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View Full Version : find my problem! hair shorter than it was 15 years ago, despite good LHC practices



AuNaturel
November 14th, 2018, 07:32 PM
I've been a member since forever! Type 3c hair (I'd say 4a based on tightness of curl and narrowness of the spirals, but I'm a redheaded Irish girl so I think the texture is more correctly 3c).

Tl;dr: My hair won't grow.

Things I think I'm doing right: Been doing Curly Girl + benign neglect forever (more than a decade). Conditioner, curl cream, argon oil on the ends every night, pineapple up and sleep on satin. I don't overly touch or manipulate my hair (I run aloe-wet hands over the canopy to spruce up the curls in the morning and that's it). I detangle when I shower (once every 3-4 days): saturate with conditioner, gently detangle with seamless comb, leave on, rinse with water till slippery. Even so, I shed a TON in the shower. Lots and lots of shedding. Gobs of hair in the drain. I get a half-inch trim maybe once every 3 years. I used to S&D the splits and pixie knots, but haven't bothered for several years. I air-dry my hair with clips (some at the crown, a la Curly Girl, and some on the ends to stretch out the curls and give me more length). No heat. No cones. I eat plenty of protein and no sugar.

Things I'm probably doing wrong: I drink daily wine and probably not enough water. I don't sleep well, but haven't for years. I have the usual amount of 40-year-old stresses. I have 4 kids (but my youngest baby is 7 years old, so this isn't an immediate postpartum issue). I don't take vitamins aside from a B-complex "stress" one. I started getting my hair colored -- after 20 years of virgin hair! -- 6 months ago, once it got to be more than 40% white (redheads go gray early).

My problem: My hair is shorter now than it was when I was in my 20s. And it drives me NUTS. I've been "growing" it for 20 years and it's shrinking. It used to be waist-length stretched out, and now it's just below BSL stretched. Curly, it's shoulder-length.

Do we simply not keep length as well in our 40s as we did in our 20s? Did having a million babies change something fundamental to my hair health? I don't have a ton of split ends but the very ends of many hairs are wispy (probably because I almost never trim), and I don't have a huge amount of flyaways, so I would pin it on the amount of shedding if I had to guess. On the other hand, my ends whisper away, so is it possible that a tightly-textured 3c/4a hair can actually have reached terminal length at curly-shoulder-length? That would be so depressing. Plus, I used to have at least 4 more inches of (stretched) length.

Basically, I'm mad that years of good hair habits and benign neglect have done me wrong!

I've been thinking about maybe getting a Brazilian blowout done (the keratin heat kind, that lasts 8-12 weeks supposedly) to relax the curls and give me some "functional" length. My curls are SO tight that even drying them while weighted with clips doesn't do much, it's still very corkscrewy and short. But does the Brazilian treatment damage hair? Or protect it? I've read conflicting things.

Critique me? What am I doing wrong?

*Wednesday*
November 14th, 2018, 07:44 PM
You said you have lots of shedding? When was the last time you've been to the doctor and had any blood test? Could be your thyroid, vitamin deficiency. Also, are you eating a well-balanced diet?

As far as your age holding onto hair in your 20's as compared to your 40's can be a matter of genetics.

And when was the last time you had a decent trim?

EdG
November 14th, 2018, 07:47 PM
I think there are quite a few people here who would prefer the hair they had twenty years ago. ;)
Ed

AuNaturel
November 14th, 2018, 07:58 PM
Well, darn! Lol. I'm mostly frustrated because I've been trying to have long hair my ENTIRE LIFE and yet here it is, still shoulder-length and way too curly.

I do get regular bloodwork done, including extra thyroid panel and iron and all that, and it's always been normal. I eat mostly paleo-ish, which I think is pretty well-balanced (avocados and nuts, salads and veggies, ethical meat and we raise our own chickens for eggs, no sugar at all). My only dietary vices are coffee, white rice sometimes, and wine.

I've wanted long hair since I was a little girl. It was closest when I went completely SO (no water at all, only mechanical cleansing) for six months, about a decade ago. I think I'm in the original "no water" thread here. I ended up not liking the texture of combed-out fluff, so I went back to water and curls. IIRC, I didn't shed as much with that method, and it was longer then. But I didn't like the way it felt or looked.

I feel discouraged that I don't have super-long curls by now. I learned the things, I stopped fussing, I was patient. My curls are so tight, and it just stays short, and I'm disappointed.

Belle03
November 14th, 2018, 08:04 PM
Hello, maybe you should have the Doctor check your iron level, etc.. Also, with shedding I find that a green tea rinse helps a lot. You should probably deep condition your hair too. Use a moisturizing deep conditioner after every wash with a plastic bag on your head. Use a light protein conditioner on your hair probably once a month. Always follow with a moisturizing deep conditioner. I have 4b hair, and my daughter has hair similar to yours. If you need help PM me. Good luck!

AuNaturel
November 14th, 2018, 08:14 PM
Thank you for that advice! I do deep condition, usually overnight as a pre-shampoo treatment (though I'm never sure whether to go for protein or moisture - my curls are bouncy and not "mushy" so that means I should use protein, right?). I don't use a deep conditioner every time, just plain old Suave, followed by some of the Curly Girl and Devacurl moisture creams as leave-ins. And oils. But this is good advice -- after so many years of the same thing, I could stand to up my conditioner game. Off to search the forums for good brands!

Arciela
November 14th, 2018, 08:56 PM
Do you use shampoo? :) I know quite a few people who cowash and for some reason it makes their hair fall out like that. If you dont use shampoo maybe you could try sulfate free and see how it goes?

Dark40
November 14th, 2018, 09:03 PM
I agree with Belle03. I also have very thick curly hair too I don't know what type it is. I think it's more like type 3a or 3c, and what I do after every wash is use a conditioner with cones in it. One day out of the week I use a light protein deep conditioning treatment, and then another day during the week I use a deep moisturizing conditioning treatment. I at times do hot oil treatments as well. I only do them every other week though. Because, you don't want the pores to get clogged up. But like what Belle03 said, you might be iron deficient, and it's always good to at least take a multivitamins daily.

