View Full Version : Is it okay if I just...don't cut off damage and let it grow? Has anyone done this?

August 9th, 2010, 02:34 PM
In reality, to get rid of all of the damage in my hair I would have to cut it to about BSL. (Maybe even about shoulder to be honest). My hair is waist length now, and I'm not willing to do that. Micro-trims and trimming my hair are just kind of pointless, because I notice a lot white dots and breakage and splits in my hair all the way up to BSL. I'm stubborn, I don't want to trim my hair every month or even micro-trim it..I just want it to grow. I am finally taking care of my hair, I'm no longer using chemicals on it (the damage is from extreme chemical usage). I don't use shampoo anymore, so my hair is much more moisturized..and wrapping my hair after washing it makes it appear healthy and shiny (until you look at the ends up close in good lighting, eek!). My hair is the longest it has been in years, but it still feels short to me and I want to start trimming it when I look in the mirror and think to myself "My hair is way too long, let me cut it a few inches." That will probably be a bit past hip length. I went through some extreme chemical damage a few months ago (I did get a trim and layers after that), but my hair has grown since then even though I'm sure there's breakage. Has anyone ever just treated their damaged hair well, and simply let it grow without worrying about it? Any info, stories, etc are very much appreciated. Thanks!

Petite Simone
August 9th, 2010, 02:38 PM
I'm sorry to say this, but you *will* have to cut off damage if you want your hair to be long and healthy. As much as we may wish it, no amount of pampering our hair makes damage that is already there magically repair itself. The damage will only move further up your hair, making things worse. Better to cut it to BSL or SL now, rather than wait for it to move up to your ears. That way you can grow your hair out as long as you want, only needing to S&D your splits, and your hair will be not only long, but *healthy*

August 9th, 2010, 02:42 PM
My hair has tons of white dots and split ends if you look at it closely, but from a distance it looks like it's in good condition. I also don't want to trim away all of the damage because I'd lose some length. As long as you're happy with how it looks, I don't think you should worry about the splits you can only see when you look closely. Most people won't examine your hair very carefully anyway.
I think the best way to get rid of split ends is S&D. Trimming individual damaged hairs will get rid of splits without sacrificing length.

August 9th, 2010, 02:52 PM
I agree with Petite Simone. See, once your hair is damaged, that's it. Its damaged and even the best oils and conditioners in the world will only mask and cover up the damage. Forget all the lies all these major hair product companies say that their conditioner or their hair treatment will magically repair serious hair damage. No. They may have nice cones or even nice oils which will fill in the weakened spots in your hair, but once again its not going to transform a weakened, damaged strand of hair into a healthy strand of hair.

If you have damage at your ends rosie, then you really should trim them off. Its will be much better in the long run when you will slowly but surely grow healthier hair.

August 9th, 2010, 02:57 PM
Thanks for the advice, everyone. As bad as this sounds, I'd rather have long hair that is damaged, but doesn't look half bad..then short healthy hair that looks crazy. My hair pretty much NEEDS length to be weighed down enough to look good. I definitely wouldn't want to use hot tools on my hair to make it looks presentable when it's down. I think I might let it grow for a few more months and baby the damage, and then start slowly trimming away the damage (no matter how much I don't want to do it, once a month trims will be very helpful for my hair)..thanks for making me realize!

August 9th, 2010, 03:01 PM
I have damage but I only trim once a year. My damage is not so severe that it impedes my hair growth, but within a few months of trimming the ends start to feel rough, and within a year they are like velcro. Most of the damage was from rough handling and heat before. Oils, especially shea butter, really help to make the damage less noticeable and easier to deal with, and they slow down the accumulation of damage on the length, but it won't completely stop or fix damage. My advice is to cut your hair when you can no longer take the damage or when it starts to break, but until then try the best to baby your hair with oils or whatever product helps you most =)

August 9th, 2010, 03:02 PM
I have been stubbornly not trimming my heat-damaged ends (only S&D) and it is really slow going, I assume because the most damaged parts of the ends are breaking off over time. Petite Simone and ericthegreat are right - you can't erase damage. I don't know what the extent of your damage is, though. Mine is not good, but it could be worse so I'm trying to battle through it while being very gentle to my hair until I reach BSL. Then I plan to maintain that length for a while to get rid of most of the damage, and then grow from there.

