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View Full Version : My hair is shrinking. So discouraged.



CanadaSquirrel
November 21st, 2019, 12:35 PM
All my adult life, I have been fighting to grow my hair long. Trims, perms in the 1980s, and a few really bad haircuts have set me back, plus my hair is dark blonde and coarse, slightly wavy, and doesn't have much shine no matter what I try. I keep my bangs trimmed to just below my eyebrows as that is the style I prefer. The bangs grow like weeds, but the back grows terribly slowly. Maybe it is growing but just breaking off, I don't know.

I've been doing measurements on the 20th day of each month, since March 2019, starting at the top of my forehead where my hairline is, over the top of my head, and down the back to the longest point. This month my hair shrunk by 1/4". I feel so discouraged. Here is my chart:

GOAL: 36" at longest point, then trim and let the sides catch up. If that ever happens, I might see if it will grow longer.


March: 31 3/4"

April: 32 5/8"

May: 33"

June: 33 1/4"

July 9, got a trim. She cut off 1.25", so I was back to 32"

Aug: 33 1/2 (wow! It grew an inch and a half!)

Sept: 33 3/4 (only half an inch)

Oct: 33 1/2 (lost 1/4 inch)

Nov: 33 1/4 (lost another 1/4 inch)

The sides, which were badly butchered to horrible chunky layers around my face at three different times in the past three years (first time was awful, and then I tried to get them blended as they grew out but those failed, too, so now I want to try just leaving them alone), are growing to catch up with the back, but my goodness does the back ever look like a rat's nest. :( And all this shrinkage is really discouraging me.

I look at my ends and I don't see many splits at all.

I posted recently to talk about how the bottom few inches of my hair feels crispy. There is an audible crunchy sound when I comb through the ends. I don't see much breakage coming off in the comb. (I use a wide-toothed comb and go very gentle with it.) I put Hask argan oil into my ends at least once a day, gently patting it in and smoothing it around softly to distribute it with my fingers.

Maybe I really DO need a trim. Maybe that will help? Look at the growth from July to August of an inch and a half. Could that be because I got it trimmed? Or maybe it grows more in summer. I don't know.

I think I will look for a sharp pair of haircutting scissors today when I go to the city an hour north. The only store they have up there that might carry them is Walmart, so hopefully I can find some. It costs $40 to get a haircut, and I'm sure decent scissors can be bought for less than that, to let me do a trim on my own hair at least a few times before they get dull.

I'd like to share some photos to show how my hair has been looking over the past few years, but I don't see a way to upload them to a post except via a URL. Is that the only way? It'd be so much easier to directly upload them here rather than the slow process of me setting up a photo hosting account and trying to get the rest of that process happening. Is there a way to do that?

Edited to say: I got into my PhotoBucket account and uploaded pics. Will try to get them on here now.

https://i1186.photobucket.com/albums/z362/steenybopper/Hair/Nov%2019%202016_zpsclxo0vim.jpg
(November 2016)

https://i1186.photobucket.com/albums/z362/steenybopper/Hair/Hair%20Jan%202018_zpsdvechsqb.jpg
(January 2019)

https://i1186.photobucket.com/albums/z362/steenybopper/Hair/May%202018_zps7it3jlj4.jpg
May 2019

https://i1186.photobucket.com/albums/z362/steenybopper/Hair/Nov%2021%202019_zpsxgbybpy8.jpg
(Today, Nov 21, 2019 - haven't washed hair in a few days so probably should redo this photo, but you see the ragged edges?)

(Sorry, all these photos are huge. I don't know how to put smaller ones on. Can anyone advise?)

Anyway, yeah, seriously considering trimming my ends. I will follow the method I've seen linked in here. I hate to do it, but my hair keeps shrinking anyway, so maybe at least I can have the ends look neat and tidy rather than the ragged mess they look like now while they keep leaving me with shorter and shorter hair. Maybe it's because I'm 52 and that's just the way it is over 50? I don't know. I'm sad right now, though. Silly how something so seemingly unimportant like hair can make a woman feel discouraged sometimes.

enting
November 21st, 2019, 12:53 PM
I have several thoughts:
1) could your wave pattern be messing with your measurements?
2) have you had any growth around your hairline? Is it possible that your hairline is fuller and you're starting the measuring tape farther forward?
3) has your thickness changed at all? Sometimes hair puts more energy into growing thicker rather than longer when it starts to get healthier.

If your ends are unbearably crunchy then maybe a dusting or microtrim is in order. Sometimes that's enough to freshen the ends, even if you don't see splits.

My hair definitely grows more in summer, that's definitely a possibility.

You should be able to upload images from your computer to an album on LHC. I'm not great with explaining the step by step, but that's how I've uploaded nearly all of my pictures.

lapushka
November 21st, 2019, 12:56 PM
How many times did you go to have it trimmed? Because you told us something about that.

