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How I stopped my extreme hair breakage!

Omw2TbL

Member
Hello everyone,

I am new to this forum as an official member but I have been lurking since my teenage years. Especially when the natural hair care movement started. I finally found the solution to my extreme brittle hair after reading so many threads on all the forums that are still active, which is not much. I am not sure if I am supposed to post this in a relaxer thread, but I figured this advice might get buried and I really want to share what worked for me, hoping it might save someone's hair.

Background:
I have been natural since roughly 2014 and my longest length was BSL. I did relax my hair a couple of times along the way when I got tired of single strand knots, the breakage and not being able to wear my hair out without it becoming extremely dry in just a couple of hours. Last year during quarantine I decided that I wanted to relax again after being natural for around 3 years. And this time for good. My hair was a little past BSL and in a matter of months my hair went form BSL to armpit length with extreme brittleness, breakage and dryness. I then transitioned again cutting everything to a TWA, with the same issues. A dry, brittle TWA that snaps and pops every time I put a comb to it. After doing some research I decided to relax my hair yet AGAIN but this time I had all the knowledge that I needed. I have now been relaxed for the past 3 months and my hair is finally soft, supple, my comb and Denman brush glide through my hair without making a single snapping sound and life is just good.

Realisations:
1. I finally realised I have naturally high porosity (HP) hair. And relaxers make it worse, waaaay worse.
2. Realising that as a HP natural I needed frequent protein, but all I did was focus on moisture. But now that I am relaxed protein needs to be the centre of my hair care.
3. I stopped exclusively following black hair advice and started researching what white people do to salvage damaged brittle hair. I mostly searched on how to keep bleached hair healthy (or as healthy as possible). Since both bleached and relaxed hair suffer some level of chemical damage.
4. I stopped trying to fix my hair with only natural concoctions. Nature is great but hair care has been researched for decades. Trust science more, not everything that is man-made is evil.

What did I do:

Change my hair care routine to focus on protein, rather than moisture.
Don't get me wrong moisture is important but with highly porous hair that moisture slips right out if you don't do anything about the raised cuticles. You need hydrolyzed proteins to lay your cuticles flat and fill in the gaps in your hair. If you are relaxed this will keep your hair strong at the line of demarcation where your new growth meets the relaxed hair.
I threw away all my products and my routine is now 90% Aphogee products.
  1. Keratin and Green Tea Shampoo (sulfate free)
  2. Keratin 2 Min Reconstructor
  3. Two-Step Protein Treatment (every 4 weeks)
  4. Pro-Vitamin Leave-in Conditioner
  5. Redken Anti-snap (ceramides: 2-oleamido-1 and 3-octadecanediol)
  6. Garnier Avocado and Shea Butter Leave-in conditioner
My favorite proteins are silk, keratin, collagen and wheat proteins. I used to stress about protein-moisture balance, but after some thinking I realised that if I use a product that is protein based like a leave-in conditioner or rinse-out conditioner. The protein is already balanced with emollients, fatty alcohols and oils etc in the products formula. The only products you really need to follow up with a conditioning treatment are your hard proteins like the 2 step protein treatment. Because that formula has zero emollients to buffer the protein, it is basically water and proteins. As for protein overload, if your hair is chemically treated or high porosity you shouldn't worry about this. Your hair needs all the help it can get, just start with one or two products that have proteins and add more if you feel like you need it or your hair can handle it. I do think protein overload is possible for those that have healthy hair but this post is for those with damaged or dry, brittle hair. If you do experience some signs of protein overload, then just stop using all your products with protein and just use moisturising products. There is no real way to "fix" protein overload, proteins bind to the hair and slowly come off over the course of 4-6 weeks. So you will just have to wait it out and keep your hair as moisturised as possible in the mean time.

Using these products weekly slowly changed my hair to become less brittle but I was still experiencing some breakage. Until I did two major things. You don't need to discard all your products and go out and buy everything I listed above but I do advice you to try the two things I will list below. This turned my dry brittle ends that felt like velcro and would snap off and fill my sink with a million small pieces into legit butter. The results were instant as well for me.

