View Full Version : Progress and advice needed

October 17th, 2011, 01:47 PM
I joined in june last year trying to thicken up my hemline but I only got a camera in september so here is my progress since then :
As you can see... no progress at all.

And now I need your advice...
I've had long hair pretty much all my life and I love having long hair and I still want it long. Tailbone length is my favorite length.
But I've always been struggling with low iron and sometimes anemia. It makes my hair shed a lot.
The problem is that iron supplements makes me sick after 2 or 3 weeks so I can't get a norrmal iron level. Hence the thin hair...

I've been trimming regularly and wearing my hair in updos for a bit more than five years now, in the hopes of thickening my hemline because... well... the pictures above are what my hair looks like when I try to make it look decent.
Now I will show you how it looks like if I don't try to make it look good for pictures and how my braid tapers :
And just out of a bun :

From BSL down (maybe even APL) it just looks horrible.
I really don't like it like this, it looks stringy and see-through, so I'm almost never wearing it down.
The thing is that lately I've been really fed up with wearing my hair in a bun all the time. It doesn't suit me, it makes me look strict and it tugs a lot.
I want to be able to show off my hair a bit, wear it down more often, and I'm tired to be over cautious about damage.
If I couldn't make it look good and full in five years of regular trimming, care, updos and damage free routine, will I ever get decent long hair?
So what would you do? Keep it like this for the sake of having long hair? Cut it? Where? Waist? Mid back? BSL? APL?

Any advice is welcome :-)

October 17th, 2011, 01:52 PM
Hmm, I don't have much advice on the thinning hair aspect because the longest I've ever had my hair is just shorter than waist, but do you think you would be able to cut it? Or would you miss the length too much?

PS. I definitely see some progress since last September :D It now appears to be thick until waist, whereas in Sept 2010 it looked like it was thick until BSL

October 17th, 2011, 01:56 PM
How fast does your hair grow? Some people's hair grows so slowly that they might not have grown out the damage in 5 years. But most people grow faster than that, so unless you have super slow growth, I don't know what to tell you. If having your hair long is what really makes you happy, keep it long.

To be honest, I think your hair is beautiful and don't see a thing wrong with it.

October 17th, 2011, 01:57 PM
I can see your thickness growing down!
I've edited your picture to show you the two thickest bits and their growth.

It's thickening up really nicely!

October 17th, 2011, 02:09 PM
I'll definitely miss the length, but I think I'm ready for a change if it means that my hair will look better.

My hair grows about 4.5 inches a year so I guess it's a bit slow but still quite average.
The thing is I never did anything damaging to it, no colors, no perms, no blowdrying, no heat styling,..., so there should be no damage to grow out.
Maybe my hair just can't be long. Sometimes it's only a matter of genes I think, especially when I see all the amazing long hair here on LHC!

You are right Kyandii now I can see a progress in the thickening. I just needed you to point it out for me. Thanks :)

October 17th, 2011, 02:34 PM
From your crown to more than halfway between waist and BSL, you hair is thick and even. I'd consider cutting it at the top line of kyandii's pic of you in the white robe.

October 17th, 2011, 02:39 PM
From your crown to more than halfway between waist and BSL, you hair is thick and even. I'd consider cutting it at the top line of kyandii's pic of you in the white robe.

I agree with Macaroni.

October 17th, 2011, 02:39 PM
I can see your thickness growing down!
I've edited your picture to show you the two thickest bits and their growth.

It's thickening up really nicely!

I agree. If you continue trimming to maintain the length, I can see it thickening all the way to the ends eventually. I would just keep doing what you're doing to be honest. And in the pictures where you said you didn't make it look nice, I think it still looks good, just not as neatly arranged. Its not as bad as you think.

October 17th, 2011, 02:41 PM
I think if you shortened it about 2 inches and had a U-hem, it would look quite a bit thicker, and you could wear it down.

