Split ends! Argh!
October 21, 2007 7:50 PM   Subscribe

I combed out my dreadlocks. Now what?

I had dreadlocks (created by the backcombing method) for about 2 months and decided to take them out. It took about 18 hours to pick them out myself, but now I've got my long, wavy hair back. The problem is that the front pieces of my hair (where the dreadlocks were best) have split ends and middles. I can see weak spots where it looks like the individual hair will break several inches up the shaft.

A little info on what I do to my hair: I don't wash it every day because I find that it dries out my hair too much. I use extra moisturizing shampoo and conditioner for frizzy hair. I don't brush or comb my hair-- it doesn't tangle. I blow dry and straighten about twice a week

I'm intending to get my hair trimmed soon and I've heard there's no way to actually seal up the hair again after it's been split, but I don't think a trim alone can take care of the mess in the front of my hair. I don't want to cut my hair short and I don't want bangs, that's why I picked out my dreads instead of cutting them off. I'm looking for a product (inexpensive please!) or, even better, a home remedy that will deep condition my hair and help make the split ends that remain after the trim less noticeable. There are a lot of products out there, but what actually works? How can I pamper my poor abused hair without spending a fortune? Eggs and mashed up avocados don't gross me out, but I'd rather know what works before I start experimenting.
posted by summit to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
A hot oil treatment should help a lot. I've never had dreadlocks, but I do have curly/wavy hair that gets very tangled in the humid summer and thus breaks a lot. Frizz follows. Hot oil treatments have helped a lot with that.

I don't know if you've ever done one before, but you just buy it at the store (cheap) and do it yourself some evening or weekend when you have a bit of extra time. I do it once every few months, more if my hair is getting especially bad.

Also, a good haircut should help. If you go to a good salon, and get a good stylist, s/he should be able to find a good cut that makes the front of your hair look better and may even help the hair grown in more healthily.

Good luck!
posted by lunasol at 7:58 PM on October 21, 2007

You could also try using a drug store glossing treatment or getting a salon version. I used them to make my hair shiny and slippery (i.e. avoid tangles) but in my understanding the treatment seals stuff around the cuticle, filling in damaged areas and preventing them from breaking. Googling "glossing treatment damaged hair" brought up this: http://blogs.chron.com/shopgirl/archives/2007/01/tips_for_restor.html

I personally use this stuff about twice a week: http://www.johnfrieda.com/products/lcg-clear-shine/ColorTechnology.asp
posted by wuzandfuzz at 8:17 PM on October 21, 2007

Not cheap but Kerastase hair masks are supposed to be the end-all be-all. There are reviews all over the internet. People love the masques and Kerastase products in general.

I agree with lunasol. See a stylist.

I would stop straight ironing, even twice a week. I would put a little styling product, preferably something moisturizing, and scrunch it a little and let it air dry for as long as possible and then finish with a moment of blow drying.
posted by LoriFLA at 8:38 PM on October 21, 2007

Once hair has been damaged as in split broken, there is no product that can fix it, there is fortunately a method that will help, singeing with a candle, divide out a small section twist it, move a candle flame under the strand slowly but not too slow, healthy hair won't be harmed but broken splits will ignite, after you brush out the singed ends they will resist splitting in the future. I should add that some stylists use heated shears to seal the hair as it is cut. Singeing is still taught in India because religious rules about hair cutting.
posted by hortense at 9:02 PM on October 21, 2007

I have curly, very dry hair. This is what works for me:

I detangle my hair gently with a detangling comb in the morning, then I rinse and condition (with a leave-in conditioner). I wash with a moisturizing shampoo once a week, only applying the shampoo to the crown of my head, and follow with a deep conditioning treatment. I very gently wrap my hair in a towel while I have breakfast and get my stuff ready to go for the day, then style my still-damp hair and allow it to dry naturally. I don't use a hair-dryer or straightener, because they're total murder to my already dry hair.

For product recommendation, I would see a local stylist who you trust.
posted by ysabet at 9:11 PM on October 21, 2007

Seconding Hortense. There's no product that can repair the hair once the cuticle's been damaged (which you did with the backcombing.) Trim and regrow.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 9:32 PM on October 21, 2007

Sounds like it's shagged BUT try Joico Kpac Reconstruct Treatment.

I did 'home fries'
*read platinum blonde at home... myself ...for a few years. It is the sole reason I HAD hair left.. to fry. (We are talkin' hell snap.age and PURE jelly) ...BAD BAD BAD!

XxXxXxXxX LOVE Kpac!! XxXxXxXxX (It's not that expensive either about $30 for the bigger tube. It lasts well so I could be wrong about the price?)

*Real* egg mayonaise (or make it yourself - olive oil + egg - beaten) is really good value.
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 11:15 PM on October 21, 2007

The problem is that the front pieces of my hair (where the dreadlocks were best) have split ends and middles.

Front pieces? Do you mean relative to your scalp or the length of the hair? Either way, there's no remediation for something that drastic happening to your hair. I'm confused though... I've had dreadlocks twice for periods of about 5 years each and there is no way possible I could have combed them back out, which is why they were simply cut off the first time I got rid of them. Sorry to say, 18 hours of ripping your hair apart (after spending just as much time matting it together in the first place?) is not going to get cleaned up by anything you can buy in a bottle.
posted by prostyle at 8:29 AM on October 22, 2007

Yeah, once damaged there is no undoing the damage. You can try to cover it up/mitigate the damage, though. I have no experience with dreadlock combing out-age but one of the best conditioning treatments I've ever used is Dabur Amla Oil. I put it on my hair and use a blow dryer for about five minutes for a quick treatment. If I have time, instead of the dryer, I wrap my head in clingwrap and a towel and leave it for a couple hours/overnight. Then (and this is key to getting the oil out in one swoop) I work a good handful of shampoo into my dry/oily hair all over--no water at all for now! Once I have a good foamy/oily mess I hop in the shower and rinse. The oil is magically gone and my hair stays conditioned for a week, even with several subsequent shampoos.
(You don't have to use amla oil--you can use olive oil with the same results.)
posted by hecho de la basura at 8:32 AM on October 22, 2007

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