The Beauty Brains receive hundreds of questions each week and while we read each and every email, there’s no way we can answer them all. So, we thought we’d try something new – we posted a few of your recent questions in our Forum where we’re blessed with over 1000 helpful and knowledgeable members. Today we’re posting the best of their responses in answer to the following question…
Jen asks: I used to bleach my hair and recently just dyed it to dark brown as my natural color because I realized my hair was damaged. Are there any products that I can use to help my hair not break off at the bottom? I always have slpit ends and my hair just doesn’t grow long. Please help thank you.
The Beauty Brains Forum Responds:
Some products like coconut or olive oil are helpful for mitigating damage to your hair, and you shuld definitely be using a good conditioner — but overwhelmingly, the only thing that will get rid of splits is handling.
You say that you used to bleach your hair — unfortunately, this will have damaged it, so you’ll have to wait for that damage to grow out. Even going darker damages hair since the process of dying hair lifts the cuticle scales on the outside of the hairshaft like the spines on a ticked-off porcupine. The process supposedly then smooths them back down, but they never go back exactly the way they were.
The fundamentals of gentle hair handling are: wear it up completely up when you can, bunned is best but at least off your back. Don’t use elastics at the ends of your hair. Use VERY LITTLE to no heat treatment: blow dryers, flatirons, curling irons, all of that. No color — bleach and double-process is damaging inherently. Comb instead of brushing.
Generally, don’t fuss with it as much and it’ll be much happier. If you like to blow dry or flatiron, and see yourself dyeing your hair again in the future, it may be that split ends will be something you just have to battle.
The only real solution for split ends is to have them trimmed off. It will help your hair look healthier. If you have regular trims, your hair also seems to grow faster. I know it doesn’t really, but it seems like it. I regularly dye my hair to cover grey, but don’t have a problem with split ends. You can blow your hair dry with little damage as long as you point the air down the length of your hair and stop as soon as its dry.
I’ve never actually had my hair grow with regular trims, and it’s down to mid-thigh. I found that I couldn’t expect busy stylists to remember with exact precision “not as short as it was six weeks ago but shorter than now.” As a result, when I got regular trims, my hair stalled at shoulder length for years.
I found that when I handled my hair gently and wore it up frequently (as I do now; I LOVE hairtoys!) it grew quickly, and I only needed trims every six months or so.
The secret to long hair is to handle it gently, wear it up, and simply don’t cut it. Cutting results in nothing but shorter hair; it took me years of frustration before this simply truth occurred to me.
Some trims are needed as you see splits, but “regular” often just means that you’ll be getting new growth trimmed away at the same rate at which it’s generated.
Again though, it depends on how long the original poster is aiming for. Most people are quite content with mid-back as “long,” which means that a year or two of no-trimming will be fine followed by maintenance trims for life.
Try putting a bit a of silicone based products from the middle to the tips of your hair… I do this twice a day – once in the morning before I go anywhere and once before i got to bed. The silicone coats the hair and protects the cuticle and helps prevent anymore damage being done to it. I also recommend serious oiling with olive oil and coconut oil combined.
Another thing – try washing your hair less often with shampoo – or if you can’t do that try shampooing with a shampoo with a milder surfactant so that it’s not that harsh on your hair.
And one last thing – i hear that “glossing treatments” are also good at protecting your hair from anymore damage – apparently it coats the hair – but i’m trying to find more out about that at the moment. Your hair salon will do glossing treatments.
To help out your hair a bit, make sure to get regular trims. As much as it sucks, especially if you’re trying to grow your hair out, it’s the only way you can *actually* get rid of split ends. No matter what marketing tells you, even those things that claim to mend your split ends, what’s done is done and you need to get ‘em trimmed!
If you blowdry and/or flat iron, weekly deep conditioning is a must, to keep your hair moisturized and healthy. Also a must if you heat style are protein treatments once a month. If your hair is damaged, it could be worthwhile to use a product that has protein listed, whether it be a shampoo, condish or styling product. Protein will be listed as hydrolyzed wheat protein or soy protein, etc. Lastly, make sure you use at least a heat protectant or a leave-in conditioner before heat styling every time, so at least *some* damage will be prevented.
For deep conditioning there’s a variety of masks available, high end and from the drugstore. You can also use coconut oil as a mask with heat for half an hour or so, just make sure it’s raw and unrefined coconut oil. Popular protein treatments are Nexxus Keraphix (light protein), Bumble&bumble “Deeep” (light) and Nexxus Emergencee and ApHogee (lotsa protein!)
If you’re experiencing breakage at the bottom, find neat hairstyles to wear that will keep your hair up and out of the way of car windows, fans, excessive rubbing on the back of chairs etc. Also make sure though that you use hair friendly styling things, like no snag elastics and barrettes, because if you don’t, simple things like elastics can pull a lot of hair out, and that defeats the purpose of tying your hair up in the first place!
If you use silicone laden shampoos/condishes and/or styling products, make sure you clarify every once in a while to stop buildup that *might* lead to potential breakage.
And last but not least, if you don’t have one already, get a good, seamless wide-toothed comb. Apparently, you should never brush hair when wet – it stretches and is more prone to breakage, so combs are the way to go.
A big BB thanks to Janis, Anne, Jules and Krsn89 for their answers. What do the rest of you think? Did you find these Forum comments helpful? Would you like to see more Forum answers to your questions? If the answer is “yes” and you just can’t wait, then head over to the Forum today to post your questions under Open Beauty Questions.