My hair has been such a problem for me for the past year...I'm losing a lot of it, my hair is dry and dull more often than not, it barely grows, and my scalp itches and is scaly. Also, my curls feel 'roughed up' the further down the length of my hair. One thing I've been doing for the past several months is putting Lily of the Desert aloe vera juice on my hair after a shower as a leave-in. I try not to get it on the roots because if I do, it makes my hair feel greasy and clumpy over time. It's helped, but my problems still exist. I think I may have a hard water issue, but if that's not it, I am determined to rule several things out so I can figure out the ROOT cause :P I am open to suggestions!

Here are the tests I have performed, am performing, or will perform:

I recently read that hard water (more specifically, magnesium, calcium, zinc & iron in household water) can deposit on hair, create buildup, and as a result make your hair any combo of dull, dry, brittle, limp AND cause fallout or excessive breakage. It can also inflame and dry the scalp, causing flakes. See link: How to Prevent Hair Build Up from Hard Water
Also see: Is Hard Water Ruining Your Curls?
Here's a great thread on hard water--read the 1st reply:
Even though it's softened, I wanted to rule out my well water as the cause of my hair loss & itchy scalp, so I bought a full test kit from Home Depot and tested the (softened) water in my tub, as well as the water from an outside (unsoftened) faucet. The tub water tests were normal besides being pretty alkaline, and the outside water was hard--no surprise there. I'm not so confident of the test results though because it said my water has no iron, yet the dripping tub faucet leaves a red stain by the drain which is supposedly a sign of iron. I currently use AG Re:coil Curl Activating Shampoo which contains EDTA and citric acid, which aid in removing mineral buildup, but I think the shampoo is also causing my hair to feel dirty/gunky. I may eventually try either Curl Junkies daily fix, or Malibu Hard Water kit. Hard Water | Malibu CŪ Hair, Scalp, Skin Products

Just to be 110% sure water is not the source of the problem, I plan to wash my hair with distilled gallon jugs of water for 1 month. (I get 2 jugs for $1.38 and go through 2-3 jugs a week.) I'm into my 2nd week now. Upon washing with distilled H20 the first time, my hair felt more conditioned and softer in a good way. But somedays my curls are a bit flatter. Also, I have more buildup and my scalp is itchyyyyy. On the other hand, I'm getting some 2nd day hair days.

I've been exercising 1-2x a day to build strength, detox, and relieve stress. I wasn't exercising for the majority of the past year up until a month ago. I remember last time I worked out, my hair loss decreased, however, I didn't notice much change this time. I do feel less stressed, and overall happier though. PS I recommend the Tone it Up! workouts on Youtube! THEY ROCK!

I have yet to do these tests...

Get my hair professionally diva-cut. I haven't gotten my hair cut by a pro in +2 yrs (I diva cut my own, but I'm no hairdresser). So I think my hair may be knotting and breaking off in some cases.

If I'm not happy with the results after my 30-day distilled water test, I'm going back to my old non-curly girl routine of Aussie shampoo & CO. I like my HETT gel, so I'll keep that. Maybe CG is not for me. Something tells me silicones are very important to my fragile hair. Before I went CG (back in early 2009) I use to have beautiful, thick, shiny curls just by using Aussie shampoo & CO. (I had a dry scalp though too). I use to be able to straighten my hair and it looked shiny and good. If I try to straighten my hair now (even if I just try 1x in a year), my hair looks 90 years old, weak, dull, and completely fried. The only reason I went CG was because my hair wasn't growing fast and I thought it'd be healthier.

In my routine, I blow dry my hair several times a week after it has air-dried 70%, but I don't use silicones to protect it from heat because I'm CG…now that can't be good! I've decided I need to be either fully CG and not blow-fry at all, or deal with using (at the least water-soluble) silicones so I can protect my hair when I blow-dry it. I think that's definitely one of the root causes of my problem! After my 30-day test, there's a good possibility I'm bringin' silicones back, baby! That will be my final test!

On a separate note, many ex-CG girls noted that going CG made their hair shed more. Read this thread:

I will check back with my progress!!
Low/Med porosity, very fine, low/med elasticity & density, 3A
AKA hard to work with hair!

Low-Poo: Kenra Volumizing shampoo, AG Fast Food shampoo
CO: AG Ultramoist, AO GPB, Nature's Gate Aloe Vera
Gel: GFCC mousse, HETT, Aquage Megagel
Also: Aloe Vera juice or Alba Leave-in. Weekly ACV rinse.
Wishlist: YTC low-poo, Elucence poo, Bioterra Curl Creme, AGEbeautiful Strengthening trtment, SS Repairing Protein Trtment, LuxyHair ext's

Last edited by CurlyCowgirly; 10-15-2012 at 09:29 PM. Reason: bolden important points! :)