if you have any you'd recommend I'd love to know! I'm going to try the Aussie 3MM, and tomorrow I think I'll start with SMT and work my way through some other recipes. And I'll commit to wear my hair up more.

Well my problem with trimming is I get caught in a cycle of putting it off until my hair is so damaged that it really ends up being a haircut of about 3-4 inches. I guess that's way more than just trimming :p I usually only cut it twice a year, so maybe I'll try self trimming more often, just to dust the ends before the damage and splits can travel 3+ inches up my hair.

MoonRabbit
April 30th, 2017, 11:30 PM
I don't deep condition because the few that I've tried just seem to sit on my hair without moisturizing it whatsoever. Feels just as dry after, with a layer of film coating it. I'd like to keep trying different products but am on a tight budget, and tend to get overwhelmed by drugstore products because there are just so many choices (which really isn't a bad problem to have!).

You can try heat conditioning. Wrap your hair (with deep conditioner on) in a bag, then put a hot towel on your head. You can also use a hairdryer on low. I think you should try clarifying your hair and give it a good treatment and see how it feels. If the product still weighs it down then try deep treating before you get in the shower, then your hair will soak up what it could and you can wash off the film it leaves.

Aussie is a great product and really cheap. Herbal Essences Hello Hydration is a highly recommended rinse out conditioner around here, I also had some great success with it.

ETA: Suave Daily Clarifying is really decent.

akurah
April 30th, 2017, 11:39 PM
akurah, I haven't actually used a clarifying shampoo because I'm so scared of them stripping my hair and making it even dryer, so if you have any you'd recommend I'd love to know! I'm going to try the Aussie 3MM, and tomorrow I think I'll start with SMT and work my way through some other recipes. And I'll commit to wear my hair up more.

Well my problem with trimming is I get caught in a cycle of putting it off until my hair is so damaged that it really ends up being a haircut of about 3-4 inches. I guess that's way more than just trimming :p I usually only cut it twice a year, so maybe I'll try self trimming more often, just to dust the ends before the damage and splits can travel 3+ inches up my hair.

ETA: Clarify before using 3MM in case the gunk accumulated on your hair is blocking moisture!!! (end eta)

Suave is my favorite clarifying shampoo. The reason why clarifying is important right now is because your dryness may be caused by accumulation of stuff on the hair keeping moisture out, and a clarifying shampoo will remove it.
I would try this:
Clarify with Suave
Wash as you normally do for the next one to three washes and evaluate hair condition

Alternately:
Clarify with Suave
Use a treatment (for example, 3mm, or SMT, or maybe 3MM WITH an SMT ;) )
Wash as you normally do for the next one to three washes and evaluate hair condition

Personally I prefer the former idea, and if the former does not work, then do the "alternately", but in practice, it honestly probably makes no difference

So based on your statements on trimming, I'm fairly confident you're trimming too much, and I suspect you're grossly underestimating how much is actually getting trimmed. The average growth of hair in a year is about 5 or 6 inches. You're basically cutting off all your growth. Depending on your hair durability and how diligent you are about protecting your ends (wear up always, for example, and leave-ins that can give a little bit of added durability), you may find you don't actually need to trim. But, that requires some investigation before being sure one way or the other, as many people with super long hair find that they do need to trim.

Here are some instructions on how to self trim using a method called Feye's method:
http://feyeselftrim.livejournal.com/

There is also a device called a CreaClip that you can use to trim your hair with.
http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=108724

I don't trim myself except for when I make gross errors in judgement where I actually choose to cut my hair (those errors are not going to be repeated). I do cut problematic things out of my hair though, for example, while my hair isn't split prone (they're reasonably rare), it LOVES to get faerie knots, which are very tiny knots, sometimes as tiny as only two strands being knotted, and I have to cut them out. I do periodically cut splits, but not always.

Here's a guide on how to gently handle your hair (should help reduce splits, etc):
http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/content.php?r=156-Keeping-Split-Ends-At-Bay-Secrets-of-Gently-Handling-Your-Hair-by-Teacherbear

Right now, the biggest culprit to your hair damage may very well be your comb or brush. What kind of comb or brush do you use?

littlestarface
April 30th, 2017, 11:55 PM
This is what I do when I start fresh. First clarify/chelate your hair. Get a heat cap or a hot towel put it on with some hask deep treatment packet costs $1something and wait 10mins. The heat will open up your hair and let it absorb the moisture. Then rinse with warm/cold water at the end.

oatmeal1991
May 1st, 2017, 12:10 AM
Okay, tomorrow I'm going to find the Suave and try your first suggestion, then try the Aussie/SMT combo the next time I clarify. I've tried Feye's straight across method once, just about 1/2" and it worked great. I'll also experiment with some leave ins and/or oiling with jojoba, and stick to self trimming only if the ends look really toasted. I think I'll also invest in a fork or ficcare soon so I can have more options for wearing my hair up. I've been using long, heavy bobby pins but I suspect those might be causing damage.