Chromis
November 14th, 2018, 09:26 PM
Are you perhaps trimming off your growth? It is pretty easy to do! (I have been guilty of this sometimes for years in a row haha)

Also are you wearing it up? It is common to get false terminal lengths from rubbing on the backs of chairs in particular, but there can be lots of culprits.

WyntreBlossom
November 14th, 2018, 10:43 PM
Not sure how it works for curly girls, but do you try to wear updos or protective styles to avoid friction and breakage?

*Wednesday*
November 14th, 2018, 10:56 PM
Are you perhaps trimming off your growth? It is pretty easy to do! (I have been guilty of this sometimes for years in a row haha)

Also are you wearing it up? It is common to get false terminal lengths from rubbing on the backs of chairs in particular, but there can be lots of culprits.

I second this.

It sounds like you are on top of your health and not doing anything harsh with your hair regarding heating tools or chemicals.
I personally would not get a Brazilian blowout as it is damaging to hair. I work with someone that has Type 3B hair and has gotten a Brazilian blowouts and has damaged her ends. She has to constantly trim it for the ends to look decent.
That choice is yours.

AuNaturel
November 14th, 2018, 11:34 PM
Bummer -- I was hoping the keratin would be protective rather than damaging. I'm starting to regret having decided on professional dye instead of henna (I agonized for YEARS and did a thousand strand tests with all the hennaforhair colors but couldn't get a good match to my original color, and now I'm demi-dyed all over so it's too late), because I've read that henna can also help relax curls over time. Oh well. That ship has sailed.

I practically never trim! Maybe once every 2-3 years, just a very small Feye trim. I used to dust out my split ends, but don't have time anymore.

Anyone remember that really helpful graphic (from like ten years ago, ha) that was posted once, that showed all the different types of ends, all close up? Split ends, three-splits, loop splits, pixie knots, all those kinds of things? What was it called when the hair gets really thin and wispy at the ends? Like, a cut hair has a blunt end. But when the hair sort of melts away into nothingness, tapering off -- what does that mean? I would have assumed that the issue isn't breakage, because wouldn't a broken hair be more blunt?

poli
November 15th, 2018, 12:30 AM
You can still henna on top of dye, but make sure you strand test again because the color will be different. I would make a test on the strand that has a lot of grey/white because henna will look orange at first and you need to be prepared for it :)

Curlyeve
November 15th, 2018, 02:03 AM
I think your problem is the lack of protective styles. My hair is borderline wavy/curly, and it needs to be contained most of the time now, that I am at waist. With your texture, protecting it is crucial. I think your hair would benefit a lot from protective styles. If you don't know how to do them, go to youtube and follow some 3c/4a curlies.

Another thing I would try is silicones. I was curly girl up until MBL, but then all of a sudden my hair started to tangle and braking off. It turned out I was needing silicones for that extra slip and manageability.

I don't think your problem is shedding. With your texture, all the hair that sheds stay trapped inside your curls. And when you wash, it all comes out at the same time. So it just looks like you shed a lot, when in reality you don't.

My point is, don't give up, and if routine you have right now is not working, just change it. And yes, you can henna on top of regular hair dye. I did this with no problem. Just make sure, you buy 100% real henna without metallic salts.

lapushka
November 15th, 2018, 06:31 AM
Before you wash, try pre-wash dry detangling (or mist it lightly), that will loosen a lot of hair already & save your drain.

Wine is not an issue. Not enough water might be, but that won't cause your hair to not grow at all.

Did you get it trimmed, while getting it colored? What about your trimming schedule? How often, if at all? This is really important!

It might be time, if you're in your 40s to get your blood levels checked, if you don't do that regularly already.

Do you use a straightener on your hair, at all? Sometimes even can be enough to cause breakage so much so that it appears it won't grow.

MusicalSpoons
November 15th, 2018, 07:25 AM
My first thought is protective updos. Hair wearing away may not necessarily be blunt on the end; I've seen splits break off to leave a tapered end in my own hair :shrug: at shoulder-when-curly I'd think the ends are likely to be rubbing against clothing which cannot be good for them.


I do get regular bloodwork done, including extra thyroid panel and iron and all that, and it's always been normal.

Do you get the actual results, or just the Dr saying normal? For years my iron and thyroid and everything have been "normal" but since requesting a copy of my actual results I can see my iron especially is right in the bottom of the range, and anyways has been. In normal range doesn't necessarily mean your body has optimum levels, an abundance to spare for growing hair. Your diet sounds excellent though so I think a vitamin/mineral insufficiency is unlikely. I think the problem is more likely not wearing your hair up :flower:

Ylva
November 15th, 2018, 07:51 AM
Thank you for that advice! I do deep condition, usually overnight as a pre-shampoo treatment (though I'm never sure whether to go for protein or moisture - my curls are bouncy and not "mushy" so that means I should use protein, right?).

The opposite, as far as I know. That curls are bouncy is good and healthy. Mushy hair needs protein.

spitfire511
November 15th, 2018, 08:22 AM
My first thought is protective updos. Hair wearing away may not necessarily be blunt on the end; I've seen splits break off to leave a tapered end in my own hair :shrug: at shoulder-when-curly I'd think the ends are likely to be rubbing against clothing which cannot be good for them.



Do you get the actual results, or just the Dr saying normal? For years my iron and thyroid and everything have been "normal" but since requesting a copy of my actual results I can see my iron especially is right in the bottom of the range, and anyways has been. In normal range doesn't necessarily mean your body has optimum levels, an abundance to spare for growing hair. Your diet sounds excellent though so I think a vitamin/mineral insufficiency is unlikely. I think the problem is more likely not wearing your hair up :flower:

I second this - I have wavy and light red hair (that at age 41 isn't barely going gray at all!) have had 2 kids, deal with high work stress, don't drink enough water and believe I'm in the beginnings of peri-menopause (yeah - am overdue for that checkup).

