Question of the Day- Hair Abuse!


L. Howard asks:

What is the worst thing you have ever done to your hair?


CN's answer: My undergraduate flat ironing routine-- I would clarify, rinse, blow dry with the heat set to HELL, and finally, here's the kicker, crank my Solia up to 450, and go over each section no less than 3 times!
Oh, and when it frizzed, I'd give myself touch-ups. Obviously, heat on dirty hair is a NO-NO!
It was sleek, bone straight, and I felt oh so chic. It broke off a year later. womp womp.


What about you?!

54 Weigh in!:
Beads, Braids & Beyond said...

Dye & Flat Ironing. I used to flat iron my own hair up to 3 times a day and I would go over each section many times to get it as straight and sleek looking as possible. On top of that, I dyed my hair often. It broke off so bad! It used to come out in chunks, ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Flat-ironed to much, now im going the whole year without flatironing. Haven't done it sense feb 2010

NaturallyCurlyDee said...

Flat ironing my hair and also getting highlights was the worst thing I could have ever done to my hair. Although I am fully natural my highlights are growing out and the front of my hair is still recovering and is badly broken.... to top it off my hair is in layers. So my hair keeps getting shorter and shorter in the top... but the back half of my hair is completely healthy :( i don't think i'll ever get highlights again the damage to my hair has been awful :((( plus this whole situation has just made it so much harder to style my natural curls :(

Anonymous said...

Tight ponytails and updos in high school led to my traction alopecia...I know better now!

Curly_Star_19 said...

I used to give myself relaxers at home, I think I only had it done professionally like 3 times in my life. I used to relaxer it at home and get the roots really good but my ends were always still poofy so right after my relaxer I'd blow it out and HOT COMB it...not flat iron people, I said hot combs. I Used hot combs until I was 19.I also used to dye my ALOT in high school. Once I dyed it 3 times in 1 day...terrible right!

Anonymous said...

relaxing it in the first place , smh ... ;D

Anonymous said...

stop caring about it. at one point i was so exasperated with my hair that i didn't care what i did to it. i would put big envelope rubber bands on it, get lazy with conditioning... it was a dark time. i also, in college, used other people products in my hair without thinking about hair types and whatnot. once i got severe dandruff. the other, and last, time my bangs disintegrated.

RoddyG said...

Messing around with an electric hot comb. Set the heat too high (which normally never happened) and burnt a chunk of hair right out of the center of my head! Haven't touched one since!

Another was waiting too long before getting a trim, when I finally straightened my hair to get one most of my length had broken off. It was almost like starting over... *sigh*

Anonymous said...

I was practically the same way. I had blow dried and flat ironed all the ellasticity out of my hair. It would not kink or curl no matter how much I washed it. When I went to a salon, the hairstylist could not believe that I did not have a perm. I had to cut my hair again after all the heat damage I had killed my hair with.

Anonymous said...

Got highlights from someone (a licensed pro) who obviously didn't know what the hell she was doing. My highlights looked like gold Christmas tree tinsel or strips of coppery steel wool pad. Way too brassy. The look? Think Tony the Tiger. I ended up cutting those "highlights" out myself. Looked like someone took to my head with a weed whacker.

Anonymous said...

haha, the worst singular thing??? my general treatment of my hair was the worst!!!! i would apply relaxer to the entire length of my hair each time i "touched up", but in my defense was only twice a year!!! rarely ever washed it, never conditioned it, NEVER, DIDN'T START THAT UNTIL ABOUT SIX YEARS AGO!!! i would use grease and far too much of it, then straighten my hair with the curling iron on high and you could hear my hair sizzle, but it didn't revert, and i only did this one a week. i once bleached permed hair dyed it blue with manic panic, then dyed it plum with permanent dye, and continued with my grease and curling iron. this type of behavior lasted from about 12 0r 13 until i was about 19. the irony is that before i started doing my own hair my step-mom kept it braided most times, and wouldn't let me do it. she only applied relaxer to new growth, used cholesterol, and avoided heat!!! my hair broke off like no bodies business, and was very short for a a small period of time. when i started doing it myself it grew out, to rest between my shoulder blades despite the horrible way i cared for it. of course now i don't do any of those things. never any lose of texture or elasticity, my hair still snatched back into tight ringlet every time water was even mentioned.
and of course continuing t relax after the initial application!!

Anonymous said...

