Seriously, I Really HATE My Hair

Sometimes!

I’ve been very sick recently with horrible fever and chills, congestion, uncontrollable coughing, hacking, post nasal drip… OK, I’ll spare you the rest of the gory details; I’m sure you get the picture.

This stupid cold, well the doc called it bronchitis, has left me feeling totally miserable and has made me miss over a week of work. Plus, sweating in the scalp all night for days on end just wrecked havoc on my hair. Thank GOD my hair was in box braids. I can only imagine what my hair would have been like had it been in twists. The matting and tangles I’m sure would have been horrendous. Well after switching out some medication that wasn’t working, I finally started feeling a little better so I decided to wash my braids.  That way, I could start redoing some of them in anticipation of going back to work on Monday.

Orange line shows the breakage which extends vertically to my hairline. There's actually a shorter layer that I couldn't get a good picture of. What caused this, I can't say.

Anyhoo, damn if I didn’t find some new breakage. I just sat there in disbelieve cause I’m like WTH? My hair is braided. It’s not being manipulated at all. How? Why? What would make my hair break like that in a braid. Comon now. Braids, my own hair and sans extensions should be the best protective style there is for nappy hair. If I can’t keep my hair healthy in braids, that leaves me at a total loss when it comes to doing what’s best for my hair.

So then you can understand why finding breakage like this frustrates the HELL out of me. In fact, I’d have to say that this is my BIGGEST frustration and it causes me to have very serious “I hate my hair” moments that last quite a spell. At times like this, I actually have visions of just cutting it all off and saying “F” it. What’s the point. I’ll never have a head full of hair that’s not seriously broken off somewhere for some reason. I mean, it’s not so bad when I KNOW why it’s broken off — like when I know I’ve caused it. But when I discover mysterious breakage, it just drives me crazy.

I can’t blame this on the color because I’ve ALWAYS had problems like this…long before I put dye in my hair.

I swear if my hair would hold a press, I’d just go back to thermal styling and be done with it. Yeah, I said it. When I was wearing a press n curl (didn’t perm til I was 23), I NEVER had breakage like this. Well, OK my hair was never this long either, but shoot I still had a decent length of hair. And what I lacked in length, thickness more than made up for it.

The main reason I went natural was because I was sick of breakage. My nape was good for breaking off and so was my crown. One time my hair broke off from my nape to my crown. When it was said and done, all I had was my new growth and really long hair in the top and sides. I wore a wig, pushed it back and combed the long hair over the wig for a really long time. When I finally had about four inches of hair in the back, I came out of the wig, cut it all even and resumed perming the back.  I’ve got TONS of bad hair stories from years of wearing perms. By the time I had an epiphony that my hair was healthier when I just pressing it, I’d been wearing permed hair for 20 years.

Now I’ve been natural for eight years. The first four were spent in micros and the last four I’ve spent learning to care for my loose hair. A good deal of this time could be considered a learning curve. But NOT year four. Year four should NOT be a learning curve. I should really just be able to enjoy my hair. It just seems to me that I should know my hair well enough after all this time that random breakage really shouldn’t be a problem anymore.

I confess that at times it does seem like this aspect of my journey is indeed ROCKET SCIENCE because I think I’ve had just as many problems with breakage as a natural as I had when I was wearing a relaxer. No matter how I baby and pamper my hair, I can’t seem to escape it. I can’t blame this on the color because I’ve ALWAYS had problems like this…long before I put dye in my hair. If I were wearing a perm, my hair would be looking really ragged right now. The only consolation is that my highly textured hair seems to camouflage the missing hair better than my straight hair could. Nevertheless, it has an effect on styling and appearance because breakage further up the hair shaft or close to the scalp leaves the rest of my length looking thin, wispy and anorexic. Thankfully, I’m pretty good at styling around it. But if I didn’t know how or if my hair wasn’t as thick as it is, I’d be up a creek without that cliche of a paddle.

Am I the ONLY nappy-headed sista with this problem? Do nappies like Sera, Sonce, Bright Eyes, and MaestraDiva experience breakage on the regular like this? Their hair is waaaay longer and thicker than mine. Is their hair also stronger than mine? I don’t even think I manipulate my hair nearly as much as they do. So if that’s the case, what’s the key to stronger nappy hair?

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Comments
22 Responses to “Seriously, I Really HATE My Hair”
  1. Lovely says:

    I’m sorry about your hair. I know that these things can be frustrating. I’ve only been natural for about a year and found your blog while looking for ideas. I noticed that our hair seems similar in texture and curl pattern. Do you think that it could be your hair color causing the issue? I have very dark hair and always want to have it a lighter, but my hair just does not do well with color. It breaks off and can get very dry no matter how much I moisturize or do deep conditioning treatments. I thought that going natural would mean that I could dye my hair without much damage, but have found that to be false.