August 9th, 2010, 04:16 PM
Nightshade grew out major damage without a huge chop, but I'm pretty sure she did plenty of trims along the way. It's possible to baby your hair and grow it out without a chop, definitely, but the trims are pretty crucial to keep the hairs from fraying and breaking off. Breakage can actually shorten your hair (ask Nightshade. Or check out her article on damage (http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/vbjournal.php?do=article&articleid=79).)

August 9th, 2010, 04:21 PM
Ok, something I've been wondering for a while- in such a situation, would it be feasible to just baby the hair until all the damage is shed? I suppose that would take years and years, but if someone were really committed to not trimming, could that work?

August 9th, 2010, 04:26 PM
Ok, something I've been wondering for a while- in such a situation, would it be feasible to just baby the hair until all the damage is shed? I suppose that would take years and years, but if someone were really committed to not trimming, could that work?

It might, but damaged hair tends to catch healthy hair and damage it through friction.

August 9th, 2010, 04:30 PM
That really wouldn't be a practical solution ifyouforget. If you don't cut off the damaged portions of your hair and decide to just let your natural shedding remove all the damaged hair, then you will be walking around with that damaged hair for years and years. Over time, the condition of your hair will just deteriorate really badly because that damaged hair wasn't cut off and if you ask me, that's just not worth it.

Edit: I agree with florenonite as well. The damaged hair can catch and tangle up with healthy hair causing the healthy hair to be damaged as well when you try to untangle your hair.

August 9th, 2010, 04:31 PM
yes when damage is there... it'll be hard to hide in the long run. Do you s&d regularly? i found that has prevented me from losing length as my hair is easily prone to damage otherwise . Thanks to LHC i found out how to do s&d properly

August 9th, 2010, 04:32 PM
How about you just trim an inch or so every month/other month so you can gradually clip off damage instead of whacking it off in one go? That's what I used to do.

August 9th, 2010, 04:36 PM
Trimming would be the way to go. Splits will travel up your hair shaft and your hair will be weaker. I'd rather have healthy hair now as I know by the time it gets to goal length, it will be stronger. I have no splits and hope to keep it that way, even if I have to do some micro trims.

I do agree with Eric.. You'd be walking around with damaged hair for years... Remember. Those ends are probably 5 years old...

August 9th, 2010, 04:46 PM
I agree with florenonite as well. The damaged hair can catch and tangle up with healthy hair causing the healthy hair to be damaged as well when you try to untangle your hair.

This. It's one of those vicious circle things, really; damaged hair catches on healthy hair, tangles form, detangling causes damage... and well, on it goes. I'm afraid the only way really is to trim - but not necessarily a 'big chop'. A thorough S&D every week should help, perhaps in front of a favourite movie or TV show? Or with an audiobook, something you don't need to look at that much to keep up with. Some people find it quite relaxing, and you might find after the first few times that you're finding a lot less damage than you thought. :)

August 9th, 2010, 04:58 PM
Just watch it. If it's still growing/gaining length, then good. But you could reach a state where it's breaking off more than it's growing. Once that happens, you won't gain any length until you trim the damage away.

My SIL had classic length hair, but she didn't take care of it, and it started to break off. It has broken off all the way to upper tailbone length, and she is just now talking about trimming off the damage. To get back to good, healthy hair, she will have to cut back to BSL. If she had started regular small trims when the damage first became obvious, her hair would still be around classic length, I am sure.

August 9th, 2010, 05:04 PM
I, for one, know that I will not gain as much length in terms of my ends as I grow with my damage due to breakage. However, if I were to listen to everyone who told me to "cut off the damage right now!" I would have to cut off 32 inches of my hair and I am not willing to do that. My virgin hair will grow no matter what my ends look like; while I might have gained 10 inches in virgin hair, I have probably only gained 5-6 inches in length and I have accepted that. I also plan for 1-2 inch trims once a year. If you don't want to lob off a lot of hair at once, then don't. You can grow it out with damage. It may feel slower, in my case, but when I see that I am now a "Two-toned head" and how much progress I have made in terms of that and the general appearance of my hair, then I know it IS growing and I am doing something right.