Sometimes there are only a few hairs that have a long enough and fast enough growing cycle to become your longest hairs. Good care can maximize your potential, but there are some things in nature that you just can't change.

You have really pretty hair, by the way, even if not thick. It's shiny and a beautiful color.

October 17th, 2011, 03:56 PM
I definitely see progress in thickness between 2010 and 2011. In the 2010 picture it looks like it starts to thin around BSL, and in 2011 it looks closer to waist, if maybe in a deep v hemline. (now that I went back and reviewed the other responses, it looks like that's been said already, so I guess this is just another confirmation).

Looking at your braid I'd say the the same - the taper gets more pronounced around midback. I think if you were inclined to cut it, I would say midback. Honestly, though, I think it's pretty; we can be our own worst critics, you know?

October 17th, 2011, 04:20 PM
I see a lot of progress too ... 1st picture starts to thin around APL and the 2nd one starts to thin around waist. APL to waist is a lot of growth for one year!

If it were my hair I would get a U-shaped hemline with the shortest pieces a few inches above waist and the longest pieces a few inches below. I think that would look really stunning.

October 17th, 2011, 04:23 PM
You do yourself an injustice, Morgaine. Your hair certainly looks healthy and shiny.

The sparse ends don't look that horrible. It well may be that your hair grows slowly, and some parts more slowly than others.

Of course, if you want the "thick look" then you'd need to cut way back...at least 5 inches, to achieve a fuller, thicker head of hair. However, shorter hair can also mean less versatility when styling your hair.

If you want to wear it down more, fine. Just remember you'll have to be extra vigilant - and careful, detangling afterwards. There's no law about enjoying your hair, no matter how you style it. You just need to deal with the consequences afterwards.

I'd also look into learning more styles for your hair. If you only know one style, long hair, no matter how thick or beautiful, can become boring.

October 17th, 2011, 04:33 PM
You're definitely getting there, your thickness is moving downwards slowly but surely, and your hair looks in lovely condition; give it more time. :flower:

October 17th, 2011, 04:53 PM
I am wondering what kind of iron you have been taking and if you have addressed the effect the supplements have on your stomach with your doctor. The standard supplement is ferrous sulfate, which can be quite upsetting to the stomach indeed! If you haven't, I would advise you to get a bottle of ferrous gluconate, which is much easier on the stomach. Also, you do not need to take it every day to benefit. If taking it once every other day or. Even every three days keeps your stomach happier, that is still a big improvement over not taking it at all! Taking it with food can help with symptoms, too. I find that a fiber-rich meal helps most. Take it with vitamin c or citrus to boost absorbtion.

You have my sympathy. I tend to be low on iron and have a very touchy stomach.


October 17th, 2011, 04:54 PM
I can see your thickness growing down!
I've edited your picture to show you the two thickest bits and their growth.

It's thickening up really nicely!

Looking at the white robe photo, one option would be a U hemline as mentioned with the middle coming down below the shorter red line slightly and the sides curving up to the longer red line.

Other thoughts:
-bun waves: since it eats up length a bit they can make hair look fuller so you can wear your hair down but not cut.. might be worth a try
-Your hair does taper but it doesn't look so thin that it looks illness induced/unattractive. Even though you do have iron issues that could definitely be the cause of the taper, plenty of people naturally have this hair type and rock it.
-When you want to wear your hair down you could wear darker colors. I don't think people would even notice the taper if you weren't wearing white or pastels.

Even if you do decide to cut back, your hair will still be exceptionally long. I personally don't think it is needed but it depends on your own tastes. It will always grow back if you decide to trim a few inches off :)

October 18th, 2011, 10:31 AM
I also agree that your thickness has grown down. I love your waves and do not think that you need a trim.

October 18th, 2011, 10:57 AM
I agree with everything xoxophelia said!

heidi w.
October 18th, 2011, 11:03 AM
Allow me to explain a little more for other readers. ETA: although most of this is for the OPs consideration. END ETA.

