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My 4B hair won't stop breaking

Discussion in 'Hair Care Tips & Product Review Discussion' started by Etherealsmile, May 11, 2011.

  1. Etherealsmile

    Etherealsmile Well-Known Member

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    I'm a true 4b and I have been experiencing breakage for several months now. I initially thought the cause of my breakage was using heat bi-weekly (blow drying to stretch the hair, no flat iron) but I have not used heat for a few months now and my hair continues to break.

    I've uped my moisture game...moisturizing at least 1-2x a day

    I deep condition weekly in box braids using silk elements mega silk moisture treatment

    I clarify my hair at least 1x per week using baking soda + conditioner


    I usually finish off my routine with roux porosity control

    I use protein at least once ever 2 weeks although I have started using silk amino acids in my moisturizer (I started this past week).

    What am I doing wrong? I just moisturized my hair and took down one box braid to re-do and seeing all these little broken pieces of hair is so depressing. I don't know what else to do :sad::sad:




    Please help:cry:
     
  2. shunemite

    shunemite New Member

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    OP I'm really sorry to hear this. How long have you been using the baking soda? It is very harsh for some people's hair. You said you are in box braids, whenever I'm in braids I just use a very dilute shampoo and pour it over my scalp and rinse thoroughly. Also are you relaxed or natural?

    More importantly, have you been to the doctor to get your thyroid levels checked? It's more common than you might think, and thyroid problems can lead to breakage along with low VitD and Calcium.
     
  3. Etherealsmile

    Etherealsmile Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, I started using baking soda about 2 months ago? It leaves my hair feeling very soft and I didn't think it might be contributing to my breakage.

    I take nioxin recharging complex as my multi vitamin but i'm not sure if the levels of calcium and Vitamin D are up to par with the daily amounts I need.

    Thanks for the suggestion:yep:, I didn't take into consideration that the problem might be internal
     
  4. Imani

    Imani New Member

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    I'm also 4b (natural) so heres my two cents

    -Baking soda weekly sounds REALLY harsh. Maybe you should try a gentle moisturizing shampoo instead, maybe even a sulfate free shampoo (I like Bee Mine Botanical; there are lots of gentle shampoos, I'm sure others can chime in with suggestions).

    -Also, what are you moisturizing with?

    -Are you sure your hair needs protein? Many 4b's really don't need much protein and perhaps you should focus more on using intense MOISTURE based conditioners. I know for myself protein tends to dry my hair out. Most conditioners I use are moisture based and have little or no protein in them.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2011
  5. Leeda.the.Paladin

    Leeda.the.Paladin Well-Known Member

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    Could you maybe try a different style? I like box braids, but they cause me more breakage than, say, twists.

    Do you think you could be doing the protein thing a little much?

    Are the box braids brushing against your shoulders? I know that my twists shrink right up to shoulder length and was causing me some splits when I wore them down, so I started wearing updos.

    Do you think you might be silicone sensitive?

    Maybe you could try to clarify less often and tone down the baking soda.

    That's all I can think of...I hope you find out what the problem is :hug:
     
  6. Ash25

    Ash25 Well-Known Member

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    I find the best thing for my 4b hair is to keep it simple. Ill usually keep my hair in chunky fake hair braids for 3 months (lol...yea i know thats a long time) and not wash it (jus a personal preference cause im kinda lazy). I went from 4 inches of hair (measured from the longest part) to 8 inches in 11 months....and literally 1 cm of hair (i was balding:blush: at my crown:sad:) to 4.5 inches. I was having problems with breakage at the beginning, but stuck to my reggie and my hair got stronger.

    4b hair is the most fragile of all the textures and should be treated with much care.

    this is what ive done over the past year...

