View Full Version : What to do with my really damaged hair?

March 21st, 2012, 10:28 AM
Sigh...if I could turn back time I would've never bleached my hair or cut it. I was going through a very trying time in a relationship, and took it out of my poor hair. OH well. I need your opinions, please. I don't know what to do with my hair.

It was bleached to platinum in November (I'm a natural level 5 brunette) and it was very long. I then cut over 12 inches, probably closer to 18 inches off. Yup, HUGE chop. I hate it. It's all layered and short. But I could live that that and just grow it out if it wasn't for the fact that my hair is still uber damaged.

I've stopped heat styling a month or so ago, and my hair is horrible. It just looks ugly. It's affecting my self image dramatically. I've always been the girl with oh so beautiful hair and now it's ruined. I've dyed it back to my natural and henna'ed it. I've been doing SMTs, S&D, protein, ACV rinses as I have very haird water, babying it the best I can. I know it will take time. I had at least another half inch trimmed off last month, but my hair seems to be so damaged that it just splits and frays where ever it's freshly cut. I'm S&D with very good, professional scissors. But I could S&D all day, every day, that's how many splits, bends, white dots there are. Some are at the very ends, some are inches up the strand. My hair is thinned all sort of different lengths from S&Ding, which makes it looks equally as bad. What else? I can't cut it any shorter, I just can't. My shortest layer is chin length, there's no going shorter for me right now, but that seems to be where all of my damaged is. My Canopy and the hair around my face. I don't know if my hair is just going to be breaking off, or if it can grow. I have every kind of split end and I would say 50% of my hair is a split end. That's with all of the hair I've cut off.

I just really want my old, long, strong hair back. :(

If anyone can give me some advice, a pep talk, their experience growing out damaged hair, can it be done while growing it long? It would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

heidi w.
March 21st, 2012, 10:41 AM
I recommend you find, that is search meaning interview FIRST -- and do nothing with the hair the first time you visit a hairdresser AND find a hairdresser that has lots of experience and is likely older and not overly eager to use your hair as a platform to make their styling statement -- a hairdresser that is in sync with your goals. Hopefully the dresser themself had long hair at one time and enjoyed it, or has had other long-haired clients. You want to be absolutely certain the hairdresser has a good plan and your best interests regarding long hair in mind. In fact, if you live near a known George Michael hair salon, I recommend spending the bucks to have them help you. They're worth it.

I suggest you let them see your hair and perform a number of strand tests for protein, porosity, and elasticity (not positive there is such a test for elasticity...but I seem to recall something about this.)

Then work up a "plan" and stick to it.

No further layers, and just commit to a regime of minimal trims every so often to slowly cut out the damage, and to come back to your natural hair color.

You may have to address the issue of henna and it's known problem with the uptake of conditioner. It's a personal thing I have, but most hairdressers are taught that henna can block the uptake of conditioner, and henna can initially apparently seem like it solves a few problems, but in the end the hair is a bit dry. It takes a while to notice the dryness. I've seen a number of posts and hair by those who henna, and it seems they all have had to make a choice to put up with something about their hair while henna-ing. I hear there are different kinds or types of henna that allow for conditioner uptake, but I have very little information on that. You could look at Long Hair Loom, a free website of mostly women, much like LHC. Lots of people over there Henna their hair. So they have loads of info on the topic.

Well, sadly you learned the hard way why long hair officionados claim that bleaching and coloring hair causes a whole host of problems. You're facing them. And sadly, there is nothing that repairs damaged hair, much as its touted in the media. It simply has to be cut off.

I would always use conditioner, and possibly a leave-in OR oil the hair. I would be very kind to your hair. And whatever plan you come up with, stick to it. Large deviations will likely stall you reaching your goals and distract you from your goal overall.

I'm sorry that you have to go through this. People in relationships often make big decisions about hair in the wake of a relationship that goes bust. It's a common dilemma. I have had moments of thinking about cutting my hair. Trust me, changing your hair isn't going to inspire some dude to stick around. You may look hot for 10 minutes, but then it's back to who everyone is. There's someone wonderful out there for you. Like with hair, you just have to be patient.

