Need help with flakes

I have googled and forum read and searched and everything, and I can't find anything new to try to get rid of this!

About me: I'm Caucasian (in case my photo doesn't post, though my photo is actually before no poo, so it's better now) with thin/fine hair that's down past my bra line. My hair is so thin that my ponytail is only about 3/4" in diameter... and I find that my hair is LESS frizzy if I brush it while wet when I get out of the shower. I know that's against all the rules, but my hair is so thin that running a brush through it a few times is necessary to smooth all the hairs next to each other, and because it's thin, it slips through easily.

When the humidity is higher the curls are about 1" corkscrews. When the weather is drier, my hair can be so "straight" that I can literally brush it (while dry) and it looks like those old movies where their hair was smooth and shiny and in big waves around the bottom. That's how healthy and non-frizzy my hair is even when the weather is dry, with what I'm doing (which makes NO sense because my scalp will be so dry it's flaking off at the same time!)

Most of the time, part of my head is the 1" curls and other parts are bigger curls/waves...often mixing with each other.

Either way... I LOVE how healthy and beautiful my HAIR is... it's only my scalp that's giving me such awful problems!

What I've done/tried:

I quit using Shampoo about two years ago, and very quickly discovered what a massive difference it makes in my hair. I also completely quit using mousse, hair spray, etc... EVERYTHING! My hair has been naked 24/7, and my hair loves it.

Towards the end of the first winter, though, I started getting those pure-white dry scalp flakes, and I've fought them off and on for over a year now. My husband has never complained about smell (and he has an amazingly sensitive nose, and no compunctions about telling me if I stink after a workout or anything).

At my hairs best, I can just gently wash every 2-3 days and it's not too bad. At its worst, my scalp will literally shed so badly within 24 hours that I have to soak it in very hot water, then scrub and scratch my scalp all over for at least 15 minutes to get it all off and out of my hair. It did this last week... I washed it Saturday afternoon at 2pm, and Sunday morning at church, I realized that it was flaking so bad that I had to pray no one looked too closely!

I've tried:

Co-washing less often. Doesn't work. It still flakes just as quickly... and the flakes build up to embarrassing degrees more quickly.

Using sulfate-free shampoo. Sometimes I need the shampoo lather just to help carry those flakes away! For the last few months I've been using Organix shampoo.

Originally, I used only the Suave Cherry Blossom conditioner with no cones and with no shampoo. Last fall I switched to Tresseme (the ones with no cones) to see if it made a difference. At first I thought it did, but then I still had some bad bouts.

I've done co-washing and I've done the shampoo washing first. It doesn't seem to affect/change the flaking.

It's obviously not build-up, as I don't put anything on my hair to build up!

I've tried some olive oil. It wasn't easy to keep my hair from looking greasy from too much as my HAIR didn't need the extra oil, and it didn't seem to make that big of a difference....maybe I did it wrong?

Anyone have any ideas? Anyone else with hair like mine dealt with this? I really need to get rid of this, without messing up my happy hair!

Last edited by katiediddesign; 05-11-2012 at 07:48 AM.
Know what? Here's a recent picture of me that shows my hair relatively well, in case this helps somehow. This was a curlier day.


Last edited by katiediddesign; 05-11-2012 at 07:55 AM.
I have googled and forum read and searched and everything, and I can't find anything new to try to get rid of this!

About me: I'm Caucasian (in case my photo doesn't post, though my photo is actually before no poo, so it's better now) with thin/fine hair that's down past my bra line. My hair is so thin that my ponytail is only about 3/4" in diameter... and I find that my hair is LESS frizzy if I brush it while wet when I get out of the shower. I know that's against all the rules, but my hair is so thin that running a brush through it a few times is necessary to smooth all the hairs next to each other, and because it's thin, it slips through easily.

When the humidity is higher the curls are about 1" corkscrews. When the weather is drier, my hair can be so "straight" that I can literally brush it (while dry) and it looks like those old movies where their hair was smooth and shiny and in big waves around the bottom. That's how healthy and non-frizzy my hair is even when the weather is dry, with what I'm doing (which makes NO sense because my scalp will be so dry it's flaking off at the same time!)

Most of the time, part of my head is the 1" curls and other parts are bigger curls/waves...often mixing with each other.

Either way... I LOVE how healthy and beautiful my HAIR is... it's only my scalp that's giving me such awful problems!

What I've done/tried:

I quit using Shampoo about two years ago, and very quickly discovered what a massive difference it makes in my hair. I also completely quit using mousse, hair spray, etc... EVERYTHING! My hair has been naked 24/7, and my hair loves it.

Towards the end of the first winter, though, I started getting those pure-white dry scalp flakes, and I've fought them off and on for over a year now. My husband has never complained about smell (and he has an amazingly sensitive nose, and no compunctions about telling me if I stink after a workout or anything).

At my hairs best, I can just gently wash every 2-3 days and it's not too bad. At its worst, my scalp will literally shed so badly within 24 hours that I have to soak it in very hot water, then scrub and scratch my scalp all over for at least 15 minutes to get it all off and out of my hair. It did this last week... I washed it Saturday afternoon at 2pm, and Sunday morning at church, I realized that it was flaking so bad that I had to pray no one looked too closely!

I've tried:

Co-washing less often. Doesn't work. It still flakes just as quickly... and the flakes build up to embarrassing degrees more quickly.

Using sulfate-free shampoo. Sometimes I need the shampoo lather just to help carry those flakes away! For the last few months I've been using Organix shampoo.

Originally, I used only the Suave Cherry Blossom conditioner with no cones and with no shampoo. Last fall I switched to Tresseme (the ones with no cones) to see if it made a difference. At first I thought it did, but then I still had some bad bouts.

I've done co-washing and I've done the shampoo washing first. It doesn't seem to affect/change the flaking.

It's obviously not build-up, as I don't put anything on my hair to build up!

I've tried some olive oil. It wasn't easy to keep my hair from looking greasy from too much as my HAIR didn't need the extra oil, and it didn't seem to make that big of a difference....maybe I did it wrong?

Anyone have any ideas? Anyone else with hair like mine dealt with this? I really need to get rid of this, without messing up my happy hair!
Originally Posted by katiediddesign
I don't have the same hair as you, but I do have dry scalp. It drives me crazy! For some people, a brown sugar scrub helps to exfoliate the scalp. You could try that. Oh, and there isn't anything wrong with brushing your hair while it's wet. As long as you are gentle, and not ripping the brush through your hair, you're fine. Most curlies use a Denman brush. It's gentler on the hair. I'm hoping that you get more suggestions/tips.

Sent from my HTC Glacier using CurlTalk App
Curly and PROUD!!!

My hair has a mix of low/med/high porosity, and it's medium textured (some are still fine, though!)

CG since Sept. 2011
Cowash: Vo5/Suave Naturals/Tresemme Naturals*
RO/LI: GVPCB*, Tresemme Naturals*
Low-poo: Shea Moisture Moisture Retention
Stylers: KCKT*, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Honey*

* represents my HGs!!! Finally!!!
Katie, just curious, but do you have a problem with dry skin anywhere on your body besides your scalp?
At its worst, my scalp will literally shed so badly within 24 hours that I have to soak it in very hot water, then scrub and scratch my scalp all over for at least 15 minutes to get it all off and out of my hair.
Originally Posted by katiediddesign
Hot water is very drying to your skin, so that's probably not helping. I also agree with the recommendation for a sugar scrub. The CG method says you should do a brown sugar scrub (or some variation) once a week.

You don't mention having seen a doctor, so I'm going to assume you haven't If stopping the hot water and trying a brown sugar scrub doesn't help, I'd recommend seeing a doctor. Hopefully, it's just dandruff, but knowing what it is will help deal with it

I'd also recommend reading IAGirl's blog. She has some great info about scalp issues. science-y hair blog: Itchy Scalp - Some Easy Remedies