    Braids for 3 months at a time....then let my hair rest for 2-4 wks

    Pre poo with: shea butter, wheatgerm oil, caster and jojoba

    Wash with a gentle natural hair cleanser: oyin, amla powder, or morrocco method int'l

    DC with: oyin honey hemp mixed with aloe, jojoba oil, argan oil, wheat germ oil and let it sit for at least 10 mins

    Moisturize with: oyin hair dew, shea butter, caster oil, wheatgerm, jojoba, and a few drops of lemon essential oil (to close the cuticles on the hair shaft)

    The baking soda may not be a good idea for your hair. Hair likes to be around a pH of 4-6 and baking soda is around 11-14 (i think )

    When I wear my hair out i have to moisturize 1-2 times a day most days and I only wash it every 2 wks.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2011
  7. Etherealsmile

    Etherealsmile Well-Known Member

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    Thank you! I've shied away from using shampoos thinking they were evil for my hair:lol:. I think i'll stop using the baking soda so much and switch to a sulfate free shampoo

    I moisturize with s-curl activator or carefree curl gold when i run out of S-curl

    I honestly never stopped to think if i needed protein:perplexed, when my hair started breaking so much is when i really became diligent with using protein but that hasn't helped.

    I'll try to shift my focus to more moisture because i'm still struggling with dryness issues as well.....sighs:sad:
     
  8. Etherealsmile

    Etherealsmile Well-Known Member

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    seriously, thank you for this suggestion!:hug2: I just checked my nioxin ingredients and the vit C count is at 30mg with vitamin D at 300 IU:nono: both are way below the daily recommended amounts so i'm pretty sure this is a big key to the puzzle. You rock!:grin:
     
  9. Bun Mistress

    Bun Mistress Well-Known Member

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    The only thing I add is other than wash day how are you treating your hair? I noticed a year ago when I started sealing with an oil containing ceramides that there was a big difference. Hot six (I just tried this one) is great, local and hs wheat germ oil which contains ceramides. This can help with breakage. If you keep your hair in braids are you sealing everyday? I do well in braids but on;y when I really up the moisture and seal.

    I'm plus of minus on the protein. I use protein every other week but I have hair that is fine and likes it. I just up my moisture the following week.

    Also, I don't know your hair, but are you sure you need to shampoo once a week? If so I would change to a watered down moisture shampoo, the BS seems like it could be harsh if not diluted properly. HTH
     
  10. Etherealsmile

    Etherealsmile Well-Known Member

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    Thank you:hug2:, i'm definitely going to cut waaay back on using baking soda and protein.

    My shrinkage is at least 90% plus:lol: so my hair barely reaches shoulder length when in braids.

    I just realized that taking down the box braids causes more stress on my hair than twisting so i'm going back to using twists as my protective style...i'm not even sure why i stopped using them in the first place:look:
     
  11. Imani

    Imani New Member

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    Have you tried to use more natural based products? Many people on the boards use beauty supply brands with great success; but everyone's hair is different and for me personally my hair really turned around when I eliminated sulfates, cones, mineral oil, etc and used more natural based products. I was using harsh shampoos that stripped my hair, then products that just coated it and was in this constant cycle of strip, coat, strip, coat and my hair was never truly moisturized.
     
  12. Etherealsmile

    Etherealsmile Well-Known Member

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    8 inches in 11 months! wow that's awesome growth! congrats:grin:

    your regimen really sounds very doable. I just realized when I had the most retention is when I was doing the least to my hair. Reading your post reminded me of that:yep:. I'm going to go back to my tried and true method and really keep it simple. I need to invest in a good natural shampoo or sulfate free shampoo and stay on top of my moisture game.

    Baking soda will be cut back to maybe every 4-6 weeks for clarifying purposes.

    You ladies are really wonderful, thanks for your suggestions:yep:
     
  13. Etherealsmile

    Etherealsmile Well-Known Member

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    I haven't been sealing as much as I should:nono: I usually just moisturize and go. I need to step up my sealing game...i need my hair to do a complete turn around.

    Do you know if grapeseed oil is a ceramide? I have a gallon on hand and i'm willing to do whatever is necessary for my hair to thrive again.

    I actually don't use any shampoo, my usual "shampoo" is baking soda + conditioner to clean my hair and scalp.

    In the past i used this routine bi-weekly and it worked well for me. I might need to stop this weekly wash habit, thinking about it now I realize my hair started misbehaving when i wash each week...:perplexed
     
  14. shunemite

    shunemite New Member

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    Glad ur taking some Nioxin I keep hearing good things about it :yep: if u need more Vit D/ Calcium they do have some vitamin D + Ca supplements over the counter for a pretty affordable price.
     
  15. coyacoy

    coyacoy Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like the ladies have got you covered! Don't you just love the LHCF community?!!


