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mathnerd
August 24th, 2011, 04:28 PM
Hey everyone! I am in need of some advice/suggestions/help. About four years ago I was introduced to the world of straightening my hair. While I did not do so every single day, it was enough for damage to occur. In an attempt to "reverse" or fix the problem I have not used my straightener on my ends since May of this year, and I only condition my ends ends (shampooing the roots). I've also started air drying....been doing so for about two months.

My question is, do you think my ends look beyond repair, and that I should probably just bite the bullet and get those few inches cut off? I'm on a really really small budget, so I cannot really afford to go buy new products to try. I also live in an area where a lot of the products I see on here are not available.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/picture.php?albumid=8501&pictureid=110975

http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/picture.php?albumid=8501&pictureid=110973

Coan-Teen
August 24th, 2011, 04:39 PM
You say that getting new products isn't in the budget. Would you mind posting what you do have available so we can cater suggestions to using what you have rather than recommending new stuff? :)

mathnerd
August 24th, 2011, 05:20 PM
You say that getting new products isn't in the budget. Would you mind posting what you do have available so we can cater suggestions to using what you have rather than recommending new stuff? :)

Well, I mean I cannot just spend $20 or more on something that may or may not work...I'm a student, so funds are limited. lol

Right now, I'm using Head & Shoulders for my roots for itchy scalp and dandruff. On my ends/length I am using one of two different conditioners: Aussie 3MM, Suave (coconut one).

From time to time I'm also using Rusk Purify on my roots only.

I'm not sure if that is what you meant, or if you meant stores I had available? If that was the case, I mainly only have stores like Walmart and grocery stores....there are some "organic" type specialty stores here too, but they don't usually carry much, and are quite expensive.

Anje
August 24th, 2011, 05:24 PM
There are definitely some things you can try before cutting the ends. No promises that this doesn't send you shopping, but it should be inexpensive...


Try oiling the ends. Olive oil or coconut oil are good to start with. Both should be edible, products you find in grocery store food aisles, not ones marketed for hair which typically are loaded with petroleum jelly and other things that are less beneficial.
Try it in a few combinations:
Heavily applied a few hours before washing.
Just a drop on dry ends, left in.
Just a drop on damp ends, left in.

Try clarifying (just shampoo the ends with a sulfate/normal shampoo), then do a moisture treatment like an SMT (http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=128). Even a modification like a blend of conditioner and honey, molasses, or pancake syrup allowed to sit on your ends for 30 minutes and rinsed out will probably make a world of difference.

mathnerd
August 24th, 2011, 05:46 PM
There are definitely some things you can try before cutting the ends. No promises that this doesn't send you shopping, but it should be inexpensive...

Try oiling the ends. Olive oil or coconut oil are good to start with. Both should be edible, products you find in grocery store food aisles, not ones marketed for hair which typically are loaded with petroleum jelly and other things that are less beneficial.
Try it in a few combinations:
Heavily applied a few hours before washing.
Just a drop on dry ends, left in.
Just a drop on damp ends, left in.
Try clarifying (just shampoo the ends with a sulfate/normal shampoo), then do a moisture treatment like an SMT (http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=128). Even a modification like a blend of conditioner and honey, molasses, or pancake syrup allowed to sit on your ends for 30 minutes and rinsed out will probably make a world of difference.

That seems like something I could definitely try. I am going grocery shopping tomorrow or Friday. Some questions though,
1.) Is there a certain type of olive oil I should look for? That said, I am waiting for EVOO in the mail (from the swap board, lol).
2.) What section of a grocery store would you look for coconut oil? I cannot say I've ever seen it at a store before.

Thanks for the suggestions by the way. :)

Anje
August 24th, 2011, 06:08 PM
Plain old olive oil that you use for cooking would work just fine.

I've found coconut oil at Walmart. Look for Luanna (or something like that) in a white tub. That one is fairly refined, meaning that it doesn't smell coconutty. Sometimes they also have virgin coconut oil in the vitamins section, but that's relatively expensive. You may also find it in a grocery store among the oils or in the health food section. Unrefined and virgin varieties will have more odor than refined varieties -- both will work, so chose based on your preference.

Another possibility for coconut oil is Indian/Pakistani grocery stores (we've got 2 near my campus). They often carry Parachute, which has a nice smokey coconut smell and comes in blue bottles. You might also find Dabur Vatika oil, which is specific for hair and is coconut oil infused with a bunch of herbs.

mathnerd
August 24th, 2011, 06:15 PM
Plain old olive oil that you use for cooking would work just fine.

