Thursday, January 11, 2018

How I Took My Hair From Brittle & Breaking to Long & Strong: Part I

For years I struggled with hair loss that eventually progressed into hair loss combined with brittle and broken hair.  I have never dyed my hair or had any chemical treatments done to it and I thought that I was taking good care of my hair so I could not understand why it was falling out and increasingly getting worse.  My hairdresser also noticed its declining condition and could not understand what was happening to it because my hair had changed so much.  In retrospect we now know that my hair issues stemmed from several health problems, medications, vitamin deficiency, stress, and over heat styling.

I knew that in order to heal my hair and get it in better condition I needed to make some changes and figure some things out.  The go to treatment for brittle and falling out hair is biotin, however, I have Crohn's disease and everytime I tried biotin it would flare up my Crohn's making it a nonviable option for me.  Once I finally accepted that (I tried it and subsequently made myself sick way too many times before I got to that point) I slowly started making other changes, I sort of figured out more things that would help as I went along, and in about nine months I was able to take my hair from falling out and breaking to quickly growing and the healthiest it has ever been.

The most important thing to understand about this process is that there really is no quick fix to rehab your hair and get it to grow longer.  This will take time, but  don't let that deter you because in my opinion it is very worth the time.  It also takes a combination of things to get your hair healthy and growing quickly.  Prior to doing all of this my hair was actually falling out in large clumps when I touched it and constantly breaking.  Now my hair is so strong and has gotten crazy thick; it's also growing quickly and my Mom, my hairdresser, and I cannot get over how much better it is doing!

I was going to write everything I've been doing to get to this point all in one post, but honestly there is just too much information so I decided to break it into two parts.  Today I'm sharing the steps I took to rehab my hair and get it to grow and then next week I will be sharing how I take care of my hair to keep it healthy and continuing to grow.  Below I'm breaking down what worked for me in a hope that it can help someone else who's struggling with their hair like I was!

VITAMIN B12
So I am (very obviously) not a doctor and I want to pretense this by saying that you need to speak with your doctor before adding any vitamins to your life.  With that said during my bi-yearly blood work my gastroenterologist found that I was severely Vitamin B12 deficient.  She explained to me that for the amount of Vitamin B12 I needed it would not absorb well when taken orally and gave me the option to take it via daily prescription nose spray or monthly prescription injections.  Well I hate nose spray and don't mind shots so the monthly injections it was.  These have helped with my hair growth so, so much and I think when I started taking these is when my hair health journey really took a turn for the better.  I would highly recommend asking your doctor if you can take an oral Vitamin B12 or finding out from him or her if you need a higher dose and can get a prescription for Vitamin B12.

REGULAR HAIRCUTS
So I know this is the most frustrating advice to get when you're trying to grow your hair because it seems like an oxymoron.  However, this really is one of the best things you can do for your hair.  Since I had a lot of breakage this has been so important for me both for the health of my hair and for growing it.  The only way to treat split ends and breakage is to cut it off so that it does not go further up the hair shaft and cause more problems and because of this regular trims are a necessity.  I now religiously get my haircut (just a trim!) every 8-10 weeks to get off all of the dead ends and prevent breakage and I think this has been so important in my hair journey.

LESS HEAT STYLING
So prior to this journey to rehab my hair if you had ever told me that I would go without blow drying and flat ironing or curling my hair I would've thought you were absolutely crazy.  Well that right there was a big problem.  I tried to use heat as little as possible, but was still using it way more then my hair could handle.  I embarked on a mission to learn how to air dry my hair so that I thought it looked presentable because I was convinced it could not be done.  Thankfully I was very wrong!  It took some trial and error, but I finally found a way to air dry it where I like the way it turns out.  Now I let my hair air dry the majority of the time and only use heat styling products for "special occasions."  In my next post I'll share the products I use to air dry my hair, but if you take away one thing from this post please let it be that you need to step away from the heat stylers!

HEAT PROTECTANT
Whenever you do use heat stylers you absolutely must use a heat protectant before!  A heat protectant will minimize the damage done to your hair when you're using a blow dryer, flat iron, etc., which will in turn help with your hair's health.  I use this heat protectant spray both before I blow dry my hair and then again before using a flat iron or curling iron.

WASH YOUR HAIR LESS
I am a big believer that you should not wash your hair everyday.  I think that washing it everyday strips your hair of its natural oils and causes damage.  I wash my hair one to three times a week so that it gets a break on the days in between washes.  In next week's post I'm going to share the products I use to extend my style on days I don't wash my hair, but in the meantime check out this post for an idea of how you can do it.

About halfway through my hair journey I was sent this hair growth spray from I Heart Mimi (c/o).  I think that using this was a huge turning point in going from focusing on rehabbing my hair to focusing on really growing it longer.  Grow It Girl is a 100% natural product that promotes fast and healthy hair growth.  On their website they explain, "It balances the PH levels of the scalp and eliminates dandruff, flakes, and itchiness. It works by replacing dead cells with yummy nutrients to encourage cell renewal and feeds each follicle those nutrients needed to stimulate new growth."  After washing my hair I make little parts along my scalp, spritz this at the roots of my damp hair and then massage it in.  I've seen great growth since I started using this and I also love the way it smells and how it adds shine to my hair!

TOWEL TURBAN
In an effort to treat my hair as gently as possible I switched from using a normal terry cloth towel to this microfiber towel turban.  Microfiber helps your hair to dry a lot faster and is much more gentle on your hair then a regular towel.  This step is especially important if your hair is damaged as microfiber will essentially "baby" your hair and cause less breakage.  Additionally, it will help to reduce both frizz and drying time (which is helpful whether you'll be blow drying your hair or not!).

BLOT YOUR HAIR WITH PAPER TOWEL
This is both the most recent thing I've learned and the one that saves me the most time.  After I shower I put my hair up in the towel turban and leave it on while I put on my facial products and body lotion, I then gently brush my hair and apply products, after this I take paper towel and blot my hair with it.  I start at the ends of my hair and go upwards blotting with the paper towel; I typically break my hair into four sections to do this.  By doing this I get out a ton of extra moisture that even the microfiber towel couldn't get (my hair holds a lot of water anytime I get it wet).  In turn this lets my hair dry faster, which like I mentioned above is helpful whether you're blow drying (less time drying equals less damage) or air drying your hair (less time with wet hair is always a win).

WET BRUSH
When your hair is wet it is in its most fragile state and very prone to breakage.  Therefore, when your hair is wet it's important to never use a regular brush as it will definitely cause damage to your hair.  With its special bristles a Wet Brush easily detangles your hair without pulling, tugging, or causing damage.  To take the ultimate care of your hair and be as gentle on your strands as possible a Wet Brush is a must have!

BRUSH FROM YOUR ENDS TO ROOTS
This was something my Mom taught me as a child that always confused me at the time, but I'm so thankful that I learned.  When your hair is wet it is important to brush your hair starting at the ends and working your way up to your roots to avoid damaging it.  If you start brushing the ends of you hair you can work out any knots or tangles more easily or gently and further avoid causing damage to your hair.

INVISIBOBBLE
Typical hair ties (especially ones with metal fastenings) can damage your hair follicle and cause breakage (check out this post from Marie Claire to see all the ways pulling up your hair can cause issues).  In an effort to be more gentle on my hair I switched to Invisibobble to put my hair up.  Invisibobble's unique telephone cord shape places uneven pressure around a ponytail, allowing hair to be held strongly in place without causing kinks and the smooth surface and spiral shape help to prevent split ends.  Now anytime I put my hair up I don't have to worry about causing damage to my hair and as a bonus I never get a headache from wearing my hair up!

Check back next week for the second part of this post!  I will be divulging all the information and products that I use to keep my hair healthy and growing.  Also let me know below if you have any questions or if there's anything specific you want me to put in Part II!


                    
Today I'm linking up with Friday FavoritesFriday Favorites, and Fab Favorites.

13 comments:

  1. Seriously love all of these tips! My hair isn't naturally very thick so I want to try some of your tricks. Ugh I am so bad about washing my hair though...I feel like I HAVE to wash it every time I workout because I feel so gross otherwise. Maybe I need to find a better dry shampoo?

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  2. So many great tips! Your hair looks great!

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  3. Omg what great tips! The paper towel one sounds super handy.

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  4. some of these are really true haha and i actually do most of them xD never heard of B12 though, but i should look into that!

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  5. I never heard of the paper towel trick! That's awesome, well all of these things are pretty awesome. I love my hair turban!

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  6. I am striving for using less heat! These are great tips for heathy hair girl :)

    -xo, Azanique | www.lotsofsass.com

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  7. Regular haircuts really work!! I definitely need to be better about it myself.

    Tori

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  8. These are such great tips! I try and avoid all heat tools, but always use a heat protectant when I use them. And a deep conditioning treatment + vitamins make such a difference!

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  9. This is the exact kind of article I needed to read right now!! xx
    www.bonjourchiara.com

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  10. This was so helpful and jam-packed with so many good hair tips! I do take biotin and that helps so much with hair growth and strength. I never knew micro-fiber towels were good for hair!

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  11. These are such great tips! Your hair is absolutely gorgeous, so I'm definitely going to be taking this advice!

    xo, Taylor || Generation Tay (www.tayloramead.com)

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  12. WOW these are all such great tips and your hair is beautiful!

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

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  13. I've heard great things about B12 for energy. It's great that's it works for hair too

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Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Blush Blonde! I love all of your comments and make sure to read each one! xoxo

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