My brushing routine for the last 6 months or so has been to use a wooden bristled paddle brush before I shower, and then again once my hair has dried a little, just a gentle brush to get everything laying where it should. I usually don't need to detangle when it's wet because I brush it really well before I get it wet and rinse it carefully. In between washings I was using the wood bristle brush, but for the last few weeks I've been trying to just finger comb. In the past I've alternated between a boar-and-nylon bristle brush, and a tangle teaser, which I suspect was causing damage.

akurah
May 1st, 2017, 12:18 AM
Okay, tomorrow I'm going to find the Suave and try your first suggestion, then try the Aussie/SMT combo the next time I clarify. I've tried Feye's straight across method once, just about 1/2" and it worked great. I'll also experiment with some leave ins and/or oiling with jojoba, and stick to self trimming only if the ends look really toasted. I think I'll also invest in a fork or ficcare soon so I can have more options for wearing my hair up. I've been using long, heavy bobby pins but I suspect those might be causing damage.

My brushing routine for the last 6 months or so has been to use a wooden bristled paddle brush before I shower, and then again once my hair has dried a little, just a gentle brush to get everything laying where it should. I usually don't need to detangle when it's wet because I brush it really well before I get it wet and rinse it carefully. In between washings I was using the wood bristle brush, but for the last few weeks I've been trying to just finger comb. In the past I've alternated between a boar-and-nylon bristle brush, and a tangle teaser, which I suspect was causing damage.

Actually I have re-thought my original suggestion, and I'm a little embarrassed I didn't catch it sooner! You should probably wash with Suave, but condition with whatever you condition with normally after. So maybe the 2nd suggestion where you wash with suave, then immediately condition with 3mm after is better.

I forget sometimes that my not using conditioner is irregular. :oops:

Borgessa
May 1st, 2017, 01:35 AM
Is it possible that oatmeals hair doesn't enjoy protein? If clarifying doesn't help, maybe try to find some protein free products, just you mention how dry it feels after using coconut oil.

oatmeal1991
May 1st, 2017, 08:17 AM
Is it possible that oatmeals hair doesn't enjoy protein? If clarifying doesn't help, maybe try to find some protein free products, just you mention how dry it feels after using coconut oil.

Now that you mention it, I do think my hair has an aversion to protein :doh:

spidermom
May 1st, 2017, 09:01 AM
I agree with clarifying, especially since you mention you can feel a film on your hair. If it were me, I'd do a deep conditioning treatment after clarifying. Sometimes you have to clarify more than once, especially since you haven't done it before.

oatmeal1991
May 1st, 2017, 12:00 PM
Sometimes you have to clarify more than once, especially since you haven't done it before.

Good to know, thanks!


And thank you to everyone for your wonderful advice, already feeling more optimistic about my hair :):blossom:

lapushka
May 1st, 2017, 03:39 PM
You've gotten some great advice. I'm not sure I can add to it.

I agree with clarifying, then if deep conditioners weigh your hair down, use a lightweight regular conditioner.

You could use a leave-in or a light serum to seal in the moisture after washing, this will make sure your ends *stay moisturized* throughout half the week for you.

MotherofJames
May 1st, 2017, 03:54 PM
Hello,
I've been lurking this forum for awhile and finally decided to join to seek some advice! My hair just does not seem to absorb any moisture. I've been growing it from about chin length to my current BSL, and no joke, it has taken me almost eight years to get there!! My hair just seems to break off or need a trim faster than it can grow (and I know it is actively growing, I'm growing out my bangs and they seem to be gaining a steady 1/4 to 1/2" a month). I don't dye my hair, don't even own heat tools, only dry my hair with t-shirts, and wash about twice a week (I recently started CWC). It's somewhere around types 1B/2A, mostly fine, and quite thick. I've tried so many conditioners over the years, and either they weigh my hair down and leave it feeling sort of gunky, or don't seem to do much at all. Jojoba oil seems to help a little (coconut and pure argon oils make it even drier!) but if I use even a couple drops too many, it also weighs it down. Now maybe BSL is my terminal length, but I'd love some possible tips to help keep my ends intact before I give up the waist length dream.