Don't be in a hurry and all will come and everything will work out in the end.

heidi w.

cobden 28
March 21st, 2012, 10:41 AM
Your post reminds me of when I had my hair not only cut short and with a tight curly perm put in but also very strong ginger streaks put in at the same time. Despite the hairdresser saying it would be OK so long as I used generous amounts of dry-hair conditioner my hair ended up looking like straw.

The only way I could get rid of the straw effect was to keep my hair short and cut the ginger streaks out, then start cutting it again to get rid of the curls. I seem to remember it took a couple of years to completely get rid of the colour and the curl, and my hair back down to shoulder-length.

Haven't had my hair short or coloured since 1988!

March 21st, 2012, 10:45 AM
I have a similar problem :( when I was younger I dyed my hair up to 6 times a year for about 4 years and I'm not even talking about the roots, what I did was full colour changes with permanent dye. You can imagine the state my hair was in after all of that. I'm surprised I even had hair after that, but the final straw was when I got a full head of highlights last September when my hair was bleached white, from black. My hair honestly feels disgusting and I absolutely hate what I've done to it. It seems to be extremely resilient which is weird. After everything I've done to it I've never had a split in my life and I an shocked. I had to cut about 4 inches off in January because they just wouldn't untangle and I know it was the bleach. I've got about 3 inches of virgin hair at the roots now and I know I will never dye my hair, I'm finally over that and I've learnt my lesson! That's one good thing that's come from all the mistreatment of my hair. I've learnt my lesson once and for all. Have you tried co washing? Shampooing could be making your hair seem even worse.

March 21st, 2012, 10:55 AM
My suggestions:
1) Take some measurements, figure out about how fast your hair grows per month. Cut at least half of your growth from the ends each and every month.
2) Do regular deep treatments. Either buy something over the counter like Joico KPak Reconstructor or use the SMT recipe: 1 part aloe vera gel, 1 part honey, 2 parts conditioner warmed and whipped together. This will bring out the best in your hair.

March 21st, 2012, 12:34 PM
My hair was stripped (at home DIY job with Colour B4) from 10 years of permanent black box dye last summer, then I had some highlites put in at a salon. It wasn't too bad until I went to a different salon to top up my highlites, and some inexperienced kid got totally bleach happy & overprocessed it horribly. It turned to chewing gum, was brittle & snapping. I have not cut any of it off, instead I minimise the damage by using Aphogee 2 step every 6-8 weeks, using veggie deposit only dyes & babying my hair. I really think the Aphogee has saved me from losing a lot of length, I can really tell when it's time to do another treatment. This is it now, I don't think it looks too bad considering what abuse it has taken!http://i580.photobucket.com/albums/ss241/sarelis_photos/DSCF1978-1-1.jpg
Excuse the slightly risque pic, I have cropped it but it was from the bareback thread! I would definately reccomend giving the Aphogee 2 step a go, I got mine from Amazon for less than 20, I would have paid a lot more for a product that give these results! :)

March 21st, 2012, 12:51 PM
That sounds like a pickle. When I joined here my hair was maybe not quite as damaged but it wasn't good news either. I'm still trimming off the damaged hair to be honest but I got the worst of it off in stages. In your case, if your hair is long enough to wear up right now, I would just maintain your length. If you get an inch off every other month that should do it depending on your growth rate. Then, pretty much just wear your hair up. Pin back the layers that are too short and wear ponytails or us clips, do french twists.. anything you can figure out to do on your length. It doesn't matter then how your hair dries after washing it and if it is damaged people are much less likely to even notice.

The good news is that it will definitely get better as long as you take care of your hair.

March 21st, 2012, 12:55 PM
I'd recommend trimming off the damaged ends. Then I'd grow out again.

March 21st, 2012, 01:01 PM
The good news is that you can get your old hair back. The bad news is that you'll have to grow it out. You can improve the condition of your hair now, and possibly quite a bit, but it's not going to be the way it was until you cut off the damage. I would maintain length at this point and just trim regularly until most of the damage is gone, then combine growing and trimming until the rest of it is off. Joico K-Pak is a good protein treatment, and right now your hair probably needs it. Alternate with moisture.