1. Breakage hair mask: I mixed the Aphogee 2 step protein treatment with the 2 minute reconstructor. I was too lazy to do the two step treatment. If you are familiar with it, you know it makes your hair rock hard before you rinse it out. So I added a table spoon to my reconstructor to have an extra boost of protein without having to wait and do a second deep conditioning treatment. I used one table spoon of the 2 step and two table spoons of the reconstructor. I decided to let it dry completely on my hair and not cover it. The mask did get hard but nothing too crazy. I rinsed it out and my hair felt so strong, yet supple and moisturised from the conditioner.

2. Use a serum to seal your hair: After reading blogs for white women's hair and the recommendation of using serums for dry brittle hair I decided to just try it. I picked up the John Frieda Frizz Ease as it claimed to keep hair moisturised. This product is pure silicones mind you, an ingredient I avoided like the plague since going natural. It left my hair so soft, supple and manageable. I always sealed with oils but was always left with dry hair after a couple of hours. This was the first time I actually experienced moisture being sealed in my hair. Even the next morning my hair was still nice and soft. I did do a micro trim of 1/8 inch even though my damage is around an inch long. And still my comb and brush would glide through my hair.
Edit on how I use the serum: After washing my hair without towel drying, I apply the Pro-Vitamin Leave-in, the Redken Anti-snap and the Garnier leave-in conditioner. Then I sealed everything in with the Frizz Ease serum and slicked my hair back so it could dry as straight as possible.

This turned out to be quite a long post, thank you for reading if you have come this far. I wanted to give you as much information as possible because I know how frustrating it is to have hair fill up your sink and bathroom floor no matter how gentle you are and how many deep conditioning treatments you do. It has made me break down in tears many many times. These two treatments have completely salvaged my breakage and when I comb my hair I now get maybe 15 to 20 broken pieces, I do think that most of those pieces are from damaged strands that were already too damaged to be saved. But the fact that I can comb through my hair without any snagging and popping tells me no strands are being further damaged and I am on my way to retain more length.
I added a picture of my hair in box braids so you can get an idea of my hairs condition. I did this routine 2 days before braiding my hair on the first washday after my relaxer. I now just spray my hair with leave-in and use a pea size of the serum to keep my hair moist

Hope this helps, good luck!
 
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ItsMeLilLucky

Aka Giveme D’Monee
That is awesome feeling when you finally find what works for you. Funnily enough, I mix my 2 step with a protein free conditioner (Mielle Mongongo Oil) when I wanna do a deep conditioner (protein treatment)and this was also from laziness :lol:
 

LushLox

Well-Known Member
Yeah I’ve really stepped up my protein in recent years; I’ve tinkered with it and know exactly what my hair can deal with. I use it very consistently now and it works.
 

Omw2TbL

Member
Yeah I’ve really stepped up my protein in recent years; I’ve tinkered with it and know exactly what my hair can deal with. I use it very consistently now and it works.
What protein products do you use? I can slowly feel myself turning into a protein product junkie. I want to try some Chi products and the ORS Replenishing Conditioner, haven't used that last one in over 5 years.
 

Omw2TbL

Member
That is awesome feeling when you finally find what works for you. Funnily enough, I mix my 2 step with a protein free conditioner (Mielle Mongongo Oil) when I wanna do a deep conditioner (protein treatment)and this was also from laziness :lol:
Does it get hard as well? What ratio do you use?
 

LushLox

Well-Known Member
What protein products do you use? I can slowly feel myself turning into a protein product junkie. I want to try some Chi products and the ORS Replenishing Conditioner, haven't used that last one in over 5 years.

I don’t use any hard protein as I don’t feel like I need them but I regularly use, Joico K Pak, Aphogee Two Minute, Moroccanoil Restorative, Aveda Damage Remedy to name a few. I supplement these with protein leave ins too.
 
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