Hair: Very fine, normal porous (Finally! Yay!), normal elasticity, loves high dew points.
Daily: Nature's Gate Tea Tree shampoo, GVP CB, Cure Care conditioner, aloe vera gel, Jessicurls products, Spiral Solutions products.
Monthly: Henna
As needed: John Masters Organics Sea Mist
HG Product: BioSilk Rock Hard Gelee (aka BRHG. It even has HG in the name!)
Last perm: 12/10/10
CG since: 3/9/12
Last haircut: 4/17/12
Gossamer Fringe (my blog)
I too would stop with the warm water. you said that you've used olive oil and it was rather greasy, have you tried using lighter oils? argan oil is amazing for scalp problems, if you can afford it. if not then jojoba oil is rather good. i dont use anyhing other then condish and oil in my hair either, though i use alot of herbs. maybe they will benefit you as well.
so this is what i would do:
a gentle brown sugar/oil scrub.
use a light oil and brown sugar, add a bit of tea tree oil as well, tea tree oil helps everything. gently message your scalp with it co wash it out.
ACV herbal rinses are great! i do them once a week. i use what ever herbs/tea i have on hand. what ive been using is: sage, nettle and green tea. (though rosemary and marshmallow root is great as well) boil it up as if your going to make tea to drink, let it sit till its cold, then strain it and add a splash of ACV. (you might have to adjust the amounts with how much ACV your hair can handle.) pour it in a spray bottle if you have one, its easier to get on your scalp.
once youve done your scrub and washed it out, then spray the tea mixture direct on your scalp and message it in. what you got let, just pour it over your hair. I always leave it in, so i use it as a final rinse, but if it stinks or if you dont like it then leave it in for a few minutes and wash it with clear water out. though leaving it in would be better.
give it a go if you can n see if it helps

my hair: 3c, high porosity, high density and coarse hair (i think i finally figured that all out)
my hair loves conditioner only styling!
my hair goal length is bra strap length when curly.

I also blog about my hair journey, please feel free to read and comment/ask questions http://www.naturallycurly.com/blogs/...air-blogs/2494
I have an itchy/flaky scalp as well. It's much worse in the winter/low dews so I'm guessing it has something to do with a dry scalp.

I love doing brown sugar scrubs. Mix about a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of brown sugar (or a little more) together and add a few drops of tea tree or rosemary oil. I prefer rosemary oil. Then I lean over the bath tub and rub it in my scalp and then just low poo it out in the shower!

I have black hair so it's really noticeable! I also have to be careful about not wearing my hair up all the time in the summer since that seems to exacerbate the problem as well.
Coarse texture, normal-high porosity, normal elasticity (Komaza Care), very weak waves
cleanser: Redken Fresh Curls Shampoo, CJ Daily Fix

rinse out: GVP Conditioning Balm, CJ Repair Me, CJ Smoothing

jellies/creams: CR Curl Maker, KCCC, UFD Curly Magic
gels: CJ CQ, BRHG

Katie, just curious, but do you have a problem with dry skin anywhere on your body besides your scalp?
Originally Posted by Cubanwavy
Well... not extremely bad, but sometimes. My hands (especially cuticles) can get quite dry sometimes, and in the winter, my face gets so dry that it hurts (feels so tight and itchy) if I don't put moisturizer on it.

As for the other suggestions, I will try some of those and see if they make a difference. Thank you very much! I'd read mention of some of those ideas, but not specific directions like some of these. I do have some tea tree oil, so I'll try that mix for awhile and see what happens.

Thank you!
I had a really hard time when I first started CG with flakes and greasiness :/
When I found out tea tree oil is good for gentle clarifying and for flakes, I thought I might as well give it a go. I put about 16-20oz of water in a spray bottle, 20 drops of tea tree oil, shook it up, flipped my head over, and sprayed all over my scalp. It's so gentle and really works!! Plus, the bottle has last me for a really long time. I scrub it in, and my scalp is all better My hair is cleaned, too!
It's the best decision I have made since CG.
2c/2b with some 2a, coarse, dense, thick, low porosity
Growing out a CL bob. Currently at APL.
CG again as of 7/20/12


Cleanser: BRÖÖ Smoothing I.P.A. Shampoo
RO: Trader Joe's Nourish Spa Conditioner
LI: Kinky-Curly Knot Today
Styler: Beautiful Curls Gel for Wavy to Curly Hair

all-natural products, light moisture, humectants, argan oil
silk protein, synthetic ingredients, heavy oils/products, cowashing
Katie, just curious, but do you have a problem with dry skin anywhere on your body besides your scalp?
Originally Posted by Cubanwavy
Well... not extremely bad, but sometimes. My hands (especially cuticles) can get quite dry sometimes, and in the winter, my face gets so dry that it hurts (feels so tight and itchy) if I don't put moisturizer on it.

As for the other suggestions, I will try some of those and see if they make a difference. Thank you very much! I'd read mention of some of those ideas, but not specific directions like some of these. I do have some tea tree oil, so I'll try that mix for awhile and see what happens.

Thank you!
Originally Posted by katiediddesign
You might want to add some healthy oils to your diet, and consider a supplement (vitamin type). Women typically take in less fat/oil than men and often have the dry skin problem.

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