    • dovly says:

      I felt your pain. Are you using artificial hair, if so that could be the cause of your breakage. Have you tried Henna?

      • nappyme says:

        Hi dovly,
        Nope. No artificial hair. And the weird thing is, I wore extentions for almost four years straight and NEVER had any breakage. Now I’m only wearing my own hair and everytime I turn around I’ve got random breakage. Ha! Go figure.

        Hena? No I’ve never used it. I’ve done a tiny bit of research but haven’t moved that way yet.

    • nappyme says:

      Lovely thanks for your sentiments. No, like I said in my post, I can’t blame this breakage on my color because I’ve had this problem that dates back to when I wasn’t putting dye on my hair.

  2. Bobbi says:

    Hey there.

    I really think the answer is you have to see a professional stylist at least every couple of months. I really feel you on this issue because my hair is not the length I feel it should be. I stopped going to a professional after reading your (and a few others) post about doing their own hair, but it has been almost a year since I adopted this regime and I can see the difference. So you know what? I’m going back to blow drying and visiting my stylist every couple of months, cause my hair was longer and healthier when I did.

    FYI: color is something I would never do at home everything I have ever read says leave it to the professional.

  3. Dwana says:

    LOL @Yeah, I said it. smh. I occasionally have breakage and I find that my hair doesn’t appreciate certain products or to go without moisture.

    I had a great streak until I decided to use some random conditioner that I thought I threw out. I was in the bathroom looking at my hands and drain. My husband said all he heard was me yell, This is some bull$#!^

    What’s your take on henna? I haven’t tried it yet and my grays are offending me.

    • nappyme says:

      Hi Dwana!
      Yeah I said it. I can lol now too. I was definitely having a major melt down. Last year I wore twists all winter long and by spring I had a lot of breakage in the back. That was very disheartening. So this year, when I discovered box braids, I thought this would be the healthiest thing I could do with my hair and what do I find…more breakage. Shoot, I’m still trying to nurse my hair back from last year.

      Yes I’ve considered henna, but don’t know enough about it to get the results that I think I’d want. Like you, I want to cover up my gray hair. I think I’m hesitant just because I’m not ready to deal with the inevitable trial and error that goes along with trying something new.

  4. I have extremely fragile hair. I blame my eyeglasses for part of the problem. It acts like scissors. Around my temple the hair is very fragile.

    I shed a ton of hair – all the time. I used to get thin patches in some places.

    It also could be new hair growing back, not all hair that’s growing is going to be exactly the same length.

  5. k says:

    maybe your hair is lacking protein? when i haven’t done a protein treatment in a while i start to see breakage. i actually use henna now, it kind of does the same thing.

  6. Lili says:

    Sorry about the breakage, I totally feel you on this. My hair is currently in a weave. Not saying this is an option for you, I only mention it to illustrate how frustrated I am with my hair, I was so close to getting a relaxer I decided if I could forget about haircare for a while with a weave things might improve. I live in a cold country (in Europe) where an icy winter and indoor heating had been wreaking havoc on my hair. I was doing fine on the progress front, slowly reversing years of damage. My hair was thin in a few places but it was looking good, I could wear it out in twists/twist-outs. It has always shown some breakage and after trying every advise – more moisture, more protein, 100& protective styling etc I decided to accept that I would always have to live with a certain amount of breakage. But I guess the combination of fragile nappy hair, heating, winter was too much. My hair was thinning and breaking lik crazy, I mean I was so disheartened and felt exactly how you did! I was like “where do I go from here”? Months and years of hardwork down the toilet! My formerly thick twists were looking like pencils! Anyway, I just wanted to send a cyber hug and tell you you’re not alone in this. I also hope and pray we get back on track. BTW – I wouldn’t advise henna. If your hair is naturally super-dry like mine it can make dryness issues worse. Even if you tweak it with oils or condition like crazy after. I think it’s something to doe with the way the henna molecule binds to the hair shaft – it makes the shaft stiffer/brittle. Kind of how protein works, except henna is permenant. I regret ever starting it and suspect it added to my current hair issues. Do your research and be very cautious. Good luck!

  7. reahlynn says:

    Have you had your thyroid check? This could be the reason. Check the article on this site. Good Luck

    http://www.hairlossinformation.com/hair-loss-in-women/thyroidhairloss.shtml

    The thyroid is intimately involved with hair function, hair re-growth and also the hair loss. Having early graying and loss of outer eyebrows, is a cardinal sign of low thyroid activity.

    Hypothyroid cases involve diffuse telogen effluvium type hair loss 50 % of the time and occasionally anagen effluvium too. At first the hair loss is usually limited to the scalp but later, hair loss may spread to the eyebrows, chest, arms, and leg hair. Sometimes diffuse loss of pubic hair may also occur. Losing the outer one third of eyebrow hair is a distinctive symptom of hypothyroidism called “Hertoghe’s symptom” However, this symptom is only found in 25% of people who have hypothyroidism.

