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View Full Version : Grow out damage or chop it off? How do you decide?



blackgothicdoll
November 11th, 2018, 11:40 AM
Long story short, I went to a stylist to get a trim and left with severely burned hair (this was a month and a half ago). The back section of my hair now has very loose spirals, they are so damaged. I also have heat damage in the front that I was growing out earlier this year. There was no way I could cut all of the damage without having a buzz cut, and the same goes for the hair at my back/nape now. I felt it wasn't bad just having damage in the front, as I could slowly see it growing out. Now that I have it in two places though, I feel like half of my hair is severely damaged. I can't braid my hair as the damaged parts unravel, and curly styles are a definite no with my many hair textures.

I find it very discouraging to look at my hair after a shower and see the dangling strands, or try to braid it and watch it unravel. It's just such odd patches of hair that a full haircut wouldn't quite take care of it. But looking at it makes me incredibly angry.

How do/have you all addressed very bad damage like this? Do you prefer to chop it all off and get it over with (or as much as you can at the time)? Do you grow it out to a comfortable point and gradually trim? or do you hang onto it and very, very slowly let it grow out naturally on its own?

MusicalSpoons
November 11th, 2018, 12:21 PM
What do you by the braids 'unravel'? Many of experience braid shred when ends of the hair poke out through the length of the braid - it's quite normal even without damage :) mine are messy before I've even finished!

I'm sorry you had such a bad experience going for a trim. I don't have any specific advice but many members here will be able to help!

MarPreciosa
November 11th, 2018, 12:22 PM
Ohhh I feel you! Last time I had damaged hair I waited till it grew virgin to a length I was okay with (in my case a bob) ... then chopped. It's totally your call. For me I am more comfortable with short and healthy than long and damaged. I didn't love having a bob but I knew it wouldn't be too long to shoulder.

blackgothicdoll
November 11th, 2018, 12:34 PM
What do you by the braids 'unravel'? Many of experience braid shred when ends of the hair poke out through the length of the braid - it's quite normal even without damage :) mine are messy before I've even finished!

I'm sorry you had such a bad experience going for a trim. I don't have any specific advice but many members here will be able to help!


My hair type is between 3c and 4a - these curls are so tight that if I were to braid them, I could twist my finger around the end and a little spiral curl would clump together there (while the hair is wet). Then that braid would say there forever. :) My damaged hair doesn't curl as tightly, so it doesn't cling into a spiral and will flop back out immediately.

MusicalSpoons
November 11th, 2018, 12:49 PM
Ohhh I see. I'm on my phone so didn't notice your hair stats as the font is teeny-tiny. With my hairtype the thought of unsecured braids is completely alien to me :lol:

Obsidian
November 11th, 2018, 01:41 PM
I prefer to chop it all off and be done with it. I shaved my head to 1/4" a little over a year ago. The grow out process is a pita but at least I don't hate my hair while it grows.

aethyra
November 11th, 2018, 01:41 PM
What happened at the salon that caused the burned hair? Just curious as I too have burned hair this year from unknown causes. I opred to stay out of salons for 2 years to give highlighting a rest then at beginning if this year it was suddenly fried after applying conditioner and leaving in 5 minutes before rinse. Recent addition of extra chlorine to city water is the only thing i know of that could have caused it; but the damage seems extreme for such a minor change as city water additives.

I have been babying the hair, just keep trimming and deep conditioning. Don't cut it off unless you absolutely have to.

blackgothicdoll
November 11th, 2018, 01:49 PM
What happened at the salon that caused the burned hair? Just curious as I too have burned hair this year from unknown causes. I opred to stay out of salons for 2 years to give highlighting a rest then at beginning if this year it was suddenly fried after applying conditioner and leaving in 5 minutes before rinse. Recent addition of extra chlorine to city water is the only thing i know of that could have caused it; but the damage seems extreme for such a minor change as city water additives.

I have been babying the hair, just keep trimming and deep conditioning. Don't cut it off unless you absolutely have to.

I went with my hair blown out and flat-ironed (I do this myself do prevent damage). i only wanted a trim, but she decided it was so fluffy and frizzy it needed to be gone over again with a flat iron at like 650 degrees (exaggerating, but seriously). In retrospect, I could have just as easily told her not to do that, but I was going out with friends that night, it was humid and it would be nice to have my hair out. But it was not.

Stray_mind
November 11th, 2018, 02:08 PM
I usually prefer microtrimming away the damage. I have only done big chops twice in my life. But my hair was impossible to deal with back then.

lapushka
November 11th, 2018, 02:10 PM
That is odd though that your braids unravel. Are you sure the two are linked? And what do you mean by damage. Are their white dots up the strands?

How long is your hair now?

ETA, oh its shoulder length.


Check your strands for white dots.


Oooh, you mean your hair won't curl anymore? Is that it? Gosh girl, I'm sorry. :( Being that it is straight then might be the explanation the braids unravel. Curly braids stick together, but in straight hair it unravels, most certainly at that length.

blackgothicdoll
November 11th, 2018, 02:14 PM
That is odd though that your braids unravel. Are you sure the two are linked? And what do you mean by damage. Are their white dots up the strands?

How long is your hair now?

I'll go read up on how to post pictures, it might make more sense then.

Heat damage for my hair type is most apparent when the hair no longer curls. The rest of my hair forms tight spirals, but the damaged parts form very loose spirals in comparison. This is observed immediately after having hair straightened, then washing it and realizing the normal curls I expect to see have not returned. The looser texture of the hair is what causes the braids to unravel, when usually the curls cling to each other at the ends and cause the braid to stay in place. I hope that makes sense.

My hair is a little past SL, a few inches shorter than APL though - the awkward stage. It's around the length that I always end up with a setback, I've never been able to grow it past APL :(

ETA: This photo from online is a good example. I don't think my damage is nearly as bad as hers, but I also have a lot less hair so it wouldn't look that apparent anyways.

https://img.youtube.com/vi/5EP1diXZpPQ/0.jpg

MusicalSpoons
November 11th, 2018, 02:22 PM
My hair is a little past SL, a few inches shorter than APL though - the awkward stage. It's around the length that I always end up with a setback, I've never been able to grow it past APL :(

Well, hopefully this will be the time you get past APL - you've come to the right place! :flower: :D

Ylva
November 11th, 2018, 02:30 PM
I would recommend having an Olaplex treatment and then just focusing on taking very good care of your hair at home while it grows out, microtrimming monthly or so.

I don't know how I would decide it, but you need to ponder on which option will make you feel happier in the end.

edit: I just read the new messages and noticed your damage came from heat. In that case I don't know how much Olaplex would do about it, so scrap that maybe.

Dark40
November 11th, 2018, 03:57 PM
I prefer the microtrimming away the damaged parts at a time. But baby that hair as much as you can in the meantime with heavy duty deep conditioners.

illicitlizard
November 11th, 2018, 04:07 PM
Depends how annoying the ends are for you vs how much you're attached to your current length. I've been through times where I wanted to slowly trim off damage and other times where I just wanted it OFF immediately.

YvetteVarie
November 12th, 2018, 01:30 AM
When I had heat damage, I decided to cut off 2-3 inches of hair. My hair was literally disintegrating, so I could not keep it. If you don't want to trim, and the damage is not as apparent as mine was, you can try deep conditioning frequently, making sure your protein-moisture balance is on point. That will help with growing out the damage. As for styling, can you manage a bun/goddess braids at your current length? I mainly bun as a protective style, and goddess braid when I'm tired of that.

blackgothicdoll
November 12th, 2018, 02:03 AM
When I had heat damage, I decided to cut off 2-3 inches of hair. My hair was literally disintegrating, so I could not keep it. If you don't want to trim, and the damage is not as apparent as mine was, you can try deep conditioning frequently, making sure your protein-moisture balance is on point. That will help with growing out the damage. As for styling, can you manage a bun/goddess braids at your current length? I mainly bun as a protective style, and goddess braid when I'm tired of that.

Yes, bunning and dutch braids are all I do. It's so darn boring but it works. I've never felt comfortable enough to wear my hair "out" so it's only something I can see is happening. I've always had a problem with protein treatments (protein sensitive hair) so I get a little iffy about trying to do those. The most I've used since the damage was a greek yogurt mask. I still do moisturizing DCs though.

I think I will be trying to grow it out and gradually trim. I definitely need to keep an eye on breakage though, and if I see any of that I'll re-evaluate, but as of yet I've only seen a bit of snapping ends and that was when it was time for me to clarify.

Curlyeve
November 12th, 2018, 06:00 AM
When I had severely damaged hair due to bleaching it, I did series of semi big chops. I had MBL hair, and my first chop was to APL+, so roughly 4 inches. I repeated that a few times, until all the damage was gone. My shortest haircut was CBL or lob. I wanted the damage to be gone as soon as possible, that is why I decided for quite large chops. Hair on crown area was all broken, and only 2 inches long. I also completely lost my curls. And the damage was so severe, that hair couldn't retain brown color. I had to dye it every two weeks, if i wanted brown hair instead of weird swamp green 😆. If I would micro trim, I would lose my mind 🤭.

My point with all the bubbling is, that if damage bothers you a lot, than it is better to chop it off as much as possible, and the quickest possible. Your hair is there to bring you joy, not frustration.

*Wednesday*
November 12th, 2018, 08:55 AM
When I had damaged ends many years ago, I cut if off, an inch because my ends looked terrible. I have wavy hair and those damaged ends were stringy straight.
You have a photo but of another girl but itís not *your* hair so I cannot make an assessment. Me personally, when I was carrying damaged hair wanted decent ends that I can at least wear out and it looks nice. Keep damaged ends trimmed (miro) is better than letting it grow unpleasant looking just to retain length to call a milestone. Some people do but meh, thatís me. I would microtrim because those damaged ends stress out the rest of the hair with breakage.

Honestly, hair cannot grow properly with damaged ends that will be breaking off. You have to ride it out until that is cut out. You live and you learn.

elfynity
November 12th, 2018, 10:31 AM
I think that while you are deciding whether you will cut it all or microtrim, you should just choose to microtrim. Don't rashly cut it all off and then regret it later. I have damaged ends, and opted to do 2 big over 1 inch trims over the last 2 months - not a big length change, healthier hair, less bad stuff left over, no regret.

blackgothicdoll
November 12th, 2018, 10:47 AM
What exactly is microtrimming? Is it what it sounds like - gradual, light trimming as opposed to trimming an inch or more?

MoonRabbit
November 12th, 2018, 10:47 AM
I did an in between choice, I chopped just enough off ( for me that was from mbl to a little above bsl) so I could handle my hair a little better, then I just neglected it for a year ( besides nursing it back to health along the way). I was happy with the results from a year of taking care of it and decided I wanted length more than cutting the rest of the damage away. So I grew to tbl and now I am finally maintaining to get most of the damage out.

MusicalSpoons
November 12th, 2018, 10:52 AM
What exactly is microtrimming? Is it what it sounds like - gradual, light trimming as opposed to trimming an inch or more?

Pretty much! There's no technical definition other than 'a tiny trim' :grin: microtrimming can be done more often than larger trims whilst gaining length :)

Addy
November 12th, 2018, 10:53 AM
I've destroyed my hair before. I went from waist length to above shoulder length and then a pixie because I was still losing hair. I've been growing for 5+ years now and I'm finally at tailbone.

abbysinthe
November 12th, 2018, 10:59 AM
Well, if you look at my avatar you'll see that I shaved my head- so I'll likely represent the extreme end of this discussion in regards to how to handle damage.

What it came down to for me was that I was tired of coloring my hair, and tired of worrying about taking care of all the damage that had been caused over time. My hair didn't look bad, but it *felt* bad to have all the old processed hair on my head. A fresh start was definitely the right choice for me! If looking at your hair makes you angry enough that it's negatively affecting your quality of life, I'd consider taking enough off to get yourself back to a solid baseline.

blackgothicdoll
November 12th, 2018, 02:13 PM
Thank you all. I'm sorry but I still haven't figured out how to post pics. Could someone kindly point me to where I can find instructions?

