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Thread: Help? hair getting shorter from extensive breakage and split ends. Desperate...

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  1. #1
    Member pocahonta_s's Avatar
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    Hello long hair gurus... I have been lurking on this board for a long time now but only recently joined. Now I need to ask for advice.

    A few months ago, my hair was very dry and breaking badly and I blamed it on my weekly use of a flat iron + a strong strength lye relaxer applied on the entire length of my hair (already relaxed with no-lye) and left on way too long. I am bi-racial and have 4a/b hair (i think), thin strands but fluffy looking as there is a fair bit of it.

    I cut my hair from waist-length to mid-back and started to take better care of it, i.e. I either do roller sets or braidouts (no more flat-iron), sleep on a satin pillow or with a bonnet over my head, I try not to rest my head on anything, I keep my hair up in a bun as much as possible.

    I henna and indigo once in 3-4 weeks. I DC with moisture and do protein treatments (my moisture to protein DC is probably 3:1). I put honey and aloe vera in my conditioner, and make my own leave-in with shea butter, conditioner and coconut oil.

    Although the overall condition of my hair seems to have improved and my hair looks fine to other people (the henna and indigo have made is darker and shinier and my ends don’t feel so frizzy), it is breaking like crazy and getting worse.

    I stopped using cones because I thought they might be the culprit, but although my hair feels more moisturized now, it seems to be breaking even more. I also have nasty splits appearing half-way across the hair shaft and strands that are so jacked up they are split in 4 or 5 thinner strands. I am trying to grow out my layers and these keep splitting, and breaking too. I do S&D every second day and end up finding heaps of white spots, splits and holes each time.

    I was going to try catnip tea but I am starting to think this may be a lost cause. My hair is growing at my roots but I am not retaining any length, in fact, I feel like it keeps getting shorter. My flatmates and boyfriend think I am crazy as I am constantly “putting food and pot-smelling herbs” in my hair and paranoid about it rubbing against anything.

    Do you think I am wasting my time trying to save my ends? Maybe the damage is too extensive and I will just have to wait for new healthy growth? (5 years to grow it all back!) Or is it something that I am not doing right and I causing the breakage now?

    Sorry about the long post, just feeling a bit low and desperate about the whole thing… Any advice will be much appreciated.

    Pictures of my hair before i started taking care of it: http://public.fotki.com/Pocahonta-s/...icture175.html

    And last month: http://public.fotki.com/Pocahonta-s/...lerset009.html
    Last edited by Teacherbear; March 27th, 2009 at 08:15 PM. Reason: I merged the first 3 posts since you couldn't edit. I hope that is ok.

  2. #2
    Member DragonLady's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help? hair getting shorter from extensive breakage and split ends. Desperate...

    Your hair type is very different from mine, and I'm sure there will be lots of people who can give you more specific advise.

    But I wouldn't give up! Maybe just find a routine to baby the ends you have, take the best care of the new growth that you can, and slowly trim away the worst of the breakage a little bit at a time?
    Lady Saphira of the Crystal Wings in the Order of the Long Haired Knights!

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    Member RancheroTheBee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help? hair getting shorter from extensive breakage and split ends. Desperate...

    Quote Originally Posted by DragonLady View Post
    Your hair type is very different from mine, and I'm sure there will be lots of people who can give you more specific advise.

    But I wouldn't give up! Maybe just find a routine to baby the ends you have, take the best care of the new growth that you can, and slowly trim away the worst of the breakage a little bit at a time?
    I agree. You might have to do some microtrimming for a while, but it'll make a big difference. I doubt you're going to have to do any more big chops for a while, since you already cut off so much and you're obviously treating it very well now.

    PS: Cat nip couldn't hurt. You might want to do it as an extra defense.
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    Member SimplyLonghair's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help? hair getting shorter from extensive breakage and split ends. Desperate...

    Could it be protein overload? Weekly protein seems alot to me even for biracial hair. I know that the girls at work we only wash once a week and we do condition then but not always with protein. I care for many children, some of whom are African-American or mixed.