    It is widely believed that females who suffer thyroid disease lose hair due to decreased metabolism in their scalp follicles, resulting in early release of the shaft, root and all. Sometimes the hair becomes just too brittle, and there is a great deal of loss from split ends and breakage.

    Thyroid function is essential for overall metabolism of the body; and when thyroid function is low, intestinal absorption and utilization of vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional cofactors is also compromised. Not only are there not enough of the raw materials available, but the enzymes, and sometimes the temperature required for optimal chemical reactions, is lessened which is also reflected in hair loss. But it is necessary to differentiate the thyroid hair loss due to nutritional deficiency.

    Hair loss due to hypothyroidism is diagnosed with the help of blood tests to identify deficiencies in concentrations of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), thyroxin, and other thyroid gland controlled hormones.

    • nappyme says:

      Well thanks for stopping by and sharing that bit of knowledge. But I’ma stick my head in the sand on this one cause it sounds too grim to deal with.

  8. Kinky Rhonnie says:

    Hey there, You are definitely not alone. I have some a couple of spots that I just can’t seem to get a handle on. I do notice that they grow if I use castor oil on them but I just don’t have the discipline to use it consistently. It is really odd that they are both in the same location on opposite sides of my head.

    While we are at it. I need to add the castor to two temple areas as well that were two quarter size burns during my relaxed days. They fill in and are coarse but never grow in length. Two years natural and I’m still battling thin areas.

    Every once in a while I’ll see or feel a new spot of worry but for the most part is these four sections that have bothered me long term.

  9. ms-gg says:

    You know Im feeling you NM. I shaved my head in hopes of growing out a head full of nappy hair that was free of incomplete splits.

    And I had to do 2 different chops after I initially cut it off in September the first time. I think that our very porous hair might play a role in this since somehow…like all those gaps in our hair strands contribute to our hair being so vulnerable to damage….*sigh*

    One day we going to get it right Nappyme…

  10. ms-gg says:

    plus I agree with the protein comment…especially with that color….I know I need to step my protein game up as well….

    • nappyme says:

      I think you’re right about the protein. I should have had my beautician do a protein treatment when she cut it. I rarely do them myself. I know I should step it up, but I rarely take my hair down to wash it so pure protein treatments are out of the question. I really want to start going to the beautician on a more regular basis. If I do, I’ll let her do more treatments then.

  11. Laquita says:

    Hey, I am experiencing the same thing – I have a few spots in the middle of the back of my hair that are much shorter than the rest – I used to think it wasn’t growing at all and was damaged and have cut it super short several times, but it just seems to stop growing at a certain point.

    I’ve been reading Grow It – by Chicoro – http://www.amazon.com/Grow-Afro-Textured-Maximum-Lengths-Shortest/dp/0982068905
    and she talks about noticing the break-off point in your hair. I think the spots in the mid-back of my hair have this break off point. (Maybe your shorter hair spot is due to a break off point)

    So I’ve decided to give what she suggests in her book a try – similar to what Kinky Rhonnie suggested with the castor oil, and what others suggested about the protein – is to pay more attention to this section.

    Chicoro suggests not to let the longer sections grow no more than 4 inches longer than the shorter sections – and of course while continuing to care for the longer sections pay special attention to the shorter section – do scalp massages in the area, more moisturizing, conditioning etc. And continue with your protecitve styles as well.

    I really liked the no-longer than 4 inch rule she suggested because I used to just cut my hair to be even with the shorter length. But she suggests to use the length of the longer hair as a goal and when the shorter hair reaches that goal then trim if necessary.

    I hope my long post provides some type of help – but I really understand your frustration. But the tips in her book have given me a new hope :o)

    • susie says:

      About a year ago I was informed of thyroid. Which seemed ludicrous to me because the hair has tripled in thickness. I’ll bite because I had been lethargic and not my usual self. Oprah and I have amass same amount in thickness. Although length wise give or take few inches longer than mine. So your breakage could stem from thyroid it common in women over 50. My hair loss was coming out by the palm. And the neckline was neck length and thin. I’m on meds for it hair is thriving and my body is regaining it’s strength.Go check your thyroid.

  12. b. says:

    On top of what others have said (thyroid, protein, eyewear), do you wear a bonnet to bed? Not sexy, but I do…or did…until I noticed my edges were getting eaten by the “gentle” edges of my bonnet. I’m going to buy a satin or silk pillowcase instead and see if this helps.

    • nappyme says:

      I have a bonnet but I don’t care for it. It slips around on my do. I wear a satin scarf. But whether I do or don’t it doesn’t explain why hair contained in a braid would break off like that.

      Ah…oh well.

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