So while I don't have your depth of color or level of curl, there are some similarities, and MBL is no problem for me. I struggle to get to waist only because I really am addicted to 'clean' ends and when they start to get thin I tend to trim (or sometimes chop!) One of my dearest friends has hair almost exactly the same as yours and gave up trying to grow it as an adult and keeps it shorter because I think keeping it healthy was more difficult as she got older (Her hair was MBL to waist unstretched when we were young!)

ALL of that being said - Many people have iron and thyroid levels that 'check out' as normal, but with a little more research aren't - especially depending on the thyroid panel you're having done. That might be something to look into. Seeing what your hormone levels are as well (if you haven't already) is worth the time - they can really affect fall.

Otherwise, I'm with the others - try for protective styles as much as possible. It really does help. The straightening and coloring (as others have said) can't ever be ruled out for damage - but that being said - you should be able to love your hair - so you do you! Just keep it in mind if you continue or start these treatments and aren't seeing the growth you'd like.

Search through to make sure it's not breaking as MusicalSpoons suggests. I have a lot of tapered ends and some of them are the result of part of a split breaking off. If you have any white dots anywhere, chances are good you're getting breakage that's just harder to check because of your texture and volume.

Huge hugs - this must be so frustrating for you - and I hope you get it all figured out soon!!! :flowers:

AuNaturel
November 15th, 2018, 03:39 PM
So much good advice! I can wear it up more, definitely. My TSH is crazy normal (1.6) so that's probably not it. I'm going to get some big claw clips so that on hair-down days, I remember to put it up at least in the car, so that it doesn't rub against the seat.

So interesting that wispy ends can mean breakage. I don't see any white dots but "half of a split end" could be the case, yes.

Also, wow, cones. I haven't thought about those in like 15 years. Maybe I'll do some experimenting and see if they help. (Serious question: How would I know? Since my problem is more long-term length than daily visible problems, how and when would I be able to tell if switching to cone-conditioners is making a difference?)

Any tight curly sisters want to recommend their favorite moisture-rich conditioners? I currently use Suave naturals to squish and condish, KK Knot Today and that awesome snot custard, Curls Blueberry Bliss cream, and aloe vera. Happy to switch it up!

bokeh
November 15th, 2018, 07:01 PM
Good luck. It looks like you already got some great advice. I hope the protective styles make a difference for you. I'm really interested in this thread because I'm hoping to grow my hair longer and I have been wondering if my age (64) would affect my terminal length. I think I'm going to start documenting my length regularly with photos so that I can know if the growth slows down and I think that might be a helpful thing for you to do also.

lucid
November 15th, 2018, 07:55 PM
Bokeh, age will affect terminal length and density. However, most people with long hair never grow their hair to terminal length, so chances are you'll still be able to grow your hair long. Just not as long as it could have been in your twenties. Happy growing :)

Ylva
November 15th, 2018, 07:59 PM
Also, wow, cones. I haven't thought about those in like 15 years. Maybe I'll do some experimenting and see if they help. (Serious question: How would I know? Since my problem is more long-term length than daily visible problems, how and when would I be able to tell if switching to cone-conditioners is making a difference?)

Unfortunately I don't think there's any fast way to know if something is helping. You have to keep at it and see if you see growth. Nothing comes instantly in haircare, except perhaps ruination.

Alila
November 16th, 2018, 12:49 AM
When my hair was somewhere between classic and fingertip my hairgrowth seemed to stop. I didnt see an abnormaly large amount of split ends and white dots but I tried reducing mechanical damage anyway. (I stopped sleeping on top of my braid. Kind of an obvious damage source ... I dont know why I didnt stop doing that sooner :rolleyes:)
My hair started growing again. There is no difference in the amount of spit ends and white dots that I can see though.

So yes, breakage can be invisible.

lapushka
November 16th, 2018, 06:09 AM
Good luck. It looks like you already got some great advice. I hope the protective styles make a difference for you. I'm really interested in this thread because I'm hoping to grow my hair longer and I have been wondering if my age (64) would affect my terminal length. I think I'm going to start documenting my length regularly with photos so that I can know if the growth slows down and I think that might be a helpful thing for you to do also.

You know your username spoken like that is the dialect word for a slice of bread in my neck of the woods (Flanders). :D So nice to read, and meet you, BTW. :D :flower:

AuNaturel
November 16th, 2018, 01:16 PM
Nothing comes instantly in haircare, except perhaps ruination.

Hahaha! That is a fantastic quote.

bokeh
November 21st, 2018, 10:03 PM
Bokeh, age will affect terminal length and density. However, most people with long hair never grow their hair to terminal length, so chances are you'll still be able to grow your hair long. Just not as long as it could have been in your twenties. Happy growing :)

Thank you Lucid that's good to know.

bokeh
November 21st, 2018, 10:12 PM
You know your username spoken like that is the dialect word for a slice of bread in my neck of the woods (Flanders). :D So nice to read, and meet you, BTW. :D :flower:

Lol, bokeh is the blurry part of a photo that makes the subject stand out. Somehow you've got me wanting to photograph bread! It's nice to meet you too.

lapushka
November 22nd, 2018, 05:32 AM
Lol, bokeh is the blurry part of a photo that makes the subject stand out. Somehow you've got me wanting to photograph bread! It's nice to meet you too.

Nice to meet you too! :) Now I learned something new. :D

kitcatsmeow
November 22nd, 2018, 07:40 AM
How is your scalp health? Itís kind of like the soil your hair grows in so you need to make sure thatís in good health! Besides getting the proper nutrition, little things like exfoliating, hydrating and massaging can make a difference. Make sure you donít have any build up, flakes (dryness), etc. A good exfoliation treatment monthly or bimonthly with added nightly gentle massages could help. Adding a nice oil before washing or whenever you feel you need can enhance the benefits. Depending on your particular needs, there are follicle stimulators, moisturizers, or thickening oils/serums. Also I like to ACV rinse especially on my scalp to keep the pH balanced.
It seems like you have gotten a lot of great advice and lots of things to try so good luck and I hope you can find something that helps get you results.

BerrySara
November 27th, 2018, 05:45 PM
3b/3c curly haired girl here! I get your frustrated and I have to say a lot of the advice that works for so many doesn't always apply to very curly or kinky hair.

I have been on a very dedicated mission for past two years to grow my hair out and I have learned some things along the way specific to very curly hair that may help you.

First thing is our 3c curly hair is naturally very dry!! That is the reason behind co-washing so that you aren't stripping your hair of its natural oils (which we curlies so desperately need!) with harsh shampoos. So the primary focus should be on making sure your hair is very moisturized. Dry hair, especially dry ends, are more likely to break off.

From what you have described, I would say the primary thing I noticed in your routine is the lack of dedicated deep conditioning. I know you said you do so as a pre-poo but ever since I switched (after I learned the difference from a curly hair youtube guru) from pre-poo to post-poo, it has made a world of a difference! I am serious, one of the biggest differences for me! Here is why! If you apply the deep conditioner pre washing your hair, your hair has all this build up coated around the hairs from creams, gels, leave ins etc and is getting in the way of allowing the deep conditioner to properly penetrate your hair! Also, a leave in conditioner or regular conditioner just doesn't compare in moisture retention for your hair. In addition, if you then also add heat during your deep conditioner, then you are seriously golden as it opens up the cuticles of the hair and allows the conditioner to penetrate the hair shaft, which helps to retain moisture!
I have been consistently deep conditioning every single week for past year and I have been so happy with the difference in length retention it has made!

Btw doesn't mean you should stop pre-pooing, especially if you plan on washing your hair with a shampoo instead of a co-wash or low-poo (such as DevaCurl low-poo product), as it adds extra protection against the clarifying agent when you wash your hair.

This is totally a personal preference but to save myself the headache and frustration of shedding like crazy in the shower, I saturate my hair with detangling conditioner (lots of slip, one of my favorites is from Aunt Jackie's Knot On My Watch Instant Detangling - can be found at drug stores and Walmart) and detangle my hair before I head in the shower. That way I can visually see the hair ball and know how much I shred and can track from week to week if my shedding is increasing or decreasing.

Then I hop in the shower and I usually use a low-poo or a shampoo with no silicones (since you don't want your strands to be coated as you are about to apply deep conditioner!). For something less costly than DevaCurl, I love the Shea Moistureís Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Shampoo. Sometimes if I feel like a have some extra build up (say about once every 1-2 months) I use the DevaCurl Build Up Buster or I may use a Apple Cider Vinegar rinse to clarify. After that I hop out of the shower, apply a DEEP deep conditioner to all of my hair, add a cap and then apply heat for about 10 min. Leave in for another 20min. Then hop back in the shower to rinse it out.

Deep Conditioners that I LOVE (And I have tried soooo many different brands):
For Moisture:
DevaCurl Melt Into Moisture. Its a heavy deep conditioner so its meant for very curly and kinky hair. Its honestly the only deep conditioner that seriously leaves me hair buttery soft.
SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Treatment Masque! Much more affordable and great for very curly/kinky hair!

For Protein Treatments:
DevaCurl Deep Sea Repair (I use this about every 3/4 weeks).
I haven't really tried any other brands for Protein treatments but have heard great things about Aphogee Two Step Protein Treatment.

I know it sounds like a length process but its really not too bad except for the disrupting deep conditioning outside of the shower. But us curlies typically don't have to wash our hair as often.

I think for the leave ins, creams and oils you apply after your shower all sound good. IF you want your curls slightly more elongated without using clips, I do recommend the DevaCurl Super Stretch Styling Cream. Its a rich leave in cream that moisturizes a lot but weighs curls a bit, given them that elongation.

If you only try one thing from above, I would say definitely deep condition your hair consistently at least once a week after you shampoo. Just try it once to see if you feel any difference by deep conditioning after clarifying and leaving it in for about 30min. Adding heat is even better :)

Best of luck!

maborosi
November 27th, 2018, 07:36 PM
I've been a member since forever! Type 3c hair (I'd say 4a based on tightness of curl and narrowness of the spirals, but I'm a redheaded Irish girl so I think the texture is more correctly 3c).

Tl;dr: My hair won't grow.

Things I think I'm doing right: Been doing Curly Girl + benign neglect forever (more than a decade). Conditioner, curl cream, argon oil on the ends every night, pineapple up and sleep on satin. I don't overly touch or manipulate my hair (I run aloe-wet hands over the canopy to spruce up the curls in the morning and that's it). I detangle when I shower (once every 3-4 days): saturate with conditioner, gently detangle with seamless comb, leave on, rinse with water till slippery. Even so, I shed a TON in the shower. Lots and lots of shedding. Gobs of hair in the drain. I get a half-inch trim maybe once every 3 years. I used to S&D the splits and pixie knots, but haven't bothered for several years. I air-dry my hair with clips (some at the crown, a la Curly Girl, and some on the ends to stretch out the curls and give me more length). No heat. No cones. I eat plenty of protein and no sugar.

Things I'm probably doing wrong: I drink daily wine and probably not enough water. I don't sleep well, but haven't for years. I have the usual amount of 40-year-old stresses. I have 5 kids (but my youngest baby is 6 years old, so this isn't an immediate postpartum issue). I don't take vitamins aside from a B-complex "stress" one. I started getting my hair colored -- after 20 years of virgin hair! -- 6 months ago, once it got to be more than 40% white (redheads go gray early).

My problem: My hair is shorter now than it was when I was in my 20s. And it drives me NUTS. I've been "growing" it for 20 years and it's shrinking. It used to be waist-length stretched out, and now it's just below BSL stretched. Curly, it's shoulder-length.

Do we simply not keep length as well in our 40s as we did in our 20s? Did having a million babies change something fundamental to my hair health? I don't have a ton of split ends but the very ends of many hairs are wispy (probably because I almost never trim), and I don't have a huge amount of flyaways, so I would pin it on the amount of shedding if I had to guess. On the other hand, my ends whisper away, so is it possible that a tightly-textured 3c/4a hair can actually have reached terminal length at curly-shoulder-length? That would be so depressing. Plus, I used to have at least 4 more inches of (stretched) length.