    I would concur about the protein. I too am 4b and my hair is normally verrrrrrry dry :nono: so i pretty much limit my protein use to my monthly hennas and use protein free conditioners for the rest of the month. A few protein free conditioners that I use include
    • Curl junkie rehab
    • My honey child's olive you
    • Several of the bear fruit conditioners.
    When rinsing out the condish, consider using cool water to seal in the moisture from the condish.

    Another thing you may want to consider is using a leave in conditioner after you wash/condish and before you moisturize and seal. Also, do you baggy your hair at night? That will help to retain the moisture as well.

    Agree re: cutting out (or down significantly) the baking soda. Carol's Daughter Black vanilla shampoo is a winner for me. I'm sure others can make other suggestions for a mild sulfate-free shampoo. Avalon's Lemon Clarifying shampoo clarifies and is pretty gentle and non stripping.

    I know that many ladies on the forum have had success with all kinds of products; however, i have found that natural ingredients tend to work best for me (for what that's worth :spinning:).

    HTH and good luck!!
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2011
  16. Nonie

    Nonie Well-Known Member

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    OP, I'm rushing so forgive me if I echo something that has already been said--I'll try to finish reading the thread later--but I wanted to add that breakage doesn't happen just because of what you are doing now. It could be just one of those things that has to run its course but perhaps some of the suggestions can help you hold onto some length. I mention that because if for example you had bubble hair (not suggesting you did; just giving an example), the explosion in your strands would have happened and created weak points in your hair. Protein and ceramides might be able to patch the hair and make it hold on a bit, but the damage can be such that it takes a few manipulations for the hair to actually break. So low manipulation should be at the top of your list for now.

    My next point is I personally do not clarify. Not when I use S Curl, or a serum. Well, I did stand corrected that one of my sulfate-free shampoos might be a clarify-er coz it has "Clarifying" in its name, but it's so gentle that I would never have considered it as such. But it's right there in big letters so I stand corrected. I'm talking about Giovanni 50:50. But I don't use it with a mind to clarify. I don't always have it in circulation so again, it's not like I have to use it. I just use regular shampoo.

    S Curl washes off so easily IMO, that if that's what you use, regular shampoo should suffice. I LOATHE baking soda. I used it once and it turned my hair into a brush. I also don't understand the love for using such a strong alkaline on one's hair. Alkaline open strands and so for all you know, you just make your hair cuticle susceptible to being caught on each other so they were ripped off creating weak spots in your hair. When I used Baking Soda in CON shampoo, it smelled like I was relaxing my hair so who knows why your hair feels soft. Not saying you can relax your hair like that but alkalines are used to break bonds in hair and make it straight--which also feels soft--so *shudder* :crazy: I suggest you fall in love with acidic products. IMO they are better for your hair.

    While many people believe that 4B hair doesn't need protein, my belief is only coarse (thick strand) 4B hair might get away w/o protein. I think fine hair needs it. I have never used pure protein though; it's always a moisture/protein mix. It's easy to err with protein and make hair hard and brittle (read: easy to break)...so I play it safe by using products that have some moisture in them too. That way I'm never having to worry about protein/moisture balance.

    I reiterate that you should put your hair away (twists were suggested) and just let it be. Low mani might serve you well, and even help you get over whatever setback you might be going through now. :kiss:
     
  17. Ash25

    Ash25 Well-Known Member

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    I wish!!! No....it was just grew 4 inches in 11 months...cause of my breakage set backs at the beginning :cry3:Sorry to disappoint you!:sad: lol The longest part of my hair is now 8 inches long

    Hold on, your hair will retain length! lol

    Its all about finding a reggie and products that work for your hair then sticking with them. Oyin Handmade will be getting a nice hefty portion of my monthly take home pay cause nothing else natural works better for my hair :lick:

    Oh...aloe is a wonderful protein...very gentle and it doubles as a moisturizer. Water is your #1 moisturizer. The oils seal in the water and provide nourishment for the hair and scalp.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2011
  18. TraciChanel

    TraciChanel Well-Known Member

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    Yes, it contains ceramides and is one of my favorites to use! Good luck with your hair. Please keep us posted when the breakage stops. I personally noticed a lot less shedding after I started sealing with grapeseed oils (hemp oil is great as well...preferably as a pre-poo. and yes, it's a ceramide too!). Best wishes for your hair!!!
     