The worst thing I ever did to my hair happened two weeks ago. I wanted curls and definition, and thought it would be safe to have a salon stylist apply a texturizer to my 5-inch 4b natural hair. When she was finished, there were no CLUMPING CURLS or DEFINITION whatsoever. My hair was a limp, soggy mess; overprocessed in the back and underprocessed on the sides. It looked like a "mullet". I wanted to cry - I have never felt so un-pretty in all my life. I asked her to salvage it and cut that "mullet" off and shape up the back, and she began getting scissor-happy until I said stop - please don't cut all my hair off! I went to pay at the register and the receptionist stated there was "no charge". I said thank you, and walked right out of there and didn't look back.

The creamy crack aint no joke...

Dawn Michelle said...

Coloring my hair has caused the most damage and breakage to my hair. I ended up cutting it all off and starting over at least twice. Now I only henna. I love the the color henna gives my hair and how strong it is now that I have been using it every month.

alwaysbored411 said...

The worst thing i have done to my hair is practically never getting a trim. Although i get regular trims now the thin ends and damage nearly half-way up my hair is still a reminder of my carelessness.

Yani said...

OOOO I loved my flat iron!

But get this... I would use Just for me conditioning scalp oil (read grease) and oil my scalp and THEN rub what was left down the length of my hair! and follow up with my flat iron set to the highest point 450 LOL bc obviously my hair was sooo coarse :) so from bsl to stringy lifeless sl it went haha haven't been bsl since!

Lovelyk said...

When I was in high school I dyed my hair honey blonde a week after relaxing with a super perm. The hair in the lower part of my head burnt out! Lucky for me, some women were wearing the lower halves of their heads shaved. I had long hair so I wore a long ponytail with the lower half of my head shaved.

Takeysha said...

I used to go to the Dominican Shop and let them blow out my hair every week. I also let them highlight it with freakin peroxide and never deep conditioned. I also used to let my friends perm my hair and flatiron. Now me and my stylist are the only paws in this head :)

NaturalMommyinGA said...

Getting a relaxer!! I pretty much tried to lessen the amount of heat I put in my hair b/c I "fried" my hair in the middle school after my mom finally allowed me to get a relaxer. I would turn that Gold and Hot on the highest setting and curl..curl..curl..away! In the meantime my hair broke right on off!!

momo7 said...

LOL @ "heat set to HELL". That's gotta be one of the worst things I did to my hair, heat damage it via blow dryer and HOT comb (not flat iron). Also, I used to use thick @$$ hair WAX on my hair to straighten it (and Nu Nile, etc to slick it back into a ponytail after washing) yeah, it did some MAJOR damage! LOL omg those days were insane until I found naturallycurly.com about 5 yrs ago!

Anonymous said...

WEARING TIGHT SLICKED BACK PONYTAILS FOR YEARS AND YEARS LIKE A FOOL! NOW MY HAIR IS SLOWLY FILLING IN THE FRONT AGAIN. HENNA, DRIED MY HAIR OUT AND MADE IT SUPER THICK AND FRIZZY TOO! WENT TO THE BEAUTY SALON TO GET THE FRONT OF MY HAIR CUT AND THE BACK TRIMMED AND SHE CUT MY *BUNS* LENGTH HAIR TO ABOVE MY SHOULDERS....TALK ABOUT BEING UPSET!

Anonymous said...

I was always pretty good to my hair, but the one thing I did was touched it up too often. I did my own touch-ups, but I did a better job than any stylist could do, so I don't think I was doing a bad thing. I did, however touch it up every 4 - 5 weeks instead of waiting the recommended 6 weeks. As soon as I saw "naps", I was touching it up.

KayDanai said...

Doing far too many hairstyles in one day or over a couple of days. In fact I just did it today - I still can't stop myself. When hairstyles that I attempt don't look right, then I will try something else, usually the second time applying massive amounts of heat.

For instance, today I wanted to try to do a flexirod set on my hair. Finished the set, sat under the dyrer and thought my hair was dry. Took out the flexirods and had a mess of hair that was partly spiral curled, and partly still my natural tight curly hair. So I sat under the dryer again so my hair would just completely dry, and took to flat ironing it. And although my hair has never been damaged from heat, I know it slows my hair growth.

And the second is applying far too many products in my hair. When doing my flexirod set, I put so much of conditioner and butter and gel, which is why my hair wasn't dry. I forget that my hair only takes so much product in, and the rest just sits on top. Needless to say, my hair is limp and lifeless at this point.