I don't think henna results in dry hair long term, but sometimes there is some residual dryness immediately after, which can be countered with a good deep treatment. Your water may be contributing to the problem, however. If you have well water, I would do citric acid rinses rather than using ACV, because citric acid chelates minerals. I get better results with the CA than with ACV over time.

March 21st, 2012, 01:45 PM
thank you so much for all of the advice! I will try anything right now!

My hair is feeling significantly smoother since learning about so many great ways to take care of my hair here on LHC. I'm hoping with more time it will get better and better. It needs to get stronger. I'm so tempted to use my flat iron, just to get it to look nice, but I know that that will just lead to a whole new crop of little white dots and broken ends.

I never even cared that much about my hair, until I chopped it off. I didn't chop it off and dye it blonde so some guy would think I'm sexy. I cut it because the man that I was in love with loved my hair, I was his 'princess' with my long hair. When we separated, I cut my hair as a sort of f-u to him. Sigh. Now I'm over it and I want my hair back!

It looks like time, care and trims will be the only way. And patience, gah.

I do have joico Kpack, but the last time I used it, it made my hair really coarse and awful feeling. I think I had a protien overload from it, maybe? I do have Aphogee, but not the two step, I have the two minute treatment.

Yesterday I clarified my hair, I'm trying to go cone free, but now I am see all of the splits, majorly. Should I be using cones right now?

March 21st, 2012, 01:46 PM
Sarelis, you're hair looks great to me!

March 21st, 2012, 01:48 PM
jeanniet, I do have hard well water. Our water is so hard it eats our faucets and our appliances last 4 years max. That's with a water softener. I definitely get mineral build up on my hair.

Citric Acid? Where do I find that?

March 22nd, 2012, 10:03 AM
Yesterday I clarified my hair, I'm trying to go cone free, but now I am see all of the splits, majorly. Should I be using cones right now?

I also have damaged hair from bleach, and for me going cone-free was a disaster. It became a tangly mess and just kept breaking off. My hair defenitely needs the extra slip to it from just breaking off. :)

March 22nd, 2012, 10:04 AM
I also have damaged hair from bleach, and for me going cone-free was a disaster. It became a tangly mess and just kept breaking off. My hair defenitely needs the extra slip to it from just breaking off. :)

I meant: too keep it from just breaking off. :P

March 22nd, 2012, 10:25 AM
Remember, a protein treatment like KPak will always require a moisturizing treatment as well.

March 22nd, 2012, 03:46 PM
I'd keep it at the length you're at for a while, trimming back all the time until all the damage is gone. Meanwhile, take good care of it with lots of conditioning and deep treatments.

March 22nd, 2012, 03:53 PM
Remember, a protein treatment like KPak will always require a moisturizing treatment as well.
This. Follow the protein treatments with moisture treatments, immediately if that's feasible. It's completely normal for your hair to feel dry, stiff, rough, and brittle after a protein treatment; adding moisture keeps it from continuing to feel that way.

March 22nd, 2012, 04:15 PM
yesterday and today my hair has actually looked sort of ok. I did the 2 minute aphogee treatment, but left it on for 5 minutes, then deep conditioned. All that I've put on it is some oil, Cocoveda from Hennasooq. This morning I BBB gently then put more cocoveda on the ends and it looks half way decent.

Thanks for all of the help ♥

March 22nd, 2012, 04:36 PM
I'm so sorry about your hair! :(
Of course I agree with the others to treat your hair like vulnerable silk...
In a german forum I'm active the girls (with bleached and damaged hair) are pretty exited about Cholesterol deep treatment. I'm not sure if you can get it your place, as I don't know were you live...
It is also recommended to use when you have extensions...

Perhaps you can google it, as I just have german links. But so you can see at least a picture:
Dark & Lovely - Ultra Cholesterol - Conditioning Mask - Very damaged hair: http://www.afroshop.info/product_info.php?cPath=55_67&products_id=544&osCsid=102ae4c46e11347071332eb572d70dac

Lustrasilk Cholersteol Cream: http://www.louellas-afro-shop.de/assets/s2dmain.html?http://www.louellas-afro-shop.de/50298798ae02a8b0c/50298798da13de409/50298798ae02aa410.html

I'm not sure if it will help you, but I was thinking of this treatment while I was reading your post. I wish you the best!! :blossom: