Posted on November 16, 2009 by Samara

Scab Hair! – It is Real

I’ve heard the term scab hair before during my natural journey, but I never thought it was real. I’ve heard people describe the so-called scab hair, but no one ever showed any real proof of this type of hair. There were even women whom claimed that scab hair wasn’t real. I didn’t believe scab hair truly existed until I noticed it in my hair myself.

My definition of scab hair:

Scab hair – Hair that is directly underneath the scalp that has been affected by the hash chemicals(i.e. relaxers, texturizers). Even though the hair is new growth it isn’t “trained” to behave in it’s natural state. The hair can be straight-wiry, very dry, hard, and brittle. It usually takes somewhere around 6 months to a year to completely grow it out. – Derived from Motowngirl.com

When I first did my big chop I noticed that the hair that grew in, especially on my sides, was extremely hard, rough, and wiry. It didn’t respond well to the Kinky Curly Custard at all. No matter what amount I applied, the hair continued to stay in that rough, wiry, ugly, texture. I accepted this hair as my own hair texture until now, 11 months later when I blew my hair out and decided to straighten it for the first time to see it’s true length and decide on my wedding hair style.

When I blew out my hair I used a heat protectant and a ceramic hand held blow dryer. I noticed that all my hair except for the ends came straight. My ends remained rough, wiry, and kinky. I then applied my ceramic flat iron and to my surprise my ends would not respond to the heat from the flat iron either. My hair was soft, shiny and healthy looking until I reached the ends which were wiry, rough, hard, and ugly. This is when it hit me that the ends could not be my true texture and maybe this scab hair thing was true.

scabhair

At first I twittered the description of what happened after I straightened my hair, one woman said that she experience the same thing and she just cut it off. Another woman claimed that I needed to go to a professional and have my hair blow dried and also stated that it was probably a result of my hair being dry due to lack of moisture. Now if you are a reader of my blog, you know very well how adamant I am about moisturizing my hair and ends as well as applying oil to them. I asked her did she experience this after her big chop, and she said yes after she cut off her dreads. After she stated she had dreads prior to her bc, I knew she couldn’t relate because she didn’t have a relaxer years prior.

From what I gather, scab hair is damaged hair that grows in right after your big chop. It’s the result of years of relaxer application in which chemicals have seeped into the scalp causing the new growth to be rough, dry, and wiry. This hair is not your true texture and women whom are unaware of their actual texture make the mistake of accepting it as such. Some women may not experience this, or just don’t notice it. I am here to tell you whether you experience it our not it is true. Scab hair is real!

I spent the better part of my day cutting this new hybrid of hair out of my head. There’s probably about less than 1/2 inch of scab hair left, but that will eventually be removed with a nice trim 3-6 months from now.

scab-hair-removed

The good part is the majority of it is gone. I cut about 1-1/2 inches of scab hair from my head, setting me back 3-4 months of hair growth. I’m completely fine with that though.

scabhair

The horrible hair is removed and my hair will be back at shoulder length by March 2010. This experience alone has taught me the damaging effects of a chemical relaxer and I vow to never suffer my hair to one ever again. Had I known that relaxers caused this much damage, even underneath the scalp I would’ve reconsidered relaxing in the first place.


 
  • 1prettysoul

    Wow Thank you.Yesss I had the same thing. I cut most of it off. I am thankful for this insight. I never knew the harsh effect ran so deep. I have wasted so much money and I almost considered throwing in the towel. I was so upset! I thought my hair just could not take so many things. I remembered the way my hair was before the “Rettackers”. I say that because with each use more and more damage is done. My hair is baby soft naturally. I just did not know how to take care of it. So with the “Scab” hair attached I was at the end of my robe. Now I feel so much better! Thank You again!