There are many paths to hair happiness. :flower:

August 9th, 2010, 05:09 PM
I had major damage all over my head when I first came here because I didn't know how to care for my hair properly. I had to trim it frequently for over two years after joining because the damage kept creeping up the hair shafts if I didn't.

It is unfortunate but others have said it: Babying damaged hair along will only get you so far. And if the damage is extreme, then the potential for it to travel up the hair shaft via knotting and splits expanding is greater.

Really, though, you have decided what you are going to do. Try it and see how it works out for you. If the damage gets worse, then you know you have to trim to keep it at bay. If it doesn't, then you beat the odds! :)


August 9th, 2010, 07:09 PM
Cinnamon Hair has a great reply to this question on her site http://www.beyondclassiclength.com/choose.html (Under story of my hair journey, and journey to thinker ends at knee length) She went from tbl very damaged hair to gorgeous healthy knee length hair by doing very small trims every month. She didn't trim as much as her hair would grow each month, so if you grow 1/2 inch per month, trim 1/4 inch. It takes longer to grow to goal, but the end result is a thick gorgeous hemline and healthy hair.

Also, as a stylist, I can tell you that the damage will travel up, and could(most likely will) end up in your hair seeming to not grow at all because whatever length you do get per month you'll loose the same amount due to breakage.

I don't advocate big huge trims to get rid of all the damage at once, because this will lead to the same issue you have right now in the future.

August 9th, 2010, 07:25 PM
I'm on this path right now. No one else seems to see the extent of the damage but I do feel it. It feels dry and scritchy. However, it is finally "long" and I refuse to part with it just yet. Like you I'd rather have the length right now. It has been damaged since it was a bob, and it is now passing lower BSL. Maybe I can trim back to upper BSL... nah.

August 9th, 2010, 08:15 PM
You can have healthy long hair. Like others have said s&d'ing will help and regular trims and they can be micro if you like.

What you really need to do in my opinion is assess what is causing the breakage and splits and minimize the causes. Are you for example rough on your hair when it is wet? Seamed combs, over brushing, blowdrying etc.

If you do not remove some damage, (s&d) can do that well, your hair can catch on itsef, as others have said as well and make matters worse.

Split ends are caused by dryness (http://www.hairscientists.org/trichoptilosis.htm). I still get mechanical damage when I am rough on my hair while not getting splits. My hair is balanced in its condition. If I disrupt that and I did while experimenting with catnip outside of my usual routine, I started to see splits again.

I returned to my usual routine and the splits stopped. You do not need to use catnip. Just find a routine where your hair gets enough moisture and strength and things should settle down unless the damage has been caused by chemical abuse or UV and cutting more hair than you want to is the only remedy. That does not mean however that you need to do a drastic trim. There are excellent conditioners that can temporarily help smooth and strengthen and moisturize your hair while you keep it long. You simply need to find products that work for you.

August 9th, 2010, 08:48 PM
You can always try and baby your hair as much as possible, but as so many people have said (and I've found out and rediscovered WAY too many more times than I care to admit...I am a dumb longhair!) there's really nothing that reverses damage, in the long run.

If you're really reticent about trimming, maybe baby your hair as much as possible in between the tiniest of trims every 4 months or so?

August 9th, 2010, 09:13 PM
I am following the trimming method mentioned that CinnamonHair used, and I am having great results.

I have pictures of my monthly trims in my album, and in 8 months, you can tell a big difference. I have quite a few more inches of heat-damaged and mistreated hair to take off, but in the meantime I've never lost an inch, and have actually grown several inches.

I would highly recommend this method if you don't want to lose your long hair but want to steadily remove damaged ends. It is slower to the goal, but when the goal is length *and* health, you know you're getting closer to both goals every month! :cheese:

August 9th, 2010, 09:39 PM
Some people have gotten away with not trimming much and using oils or conditioners. Your ends probably will need lot of protein and moisture. I avoided cutting and ended up with my ends breaking and wrapping around each other and be unable to detangle it. I ended up BCing and now I have no damage but that's me. You have to do what you're most comfortable with.

August 9th, 2010, 09:47 PM
I am doing this right now and I ran into a few snags, literally. Since not trimming for 4 months, my hair was more tangly leading to more 'shedding'. So I am going back to a few trims one every 2 months. However, a lack of heat styling has eliminated the need for more frequent trims due to white dots. You speak of your damage being very far up your length, and so I think what your hair may break at the white dots without trims. The white dots break to split ends, so if you're okay with that then I say go for it. Nothing bad happened to me in these 4 months other than snags, but that's the longest I went without a trim. Despite my predictions, my growth rate did not increase while I did not trim. However, I kept more of my length as most of us want. Good luck!

August 10th, 2010, 10:47 AM
I started growing from chin length two years ago, had 2 chemical processes in the space of about 4 months (perms) and for about a year: no trim at all. It wasn't until I reached BSL this spring that I had a few slight trims. Now I'm between BSL & waist and even though the strands at the sides are quite damaged and I experience breakage, it's still growing. In fact, it's doing fine (sig pic is a recent one). I do need a cone conditioner for the permed ends, but that's it. If I'd have listened to the hairdresser that did the perms, I'd still be chin length.

August 10th, 2010, 11:04 AM
Some people have gotten away with not trimming much and using oils or conditioners.
I'm one of those people, Speckla. I hate trimming, only do it twice a year, maybe. And I oil and condition the heck out of the lower 30" of my hair. I nip out obvious splits while S&Ding, which helps keep the tangles at a minimum, though I still get them due to my hair type. I may have very fairytaled ends due to breakage and generally thin hair, but I can live with that. I wouldn't want to feel obligated to cut off my hair just because there is damage, though. Might as well have a bob then.

August 10th, 2010, 11:13 AM
I, for one, know that I will not gain as much length in terms of my ends as I grow with my damage due to breakage. However, if I were to listen to everyone who told me to "cut off the damage right now!" I would have to cut off 32 inches of my hair and I am not willing to do that. My virgin hair will grow no matter what my ends look like; while I might have gained 10 inches in virgin hair, I have probably only gained 5-6 inches in length and I have accepted that. I also plan for 1-2 inch trims once a year. If you don't want to lob off a lot of hair at once, then don't. You can grow it out with damage. It may feel slower, in my case, but when I see that I am now a "Two-toned head" and how much progress I have made in terms of that and the general appearance of my hair, then I know it IS growing and I am doing something right.

There are many paths to hair happiness. :flower:

I want all-natural color back too so in the end what I gain in my ROOTS is more important than what I gain in total length (though that is important too hehe since I'm only touching bsl). But personally I have always trimmed of severe damage (hay-like, stiff hair that break or splits) as I can't stand the feeling of it. Right now my ends are dry, and there are some bent ends, no splits, and it feels just a little bit rough compared to what it was before. This is due to colorfixing and highlighting recently, all in an effort to get close to my natural color so I could grow it out. Thankfully the highlights are quite thin and sparse so a large part of my hair is not even very dry.

I'm postponing trims as of now, I keep monitoring my hair and if I notice splits I SD them, if my hair starts to feel crappy, rough and stiff, then I will start trimming half of my growth . I hope to get to at least waist before starting this routine. The damage that I see is on those highlighted strands (obviously!) Since I want to trim off my colored parts eventually anyway I really don't mind so much.