Basically, I'm mad that years of good hair habits and benign neglect have done me wrong!

I've been thinking about maybe getting a Brazilian blowout done (the keratin heat kind, that lasts 8-12 weeks supposedly) to relax the curls and give me some "functional" length. My curls are SO tight that even drying them while weighted with clips doesn't do much, it's still very corkscrewy and short. But does the Brazilian treatment damage hair? Or protect it? I've read conflicting things.

Critique me? What am I doing wrong?

You may need to take a more active role in protecting your hair, etc. Some people just don't do too well with benign neglect. I find my hair is needy and likes attention and grows much more nicely than when I leave it up to its own devices.
I think hair can definitely change as you get older, but what that looks like varies from person to person. You might have issues with length retention because you're older, but I'm not so sure it's cut-and-dry like that! :)

So, here's my ideas for you. Granted, I'm not even remotely close to you in hair texture, but my hair is fragile and needy and loves attention. I didn't see if you mentioned whether your individual hairs are Fine, Medium, or Coarse, but I'll try to give advice regardless :)

Curly hair tends to be more fragile than straighter hair, and at 3c, you've got curls. I don't know that this is always the case, but this is my understanding. With that in mind...

1. Trimming. This is important, especially to nip any issues in the bud before they travel up the hairshaft and wreak havoc on the hair. Some people can get away without trimming at all...I am not one of those people, lol! My hair would be absolutely WRECKED if I never trimmed! So that might be part of your issue. Hair that thins out at the ends, if I remember right, is a sort of breakage, but not quite a easy to spot as a classic split-end. (I remember the chart you mentioned, too!) Get a nice pair of sharp haircutting scissors and try to trim off any splits- that will get you on your way to happier hair. :) I believe the ends you're describing can be partially attributed to mechanical damage, so onto my next point...

2. Protect. Protective updos should be your staple. Ideally, buns. I don't consider ponytails or regular braids outside of buns to really be a true protective hairstyle. That is my opinion- my braids can still rub on things and get torn up, so I try to keep my hair in buns when possible. Additionally, silk is your friend and a silk cap, scarf, and/or pillowcase are AWESOME at protecting hair. Seriously- I cannot overstate how awesome silk has been for keeping my hair out of trouble. I typically braid my hair and throw it into a silk cap whenever I can. When I'm just chilling at home, or doing whatever, I usually have a silk cap on. Because it sounds like you may have mechanical damage, I highly recommend this.

3. Moisture. Your hair will need lots of moisture. Also, don't be afraid to try mineral oil or cones- those are both absolutely fantastic for my hair, personally, and there are lots of curlies who swear by them. I also love the LOC method- I'm not sure if you do that, but it is absolutely phenomenal at helping keep hair moisturized. Protein will depend on your needs- I usually do a protein treatment once a week, followed by a deep conditioning treatment. Then, I use the LOC method, and enjoy my soft, happy hair! :D Incorporate a deep conditioning into your routine. How often you'll need to do that, once again, that's kind of subjective. I do a deep condition every wash, and I wash a couple times a week. You may need to do it every wash, maybe you won't. Experimentation is key.

4. Coloring. I'm not sure if you're using chemical dyes, but red is a PAIN IN THE @#$ to get with chemical dyes due to the molecule size- you get fading that really sucks. Plus, IIRC naturally red hair is somewhat challenging to dye. (Can't remember why this is exactly?) Consider giving henna a whirl. Note that some people say it may relax the curl pattern slightly- everyone's different, but the possibility of loosening some of the curl pattern does exist. On the flipside, though, henna has some fantastic benefits for hair, and I promise, it gives incredibly natural-looking results, and it doesn't really fade. Now, some people report that henna can be drying. I find that adding conditioner, and doing a deep moisturizing treatment afterwards really help. The other thing to be mindful of is that the color will gradually build up over time, so sticking to roots-only application after your initial go may be the way for you. (Depending on your natural color, etc)

Don't give up! I'm sure with some tweaks to your routine, you'll be able to grow super long, happy hair! :D


Nothing comes instantly in haircare, except perhaps ruination.

Wise words right there.

AuNaturel
November 29th, 2018, 05:07 PM
Thank you! These last few replies have been really helpful. I've been doing pre-poo treatments, then showering, and then glopping on moisture and leaving it in (as curl creams or styling products), thinking that those leave-in products basically served as a deep conditioner. I'm going to start using deep conditioners properly, halfway through a shower.

Do you guys squish-to-condish the deep conditioners into your hair, or do you just put it on and rake through? How important is the force-your moisture-up-underneath-the-hair-scales method?

AuNaturel
January 3rd, 2019, 10:08 PM
BerrySara, thank you SO MUCH for that! I have resisted shampooing my hair at all -- Curly Girl and all! -- but now I see that a once-weekly cleansing, followed by a deep conditioning treatment, may help me with strength.

Question for the group: How long can you leave a deep conditioner in your hair? Is overnight harmful? Does it stop working after an hour? Does it stop working once the hair gets dry? What's the ideal deep-conditioning treatment timeline?

Thanks again for all the advice, my curlies!!

akurah
January 3rd, 2019, 10:32 PM
BerrySara, thank you SO MUCH for that! I have resisted shampooing my hair at all -- Curly Girl and all! -- but now I see that a once-weekly cleansing, followed by a deep conditioning treatment, may help me with strength.

Question for the group: How long can you leave a deep conditioner in your hair? Is overnight harmful? Does it stop working after an hour? Does it stop working once the hair gets dry? What's the ideal deep-conditioning treatment timeline?

Thanks again for all the advice, my curlies!!

I would not leave a deep conditioner on my head overnight!! I would be afraid of what decided to grow on my scalp, with all the moisture and oils, as bacteria and fungus like to chomp down on oils, and thrive in moist environments. I also would not apply it to dry hair, nor would i allow it to dry in the hair, it seems like it could be a nightmare to get out.