Anemia means low ETA: I meant iron, low iron END ETA, usually.

When one has anemia, they generally need more "iron", but iron pill supplements really should be prescribed by a doctor, such as in my case, in the wake of a few of my surgeries. One should not self-diagnose and take iron supplements of their own accord since it can lead to overdosages and be highly dangerous, particularly for children. Iron pills are known to cause constipation, for example.

Anemia often affects the hair as the shedding/hair loss rate is chronically elevated. That's how it's sometimes detected, and is its most notable symptom, not to mention often enough feeling kind of tired or run down, a bit.

To improve anemia, this can generally be done through one's nutrition. For example, we all know that Spinach possesses a great deal of iron. However, eating spinach raw, for example, in a salad, does not mean that the body can uptake all that potentially available iron. It is in fact best steamed. The problem is that spinach, kale, and the other dark leafy green tend to taste bitter.

Here's a way to make it taste better. When you stir fry kale or collard greens or spinach, at the end of cooking, throw in a pinch of sugar, and it'll remove the bitter aftertaste, and taste actually quite pleasant.

In fact, I make it with halved grape tomatoes. It's delicious. You can stir fry in olive oil, but remember that olive oil burns easily and the goodness of this type of fat can wane. It goes relatively quick to stir fry spinach, etc.

In fact, I have a dish that you might like to make. Cut up in thin strips a bit of steak, and consider marinating in soy sauce for an hour or so, cut up some other vegetation.

Stir fry the beef strips first, then the harder vegetables (In fact, consider blanching first than put in a stir fry concoction. Blanching is easy, boil water, put in broccoli or cauliflower or carrot, and get it a bit al dente, remove from hot water and put under cold water or in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking action from inside immediately then put in a stir fry pan)....and then spinach or leafy greens are last since they're delicate. A pinch of sugar, and maybe some tomaotes.

Then the body's ability to absorb the available iron in spinch is more easily accessible for two reasons: the enzymes in the strips of beef help the digestion and uptake of the iron in the spinach, and the spinach is cooked. Think about making this a few times a week in the beginning.

Also, as it concerns protein, rice and beans form a complete amino acid. There are some beans that are a complete protein without help from rice. Most beans are missing one amino acid; rice is missing another; combined, the each make up for the missing amino acid in the other. You do not need a lot of rice, however, just as above, you don't need a lot of red meat, just a couple of strips.

In fact, we all know of the soybean being a complete amino acid of all 8 amino acids we must get from our daily food intake, daily. The body makes automatically the remaining amount of amino acids, something around 30 a day. But 8 you need to get daily through food. ETA: I meant to talk about eating Edemame as a snack! Edemame is the word for soy beans. Get a frozen package of edamame that you can put the whole package in the microwave and heat. To[p with some sea salt, if you're ok with that, and then eat them as a snack. This is a complete protein snack. You bite the outer bean shell, much like a pea shell, and then kind of suck out the beans inside. It's pretty yummy, and very good warm. You'll be pleasantly surprised, probably. END ETA

If you eat a bit of meat or a complete protein, more than likely you're also getting iron, as well, which is the culprit problem with anemia. The shedding will abate after some months, or so it should. If this still doesn't work, don't rule out needing to eat gluten free. There's a number of celiacs in the world who go unidentified, believe it or not. You might also ask to work with a qualified nutritionist from your doctor. This can be a good help.

Remember, too, that good fats are needed for many vitamins and minerals to be delivered and taken up or absorbed by the body. Eating a wholly fat-free diet can be a terrible mistake to make. Just FYI.

Work on improving your nutrition and the anemia should more than likely go away, in time. And in time, the hair will cease shedding.