    It could also be that your hair is still responding to the relaxers and flat iron treatments. After all it is hair that has at least a year of those.
    Last edited by SimplyLonghair; March 27th, 2009 at 12:39 AM.

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    Member Peggy E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Help? hair getting shorter from extensive breakage and split ends. Desperate...

    Quote Originally Posted by SimplyLonghair View Post
    Could it be protein overload? Weekly protein seems alot to me even for biracial hair. I know that the girls at work we only wash once a week and we do condition then but not always with protein. I care for many children, some of whom are African-American or mixed.

    It could also be that your hair is still responding to the relaxers and flat iron treatments. After all it is hair that has at least a year of those.
    This was what I was wondering - if it isn't possible, in her panic, she's trying to do too much and rather than easing the problem, exacerbating it?

    Maybe try a simplier routine that will be gentler on the hair - no more relaxers and flat irons, for instance; maybe even let the henna and indigo alone for a while, until your hair is healthier. Then slowly add the henna/indigo OR the relaxers?

    Purely conjecture, as my hair and experience is very different; I know that my hair went on strike when I was trying to do too much of a good thing!

    Welcome to LHC - your pics are beautiful, btw!
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Help? hair getting shorter from extensive breakage and split ends. Desperate...

    Quote Originally Posted by SimplyLonghair View Post
    Could it be protein overload? Weekly protein seems alot to me even for biracial hair. I know that the girls at work we only wash once a week and we do condition then but not always with protein. I care for many children, some of whom are African-American or mixed.

    It could also be that your hair is still responding to the relaxers and flat iron treatments. After all it is hair that has at least a year of those.
    I wondered if it might be too much protein, too. I would say you probably should oil your hair a little and trim splits whenever you see them.

    ETA: I have a totally different hair type, but I've found that plenty of olive oil (just on the length), then a shampoo and conditioner makes my hair super soft. Surprisingly, even though I do just one shampoo on the scalp the bit that runs down my hair when I rinse it out removes enough of the oil so that it doesn't seem to make my hair greasy.
    Last edited by longhairedfairy; March 29th, 2009 at 12:40 AM. Reason: add

  7. #7
    Hiding in plain sight spidermom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help? hair getting shorter from extensive breakage and split ends. Desperate...

    I think it would be best for you to get on a regular trimming schedule and keep at it until the ends improve. If you don't have a stylist you can trust, ask around, do it yourself, or have a friend do it. Growth will be so much faster without those bad ends. (oops; I see the issue has been dealt with, should have read all the posts before I commented)

  8. #8
    Spoonbill Roseate's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help? hair getting shorter from extensive breakage and split ends. Desperate...

    I doubt it's anything you're doing now that's causing the breakage.. I think it's probably just cumulative damage after the relaxing and ironing. Your routine now sounds good. I'd keep up S&D, microtrims and babying your hair, and you may be able to keep growing without losing any more length.

    Nightshade wrote an article about her experience growing out damage; you might want to check that out.

    And even if you end up having to cut more, at least your new growth will be in good shape! Welcome to LHC!

  9. #9
    Member DragonLady's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help? hair getting shorter from extensive breakage and split ends. Desperate...

    And even if you end up having to cut more, at least your new growth will be in good shape!
    Yeah; if it comes to that, just take a deep breath, and remind yourself that no matter how much comes off, your hair will never be that short again. And keep telling yourself that 'till your back to where you are now, but with healthy, shiny ends that you can be proud of.
    Lady Saphira of the Crystal Wings in the Order of the Long Haired Knights!

  10. #10
    Member pocahonta_s's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help? hair getting shorter from extensive breakage and split ends. Desperate...

    Thanks for the advice! I will try the catnip and i will look for Nightshade's articles.

    SimplyLongHair - i was wondering about the protein overload, my ends being so weak i dont know if they are brittle for lack of protein or too much...

    I also wonder whether the sudden increase in breakage is from the cones, and whether it is due to stopping them or because i had concealed damage while i was using them (if that makes sense?)

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