It's been my experience for "over the counter" pre-made deep conditioners (something you do not mix up at home), there's usually no benefit from going beyond the time directed on the package, they've tested and studied it and know exactly how long is needed to be effective. No idea insofar as the homemade stuff goes.

lapushka
January 4th, 2019, 08:24 AM
I would not leave a deep conditioner on my head overnight!! I would be afraid of what decided to grow on my scalp, with all the moisture and oils, as bacteria and fungus like to chomp down on oils, and thrive in moist environments. I also would not apply it to dry hair, nor would i allow it to dry in the hair, it seems like it could be a nightmare to get out.

It's been my experience for "over the counter" pre-made deep conditioners (something you do not mix up at home), there's usually no benefit from going beyond the time directed on the package, they've tested and studied it and know exactly how long is needed to be effective. No idea insofar as the homemade stuff goes.

^^ I agree. Overnight is too much. I would leave it on the recommended time on the tub. No more! It's not going to work better because you leave it on more. Heat might help, like a hot-head heat cap or putting the blowdryer on it. This is often done to get the product to absorb better in the natural community.

If it sucks after all that, get another deep conditioner. It means it's not a good one. You can make it perform better by adding a bit of oil to it, if you like.

I recommend the Garnier Whole Blends line wholeheartedly. I am currently using up the peach & nutoil one that has been LONG discontinued (I had them in my stash). I have 2 tubs left and am currently using one.

AuNaturel
January 4th, 2019, 10:26 AM
Update: My new routine is going to be once-weekly shampoo (with the Shea Moisture hydration one that BerrySara recommended), followed by a deep conditioner -- 30 minutes in a cap with heat -- followed by squish-to-condish with slippy conditioner. Then LOC (Knot Today, argon oil, and then a curl cream).

I'm going to switch from drying with clips to using a curl stretcher cream instead. It won't give me the length that the clips will (I have the DevaCurl Super Stretch Coconut Curl Elongator but it doesn't seem to do anything! My hair still immediately SPROINGS up into tight, short curls even if I slather on the stuff and then smooth/pull my hair downward), but I think that drying with the ends weighed down by the metal duck clips might be causing end breakage.

And my new year's resolution is to wear my hair up more!

Question about protective styles: Is a french twist with the curls spilling out the top (like this online pic (http://stylesweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/20-feminine-ways-to-wear-the-french-twist-this-fall14.jpg)) as protective as a tucked-in bun? Will waving around in the air, shaking against the other curls, cause breakage? Or is getting the hair up and off of chairs, shirts, etc., good enough? Buns crush my curls into a frizzy mass, which leaves me with fewer options for the rest of the week, but a loose french twist secured with a gigantic plastic claw clip doesn't.

I will post an update in a few months! Thanks again for all the great suggestions!

blackgothicdoll
January 4th, 2019, 10:43 AM
I wish I saw this thread earlier, I'm still reading through it.

AuNaturel, would you happen to have any pictures of your hair? I know you describe it as 3c/4a, but hair types do vary and it's hard to get an exact classification on it.

If your hair is very tightly curly, as much as you say it is, that could be part of your problem. Curls are great, but shrinkage causes knots. Trying to apply too many styling creams can also cause problems, whether that's drying, buildup, or too much manipulation, over-moisturization or too much protein. Personally, with my hair perhaps being a similar type to yours, I find that keeping hair braided is the best way to retain length. So styles like the tucked in braid mentioned, french braids, dutch braids, pigtails (I love pigtails LOL) keep the hair stretched and prevent this tangling that happens when your curls want to play-fight with each other. The key is keeping curls organized and secure in place.

Of course, that's just a suggestion that you could try if the other things are not working. Either way I definitely hope you figure things out. :)

blackgothicdoll
January 4th, 2019, 11:10 AM
A note on cones (again, this is just from things that I've learned since starting my hair journey, but I've learned a ton from this site and from research). Curly girl says 'no cones' because it says 'no shampoo' and if you don't shampoo, you can't remove cones.

If you shampoo (preferably with a sulphate, but other detergents work) you shouldn't be too worried about cones. Deciding when to or not to use cones is really based on your choice.

Do you have trouble detangling? Try a product with cones. Did it make it easier? Then that's what works!

The second is the big one, Dimethicone, which is the least water soluble of cones (needs a surfectant to be removed). The purpose of this cone is to coat your hair. It's important to know that if you moisturize your hair and 'seal' with an oil, not every oil seals. Coconut oil, olive oil and sunflower oil actually penetrate the hair strand. That's good for your hair, but it doesn't seal in moisture. Mineral oil and rice bran oil (never used this myself) cannot penetrate the strand, and therefor seal in moisture. This is where dimethicone comes in, it seals the hair even more effectively than mineral oil, but this is why it is hard to wash out.

From my experience with cones, if you wash your hair once a week and do not attempt to moisturize it in between (by spritzing with water), than a serum with dimethicone would suit you very well by keeping your hair smooth and moisturized. But if you wash your hair once a week and like to spritz it with water every day, you won't get any/as much moisture into your hair when using a heavy serum or even perhaps a sealant like mineral oil, and it could almost seem like your hair is becoming more dry.

In short, the only thing you can do is try. If you're happy with your curly girl products, definitely stick with those, but if any of the above info sounds like it could be helpful, it's worth a shot.

Here's some further reading on oils (I love this site): http://science-yhairblog.blogspot.com/2013/06/oils-which-ones-soak-in-vs-coat-hair.html

spidermom
January 4th, 2019, 11:19 AM
To reinforce the advice not to leave a conditioning treatment in overnight: it could cause harm by clogging your pores, and at best it's ineffective. It's kind of like watering your houseplants. The soil will only absorb so much, after that it's wasted water.

Have you tried setting your hair on large rollers? I've known several ultra-curly girls who did that to get some length. It works pretty well as long as you keep your hair dry.

AuNaturel
January 4th, 2019, 08:44 PM
Pics of my hair:

https://imgur.com/a/PZvzCSB

Any advice, suggestions, and feedback gratefully appreciated!!

illicitlizard
January 5th, 2019, 02:14 AM
Pics of my hair:

https://imgur.com/a/PZvzCSB

Any advice, suggestions, and feedback gratefully appreciated!!