I've been natural all my life (minus two unfortunate encounters with a kiddie perm kit), but I'm still trying to listen to my hair and figure out what it needs to flourish.

Anonymous said...

using a straightener on wet/damp hair

always4evamoi said...

the worst i did was using a hot comb (those old fashioned ones where u had to either put it on the stove or the ones u plugged in) and ran that through my hair, and had my hair smelling like smoke for 2 days, then tried to 'wash' the smoke off.....sigh, don't know how i still have hair on my head lol....

Ralph Anderson said...

Thanks For such a great information and discussion.

Anonymous said...

I'd have the hairdresser relax it. Then I'd let her hot curl it when I got it done every other week because she said it wasn't finished, even though I was happy with the look after she took my wrap down. Then I'd bump my ends with the curling iron almost daily.

Anonymous said...

I blow dried and flat ironed twice in one day. I have such a big head, I'm not comfortable wearing my hair in it's shrunken state. So I pumped up the heat. I then tried to put gel to slick down the front of my puff, but it just went bad and everything began to shrink. So I washed it and pumped that heat up yet again!

Happy to say I am going on 6 weeks with no heat.

beadgyrl said...

This is a post I recently ran across on nappyme.wordpress about heat and natural hair, and basically why we should not be using it. If your going to be natural....be natural.


Processes like blow drying reduce the moisture content below its normal level and can in themselves be harmful. Hair dryers and other heated appliances first soften the keratin of the hair. If they are too hot, they can actually cause the water in the hair to boil, and tiny bubbles of steam then form inside the softened hair shaft. The hair is thereby weakened, and may break altogether. Invariably, bubble hair is caused by some kind of heating appliance, most often curling irons. These operate somewhere between 120 and 180 °C, roughly speaking. Water boils at 100 °C. If a hot curling iron is put on to wet hair, it boils the water inside the hair. The boiling water softens the keratin of the cortex; then the steam from the boiling water expands and forms tiny bubbles inside the hair. Eventually the hair breaks off, either at or somewhere near a bubble.

You can google it, or type in natural hair and heat abuse, but yes they have a picture of a hair strand after the heat damage, and it had a bubble in it, from being blow-fryed and flat ironed to death. This is what ultimately causing the hair to break, and when some curlies complain that their fros and curls are not "snapping back." I'm sorry, I say why go through all the patience and time consuming to grow out a head full of healthy hair to ruin it, and have to start over and delay your progress. Don't do it! Blessings to all...

Anonymous said...

I got a few "worst things" that I have done. I got a lustrasilk curl when I was 12, then put a wave nuveau on top of that when I was 16, then put a relaxer on top of that when I was 18, then put another wave nuveau on top of that when I was 20, then put another relaxer on top of that 6 months later. From the time I was about 20, I have been a flat iron addict. I would flat iron my chemically treated hair everyday, sometimes twice or three times a day and usually without heat protectant. I flat ironed until I went natural. Plus, I would blow dry my hair at high heat whenever I washed it, which was at usually 2 or 3 times a week. If it weren't for the fact that I have a LOT of hair, I would have probably gone bald at some point since there was more broken hair on my shoulders and on my bathroom floor, then there was on my head.

CurlyMarie said...

I'VE DONE OF THESE THINGS BEFORE. I STILL LIKE TO STRAIGHTEN MY HAIR THOUGH, WHAT TYPE OF HEAT PROTECTION DO YOU ALL SUGGEST?!? I NEED HELP! MY HAIR CONTINUES TO SPLIT EVEN AFTER A TRIM.

Anonymous said...

When I was 19, I had a woman did a super perm on my hair in her kitchen. She told me to sit under the hair dryer to get my hair even straighter. I had been to a stylist who used to do the same thing, and it had never damaged my hair, so I sat under the hair dryer. After she rinsed the perm out and began combing my hair, she was combing out chunks. She told me it was just dead hair. She sent my home with a wet wrap. My hair felt very thin under my scarf, but I just thought it was really straight. When I combed out the wrap two days later, I was bald at the temple and it looked like someone who shaven the right side of my head. I walked around in shame during the nine months it took for my hair to grow back. It would have taken longer if my hair weren't so thick and resilient.

mood_indigo said...

The first would be using an electric hot comb to straighten my edges once when I had a sew-in. Those crispy little edges crumbled right on up. Luckily, I promptly stopped that foolishness, so I didn't lose too much hair.