Abbysinthe if I had a face that gorgeous, surely I would do the same thing. Sadly, I would not look very good at all. I would look terrifying. LOL

I had a pixie cut once upon a time. Pixie cut + curly hair = !?!?!!??! once the back starts growing out. The only way to maintain it was to continue to straighten it constantly, so it's a miracle I ever grew that out successfully. I had to cut off a ton of damaged hair once I did, though.

See, I've already been microtrimming a bit. Every few weeks I do a little snippy at the really bad ends. I know if I ever straightened my hair, it'd be pretty uneven, but I guess that's one benefit of hair this curly, nobody ever knows what's really going on. :smirk:

Jo Ann
November 12th, 2018, 08:48 PM
Blackgothicdoll, open an account at imgur.com , upload your pics there and then use the "Insert Image" feature (third from the right at the toolbar above the Quick Reply box here) to link to your pictures.

After much hit and miss regarding "chopping" off damage, I go to a barber shop and request the length I want taken off--no more than, say, two inches. Microtrimming is a slower way to do it, but you can do it once a month and take off only what you want, be it 1/8 inch or 1/4 inch or so. It's relatively easy to do! It's a longer way to get rid of damage, but you get to keep more of your length and you won't miss the relatively small amount you do take off.

blackgothicdoll
November 13th, 2018, 07:34 PM
I've posted a bunch of pictures here: https://imgur.com/a/I27osDs.

Arciela
November 13th, 2018, 07:40 PM
When my hair got damaged from bleach over time..I spent a fortune on salon treatments and products trying to make it tolerable while I slowly micro trimmed the damage. In the end it didn't work for me and I just went ahead and chopped. Instantly felt a million times better and now my hair is just growing 100% virgin and healthy. It is so much easier to take care of than dealing with that long tangled mess I had of bleach >_< I also felt unhappy looking at it in the mirror and in photos. It looked tattered and very damaged.

I just suggest cutting it to the point where you will be happy..but if you can live with it and it doesn't bother you too much, you can probably microtrim it every few weeks :)

YvetteVarie
November 14th, 2018, 05:18 AM
I've posted a bunch of pictures here: https://imgur.com/a/I27osDs.

I saw the pictures, and if I was in your shoes, I would continue growing out the damage and microtrim. Cutting my hair short means I will neglect it in long term protective styles, so growing out would be a way to keep me accountable for haircare. But, do what works for you.

I love your curls by the way

spitfire511
November 14th, 2018, 06:16 AM
I saw the pictures, and if I was in your shoes, I would continue growing out the damage and microtrim. Cutting my hair short means I will neglect it in long term protective styles, so growing out would be a way to keep me accountable for haircare. But, do what works for you.

I love your curls by the way

I agree with this. Your curls are amazing!

What if you set a calendar alert (or however you use for reminders) once a month or similar to micro-trim? If you don't trim too much at a time, you'll continue to gain some length while slowly trimming that damage out.

blackgothicdoll
November 14th, 2018, 08:22 AM
I saw the pictures, and if I was in your shoes, I would continue growing out the damage and microtrim. Cutting my hair short means I will neglect it in long term protective styles, so growing out would be a way to keep me accountable for haircare. But, do what works for you.

I love your curls by the way

Thank you! Yeah, my hair type is easier to deal with when it's longer rather than when it is shorter, which is opposite of other types. I think it'll take awhile, but gradual trimming is better than just leaving it there. At least I know that in due time I'll be free of it all, which is very encouraging.


I agree with this. Your curls are amazing!

What if you set a calendar alert (or however you use for reminders) once a month or similar to micro-trim? If you don't trim too much at a time, you'll continue to gain some length while slowly trimming that damage out.

Thank!

The calendar reminder is a very good idea. I can definitely do that!

lapushka
November 14th, 2018, 09:04 AM
I've posted a bunch of pictures here: https://imgur.com/a/I27osDs.

Wow, such pretty curls. You know, I think overall it looks pretty good; keep your eye on the hair that's still OK, because that is more plentiful than the damaged bits. Yes, I see a few straighter pieces, but that can easily be microtrimmed. In the mean time, try and scrunch or plop it a little more to try and get the curl back - it may still revert.