I don't have any helpful advice sorry, but wow your hair was and is gorgeous!! Great curls :)

Gothic Lolita
January 5th, 2019, 06:12 AM
Beautiful hair, then and now! I love this type of curl and have often wished for it on myself, but as I'm a stick-straight 1a there's no chance.

It does look thinner in the more recent pictures and you mentioned that you find a lot of shed hairs. Do you happen to know your ponytail circumference from about 10 years ago and can compare to it now? If it has shrunken that's a sign that you really might shed too much, but if it's the same it could be a slight texture change that might make it look less full.

Maybe I just read over that part, but how often do you wash with shampoo and how often just CO? I've seborrhoeic dermatitis and when I joined LHC all those years ago I totally tried to only wash CO and wash less than daily. I tried it for a couple of years but my scalp hated it, was itching so much that I scratched until it bled and it never felt good. Washing daily might overdo it for you, but for me it's what works best (but I don't need much moisture in general, which is the thing for curlies!). Just reiterating on the point that your scalp needs to be happy, too.

Begemot
January 5th, 2019, 10:39 AM
Pics of my hair:

https://imgur.com/a/PZvzCSB

Any advice, suggestions, and feedback gratefully appreciated!!

Wow, the third pic is real Merida hair :crush: your hair still looks super lovely AuNaturel! I do hope you can figure out what is causing the shedding.

The-Young-Maid
January 5th, 2019, 10:57 AM
My suggestions most likely won't work for you but I'm gonna leave them here just for the brainstorming aspect.

So lets forget about what damage can do to length retention and focus on the shedding instead. One of the reasons I'd been shedding was my diet. I wasn't eating enough overall and I definitely wasn't getting all my vitamins. Not the case for you. And if your doctor isn't alarmed I wouldn't try to troubleshoot with vitamins.

My second thought was what kind of shampoo/cleanser are you using? When I was exploring alternate washing techniques my scalp wasn't very happy. Low sulfate or sulfate free messed up my scalp. And if your scalp isn't happy it'll will make you shed like a dog. But again this was my experience, I don't have the same texture as you so take everything here with a grain of salt.

Also are you putting oils on your scalp? Because your cleanser might not be removing it properly. That might build up and cause you to shed. It definitely didn't help my shedding thats for sure. Some peeps just can't use oil or conditioner on the scalp. You can still put a light coating of things on top but not enough to touch your scalp.

Lastly, your washing frequency. I stretched my washing out to once a week and did that for maybe 2 years. Huge mistake. All that extra oil caused me to shed horribly. I now understand that was from fungal overgrowth. I didn't know that was a thing back then. I was itchy all the time. I'd always be scratching. So the hair left on my head was super healthy... until it fell out! I've almost grown all that thinning out by now. But you didn't mention any itching...

So when did you really notice the thinning?? Because a change in your routine may have caused it. I don't think age alone would have done this. Kids maybe but I don't think that would last. So you could try a stronger cleanser, keep oils and conditioner away from your scalp and try washing more frequently. These are things that solved my shedding so I wanted to add them to the list. I know our hair is very different! But maybe keep this in mind if nothing else is helping. And again, take my suggestions with a grain of salt:)

blackgothicdoll
January 5th, 2019, 11:46 AM
Pics of my hair:

https://imgur.com/a/PZvzCSB

Any advice, suggestions, and feedback gratefully appreciated!!

Goodness your hair is gorgeous. I'd say by the 'naked' picture you may be more like 3b/3c, but I'm really bad with hair types so don't take my word as gospel. I don't think it matters too much anyways, just helps to get a better mental image.

I'm a little torn on what to suggest, as by your pictures with your curls defined, it seems like you have keeping your hair clumped and organized under control. If you're still getting tangles with this method, I would go back to suggesting protective styles involving braids - braided buns, dutch braids, etc - just because I'm very familiar with the type of frizz your natural hair has, and that type of shrinkage is what causes knots.

What have you tried so far, and what seems to be working/not working?

lapushka
January 5th, 2019, 11:56 AM
Update: My new routine is going to be once-weekly shampoo (with the Shea Moisture hydration one that BerrySara recommended), followed by a deep conditioner -- 30 minutes in a cap with heat -- followed by squish-to-condish with slippy conditioner. Then LOC (Knot Today, argon oil, and then a curl cream).

I'm going to switch from drying with clips to using a curl stretcher cream instead. It won't give me the length that the clips will (I have the DevaCurl Super Stretch Coconut Curl Elongator but it doesn't seem to do anything! My hair still immediately SPROINGS up into tight, short curls even if I slather on the stuff and then smooth/pull my hair downward), but I think that drying with the ends weighed down by the metal duck clips might be causing end breakage.

And my new year's resolution is to wear my hair up more!

Question about protective styles: Is a french twist with the curls spilling out the top (like this online pic (http://stylesweekly.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/20-feminine-ways-to-wear-the-french-twist-this-fall14.jpg)) as protective as a tucked-in bun? Will waving around in the air, shaking against the other curls, cause breakage? Or is getting the hair up and off of chairs, shirts, etc., good enough? Buns crush my curls into a frizzy mass, which leaves me with fewer options for the rest of the week, but a loose french twist secured with a gigantic plastic claw clip doesn't.

I will post an update in a few months! Thanks again for all the great suggestions!

I think Aunt Jackie has a don't shrink gel of some kind, I believe that one does work.

I think a French twist is protective enough for the ends, personally; maybe it depends on how you do one.

I think few updos cause breakage.

Hang in there!

AuNaturel
January 5th, 2019, 09:21 PM
I'm also not an expert on hair typing! Back in the day, Feye Herself (TM) diagnosed me with 3c rather than 3b hair, based on the tightness of my naked curls (pencil-width, rather than fatter or looser).

