Growing out SEVERELY damaged hair/ My hair journey

Hello Lovelies! My hair journey has been a long and tedious one. My hair is naturally fine and straight. I had to put in minimal effort from 2005-2008 and my hair will never be able to relive those glory days. After that, however, curls became more of a look ultimately up to 2012 when the Kardashians popularized their infamous waves.

My hair was screwed. I have a love-hate relationship with it, as keeping it short during this time made it easy to pull off beachy waves or just a straight bob. For about 4 or 5 years I would grow out my hair, only to chop it all off. The most recent time, in the fall of 2014, I went the shortest I had ever gone.

short hair

This was the best “chop” I’ve ever had.

The main difference, however, was I had my long hair bleached into an ombre. The stylist who did it did a good job with the color, but didn’t do much to protect my hair or warn me about going too blonde too fast (I now know better). Thus the ends were sad and desperate looking. I had also just changed my eating habits to incorporate my new diagnosis of being allergic to too many things. The sudden diet change led to a sudden weight loss, which led to a sudden loss in my hair.

Chopping my hair off seemed like the best option at the time because I figured while I worked to stabilize my weight; I would be able to grow my hair back thicker. The stubborn wanna-be blonde in me also just needed that blonde fix. I figured I would just get frequent trims and I would be alright.

short blonde hair

Oh, Mija. You can see based on the bags under my eyes how stressed I was. I LOVED this hair though

Well, silly me. I went even blonder, again, with the idea I would maintain a bob haircut. But of course, as it so often does, the itch to grow my hair out hit me hard. In the summer of 2015 I decided I would go back to my natural color as I patiently waited to grow back my hair. A major problem at this time was that I was incredibly stressed out. I was working, taking a full load of college courses year round (including summers) and constantly in stupid fights with my dad (because I still lived at home and was never there).

short brown hair

This was before a news broadcast for a class. We had a  professional do our makeup. Best pic I could find for my natural hair color.

The damage my hair was experience and the thinness from the fallout wasn’t that obvious when I was blonde. It only became crystal clear when I went back to brunette. It still wasn’t unsalvageable, so I kept on my mission to grow it out. I understood that I would need frequent trims, and I was okay with that. Fast forward to the fall of 2015.

short damaged brown hair

Ugh those ends breaking off, girl.

I don’t even know how to get into this part. The stress I was experiencing in the summer didn’t go away. In fact, it got way worse. I was losing even more weight from stress alone. I also can’t really talk about this part as much, as I’m still trying to figure out how to handle it (legal reasons), but I was under the care of a doctor who misdiagnosed me and gave me incorrect medications for what I needed.

I was stressed out to level 9000 and very sick from coming off those medications. My hair completely stopped growing and started thinning out even more.

short damaged brown hair 2

Those aren’t baby hairs at the top, that was my hair breaking off.

My hair, however, was the least of my concerns at this point. At the end of the summer I became engaged to my now husband and we were planning a trip to Europe to visit his family. I was focused on getting well enough to go to Europe and then plan this wedding.

Luckily, the trip couldn’t have come at a better time. I finally had a break for the first time in years and the food over there is so good, it really helped with the healing process. When I got back, my work and course load was incredibly light. I was finally able to get back on track. I vowed to not use heat on my hair (although, I hardly had to begin with) and just use low-maintenance styles.

long brown hair before

This was the “before” on a trial for my wedding hair and makeup, my hair was finally growing.

I did have to use heat for various engagement and wedding things, but other than that, my hair finally started growing back. After the wedding, my hair was in desperate need of some fixing so I got some caramel-ish highlights using Olaplex (major lifesaver) and cut off a few inches.

long brown hair

“Before” hair cut and highlights this past May (2016)

long ish brown hair

“After” Just some carefully placed highlights and a few inches off the length

So, I went through my extended recent hair history but it was to get to a point. Here are some tricks I learned to help get my hair back where it needs to be, as it is finally growing back and getting thicker:

longer brown hair

My hair now. It’s already grown back to the length it was when I cut it in May. Also, I don’t have anymore breaking at the top or bottom (Just some frizz).

-TAKE YOUR VITAMINS. This one is important, especially, if like me, you are lacking for whatever reason. Besides a multivitamin, biotin and folic acid have helped me a lot in the past. If you are a woman of childbearing age, it’s also okay for you to be on prenatals. Those help a bunch, just make sure it’s not a cheap brand.

-DON’T USE HEAT. Obvious tip. But it will really help to not thin out your hair.

-GET TRIMS AS NECESSARY. I don’t want to give the every 6-8 week advice, as for some people, this is too often. Be honest with yourself, you’ll know when your hair needs some cutting.

-DRINK LOTS OF WATER. In the early summer of 2015 before I was at a even heightened level of stress, I started drinking slightly more than the recommended 8×8. I noticed my hair was thanking me for it. Now I drink water all the time and it helps with everything, not just my hair.

-TRY NOT TO STRESS. Clearly from my hair history, you can see how much this was affecting me. In hindsight, some of the things I was stressing out about really didn’t matter, such as fighting with my dad. I wish I had relaxed more and taken some time to myself. I graduated and got married and everything’s okay. There was really no need to over-exert myself to do it.

-USE COCONUT OIL. This helped a lot as well when my ends were fried. It won’t heal your split ends, but it definitely made it easier to be patient in growing out my hair until I could trim it.

-GIVE IT TIME. Even with all of these tricks, the best one is be patient. When I wasn’t focused on my hair growing and relaxing more, my hair grew a ton.

All of this being said, as much as I want to keep growing my hair out, the bottom half is still slightly damaged. I may cut it (not into a bob) but we shall see. My hair is the healthiest it has been because right now I am the healthiest I have been in years.

I hope these tips helped and I will see y’all later.

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