For the OP, too: your hair is actually quite nice. You shouldn't critique your hair so harshly. Everyone at the end of their hair tapers, in fact, quite a bit, and everyone's ends are a bit more see-through than the top. It's the nature of hair. I think the trim improved a lot, really, I do. I think your focus shouldn't be on the hair so much, per se; rather, you might want to gather information about improving your nutrition so you can abandon the anemia problem, hopefully, once and for all.

Know that many younger women who are menstruating still, may actually have some months a kind of window of time kind of before one's period where they may have a temporary moment of a kind of anemia. For this reason, anemia should be measured some number of days before the onset of the mensus and in general, in the wake of a give month's timeline. This is little known. We get some of our iron from our bone marrow, and there can be a mini depletion prior to the onset of one's mensus. I no longer have the book containing this little factoid, a great hair book written by a doctor. But I remember reading this and being a bit surprised to learn this.

My very best to the OP. Fear not, things will get better with a little bit of homework, I presume. Unless there's some kind of other medical condition contributing to the whole.

heidi w.

I have in the distant past tried to explain the connection between an elevation in hair shedding and anemia, and sometimes a person's choice of food, with a lot of heat raining down on me, but here is the proof of the pudding I've long touted. I would guestimate, that for this individual, a wholly vegetarian diet may be insufficient nutritionally for combating anemia. I am not being against vegetarians; indeed, I was one for almost 5 years of my Adult life. While there is protein in vegetables, it isn't like it is present in meat such as chicken, fish and occasional puffs of red meat. I do not like to eat hamburger, most of the time. That I try to avoid. I hope I've been of some help.

October 18th, 2011, 11:14 AM
I, too have anemia ocasionally and I have tried many different iron supplements. I finally found some pills that don't hurt my stomach and I've sticked to them since. You should really pay attention to your iron levels..!

October 18th, 2011, 11:35 AM
First of all don't be so hard on yourself looking at both your pics the thickness is moving down, i agree with a trim to help thicken up your hem i did the same thing in the summer and was amazed at how thick it looked. You have beautiful shiny hair.

heidi w.
October 18th, 2011, 11:50 AM
I personally would recommend AGAINST another trim.

I would instead, focus for a while on improving the iron count in the blood of your body. I would focus on nutrition for a while, see where your hemline is, and decide in a few more months if another trim is really necessary.

I'd give it 3-6 more additional months before choosing to trim again as I think you'll be so gloomy over trimming and not having tailbone length hair, that the whole thing will just upset you.

Work on the core of the problem, not a symptom of the problem, and find a solution to the core issue, if you can. That sounds to me to be the wiser decision. The hair's behavior is an outgrowth of the iron deficiency.

Here's Mayo Clinic link on a discussion of low iron related Anemia.


Notice that a cited symptom is brittle nails and hair.

Truthfully, these shared photos show a nice head of hair, despite the anemic condition of the body. Be a little more generous and kind to yourself. You're imagining others have perfect hair, and they don't. Not even I do. You've got a pretty head of hair. I recommend leaving it be, and do NOT trim. Work on the crux of the matter; not the symptom of the matter. To do the latter is rather like chasing your tail!

heidi w.

October 18th, 2011, 12:10 PM
I have this same problem, if you don't want to trim it yet but want to wear it down you can put your hair in a half up, this will conceal your thinner side ends and show off your length
I agree that your thickness is working it's way down, if you do trim I don't think you'll need to take too much off and you might try a V shaped or sharper U shaped hem line and see how that works out you can still trim back if you don't like it
I could never get my hair thicker past waste which is why I always cut it back, I had a friend tell me a few years ago to just not cut it, and I didn't just tiny little trims like your doing and she was right my thickness went past waste, now its doing the same thin thing at TB sighs...but thats fine with me lol It's never been this long and I'm loving it, thin ends and all ;)
You've got lovely hair do what makes you feel happy

October 18th, 2011, 02:32 PM
Thank you everyone for all the advice and opinions!
I am indeed my worst critic, I'm being much much harsher with myself than I am with others that's why I needed to ask what you think before doing anything drastic :)
You've all really helped me realise that most people probably don't think my hair looks as bad as I think it does :oops:

