View Full Version : Help! My hair is so CRUNCHY

January 3rd, 2018, 03:59 PM
Hello all! I'm an on again off again lurker, and I've popped back in to see if anyone had any advice for me.

So when I was in my late teens I had long hair down to my waist which I loved. However the ends were INSANE damaged because of many years of straightening, box dying, never wearing non-damage hairstyles and just generally a lot of abuse. So eventually I decided to get it cut to just a few inches past my shoulders and start over. This time I decided I wanted to have long AND healthy hair.

So I ditched my old drugstore shampoos and started buying more natural and/or organic ones (also largely because I switched to all cruelty free products), dyeing my hair less often (like maybe once every 6months at most), plaiting my hair when I slept, putting it in a bun when it was windy out ect. I also chopped off split ends as I saw them and have used many oils in my hair (mostly Hask's haircare oils). I felt like I was finally on the road to having the beautiful healthy long hair I had always wanted.

But the past few months have been terrible. It might be a combination of me moving to a new climate and the fact that I hennaed my hair but I swear it is literally CRUNCHY now. It knots ALL THE TIME, no matter how many moisturising shampoos I've tried, deep conditioners or oils I've used. My hair now looks dull and lifeless at best, unruly, wild and strawlike at worst. I have so many split ends it's hard to keep track of them. When I put my hair in a ponytail I swear it just sticks straight out and the ends look like straw.

I find myself staring wistfully at the long shiny hair of other women I encounter in public and just wishing I could have that too. I am seriously getting to the the point I might want to chop it all off again and I really don't want that as having long hair feels like such a part of my outward identity.

I just don't know what to do at this point short of cutting it all off. Does anyone have any advice to give of things I could try to do or products that might help save my hair before getting the dreaded chop?

Hair details:
Fine, but lots of it so it has the illusion of thickness
Natural slight wave
Dry (dry scalp and skin too)
Previously hennaed (one application)
I now live near the equator so it might have to do with climate too.

I'll try post a picture of my hair as well once I have some time

Thanks so much for any advice you can offer me!

January 3rd, 2018, 04:06 PM
Firstly, welcome to the LHC! :D Have you tried clarifying?

January 3rd, 2018, 04:10 PM
Welcome to the forum from me as well. I second the clarifying idea. That's always the first thing to think about when your hair responds differently to things. More natural brands can have waxes and oils as well that build-up on the hair, especially if it is a sulfate free shampoo. I would throw a sulfate shampoo at it, maybe even wash twice in a row, then condition well - you may have to repeat next wash if it's particularly bad.

DO NOT cut the hair because it feels dry or crunchy or starts behaving odd; always try clarify-washing first.

January 3rd, 2018, 05:08 PM
I'm going to third the clarifying (there's a list here (http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=140936) of shampoos that many of us have used), and ask whether the products you use now have proteins high in the ingredients list. Sometimes these are corn silk extract, keratin, hydrolyzed [plant] extracts, and others as they go by a lot of names since there are a lot of ways to add them to a product. I use a shampoo with protein, and if I go without clarifying for too long, my ends start to get crunchy. As soon as I clarify thoroughly, working shampoo from root to tip (while trying to minimize tangles), it goes away again for another ~15 washes.

Aside from proteins, coconut oil makes a lot of us get crunchy hair either immediately or after a few uses when we don't clarify to the ends. Whether you're using it separately or in one of your masks or regular products, it might be worth looking into as a source of the problem, especially if protein doesn't seem to be the case.

January 3rd, 2018, 05:37 PM
Welcome, fellow henna-head!

I'm going to agree with everyone on the clarifying! Henna should be conditioning/strengthening, so I doubt that is the cause. I would also recommend looking into how the water at your new home is different from the water where you lived before. There could be more minerals in the water where you're living now which are building up on your hair, which would definitely cause crunchy hair! See if you can find any information on if your water is hard/soft and what chemicals and minerals are found in it, and that should give you a good place to go from on adjusting your routine to counteract the effects.

January 3rd, 2018, 07:14 PM
1. First you must get a clear understanding of which ingredients work best for your hair and which ones don't.
2. Develop a set hair care regimen and diligently stick with it. Of course it is okay to add a product at a time into your regimen (whenever it is definitely needed). However, never bombard your hair with a lot of new products at once. Because you won't know which one is truly working and which one is not.
3. When starting out any new hair care regime, it is always best to clarify your hair first. There are non-sulfate clarifying shampoos and sulfate clarifying shampoos on the market, however, not everyone's scalp and hair reacts well to sulfate shampoos. So, if your hair and scalp doesn't handle sulfates well, then going the sulfate free route would be best.
4. Look for products that have very moisturizing properties to them, when it comes to what you use to wash your hair all the way down to what you use to style your hair with. Also, deep conditioning on a weekly basis will really be very beneficial to your hair as well. Since where you live at, the weather can be extremely brutal to your hair for sure.
5. No need to get a major cut, as your hair just needs some proper TLC is all.

Right now, where I live at it is super cold (and I actually live down South), this year, we even had snow, so the struggle to deal with my very dry skin, scalp, and hair this through the Fall and now through Wintef has been a huge one. I suffer with scalp eczema and seborrheic dermatitis, all year round. However, this time of year, it's the worst. I am currently using organic and all natural products on my hair and scalp. I plan to soon switch over to using all natural products on my overall body also. I know that for some people they may use some natural products and some chemical products on their hair, while there are others who have no problems with using all chemical based products on their hair. You have to go by what works for you, and your own individual hair and scalp needs.