I use shea butter-coconut oil-conditioner-honey mix and Phyto9 as leave-ins as well as prewash oilings with wheat germ oil (contains ceramides!!) as well as just generally rich, moisturizing conditioners... Deep treatments in sauna are great, and I'm going to get some aloe vera gel to do an SMT :D

August 10th, 2010, 11:20 AM
I tried doing that, but ended up getting a nice big chop. I hated looking at the white dots. It will be annoying that you would have to grow again - but this time you will be able to take maybe a little better care of it and avoid breakage! :)

August 10th, 2010, 12:42 PM
You DO NOT have to cut off your damaged hair. I am so tired of seeing people saying that you can't fix your hair and that will have to cut it. I'm sorry, but my hair had been bleached almost 8 times in less than a few months and a year later... my hair looks healthier than some peoples virgin hair. A year ago my hair was like straw and breaking off. It was horrible, but I stayed patient. Will that damaged hair ever be like my virgin hair? NO, never. However, if you have the patience then you can grow it out without cutting it all off.

Now there are a few things I would do to help your hair along if you want to go through the aggravation of getting it back to a "good" place. First of all, do a deep conditioning treatment. Use either a home remedy or buy something with lots of cones. Cones like damaged hair. I'm currently using Suave Almond and Shea Butter and my damaged hair LOVES it. My hair comes out super silky and smooth every day now. Last year when my hair was at its worst I used aloe vera gel after getting out of the shower to style it. Globs and globs of it and it really helped my hair out. Henna has been my ultimate savior for my hair and has really masked a lot of the damage. Conditioner is a MUST as chemicals strip out all of the oils and proteins of your hair. If I only shampoo, my hair is "okay", but it's best if I use conditioner, a very thick conditioner like the one I mentioned, and it's only $3 for a BIG bottle! :)

Once you have deep conditioned and are in a good mood with your hair... trim it. Don't trim a lot, but perhaps do a little dusting. Maybe add some micro layers. Where those white spots are will eventually break off. Sorry, but they will. You might end up with some odd lengths in your hair, but overall, and as your hair grows over the next few months, they will blend in with your hair.

So again, it's about patience. I could have cut my hair to 1/2 and inch short and looked horrible, but I didn't. I have 20 inches of damaged hair on my head, and though a year is a long time to "fix" what was damaged, it was more than worth it to me. You can't really fix the damage so much as mask it, but your hair will heal to a point. Don't ask me how, but it does. Perhaps it's a buildup of the natural products I have used. I don't know. I just know that I've dyed and BLEACHED my hair for years. I've probably bleached my hair over 35 times in just a few years because I'm impatient and I like crazy colors. Your hair needs some time to relax a little after being shocked by some crazy chemicals. I guess that's the best way to explain it.

Sorry if this post is unorganized. I get a little carried away when I read posts of people telling others to cut there hair because it's damaged, especially on a long hair forum. It really irks me!

August 10th, 2010, 01:14 PM
Ho boy, I'm seeing some rights and wrongs here. I grew out bleached, dyed permanent, elumen hair. Now, I'm assuming its all gone now, but its hard to tell. Here's why.

At bob-length I grew my hair out. Conciously, that is.It was all of the above at the time.
It was so dry that hairdressers cringed. I saw LHC and decided to do some damage control.
First step: Proteins. Multitude of solutions.
Next: Moisture. God, the moisture. SO MUCH MOISTURE! I started to CWC, I quit cones except for
a cone gloss afterward...Ultimately the goal was "moisture in, cone/oil seal, ready to go."
I used olive oil overnight and coconut as a leave in. My hair likes those, YMMV.
I apply both to damp hair. I found I can be quite generous with coconut, but not on my virgin hair.
Lastly, henna. Henna the saviour. Nuff said.

I grew out to BSL. I recently cut off 2 inches of splits and scrunchy dry ends that weren't fixin'.
Result? All my hair feels virgin and amazing. The ends are AWESOME. There ya go. If its difficult
to part, cut an inch now, wait a while, then another inch. Things might improve DRASTICALLY.

August 10th, 2010, 02:04 PM
You don't need to chop all the damage off at once, but you will probably need to do trims periodically. Personally, if I get too many split ends, my hair gets tangled very easily and becomes even more damaged from that.