I've found coconut oil at Walmart. Look for Luanna (or something like that) in a white tub. That one is fairly refined, meaning that it doesn't smell coconutty. Sometimes they also have virgin coconut oil in the vitamins section, but that's relatively expensive. You may also find it in a grocery store among the oils or in the health food section. Unrefined and virgin varieties will have more odor than refined varieties -- both will work, so chose based on your preference.

Another possibility for coconut oil is Indian/Pakistani grocery stores (we've got 2 near my campus). They often carry Parachute, which has a nice smokey coconut smell and comes in blue bottles. You might also find Dabur Vatika oil, which is specific for hair and is coconut oil infused with a bunch of herbs.

Again, thanks so much. I'll probably print out this page and take with me! haha

I want to try as many alternatives as I can before I would attempt cutting.

spidermom
August 24th, 2011, 06:25 PM
I gave up on my heat-damaged ends and cut them off (about 6 inches worth) in 2005. I hope you have better luck rehabilitating yours.

I can barely remember all the angst about losing length now.

mathnerd
August 24th, 2011, 06:30 PM
I gave up on my heat-damaged ends and cut them off (about 6 inches worth) in 2005. I hope you have better luck rehabilitating yours.

I can barely remember all the angst about losing length now.


I hope so too. I refuse to wear my hair loose right now (only at home) because the ends just make my hair look so horrible and "fluffy". And straightening the ends to wear it loose will only further hurt my cause, lol.

ange1ito
August 24th, 2011, 06:39 PM
Mine were probably as bad as your's, I cut right up to shoulder earilier this year, it definately helped with the tangles. I just felt it looked much nicer healthy than long with damage. If you really don't want to cut definately opt for the oiling. I manage to avoid the dreadful cut for a good 6 months with coconut and castor oil. Yep straighteners are now in storage...lol.

Charybdis
August 25th, 2011, 04:36 AM
Myself, I would get a 3" trim in addition to trying the suggestions here. BUT (and this is a big "but") I'm a fast grower whose hair lengths have been all over the map, including extreme pixie. So YMMV.

I will say, though, that cutting damage off the ends makes you feel like you have a new head of hair. I mean, it's really, really nice. I had a spiral perm back in the late '80s, which looked really great for about 4 months, but then got all fuzzy. When I chopped that sucker off and went pixie for the first time, I felt fantastic. Smaller trims aren't as satisfying of a purge, but they can make a huge difference in the manageability and appearance of your hair.

Good luck with getting your hair where you want it!

mathnerd
August 25th, 2011, 10:57 AM
I think I may try some of the oil suggestions for a few weeks to see if that helps at all. If not, I'll have to seriously consider the possibility of getting rid of an inch or two.

maria_asa
August 25th, 2011, 11:04 AM
I think I may try some of the oil suggestions for a few weeks to see if that helps at all. If not, I'll have to seriously consider the possibility of getting rid of an inch or two.

This sounds like a good plan. If you do end up trimming start with a small amount and see how that feels. Sometimes as little as half an inch can make a huge difference.

spidermom
August 25th, 2011, 11:17 AM
Good luck with the oiling. My ends were so damaged from heat styling that putting oil on them was like putting oil on straw. Disgusting! I thought my hair hated oil, but after I got the worst of the damage cut away, suddenly my hair responded very well to both olive and coconut oil.

Artsy
August 25th, 2011, 11:30 AM
I would second the clarifying wash on the ends, since the conditioners you are using contain protein as far as I remember. You might need to clarify 2x, and try to add a little baking soda to your clarifying shampoo. Dilute the baking soda in a bit of water and mix with your clarifying shampoo portion for that one wash. It will be a bit more liquid and spread better. Also, in the articles on diagnozing your hair problems there is a suggestion to clarify without conditioning to assess the actual problems that your hair is experiencing. What I am saying that you probably have heat damage, but you can have some other issues that are easy to correct:)

Here are the 2 very informative articles:
http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/vbjournal.php?do=article&articleid=79

http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/vbjournal.php?do=article&articleid=194

UltraBella
August 25th, 2011, 11:31 AM
I don't think your ends look that bad !
Have you tried clarifying your ends ? I know you wrote that you use a clarifier on your scalp sometimes, but the rest of your hair can get buildup too, especially the ends. I am assuming there are cones in your conditioner by the kind you are using, please correct me if I am wrong. Do you use any styling products or leave-ins ? A buildup of cones or product on the ends can make them feel AWFUL. I would clarify them, let them dry, soak them in EVOO for several hours and then condition the oil out and see what you've got.
Good luck !!!

mathnerd
August 25th, 2011, 11:34 AM
I would second the clarifying wash on the ends, since the conditioners you are using contain protein as far as I remember. You might need to clarify 2x, and try to add a little baking soda to your clarifying shampoo. Dilute the baking soda in a bit of water and mix with your clarifying shampoo portion for that one wash. It will be a bit more liquid and spread better. Also, in the articles on diagnozing your hair problems there is a suggestion to clarify without conditioning to assess the actual problems that your hair is experiencing. What I am saying that you probably have heat damage, but you can have some other issues that are easy to correct:)

I hadn't thought of that. I just assumed that since clarifying shampoo would be somewhat too harsh to use on my ends, so I tried to avoid that. On my next wash I will try what you have suggested to see what happens.

Artsy
August 25th, 2011, 11:42 AM
I hadn't thought of that. I just assumed that since clarifying shampoo would be somewhat too harsh to use on my ends, so I tried to avoid that. On my next wash I will try what you have suggested to see what happens.

Doing a clarifying wash everyday could be too harsh for your hair, but once in a while it can drasticly improve the condition of the ends. Sometimes you might need to clarify few times to remove the buildup.
As a separate experiment, you can also try soaking your hair with some conditioner for 1 hr before the claryfying wash, this might help as well. I just soak my ends usually.

Theobroma
August 25th, 2011, 11:49 AM
In the best case, your ends may be more dry than damaged. Before you decide to trim (if you do), I suggest giving coconut or olive oil a good chance to do its work on them. (If you've been using coney conditioners, you will need to clarify to allow the oils to penetrate properly, though.)

When I first started oiling my ends looked utterly awful -- rough, wiry, and actually much lighter in colour than the rest of my length from sheer dryness. A couple of weeks of regular oiling and they were unrecognisably soft and shiny. I got away with microtrimming them off bit by bit rather than going for a larger chop. You may be able to do the same!

mathnerd
August 25th, 2011, 11:56 AM
I don't think your ends look that bad !
Have you tried clarifying your ends ? I know you wrote that you use a clarifier on your scalp sometimes, but the rest of your hair can get buildup too, especially the ends. I am assuming there are cones in your conditioner by the kind you are using, please correct me if I am wrong. Do you use any styling products or leave-ins ? A buildup of cones or product on the ends can make them feel AWFUL. I would clarify them, let them dry, soak them in EVOO for several hours and then condition the oil out and see what you've got.
Good luck !!!

Thank you! :) Other than what I use in the shower (shampoo/conditioner) I don't really put anything else in my hair anymore...In the recent past I was using Garnier's products for frizz, and Herbal Essences cream for split ends, but I didn't find they did a lot of good.


In the best case, your ends may be more dry than damaged. Before you decide to trim (if you do), I suggest giving coconut or olive oil a good chance to do its work on them. (If you've been using coney conditioners, you will need to clarify to allow the oils to penetrate properly, though.)

When I first started oiling my ends looked utterly awful -- rough, wiry, and actually much lighter in colour than the rest of my length from sheer dryness. A couple of weeks of regular oiling and they were unrecognisably soft and shiny. I got away with microtrimming them off bit by bit rather than going for a larger chop. You may be able to do the same!

Hopefully I can get some oil this weekend. My ends also have a rough/dry texture to them. About 4-5 years ago, when I had shoulder length hair, I had the brilliant idea that my light brown hair should be dyed black....so half my length still has a coppery look to it from that disaster.

mathnerd
August 30th, 2011, 02:04 PM
I am still looking for coconut oil. I found some at my grocery store, but it was $20 for a jar, and the $10 jar was out of stock. I didn't want to spend that much on something I wasn't sure would work. Hopefully I'll find some today when I go shopping with a friend.

However, I did do two purifying washes, as suggested above. I did them two-three days apart, and air dried. I will post pics when I can. I did note a shorter drying time. That said, I am kind of sad/panicked because as I was getting ready to put my hair up for the rest of the day, I started to notice just how many split ends I seem to have. I haven't been to an actual hair salon in probably 2 years, mainly because the ones I go to insulted me (I was having problems at the time with my hair being greasy no matter what I did), or ruined my hair cut. I'm not sure what I should do. Insert major sad face here. lol It might be relevant to add here that I've ALWAYS had major issues cutting any length off my hair. The only time I was able to do so was the weight of my hair was causing health issues.