Also, I feel like a common characteristic of 3b hair is that it CAN be loosened (by damp bunning, clipping and weighing down, etc.) into big bouncy ringlets, or even made into "wavy hair" just with styling. My tight tight corkscrews resist any sort of loosening SO HARD -- it takes a herculean effort to stretch them out at all, even with mountains of stretching cream and clipping weights off the ends. They just want to spring up tight, despite everything I do. It seems like most of the 3b ladies here have the option: they can encourage their curls to loosen if they want to.

I think of 3b curls as the platonic perfect curl -- those big fat Irish loose bouncy ringlets. Huge luscious curls. So pretty! Mine are too small, too tight, and frustrating because of too much shrinkage.

I used to wonder if I was a strange caucasian 4a, because of how wiry and tight my naked hair feels, but I definitely have spirals, not s-or-z-shaped zigzags, so I think I'm firmly a 3. Just a very tight 3.

Hair typing is hard!

Fethenwen
January 6th, 2019, 12:25 AM
Oh my goodness, such gorgeous hair!

You got some great advice on hair care so far. But I would also look closer on the shedding problem. If you keep shedding your hairs too much, they wont be able to reach a longer length before shedding out.

Sounds most probably that your issue might be hormonal, and long term stress. I can imagine raising five kids might have taken its toll on your body, but that doesn't mean that you could not do anything about it. You might have to make a few changes in your Iifestyle. I would suggest you start to take some time for yourself to treat you as being in a premenopausal state if you want your hair to grow more. That means - slow down and nourish. Also you might want to look into something like the okinawa diet. Lots of greens and veg, fish, lots of fiber and get those phytonutrients from things like miso and especially seaweeds.
I would also suggest something like yoga, thai chi or meditation to manage your stress levels and improve sleep quality. The key is anyway to balance your hormones, there might be some herbs and supplements that could also support this. But you would need to contact a qualified herbal or health practitioner in order to get it right because these things need to be highly individualized.

Silverbrumby
January 6th, 2019, 01:20 AM
Aging changes hair growth, thickness and shedding rates for some people. I'm one of them. My terminal is shorter than before. I'm in my mid fifties now and I'm fine with the hair I have but it's never going to be hip.

Cate36
January 6th, 2019, 03:01 AM
Have you had a hormone check as well as vitamin?

If I were you I would get a good hair vitamin (Swisse, hair, skin and nails is great.. has everything in it..including iron)

The other thing I would look at is the sheds.. if you hair is not thinning dramatically, then check to see if the sheds are breakage? Do a strand test.. see if the strand is super stretchy or snaps to see if you have deficient in Moisture or Protein?

lapushka
January 6th, 2019, 05:18 PM
AuNaturel, I just now saw your pictures, OMG gorgeous! :)

Cate36
January 6th, 2019, 05:25 PM
Yes for sure! You have stunning hair.. really rare.. I don't think I have ever seen curls and colour like that..! I'm just trying to work out what has happened. Hair cannot just get dramatically shorter unless it is breakage and you are not keeping the strands that re grow for the same length of time as previously. I truly truly think you should take attention away a little from everyone else, and put it onto your self - have some quality Me time. I think Hair is a real sign of what is going on inside. If I were you I would get a full blood test from the doctors (hormone, FHS, Vitamin, Thyroid), and then take it to a trichologist for an assessment. They would get to the root of the issue and get you back on track. They pick up things doctors do not ...i.e. your iron levels may be OK to survive, but a trichologist would be able to assess if they are high enough. On the right treatment, in 6mths to a year, you could be regaining the length you have lost and also thickness... I would love to follow your journey if you get the chance to do this. I don't think it is anything you are physically doing because obviously you are caring for your hair.. I think it is an underlying issue from life in general...

AuNaturel
January 6th, 2019, 05:48 PM
(duplicate post, sorry!)

AuNaturel
January 6th, 2019, 06:06 PM
You guys, this thread is SO HELPFUL for me!

I'm taking all of your suggestions to heart. Here is what I did yesterday: Overnight oiling. Shampoo, followed by a 30-minute proper deep condition (cap, heat), then rinsed out, then a light Garnier conditioner squished in and rinsed. I got out of the shower, towel-dried for 5 minutes, put in L and O, and let it air dry. Here are some new pics -- color is a little off because of indoor yellowy light, but this should give a good idea of the current length and thickness, texture, etc:

https://imgur.com/a/0TLT4Wp

SO MUCH SHRINKAGE, MY SISTERS.

Cate36, wow -- I did not realize that trichologists existed (I mean, beyond the obvious fixing-bald-issues types of procedures). This is a very interesting option! For sure, life at 40 with a ton of kids and peri-menopausal sleep is a different paradigm than my lovely, quiet life at 30 was. Sleep, B vitamins, adequate protein... I know that my thyroid is good. I know that my sleep and stress are bad. Okay, yes. Lots to think about.

I think I need to make some systemic new year's resolutions!

Any thoughts or advice? I'm so sorry I took 10 years off of LHC -- I had forgotten how helpful and supportive this community is! <3

spitfire511
January 7th, 2019, 10:08 AM
auNaturel - I have little to no advice that's useful here... I'm 41 having had 2 kids and am starting to see some hormone changes (and a heck of a lot of stress lately) so I am not getting my usual growth and have also seen rather a lot of shed - but not been dealing with it as long as you have sounds like!

What is crazy (and I'll come back with a photo if I can find one) is that you have almost exactly the same hair as one of my friends since elementary school. She had WL hair back in the day (which tragically got burnt in a go-kart crash - where the cart caught fire - I kid you not) and keeps it CBL now (unstretched) - though I've noticed that it's a good deal thinner than it used to be and I don't know if that figures in for her and length. (We don't talk about hair much other than the fact that people- strangers even- STILL think they have the right to touch her hair and spring her curls). She is a fitness instructor so I think part of it is just ease of care and weight when it's long.

If I get the chance to ask her about it I will and get back to you!!

AuNaturel
January 7th, 2019, 11:37 AM
Yes, I'd love to hear if she's noticed a difference over time! I have noticed a difference in both length and thickness, and I'm just not sure what the root cause(s) might be.