Because my body from head to toe is so dry, my main focus is on MOISTURE! By doing so, my ends stay relatively healthy, and I have not had to do a big trim or major hair cut to my hair (as I am a DIY'er-I don't go to the salon) due to any damage or excessive split ends in a really, really long time. For the most part, I honestly prefer to keep things simple. I don't use direct heat on my hair at all at this time, instead, I wear my hair in a protective style. I wash my hair typically once a week, or sometimes twice a week if needed, I wash my hair with conditioning shampoo bars (which acts as a shampoo+conditioner all-in-one), after I have finished rinsing my hair, I leave it completely soaking wet, I work in sections applying my styler of choice, detangle with my Denman No. 3 brush, brush my hair all the way back into a bun, and use my accessories of choice to keep the bun securely in place. I only majorly manipulate my hair on my hair wash days, and outside of that I use my fingers only to style my hair with. I also sleep on both a satin pillowcase and I wear a satin bonnet to bed every night. I do not use hardcore protein treatments on my hair, and when it comes to the use of products that contain protein in them, for me less is best. Because I am not doing anything damaging to my hair to cause depletion of my hair's protein, however, if I were engaging in use of chemical straighteners on a regularly being used on my hair or other type of straightening systems, and or getting my hair chemically dyed, and regularly heat styled, then yes, I would highly recommend using products that are rich in protein, to counteract the protein loss that would be happening. Our hair is already made up of mostly protein (keratin protein), so if ones hair is not lacking a whole lot of protein, definitely don't seek to put a lot on it, because that can cause further problems with your hair in regards to it becoming very brittle, excessively dry, and breaking off.

I rely heavily on products that have natural butters and oils in them. I have a naturally loose curl pattern to my hair, my hair, however my hair is of low density, dry as the Sahara Desert, and is relatively fine textured all over, with some places being super fine in texture. Every day, I will admit, I really have to put in work, in regards to keeping my hair well my moisturized. Even though I have fine hair, because my hair is so dry, i find that lightweight lotions don't work best at keeping my hair well moisturized at all, but instead natural based creams and even natural based butters, happen to work best, from what I have found through trial and error. I have gone so many routes with my hair and scalp, including using products recommended or prescribed to me by my dermatologist, but what I have found that is working to make a level of progress with my scalp and hair are all natural hair care products. I also drink only water and as much as I can, and I am currently maintaining as healthy of a diet as I can as well. Because what we invest into our body, is very vital as well.

Because the products that I use in my hair are all natural, and are able to be effectively cleansed from out of my hair, I don't have issues where I truly need to clarify my hair, on any type of regular basis at all. With any hair care product you will experience a level if buildup, of course with some more than others. The only time I would get major buildup is while using hair care products with silicones (all silicones), mineral oil, heavy waxes, products with a huge amount of glycerin in them, etc. Some of the shampoo bars I own do have detoxifying properties to them, however, they are not ones that I regularly use, on a weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly basis at all at this time, because they over cleanse my hair to the point, where I feel that I then have to really work overtime to put back all of the moisture that was taken out. So, because I have learned to go by what my hair tells me, I just follow what my hair and scalp lets me know it really needs, when it needs it, and then do what is totally necessary to keep things flowing as it should be.

I wish that I could tell you exactly which products would be 100% perfect for you, but that honestly takes trial and error for everyone. As, no two heads of hair are the same, so even though what may work for me, I could never guarantee that it would work the exact same for you. I'm just sharing with you, helpful suggestions is all. Hopefully, in the end, you will definitely find a regimen that truly works for you. I certainly do wish you all the best with such!

January 4th, 2018, 01:01 PM
Except for the Henna, and your location.....this sounds like me. I thought just not using chemical products and only washing weekly was good, plus the Hask oils. Epic fail, course it took a couple of years to fail, but yeah - I hear you. I've changed the Hask Oils to pure Argan oil. I've started prepoo oiling. Changed to CWC. Started to doing deep conditioning masks, alternating protien ones, with moisturizing ones. Did a big S&D, and plan to do a microtrim at home next full moon. Also started to do LOC method of styling. These things made a huge difference!!!!! Good luck, don't change too much at one. And a clarify does sound a good place to start too, I was too afraid to do a clarify shampoo, so instead I did a prepoo mask of honey, castor oil and egg, getting a treatment and a bit of clarify. My hair hates sulfates....

January 4th, 2018, 04:19 PM
Thanks so much everyone for your helpful responses! Honestly I have never even thought of clarifying my hair before (I guess I dumbly assumed natural products wouldn't build like unnatural ones :rolleyes:lol)
So yes I will definitely look into the clarifying route!
As far as the water in my home, I tested it before I hennaed and I remember it being a "soft" water, though I don't know what particular minerals could be in it.

And thanks Reservechic for your detailed suggestions, I will definitely be trying out those steps you described! I have actually just bought (and received by mail today) some products by The Innate Life that I've heard is pretty good. I have a dry scalp treatement, hair mask, and hair elixir so I plan to start using those to see if they help at all. I also didn't know that about the protein! I've been using some Keratin Protein deep conditioners and oils in my hair hoping they would make it feel stronger and softer but maybe I've been doing more harm than good (since I also very rarely style my hair and apart from a henna app a few months ago I don't dye anymore).

Thanks for sharing your experience too ggallagher :) I will definitely have to do some more research into those terms and techniques (I've always just gone the traditional shampoo/conditioner with some oils) but maybe drastic times call for drastic measures :)

Overall thanks everyone! you've given me renewed hope that I don't have to chop my locks off! I will try remember to post back here once I've tried some new things to see if there is any new progress with my hair condition :)

Thanks again! :D