ETA: I am still growing out both my bang and layers.

Macaroni
August 30th, 2011, 02:14 PM
If worst comes to worst, and I do think you should trim now because the splits will only go up the hair shaft, here are invaluable self-trim instructions: (just click on the type of hem you want)

http://feyeselftrim.livejournal.com/

mathnerd
August 30th, 2011, 02:17 PM
I micro-trimmed about a month ago, but that didn't do a lot I guess. How do you go about trimming layers? That is one of the bigger issues I think, since I have never trimmed those myself, and now they are rebelling.

http://i1195.photobucket.com/albums/aa394/mathnerd2551/HAIR/100_4201.jpg

mathnerd
August 30th, 2011, 02:20 PM
The above post contains a picture I just took after my second clarifying wash. I left it in a towel for about 20 minutes, then detangled with my tangle teezer, and left to air dry. This picture was taken before my second comb through.

jojo
August 30th, 2011, 03:47 PM
I think your hair looks lovely, I second or third an EVOO treatment, other than that I can not see a problem with your ends.

mathnerd
August 30th, 2011, 05:17 PM
I think your hair looks lovely, I second or third an EVOO treatment, other than that I can not see a problem with your ends.


Thank you so much.

I just bought some coconut oil, so I will be trying that, and at some point in the near future, I will be trying EVOO to see if either works better for my hair.

In the mean time, I might still have to consider going to the hair salon to get a (hopefully) small trim done. I'm not sure how to trim layers....

chenille
August 30th, 2011, 05:54 PM
Not what you were asking about, I know, but I just wanted to add one comment from my own experience. You said you are currently using Head & Shoulders for itchy scalp & dandruff. That's what I used pre-LHC. I tried switching to a gentler shampoo (one without SLS that I got at my local Whole Foods) and later experimented with conditioner-only washing. And I haven't had itching or flakes at all! I think I am just sensitive to the stronger detergents in the H&S so it was hurting more than helping. Not sure if that would be the case for anyone but me, but I wanted to throw it out there.

With regards to ends, IMO I think it would probably help to get a little bit trimmed off. I know all too well how difficult it can be to find a good salon, but getting some of the split ends off will probably feel much better.

mathnerd
August 30th, 2011, 06:22 PM
Not what you were asking about, I know, but I just wanted to add one comment from my own experience. You said you are currently using Head & Shoulders for itchy scalp & dandruff. That's what I used pre-LHC. I tried switching to a gentler shampoo (one without SLS that I got at my local Whole Foods) and later experimented with conditioner-only washing. And I haven't had itching or flakes at all! I think I am just sensitive to the stronger detergents in the H&S so it was hurting more than helping. Not sure if that would be the case for anyone but me, but I wanted to throw it out there.

With regards to ends, IMO I think it would probably help to get a little bit trimmed off. I know all too well how difficult it can be to find a good salon, but getting some of the split ends off will probably feel much better.


There are a couple of reasons I have stuck with H&S on a regular basis. One is that I have a pretty itchy scalp (more so in winter) and dandruff. Also, for some reason a few years ago, no matter what shampoo I tried to use, my hair would dry looking greaser than when I started. At the time I was using a dryer. I went through almost every shampoo I could find. Even babies shampoo. Nothing worked. The only one that would make my hair at least look somewhat clean was H&S. That said, I think I have been using it so long that the medical type ingredients in the shampoo no longer have any effect.

teal
August 30th, 2011, 06:24 PM
PPs have had great suggestions about clarifying and deep treatments. Stretching washes might also help. If you want to continue to avoid salons and you have the time, you could buy an inexpensive pair of hair scissors and do some aggressive search-and-destroy missions on those split ends. I have heat damage on the ends as well, and between oils and the occasional S&D the ends are manageable. Not perfect but they look and feel much better than before.

Anje
August 30th, 2011, 09:40 PM
Did you do a moisture treatment after clarifying? Those washes help moisture, oil, etc. penetrate to the hair if there's buildup, but they're pretty drying in themselves.

mathnerd
August 30th, 2011, 09:49 PM
Did you do a moisture treatment after clarifying?

No, I didn't. I just washed my roots and length with the shampoo (Rusk's Purify), rinsed, towel, detangle, air dry.

ETA: Is there anything you can suggest?