After reading all your replies I have a new "battle plan" :p

I had planned a small trim in december anyway so I will use that occasion to trim a little bit more than usual and try to get a nice U shaped hemline that will hopefully look a little thicker without loosing too much length.
And after that, no more trims planned until I see if the rest of my plan works ;)

I'm going to take the time to try new styles as Madora suggested.
I have indeed been wearing almost every day either one of my 2 or 3 most protective updos for the last years and I'm starting to get really tired of them.
I definitely need to learn a few more pretty things to do with my hair!

About iron, ferrous sulfate upsets my stomach in a few days. Ferrous gluconate with vitamin C is a little better and I can take it for a few weeks. But I have never tried to take it every two or three days, I'll definitely try this next time my doctor gives me iron supplements. Thank you for the suggestion BlazingHeart!
I've already made quite a few adjustments in my nutrition to try to get more iron but Heidi's reply gave me a few more ideas to try to improve it, especially about proteins and the absorption of the iron available in vegetables. I'll definitely explore it further.

Again, thanks everyone for the honest and helpful replies, it really helped a lot :flowers:

October 19th, 2011, 11:13 AM
I think your hair looks beautiful! Im sure a U hemline will look amazing.

Ive been taking iron supplements (400mg daily, prescribed) for many years and still sometimes had low ferritin levels when blood tests came back. I mentioned this to a guy working in the health shop and he advised me to cut right back on tea and coffee, as (according to him) they reduce absorption - even the decaff types - by coating the stomach lining in some way. Herbal and white teas are okay. That was a year ago and I do feel things are better. The doctor hasnt said anything negative about my blood results in that time.

I dont know if this just applies to iron supplements, or iron in general, or supplements in general - and apologies to the scientists/medics here if its rubbish!

October 19th, 2011, 11:32 AM
In my opinion your hair is gaining thickness and my advice is to eat more iron rich foods.
Iron and Iron Deficiency (http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/vitamins/iron.html)
Top 10 Iron-Rich Foods (http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/top-10-iron-rich-foods)

Good luck! :D

October 19th, 2011, 05:21 PM
I agree your hair looks good !

If it was my own hair, this is what I would do (Keep in mind that I love thick hemlines even if it means shorter hair)

I would do big U trim about here :
http://www.dayza.com/v2/photo_4e9f5a10427fahair.jpg (http://www.dayza.com/)

I would eat LOTS of iron rich FOODS (rather than supplements) and work a lot on improving my health. lentils, raw brocolli, colorful veggies, etc etc. LOTS.

Then, eating well and all, I would maintain this lenght for about 6 months (with a regular trimm each month of the new growth) and see what happens. Is there new growth at the head ? What does the hemlime look like ?

It should get fuller really fast with good nutrition and a good trimm.

After 6 months, I would probably start officially growing it longer. But keep trimming a little off on a 3-4 month basis to be sure to keep the ends blunt and full.

This is very subjective though !
Wish you all the best !

October 19th, 2011, 05:25 PM
ps. I'm a vegetarian and sometimes I think I must be a little anemic... feeling tired etc. when it happens, I voluntarily switch instantly to a very rich in iron diet. In a few days, I feel way better. I think in a few weeks or months, if you really load on iron rich foods (and a variety of sources is very very important too!) you'll see a huge difference ! I'm not really in favor of supplements most of the time, at least not when eating the natural source of nutrients is possible and enough to solve the problem.

October 19th, 2011, 06:06 PM
I agree with everything xoxophelia said!
Me, too! Your hair is very pretty, and if you lost just a couple inches and went with a U hemline you'd get a thicker look like you want :)
:cheese:The Cheese agrees! :cheese:

October 19th, 2011, 06:17 PM
It looks like waist would be the point where it would be the thickest and longest.