If so, I would totally, but totally skip that and teach yourself to self-trim. I think I linked Feye's method in another thread of yours? :flower:

SleepyTangles
November 21st, 2019, 01:33 PM
Hello darling. Your hair is super pretty, anyhow. But I can see a bit of dryness in the ends, they look a bit worn. Do you lighten it?

lapushka
November 21st, 2019, 03:35 PM
Hello darling. Your hair is super pretty, anyhow. But I can see a bit of dryness in the ends, they look a bit worn. Do you lighten it?

I don't see that at all, BTW! :)

Rowdy
November 21st, 2019, 04:14 PM
My hair is also coarse and crispy ends that reject moisture means mineral buildup for me. Have you tired a chelating shampoo/ swimmers shampoo? When I use it I have to leave the shampoo on to soak for about 20 minutes for it to work.

MusicalSpoons
November 21st, 2019, 04:21 PM
I see a huge difference between the 2016 pic and the most recent, maybe it is mineral buildup.

How do you wear your hair, btw?

CanadaSquirrel
November 21st, 2019, 06:21 PM
My hair is also coarse and crispy ends that reject moisture means mineral buildup for me. Have you tired a chelating shampoo/ swimmers shampoo? When I use it I have to leave the shampoo on to soak for about 20 minutes for it to work.

Your mention of mineral buildup has got me thinking. Our tap water, from a community well, is pretty hard. Lots of calcium and other stuff. We use a reverse osmosis system for our drinking water. I wonder if I should bring couple jugs of the RO water to the bathtub to use for washing and rinsing my hair.

I am not familiar with chelating/swimmers shampoo. That's something into which I should look.

CanadaSquirrel
November 21st, 2019, 06:24 PM
I see a huge difference between the 2016 pic and the most recent, maybe it is mineral buildup.

How do you wear your hair, btw?

I usually wear my hair down as I feel cold with it up. Occasionally I put it up in a ponytail with a satin scrunchie, or I sometimes do a loose bun secured with a wooden four-pronged thing I bought on Etsy from a seller recommended in here.

CanadaSquirrel
November 21st, 2019, 06:27 PM
Hello darling. Your hair is super pretty, anyhow. But I can see a bit of dryness in the ends, they look a bit worn. Do you lighten it?

No, I don't do any kind of colour alteration to my hair. Can't afford it, don't have time, and I fear making my hair become even more dry/shrinking.

CanadaSquirrel
November 21st, 2019, 06:28 PM
How many times did you go to have it trimmed? Because you told us something about that.

If so, I would totally, but totally skip that and teach yourself to self-trim. I think I linked Feye's method in another thread of yours? :flower:

I only had the one trim in the summer.

CanadaSquirrel
November 21st, 2019, 06:36 PM
I have several thoughts:
1) could your wave pattern be messing with your measurements?
2) have you had any growth around your hairline? Is it possible that your hairline is fuller and you're starting the measuring tape farther forward?
3) has your thickness changed at all? Sometimes hair puts more energy into growing thicker rather than longer when it starts to get healthier.

If your ends are unbearably crunchy then maybe a dusting or microtrim is in order. Sometimes that's enough to freshen the ends, even if you don't see splits.

My hair definitely grows more in summer, that's definitely a possibility.

You should be able to upload images from your computer to an album on LHC. I'm not great with explaining the step by step, but that's how I've uploaded nearly all of my pictures.

1. I don't know. Could that be? I always get my husband or an older child of mine to stretch my hair as long as it will go, to try to have the measurements be consistent.

2. I haven't seen any growth at my hairline. Same old bangs all the time.

3. Yes. My hair has gotten thicker since I started taking Kerotin hair supplements last February. A scrunchie used to wrap all of it easily with 3 twists. Now 2 twists is too loose but the 3rd twist is very tight.

MusicalSpoons
November 21st, 2019, 06:36 PM
I usually wear my hair down as I feel cold with it up. Occasionally I put it up in a ponytail with a satin scrunchie, or I sometimes do a loose bun secured with a wooden four-pronged thing I bought on Etsy from a seller recommended in here.

Wearing it down could be a major factor then, as it's the perfect length for the ends to be rubbed away from the backs of chairs, friction from clothing, etc. And if there is anything else going on such as mineral buildup making it fragile, then wearing it down will be more damaging than it would be for very strong hair (not something too many of us have even when our hair is healthy).

CanadaSquirrel
November 21st, 2019, 07:39 PM
How many times did you go to have it trimmed? Because you told us something about that.

If so, I would totally, but totally skip that and teach yourself to self-trim. I think I linked Feye's method in another thread of yours? :flower:


I have several thoughts:
1) could your wave pattern be messing with your measurements?
2) have you had any growth around your hairline? Is it possible that your hairline is fuller and you're starting the measuring tape farther forward?
3) has your thickness changed at all? Sometimes hair puts more energy into growing thicker rather than longer when it starts to get healthier.