  19. detroitdiva

    detroitdiva New Member

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    I also find that with my 4b hair, it growns the best when I have it in braids and out of the limelight. lol. get rid of that baking soda! I don't think that its good for our hair type. I tried that before years ago and had some bad results, shedding and color changes. Also, try aphogee. I used the hard protein every 6 weeks, and then the keratin protein treatment every 2 weeks for several months until the breakage stopped. it really works! make sure that you follow up with the moisture balance after each protein treatment to restore your moisture levels. also, if you can, just braid it up and leave it alone. it will certainly recover based on that alone, or try bunning. hope this helped and good luck. you can certainly overcome this :)
     
  20. Poohbear

    Poohbear Fearfully Wonderfully Made

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    Even though you moisturize 1-2 times a day, I would say using baking soda once a week and using protein twice a week is drying out your hair and causing it to break. Also, when you unravel your braids and rebraid, are you gentle with your hair? If not, rough manipulation can cause breakage too.
     
  21. Etherealsmile

    Etherealsmile Well-Known Member

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    Poohbear, i admit i'm not too gentle when taking down my braids:look:, i'm going to stop using braids and switch to twists as my protective style like some of the ladies suggested


    I really appreciate all the advice ladies. Thank you all so much!:grouphug:
     
  22. Etherealsmile

    Etherealsmile Well-Known Member

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    This is great news! Now that i know, i'm definitely incorporating into my routine beginning this weekend. Thank you for confirming:yep:
     
  23. Melissa Daniel

    Melissa Daniel New Member

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    I am experiencing the same! But I dont do the heat so I really dont know. I use a light protein once a week and have lowered to twice a month. I am sooo depressed. I just made SL and I dont know if I will make it any further. I dont wear my hair down either. I dont know what to do and I am so far away I have no one to help hands on.
     
  24. Poohbear

    Poohbear Fearfully Wonderfully Made

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    Yes, I agree that switching to twists will be a better than staying with braids, especially for hair that tends to tangle, matt, and dread. That's what I've been doing...keeping my hair in two-strand twists...much easier, quicker, and less manipulation than braids. :yep:
     
  25. prettypithy

    prettypithy New Member

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    Sounds like it might be protein overload. I'm 4a natural and I only use light protein 1-2 times per month.
     
  26. Nonie

    Nonie Well-Known Member

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    Melissa Daniel, welcome to my world before I discovered the wonders of dusting ie trimming a tiny bit.

    Until I was in my 30's, the most my hair ever grew to was SL. I didn't use much heat. TBH, throughout my childhood, using heat or wearing hair out was something we did for special occasions. A wedding, a birthday party. But to go to school or just for everyday? Nope. Low mani was the MO. My hair would be cornrowed or plaited in singles. Left alone all week. Washed every week or every fortnight then braided again. Granted I didn't know how to comb it so would break off chunks during combing and yes I wasn't gentle, but I also wasn't as rough as some YT vids show mothers combing their daughters' hair. My mom was very gentle with my hair and yes, if I made it to 6 inches it's coz Mom was in charge of my hair. It'd be shorter if I was left to my own devices.

    Anyway, enter Wanakee and Brenda into my life and my hair broke that barrier. (I found Wanakee's pamphlet and learned about her regular trimming regimen and PSing, but my hair was too short for PSing and I didn't really adopt the trimming regimen until I saw the same echoed by Brenda on www.blackwomenrejoice.com.) I think the reason Brenda's regimen resonated with me was it was so easy. I misunderstood it though and thought she said no moisturizer at all, but because I baggy nightly, that didn't seem to hurt me. She also had said to wash my hair when it felt dry so that covered the moisture issue. All her regimen asked me to do was wash my hair when it felt dry, and dust every 6-8 weeks using a very sharp pair of scissors. And in a year I made it to 5-6 inches without my mom's help! (Ever since I'd been in charge of my own hair at the age of 13 when I started going to a boarding school that insisted we wore our hair out every day, 3 inches or so was all I ever achieved!) And in two years of Brenda's regimen, I made it to 9-11 inches.