The second would be allowing my stylist to use a hot comb and then flat iron to press my transitioning hair! If I only knew then what I know now. My 2 year transition period should have ended with virtually no straight hair left but due to my miseducation I had several inches of hair to cut off once I decided to let go of the straight.

Hind sight is 20/20...

lalalovestheluxelife said...

Relaxing every two weeks would have to be the worst thing ever next to my flatironing daily! Terrible mistakes!

bholmes87 said...

I think the worst thing I've done involves WAY too much heat! I did a self relaxer at home. Then I used a hot comb on my entire head (like on the stove, blazing hot, metal comb). THEN I flat ironed my hair!! I should have known that my hair didn't want to be straight. Good grief that was a bad idea ... Thankfully my hair didn't break off but I know that wasn't good for Chlo (my hair).

Marcia said...

In college friends and i in the dorms would do all types of randomness to our hair. We all were obsessed with these African Pride Highlight sets or we would get the caps pull our hair through and use a bleach set from Sally's. Not to mention we were relaxing our hair and flatironing (thank goodness it was just with those Gold n'Hot flatirons that didn't get super hot). I am always surprised I even had hair back then. It was more than hair abuse, it was hair torture :(

Mslanee1 said...

These posts are too funny! Seems like we all have been there. I am guilty of relaxing my hair so much that I didn’t even know I could grow hair in the back of my head! lol It would burn off every time I relaxed!

The worst thing I have done to my hair as a natural is neglect it and be too rough with it. I have torn a many strands of hair in frustration trying to do a puff or detangle and I went through a phase where I wasn’t deep conditioning at all. So now I am working on hair health and patiece!

Celine said...

On relaxed hair:
-Bleached my hair (an horrible bright orange) in august
-Dyed it dark brown two weeks later (beautiful brownish red my hair still looked healthy) ------Hennaed in december with black henna (chemicals and metallic salts)and it turned green!
-So the next day I dyed my hair black with a l'oreal box...my hair was fried like KFC! From the root to the tip.
I had to grow it all out. It's been 6 years and I can't believe I did this to myself *SMH* I've learned from my mistakes since! The more natural the better

Anonymous said...

When i was in college I got a wonderful color job done professionally which was ver expensive (but i look great). Before I got my hair colored i did not have a relaxer for a while so about a month after my color i really needed a relaxer. I was too poor at the time to get it dont professionally so i attempted to do it myself. I gave myself relaxers in the past with no problems, but this was the first time i did it on top of color. So after my relaxer sat for the required amount of time i went to rinse it out. I then saw huge chunks of hair go down the drain as i washed the relaxer out...i lost so much hair and i had multiple patches of hair in my head that was no longer than an inch long......sad times for me. Strangely enough I wasn't distraught and i didn't panic....i actually just laughted because the situation was quit comical....NEVER AGAIN WILL I GET COLOR OR RELAXER LOL

Anonymous said...

Using a denmen brush or anykind of combs on my hair!!!!!!!>:( Talk about damage! and then getting frustrated and practically yanking it out when it took too long. I can say that Im a finger comber/smoother all the way! :)

Anonymous said...

I put Sun In on my hair and kept blowing it out to get streaks...Needless to say a few weeks later when I went for a relaxer touch up, my hair started breakin off really bad. First, I ended up with bangs and then it kept getting shorter!

Anonymous said...

I let a hair dresser style my hair and relax it once a month in High school.My hair grew back so fast that I started showing up every two weeks for a wash blow dry and curl.Eventually the hair dresser said I needed a touch up every two weeks with the blow dry and curl...I let her do this to my hair for a year before I gave up...2 years later I started going natural!!!

VII MAGAZINE said...

Worst thing I ever did was dying my hair this horrible auburn color. I thought I wanted it a deep red but it came out very ugly and my hair was very damaged. It didn't break off but it looked like straw. I ended up dying it back six months later and I cut off the color in January '10. I will never dye or perm my hair again.

Anonymous said...

Using peroxide and lemon juice to bleach my hair. Everytime I would go outside I would apply more and more, and then one day I straightened my hair for a party... And the ends got so brittle that they fell off right onto the floor. :( Not to mention my hair turned out a really light brown, (considering my hair was dark brown at the time), I was unhappy with that. So my friends and I deep conditioned, and dyed it, and all my hair shagged and I had to get it cut to the crock in my neck! My hair used to be a little bit past my chest and now I have to use hair extensions cause my hair ingrows or doesn't grow back at all. :( Talk about a mess! Did this all when I was 13! I'm 26 now!