If your ends are unbearably crunchy then maybe a dusting or microtrim is in order. Sometimes that's enough to freshen the ends, even if you don't see splits.

My hair definitely grows more in summer, that's definitely a possibility.

You should be able to upload images from your computer to an album on LHC. I'm not great with explaining the step by step, but that's how I've uploaded nearly all of my pictures.


Wearing it down could be a major factor then, as it's the perfect length for the ends to be rubbed away from the backs of chairs, friction from clothing, etc. And if there is anything else going on such as mineral buildup making it fragile, then wearing it down will be more damaging than it would be for very strong hair (not something too many of us have even when our hair is healthy).

Hmm... Yes, I have often heard it is protective to wear hair up. I experimented with it one summer, wearing it up in the wooden prong thing for several weeks. It didn't make my hair get longer, so it might be other factors going on, such as mineral buildup and/or too much protein.

I wonder if sleeping on a silk pillowcase would help. I have seen ads for them helping, but at $40 for a pillowcase, I am hesitant to try.

dyna
November 21st, 2019, 08:27 PM
If you think you have a mineral buildup due to the hard water, a vinegar rinse might help to remove the calcium (hey, it works in my coffeemaker). Maybe try on a small part first. It may make you smell like a pickle, though.

CanadaSquirrel
November 21st, 2019, 08:46 PM
If you think you have a mineral buildup due to the hard water, a vinegar rinse might help to remove the calcium (hey, it works in my coffeemaker). Maybe try on a small part first. It may make you smell like a pickle, though.

I keep a bottle of apple cider vinegar in the bathroom and often use a little pour of a tablespoon or so in a square yogurt bucket full of water. I dump it over my head after I've rinsed out the conditioner. Then I finish with a blast of cold water from the pull-out shower nozzle. (I do this leaning over the edge of our bathtub, not in a full-on shower. That'd be cold!)

I washed my hair tonight with Neutrogena shampoo in hopes that is a good enough clarifier to help me. After conditioning and then rinsing with the regular tap water, I poured the yogurt bucket of reverse osmosis water that I brought up from the kitchen prior to starting - some hot from the kettle, mixed with cold from the RO tap - and a little pour of ACV. Then I finished by pouring a jug of mostly cold RO water over my hair.

Now I am lying down with my hair up in a cotton T-shirt till the main water drops are sopped up. Next I will take it down, put 5-6 pumps of Hask argan oil on my palms and gently distribute it throughout my ends. I have some cooking to do, so I can't let it hang down to dry right away. I will put it up in a loose bun with my wooden hair fork.

I hope all of this helps. I will plan on trying the whole process again in a few days.

0xalis
November 22nd, 2019, 01:19 AM
If you think you have a mineral buildup due to the hard water, a vinegar rinse might help to remove the calcium (hey, it works in my coffeemaker). Maybe try on a small part first. It may make you smell like a pickle, though.

Was going to say that same thing. If hard water is the issue, changing the water and doing vinegar rinses should theoretically help. I'd try wearing it up for a while, until things level out. Wearing it down isn't really all that bad, if you're not prone to breakage.
You just have to be careful, obviously haha. So fixing the problems causing your hair to be prone to breakage should allow you to wear it down again without problems. There was a girl at my high school with knee-length hair who wore it in a very loose ponytail toward the bottom of her hair, every single day. Her ends were fine.

Also consider looking into your diet, malnutrition can lead to brittle hair, as can hormonal changes! So if you've tried everything and nothing helps, see a doctor.

RubberDucky
November 22nd, 2019, 02:13 AM
My hair gets crunchy with protein and coconut so I avoid those in all my hair products. Nothing protein based, I just concentrate on moisture.

LittleHealthy
November 22nd, 2019, 04:44 AM
Your hair looks lovely in the photos. I haven't read all the comments but in regards to oiling, my ends were severely crispy and awful (old dyed section, quite damaged) and I was dry oiling almost every day, too.
What revolutionised my hair was a suggestion here to dampen my hair fiest, THEN oil it. Or, to oil it lightly after a wash while it was still damp. Please do give it a try!
Also with your length, with the waves it may be hard to get an accurate measurement sometimes, I have no doubt it grew, and didn't shrink, you may have even grabbed a different section to usual for measuring? I'm sorry for feel discouraged, even at your current length your hair is considerably long and very beautiful :heartbeat

spidermom
November 22nd, 2019, 07:38 AM
I couldn't get consistent measurements so stopped. You might try choosing a dress with a pattern and taking a photo every month or every season to see how your growth is progressing. There is a thread where you can post your seasonal pictures called the Seasonal Growth Project.

We have hard water here and I use white vinegar as a rinse. I don't just pour it over my head, though. I lower as much length as I can into the container (mixture of 1 splash of vinegar and 12 ounces of water) and let is soak for however long I have the patience to hold it there - maybe 1-3 minutes. Then I pour the remainder over my scalp and massage through with gentle fingers.

lapushka
November 22nd, 2019, 07:57 AM
I only had the one trim in the summer.

Yes but the stylist might have cut more off than you think. It's the only reason I can think of; often things like this set you back like you wouldn't believe. I would definitely look into self-trimming, if you need another trim.

CanadaSquirrel
November 22nd, 2019, 03:33 PM
How many times did you go to have it trimmed? Because you told us something about that.

If so, I would totally, but totally skip that and teach yourself to self-trim. I think I linked Feye's method in another thread of yours?




Yes but the stylist might have cut more off than you think. It's the only reason I can think of; often things like this set you back like you wouldn't believe. I would definitely look into self-trimming, if you need another trim.

I measured my hair before and after the trim. According to my notes, it was like this:


March: 31 3/4"

April: 32 5/8"

May: 33"

June: 33 1/4"

July 9, got a trim. She cut off 1.25", so I was back to 32"

Aug: 33 1/2 (wow! It grew an inch and a half!)

Sept: 33 3/4 (only half an inch)

Oct: 33 1/2 (lost 1/4 inch)

Nov: 33 1/4 (lost another 1/4 inch)

. . . . .

I clarified my hair last night with Neutrogena shampoo. I used jugs of reverse osmosis water for the final rinses. And I am going to try wearing it up in my wooden hair fork for the next month. If it still hasn't gained length or if it shrinks, I will do a self-trim. I bought barber scissors at the drug store yesterday.

AutobotsAttack
November 22nd, 2019, 03:57 PM
Your hair looks roughly the exact same length from now compared to the 2016 photo. If anything, your length has become stagnant from breakage that’s not allowing you to grow longer, but isn’t enough for your current length to start getting shorter. I’d advise for you to look at your manipulation levels within your hair care routine, and since you’re now blonde (If you’ve gone through any processing), perhaps using protein treatments to keep the structure of your hair in tact. But focus the protein on your ends, as well as match your protein treatments, with adequate amounts of moisture.

Even with trims, you should be seeing noticeable length retention, hence why I suggest it’s more than likely just breakage that’s going unnoticed.

Ylva
November 22nd, 2019, 04:27 PM
Your hair looks roughly the exact same length from now compared to the 2016 photo. If anything, your length has become stagnant from breakage that’s not allowing you to grow longer, but isn’t enough for your current length to start getting shorter. I’d advise for you to look at your manipulation levels within your hair care routine, and since you’re now blonde, perhaps using protein treatments to keep the structure of your hair in tact. But focus the protein on your ends, as well as match your protein treatments, with adequate amounts of moisture.

Even with trims, you should be seeing noticeable length retention, hence why I suggest it’s more than likely just breakage that’s going unnoticed.

As far as I understood, she hasn't had any chemical treatment done. The lighting is just different in the two photos.

AutobotsAttack
November 22nd, 2019, 04:30 PM
Oh okay. I’d at least suggest keeping the ends moisturized, along with protein. For the OP.

embee
November 22nd, 2019, 04:45 PM
When I wore my hair down I could not get it to grow. There was breakage I guess, though I never *saw* it. Once I began putting my hair up every day, it began to show growth - though I did not check for it, that would be crazy-making. One day, many months later, I measured a shed and it was 36 inches, I was shocked and delighted.

SleepyTangles
November 23rd, 2019, 02:53 AM
No, I don't do any kind of colour alteration to my hair. Can't afford it, don't have time, and I fear making my hair become even more dry/shrinking.

My bad, your hair color is very dimensional, so it looks slightly different in every picture. If you donīt lighten it, or do any chemical alteration, then I second whatīs been said regarding mineral build up. May be mechanical damage from sitting on chair with a rail or having bags straps on your shoulders?

MamaLou
November 23rd, 2019, 06:58 AM
You have beautiful hair :) I love the waves, the color, the thickness!! I don't know why it shrinks, maybe the waviness of your hair changes between seasons?

lapushka
November 23rd, 2019, 11:24 AM
You have beautiful hair :) I love the waves, the color, the thickness!! I don't know why it shrinks, maybe the waviness of your hair changes between seasons?

That's a nice theory.

When I still measured, I went to day 7 of 7 (wash day), then brushed it out really well, then measured, because a wavy texture can do lots of odd things depending on when you measure. You could also measure when it's wet!

0xalis
November 23rd, 2019, 05:22 PM
Try measuring with a lock from the middle of your hemline stretched out! Might need someone's help to do so, but it's more reliable.