I had highlighted my hair a couple times before starting to grow it out, and the bleach had damaged my hair and made it very brittle and easy to split. As I grew out my hair, I'd cut off an inch or two every time the damage got too bad to handle, and now I'm damage-free!

So in short, you don't have to cut all at once, but some maintenance will probably be needed.

August 10th, 2010, 02:16 PM
Heh, i never cut off damage. I actually haven't got a trim in over 1,5 years and my hair's growing quite nicely :) But i must say, i have only heat damage going on here, not bleach or perm. I also have coarse thickness and medium-low porosity so those also help.

August 10th, 2010, 02:20 PM
You don't need to do anything to your hair. I say go with the flow, do what works for you, and don't worry about other peoples ideas on how hair must be grown.

January 14th, 2011, 05:52 AM
I never cut mine off.

January 14th, 2011, 06:19 AM
I think S&D and Micro-trim can work and it depend on the extend of the damage.

January 14th, 2011, 10:43 AM
I haven't read all the posts, but I did see one saying you do not have to cut. I want to re-emphasize this: You do NOT have to cut off damage in most cases. The only case I can think of where you would have to is if your hair is practically disintegrating anyway, such as touching it risks it breaking off, and that is really rare except in cases of excessive processing, and doesn't always occur in those cases.

My hair is somewhere between waist and tailbone, it's at the top of my buttcrack. The last three or four inches are REALLY damaged, as in, they're not only old for being around so long, but they've been dyed and bleached extensively. It probably needs to be trimmed badly. I can't really wear my hair down for it, and I have difficulty detangling the very ends of my hair for faerie knots. I do eventually plan to cut it, but my hair is always braided anyway, so it's left alone at the moment.

The damage has NOT travelled up the shaft, nor has it spread to other undamaged hairs above where I ultimately plan to trim anyway, as I want a really shallow U shaped hem (really shallow, almost but not quite blunt cut U-shape), but I've been meaning to trim it for a year or so now and frankly have not gotten around to it. My hair is no worse for it.

Though I will confess I do break out the scissors for the very worst knots the ends get, as I figure it's not more than an inch of hair if that, its usually only a few strands, and it would probably re-knot if i didn't anyway.

January 14th, 2011, 10:46 AM
I trim every once in a blue moon just to even up the thinness. If I cut out all my damage I'd be at SL with layers up to my ears! :eek:

I find babying my hair prevents the damage from causing my hair to break/split as much.

January 14th, 2011, 11:25 AM
You know I wouldn't cut it. You see every hair on your head has a lifespan anyway and my way of thinking is that eventually those hairs will drop out anyway. If splits travelled up the shaft, like some people seem to think they do, I would have short hair! I have loads of splits and they are hardly noticeable. I notice them only when I have my hair loose and am looking at them closely. Some people have more visible splits, now if you are not one of them I would refrain from having a major chop.

Hair takes ages to grow back. Most people only grow half an inch a month. And there's no guarantee that if you do cut it all off that you will be split end free again when your hair reaches your original length.

It's your hair and of course you have to do what you feel comfortable with. Perhaps just do tiny trims every so often? Whatever you feel comfortable with.

January 14th, 2011, 11:44 AM
I don't think you can grow as long as you would want without cutting off damage. I by no means think you need to do a huge chop, that is not necessary. But damage does not go away. It'll be worse to get to your goal length and then have to cut even more off because the damage has traveled up the hair shaft.

I think you should do a one inch trim. It'll make a huge difference. And then do another in a few months. And keep doing regular one inch trims, you won't be taking anything off the length really but it will improve the quality of your hair.

I was trying to grow out damage for so long but my hair kept breaking, even though I wasn't really noticing, I just thought my hair grew slow. Now that I trim regularly my hair seems to grow much faster, even though I know it doesn't, it just is not breaking off since it is no longer damaged hair.

January 14th, 2011, 12:06 PM
Old topic! Thanks for the new replies though :D
Here's an update: I recently cut my hair back to about waist length or maybe even a little above (it was hip) and it got rid of SO much damage and straggly bottom layers, my hair feels so much better. There is a picture in my album if anyone is interested on seeing.