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

  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?
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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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    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!

  5. #5
    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!

  6. #6
    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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  7. #7
    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?)

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

    Well the cones prevent moisture and other things from reaching into the hair and will cause dryness which will give you breakage. I would just really baby it for awhile and maybe even stop the S&D as that could be part of the issue if you don't have sharp enough scissors. I had that problem for a while but got better scissors.

    On the edge of my forest!

  9. #9
    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 pocahonta_s View Post
    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?)
    That makes sense. They coat the shaft, concealing damage. What you're seeing now might be the extent of your damage.

    Look in the articles section. Kirin wrote a great article on how to tell what your hair needs; protein or moisture.

    PS: Eep. I can't get to your photos. Can you try posting again?
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  10. #10
    Moomin SpecialKitty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help? hair getting shorter from extensive breakage and split ends. Desperate...

    Welcome to LHC

    While my hair type is very different from yours, I can say from experience that it takes longer than a month or two to get rid of the damage caused by long-term use of irons and other forms of heat.

    Because I'm a slow grower, it has taken me about 3 1/2 years to grow out my damage. The broken hair you are experiencing now, in my opinion, is due to the flat ironing. It is possible that the cones just covered up the damage.

    Hopefully, your growth will be quicker than mine! In the meantime, treat your hair gently and do regular micro-trims to not lose length but to get rid of the damage.

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