    Pictures show you what I'm talmbout:

    While I don't have pics from my childhood when mom cared for my hair, this image here shows you the longest my hair ever grew, give or take:
    [​IMG]

    And even when I was relaxed, this is the best I could achieve:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I transitioned in braids--which BTW had been my trusted hairstyle for years. And no, I've never had traction alopecia from braids because my hairdresser in Kenya was very gentle and I learned to braid as a teen so took over from my hairdresser years ago. So no threat of pulling here. I decided to transition because my new stylist (I was in the US by now) had suggested that my hair was not the relaxing kind. It was overprocessed by the time I found her and she just thought it wasn't safe to continue relaxing. So I transitioned to show her that she didn't know what she was talmbout; that my undamaged hair is tougher than what she encountered. I had an inch of growth when I decided to transition and follow the regimen I just mentioned, and a year later I was here:
    [​IMG]

    ^^That was a huge milestone! Never had I reached that far w/o my mom's gentle haircare! A year later, still on that regimen, I was here:

    [​IMG]

    Folks think I'm crazy when I advocate trimming, and no I'm not saying hair doesn't grow if you don't trim like you might've heard from some misinformed folks. What I am saying is your hair ends wear away gradually and slowly break away so you never seem to make any progress no matter how much your hair grows. By trimming, you get rid of the weak "link" that was about to "contaminate" the rest of the strands so you have an end that isn't likely to tear up further because it doesn't have a crack. Trimming is a scary word, especially when it conjures images of an inch cut. But the trimming I was doing was tiny--what we call dusting on the forum. About 1/4 inch. I could afford to cut off so little because I didn't wait till my ends were split more than that. I caught them in good time...after only 8 weeks...just when the split was starting. So I managed to keep strong strands that didn't break away on their own. I was in control of how much length left, instead of leaving that to the elements.

    So truly, my belief is if hair is breaking and breaking and not seeming to go anywhere, even after you change your regimen, it's due to wear and tear. But don't give up the good practices you have adopted because your hair is still growing. Even if the hair you're working on has reached a point of no return, the good habits will pay off. And in time, your hair will start to show positive results. As Supergirl has shared before, it may take up to 6 months for you to see the fruits of your labor, because it may take that long for the hair that isn't damaged to grow to a point where you actually notice the improvement. The hair you have now may just be hanging on by a thread...so don't judge your success by it, but give yourself time to reap the fruits of the positive changes you make.
     
    Maracuj√° likes this.
  27. bride91501

    bride91501 Well-Known Member

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    I just wanted to agree with what everyone else has said so far. I also believe the BS is probably the culprit; our hair type tends to have the most difficult time retaining moisture (because of its super coiliy nature), so I would focus on practices that infuse as much moisture as possible into your strands, instead of removing it.

    Personally, I only shampoo monthly (because I find shampoo drying), but I CW a few times a week, and I also do a light PT once/week. Finding that moisture/protein balance is key, and keeping your hair in low manipulation styles will also greatly reduce/eliminate breakage and skyrocket your retention.

    ETA: please take the advice about incorporating ceramides into your reggie. You won't necessarily need to change up your products, cuz if they don't already contain ceramides you can mix a little in your conditioner, moisturizer, DC, etc. I rarely experience any breakage since I started incorporating ceramides into my reggie, and even when I do, it's very minimal.

    Also- @ms-gg wrote a FABULOUS post a few days ago on how to properly install & remove twists so as to minimize breakage. Definitely worth you taking a look at if you plan to use twists as your main PS.

    Your hair is SO, SO pretty...I hope you're able to get to the bottom of the problem soon :)
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2011
  28. PPGbubbles

    PPGbubbles Well-Known Member

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    Ditch the baking soda

    and incorporate an oil in there. I see no mention of you sealing with an oil

    I think you will fall in love with Rice Bran oil, it is a great ceramide oil with low odor :yep:
     
  29. Etherealsmile

    Etherealsmile Well-Known Member

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    aww thanks Bride, :kiss: i'm definitely revamping my routine for wash day tomorrow. You ladies have given me some great advice and I fully intend to incorporate some of the great tips provided:yep:
     
  30. Melissa Daniel

    Melissa Daniel New Member

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    Nonie Thank you for that!!! I went to the site to get the download but it wont work because my address is a military address. Maybe one day. I really want it because I really dont know what I am doing for my hair to be breaking like this :nono:

    ETA: I LOVE HARRY POTTER!!!!!
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2011

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