Hopefully you can see how frazzled the last few inches of my hair are in this photo, I won't be able to get a good photo from behind for a few days but couldn't wait to post :flower:

http://i68.tinypic.com/6jev78.jpg

I think you would be a great candidate for Olaplex. But without heat afterwards. I do it all the time. its around 30 bucks at a salon or you can also it it at home if you buy the products on amazon. Its a two step process and my hair afterwards contains more moisture and is really conditioned. If you go into a salon, ask them for the whole olaplex system but with no heat style or blow dry afterwards. Just leave there after the procedure and let your hair airdry. It will be beautiful. Its from Australia I believe and really great for helping with moisture.

I do it all the time, its the ONLY spa treatment I do, and I also have the stuff at home to do it. The other more holistic stuff I do is an Alma ( 100% gooseberry) and olive/coconut/almond oil ( you can use any oil mixture with Alma) and let that sit for a while. But I think if you did a Oleplex treatment, you will love it. It doesnt take that long ( about 25 mins) and literally puts the moisture back into your hair. Its not like a keratin or brazilian treatment. Its just a heavy two step conditioner that they put on your hair and you sit at the sink and let it absorb.

MotherofJames
May 1st, 2017, 03:59 PM
scratch what I said about the coconut oil :-) I just read your last comment and didnt realize it makes it drier. So then, again, I would suggest Olaplex! Or Alma with regular Milk instead of oil

Anje
May 1st, 2017, 04:00 PM
Skimming through, I agree with trying clarifying as a first step.

The thing to note is that clarifying isn't the same procedure as a normal wash. For maximum effectiveness, you'll want a decent clarifying shampoo, but HOW you clarify is also important.

Remember that the goal in clarifying is to remove the buildup that you've gotten, especially from conditioner. For that reason, when you clarify, you need to concentrate on shampooing the length and ends of your hair. If you tend to condition certain parts more, pay more attention to clarifying those. Spread full-strength shampoo directly on the length and ends, and scrunch it gently to work into a lather. (Try not to stir things around and cause a lot of unnecessary tangles. Leave your hair hanging downward and just work down it.) Rinse it completely, and do the whole thing again just to be sure.

Yes, this is mildly drying, but it's not bad. People will apply shampoo like this (often with harsh ingredients like bleach mixed in) for 30+ minutes at a time as a more gentle way to fade hair color. Your hair won't suffer too badly for being shampooed twice with something a little stripping. And you can follow it up with conditioner, which will have complete and total access to the hair in ways it wasn't able to get before. By conditioning after, you'll likely come away with more moisturized hair than you had before, if the buildup was bad.

oatmeal1991
May 2nd, 2017, 05:09 PM
Okay, reporting back. I clarified with the suave and followed up with A3MM yesterday. My hair is definitely more frizzy and straighter than normal from clarifying, but it feels much lighter than usual, and little jojoba oil helped smooth things out. I don't think the 3MM is ideal for my hair - it didn't leave it feeling weighed down, but also I don't feel like it really moisturized much. I'm going to clarify again next wash, just to be safe, and follow up my first SMT.

Thanks again for the great advice everyone! :cheer:

MoonRabbit
May 2nd, 2017, 06:52 PM
Okay, reporting back. I clarified with the suave and followed up with A3MM yesterday. My hair is definitely more frizzy and straighter than normal from clarifying, but it feels much lighter than usual, and little jojoba oil helped smooth things out. I don't think the 3MM is ideal for my hair - it didn't leave it feeling weighed down, but also I don't feel like it really moisturized much. I'm going to clarify again next wash, just to be safe, and follow up my first SMT.

Thanks again for the great advice everyone! :cheer:

Happy to hear your hair is doing better. It may also take a few times for a deep treatment to work. It took my hair a month (deep conditioning once a week) to actually see results. But then again your hair can be completely different. I hope you find a decent routine :o

rmani
May 2nd, 2017, 09:27 PM
Is it possible that oatmeals hair doesn't enjoy protein? If clarifying doesn't help, maybe try to find some protein free products, just you mention how dry it feels after using coconut oil.

This was what I thought too. My hair behaved the same until I removed proteins and coconut oil from my routine.