View Full Version : Hair Breakage Help

November 2nd, 2008, 08:26 PM
Hi everybody

I'm a long-time lurker who needs a little bit of hair advice for my short-haired sis.
We (me, her and mom) got into a hair talk over lunch today and she commented on the reason why she keeps her hair so short. It breaks off about two to four inches from the root on a regular basis.
Now, I've heard of breakage at the ends, but never up near the root and never so often.
She's young and in good health, so I'm completely confused as to why this is happening.
Does anyone have any ideas why this would happen and what she can do to stop it?
Her hair is ii and F and probably 1B to 1C if that helps any. She uses VO5 for product and the occasional blowdry or hot iron.
Any suggestions or advice on this issue would be gratefully accepted, as we are totally bewildered as to what is going on.

November 2nd, 2008, 08:31 PM
Maybe it's the heat from the hair fryer and flat iron those are very harsh for them and will break them off. I remember once my cousin who had calf length hair blow dried her hair once and some strands completely broke off,I was in horror and decided never to do that. I hope she finds some help and fixes this problem. Also her hairs maybe thirsty and need to be moisturised.

November 3rd, 2008, 03:46 AM
Basically seconding Aisha's thoughts here. I have fine hair and i know that although i take care of it i think very well, if i were to start flat ironing it though it would start breakig off very quickly. You saying it starts breaking at about 4 inches does fit in with that.

November 3rd, 2008, 04:24 AM
It sounds very odd for any hair to start breaking off that early o_O Fine hair or no, that is pretty extreme. Does she condition it? Does her hair seem to need protein or moisture? Lack of moisture could be a reason for breakage, I should think (too much protein).

If she ceased the flatironing and blowdrying for a while, it might improve. She doesn't dye, or bleach, or anything of the sort?

November 3rd, 2008, 04:55 AM
Maybe its her health. She should go to the doctor and get a checkup :)
Maybe start some vitamins?

November 3rd, 2008, 09:11 AM
I agree with the flat iron possibly being the culprit. Flat irons are horrible if not used properly especially and on fine hair. You say "occasionally" but how often is that really? Once a month could be occasionally or once a year and those would certainly give different results as also would other factors such as does she use a protectant? How often does she iron each section, what type of iron and so on. I got more damage from a flat iron when I abused it than from bleaching my hair honestly.

heidi w.
November 3rd, 2008, 10:10 AM
V05 contains protein, usually.

My bet is she's using too much protein in her various products. When hair breaks off a lot, this is a somewhat common indicator of protein overload. ACTUALLY hair that breaks off suddenly, and seemingly dramatically, can be EITHER too much OR too little protein, one end of the spectrum or the other.

Here's the deal.
Protein overload can occur from the combination of products used OR from one single product.

I don't know that V05 per se, by itself, is the culprit. I'm betting she also applies some form of conditioner which likely has some protein source in it, and if she's blow drying and/or hot ironing, even infrequently, is possibly using a serum (which will contain silicones...I'll address this shortly) or some kind of leave-in and possibly even some kind of other product.

All combined, she may be on protein overload!

I would recommend a regime of cutting out one thing at a time, for a specific duration of time or set number of hair washes, and see if this issue improves. This way, then, she will know which product causes the breakage problem. She may discover it's the suite of products combined, but typically there's one product that tilts the scale.

My next best guess is the blow drying/hot iron deal. DOES SHE FLAT IRON, EVER?

If yes, then more of my money's on this one than the protein (although do NOT discount the combination of protein AND the serums she may use to produce shine on the hair.)

Silicone is in many topical product applications. Just about any product that is in use for heat applications--serums, notably flat ironing, any applications strutting its stuff about shine or shine boost, very likely has SILICON in it. The heat application can cause what's known as white dots, and it doesn't take much to get them. We all get them even with the best of care (no heat, no perm, no flat iron, no color, totally virgin hair!). White dots are literally a type of damage where the cuticle (top layer) has burst and is so broken down that the hair will actually BEND at a 90 degree angle. This is a clear weak spot in the hair and EASILY breaks off with the slightest of tension (brushing, combing, washing). Such hair, at this juncture, completely lacks elasticity!

If she is using the highest setting of a blow dryer and coming too close to the hair with direct strong heat, this can incite this problem. She may experience a kind of light burning sensation on her scalp skin if this is occurring. For this I would recommend the following: purchase a diffuser attachment, use a lower setting, and blow from a greater distance away. And continue to use the blow dryer infrequently.

IF she needs dry hair quickly, she can half dry the hair with the above method, and likely still go out and look for acceptable for most events.

If she is using a hot iron to incur curl or wave, this often means one is rolling a strand up rather close to the root of the hair, near the scalp area. This would account for this breakage, from white dots, in that area!! I know of no good methods around curling irons and similar tools. HOWEVER, if she wants curl or wave, I would recommend steam curlers (better than direct heat from an iron of any sort!) and many love SNAP-N-GO curlers, which I think can be used on dry hair! These two alternatives are fairly inexpensive, and with some experimentation with roller size, she'll quickly learn she can have quite an array of curl, furl, wave and so on. Also learning to roll the hair under, or over, or in a vertical twist will produce various results!

Hair is an organic fiber. We do not take fine silk and place an iron on it, allowing it to set on high heat setting on this fabric directly and not expect a burn mark! Hair is like fine lace, and doesn't respond to high heat very well. Just imagine pressing your hair between two irons, and you begin to understand, especially practices such as the hot iron, the ceramic iron for flat ironing, and the like.

WHAT SILICON does in the products for these "looks" (straightening) is not only weight and shine and control (reduced frizz! that heat creates by drying the hair), but it COVERS UP damage, so one can't see it so easily.

I would look for white dots about the hair, hairs that bend at 90 degrees. These will look like tiny white bits of lint. The test is to bend the hair. This will define the problem then, if there's a lot near the roots.

Otherwise, if no white dots, my money is on protein problems with either V05 (especially if she uses their hot oil which DEFINITELY has protein in it) and/or the combination of products. The test for this is eliminating one thing at a time, or switching shampoo/conditioner first, and seeing how that goes.

There's a possibility it could be BOTH issues, combined -- protein and the heat. IF the white dots are present close to the roots, then you just have to bide time til new hair grows in, and slowly get these white dots out. There's no way around such damage other than cutting no matter the tag line of a product (repairs damage -- NOT!!!).

Hope this helps,
heidi w.

heidi w.
November 3rd, 2008, 10:20 AM
IF the product label says PROTEIN, then it definitely has protein. Most hair care products include a trace amount of proteins.

OH, if she colors her hair and the anything like that, be sure to use appropriate shampoos and conditioners for these situations.

Note, amino acids (when a complex is present) is a form of protein. Some shampoos and other hair products use this term over protein

heidi w.