Danielle said...

I decided that I would transition back to natural after a year and a half of having my first relaxer.( I was going to college and thought it would be easier to manage on my own since my mother mostly did it up through HS.)So I thought straightening my roots was the best option to have hair one texture and I wanted to practice hot combing it, because I had never done that before. So, using the stove top hot comb I did a test run on the crown of my head, the thickest coarsest section of my hair. Well,I guess the comb was too hot because I singed my hair down to the scalp, there was nothing there. Clumps of hair fell out over the next few hours and by the end of it I had a huge whole in the middle of my hair, that was too large to cover up with the rest of my unhealthy hair. To fix it, I got braids but always had to wear them up to cover the hole that wasn't long enough to catch with braids. That was the worst thing I've ever done to my hair! And I am still trying to recover 10 months later.

Anonymous said...

When i was ignorant of good hair practices not too long ago... LOL i used to blowdry my hair with a brush first then flat iron and my poor edges and hairline suffered the most so much that my hair fell out several times as a result!The second time it happened i straightened it 2x within four days and that was a wake up call for me!I am now 7-months post and when i choose to do it it will be done correctly.

Candace Ferguson said...

flat ironed for three years then bleach the flat ironed hair and flat ironed it some more

BKelz said...

Flat-ironing my hair once a week for the past year and not deep conditioning it practically the entire time I was in college. Come to think of it, I don't think I deep conditioned a lot before then either. My precious precious hair lol. I was also a grease addict up until this last year (only b/c I had it cut into a bob and I learned that grease and short hair don't mix lol) but I blame that on my granny lol I'd been using the same grease since I was a little girl b/c it's all my grandma ever used to hot comb my hair!

Paris said...

Perm and dye in the same day
and 4 dyes within 3 hours.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow! Abuse isn't the word, I used to relax every 4 weeks and leave the SUPER relaxer on for 45 minutes!!!...and I didn't think I was doing anything wrong, talk about brainwashed, As soon as I saw the first wave at my scalp, relaxer was slapped on it! The crazy thing is I was comfortable with having see thru edges, weak ends that always broke off, and I thought because my hair length was to the back of my neck that I was doing something..lol. It was thin,dry, brittle, and had like 7 different lengths...needless to say, I finally stopped all that mess, been natural for 3 years now and am BSL...

Anonymous said...

my natural hair is straight in the front and curly in the back. What should i do to get the curl pattern back?

Chan said...

WOW, I believe This is the BEST post I've ever seen regarding hair care! Because it lets everyone know what "NOT" to do. and it's a HUGE testament that Heat, Color, and Relaxers are the biggest culprits when it comes to extreme Hair damage. I too have some of the same hair horror stories, so I decided not to post my experience, but yaaaah, Just say NO? It's not worth, it, Learn to love your hair naturally.

doulacubanita said...

Ok, so it was 1989 when spritz & crimps were totally in! We were heading to the Al B Sure concert, so I definitely had to look fly. So, I grabbed my bangs, held them straight into the air, sprayed high-alcohol spritz on them until they were wet. (Uh-oh....she's gonna do it!) Then I took the crimping iron that had been on for at least 2 hours so I could get it BLAZING HOT....stttzzzz! It made the sizzling sound, then the whole bang just snapped off into my hand. Wow.

GarifunaBeauty said...

lol this is funny. for one i got tired of the whole mom doing doo-doo braids thing so i started doing my own hair. first off i curled it with a curling iron every moring for about 2-3 months straight!!![not knowing i could get this look with 2strand twists] i never combed out the back only the front :-( one day was getting ready for a baby shower and left the iron on while taking a bath ..... took a strand of hair in the front....my hair wasnt wrapped around that iron for 2 secs before it all just crumbled up and burt off right before my eyes.[good thing i have alot of hair. i couldnt even tell where it had burnt off] did i stop there? no i didnt i started flat ironing once a month then i colored my hair 3 times in about a year ....surprisingly my hair survived all that abuse and still grows thats why i havent done a big chop just trimming it as the color is growing out rather quickly. the front is actually healthy ...now the back is of course till catching up

Meet Deya said...

Perming my hair and applying a of heat. My hair grow better and faster, when its natural. Its so much better.

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