*Wednesday*
November 14th, 2018, 11:20 AM
Your curls are fab. I would leave your hair alone.

lithostoic
November 14th, 2018, 02:35 PM
After years of dye and bleach plus 2 years of dreadlocks, I had some crazy damage. I chopped from nearly waist to collarbone length. I still have some bleach damage left (from APL down) which I am slowly trimming. If the damage makes you feel that bad, then cut it. I'd never had hair as short as that in my life!!! But I went for it anyway :)

MusicalSpoons
November 24th, 2018, 04:50 PM
A post elsewhere reminded me to come and have a look at the pics you posted. Your hair is beautiful! I love your curls :crush:

H o n є y ❤
November 24th, 2018, 05:02 PM
Just chop that stuff off sis. IMO it's too stressful and difficult caring for damaged hair. You have to worry about your damaged ends damaging your new growth.

spidermom
November 24th, 2018, 06:29 PM
I like change so it would drive me nuts to maintain the same length for years while I grow out and cut off damage. I'd rather go for something extreme, then experience the many lengths and different styles as it grows out again.

Milkchocolate
November 24th, 2018, 06:33 PM
Years ago the stylist burned my bangs to the point where it would stand pointing up. It was really bad!! I lost length and the texture was like burned hay. I decided to just ďbabyĒ it as much as I could.. lots of deep conditioning..letting my natural oils do itís things by not washing frequently. I tried to find other styles along the way...clips, side bangs, cute hats and beanies. Eventually it grew to an acceptable length, and regained its moisture and now its been back to normal for years :) but definitely it takes a lot of resilience and tons of patience!!! I didnít cut it at all because Iím very stubborn! But it paid off! Just started micro trimming along the way. Patience, deep conditioning and microtrimming does pay off ❤️

blackgothicdoll
November 24th, 2018, 07:07 PM
Wow, such pretty curls. You know, I think overall it looks pretty good; keep your eye on the hair that's still OK, because that is more plentiful than the damaged bits. Yes, I see a few straighter pieces, but that can easily be microtrimmed. In the mean time, try and scrunch or plop it a little more to try and get the curl back - it may still revert.

Thank you! I found with RO, they actually get a bit more springy, but not enough to make them forgivable. Still, the only type of hair cut that could get rid of that damage is pretty much down to one inch of hair or a side-shave - neither are really in my perview. I've decided to use TLC and microtrimming. :)


Your curls are fab. I would leave your hair alone.

Thank you :)


A post elsewhere reminded me to come and have a look at the pics you posted. Your hair is beautiful! I love your curls :crush:

Thanks!! :)


Just chop that stuff off sis. IMO it's too stressful and difficult caring for damaged hair. You have to worry about your damaged ends damaging your new growth.

I decided to just microtrim. There's no way to cut it without cutting the rest of my hair or having a rather edgy hair-cut. I keep track of splits in those areas and s&d regularly, so I will never let them creep far enough up to strand to damage my new hair. Just gonna have to be patient and learn from past mistakes.


I like change so it would drive me nuts to maintain the same length for years while I grow out and cut off damage. I'd rather go for something extreme, then experience the many lengths and different styles as it grows out again.

I've been NL and below so many times that I don't want to experience it again LOL. I think I can still get some length while microtrimming, because it is the front part of my hair and I can still have a shorter layer without it looking too crazy. I would then cut once I got to a comfortable point to begin slowly evening it out, while gaining some length. At least that's how it's playing out in my head - we'll see what happens in reality!


Years ago the stylist burned my bangs to the point where it would stand pointing up. It was really bad!! I lost length and the texture was like burned hay. I decided to just “baby” it as much as I could.. lots of deep conditioning..letting my natural oils do it’s things by not washing frequently. I tried to find other styles along the way...clips, side bangs, cute hats and beanies. Eventually it grew to an acceptable length, and regained its moisture and now its been back to normal for years :) but definitely it takes a lot of resilience and tons of patience!!! I didn’t cut it at all because I’m very stubborn! But it paid off! Just started micro trimming along the way. Patience, deep conditioning and microtrimming does pay off ❤️

Thanks for this success story! Definitely encouraging :)