    • http://www.growblackhair.net Samara

      You’re very welcome. Have you noticed that since you removed the scab hair, your hair doesn’t have as many knots as before? I had loads of fairy knots no matter how much I kept my hair in a protective style. As soon as I removed the scab hair my hair hasn’t had as many knots since. Maybe one or two per month if that!

      • Laura

        Hi Samara,
        I stumbled across your website after watching some of your vlogs on YouTube.

        I did my BC on the 21st of this month…I just couldn’t stand my relaxers and braids anymore.

        Anyway, I am so confused now, I’ve watched maybe TOO much info…what do I do now ?

        I’m cowashing, dc’ing, etc..but my hair feels so hard and dry, except when I wash (co wash ) it.

        I still am trying to figure out what my hair likes…giggles

        I think I have 4B hair as well…I can feel and see little coils forming, so I’m getting very excited !

        my question for you ( I know, I’m probably rambling), does it take a few weeks for your curls or coils to really be defined ?

        I have a super super short twa, pretty much a tapered cut…not to mention very thin edges from years of relaxer abuse…thats for another day.

        Thank so much for your channel, i just subscribed and look forward to learning more from you.

        God bless…..

        Laura

        • http://www.growblackhair.net Samara

          You could be dealing with scab hair and this is probably why your hair is so dry and rough. – a consequence we post relaxer wearers must deal with. Once you grow this hair out your hair will become much softer and defined. My hair still contains about an inch or so of scab hair that I plan on removing today actually. Just be patient with your hair. After you gain enough length, remove the scab hair and you will find that your hair will be easier to manage.

          • Laura

            Thanks Samara….I was afraid of that..but I’m still so happy I did my BC :)

            Yes, I agree, guess I have to be patient…but I just can’t wait for my hair to get growing.

            Good luck with cutting off that scab hair…are you planning to do a vlog on that ?….just curious.

            Thanks again,

            Laura

    • Shanta

      I agree my hair is baby soft but was wondering why my hair wouldn’t take no prouct but a twistout with shea butter…other than that it’s a mess even my mother was like your hair was softer than that..

      Thank you Samara

  • lois3

    Hello, I read your article,and i was wondering what was wrong with my hair, when i seen the pics i said to myself, that just how my hair looks,now thank you for putting a name with it, but i still want to relax my hair because i’m so use to it. but thanks for the info.

  • ebonybeautyful

    Thank you so much for the info., I experience the exact same thing. I did not know why my hair felt like a brittle pad on the ends and when I would flat iron it, it would be a mess on the ends. I have already cut my ends off, but was feeling bad because I lost so much hair. Now since I came across your site and found out what it was, I feel better. My hair is in much better condition now, and i am falling in love with it now. Thank again!!!!!!!

  • Crystal

    I am glad you did this topic, Im in my 7th month of transitioning and was noticing this type of hair in certain sections… It looks similar to your pictures, very wirey… The good news is, this inspired me to do my big chop sooner instead of waiting till later. I am eager to grow all of this damaged hair out from 31 years of perms. This seems like a new beginning to me.. after years of deception….God makes no mistakes.

    God Bless

    Thanks again.

    Crystal

  • http://kevsidkev@yahoo.com Sid

    Thank you for convincing my sister do her big chop & exposing the scab hair part of the process. Many of women have no idea that this scab hair exists.

  • NubianPrize

    I had the same thing happen to me after I cut off my Innovations curly perm Feb 2009.I’d had curly perms for 28 yrs & BC’d down to a half inch long TWA & wore afro wigs. The new growth was hard ,wiry & unresponsive to anything I put on it: CURLS,Wild Growth Oil,Cantu shea butter leave in,Qhemet Biologics,organic virgin coconut oil,Extra virgin olive oil,& ayurvedic oils.I found out about scab hair by researching natural hair sites.A lot of women say it doesn’t exist. Folks on some boards said it was my natural texture which I’d permed so long I didn’t recognize it & to accept it but I’d worn a huge afro from late 60’s-early 80’s & knew my texture well. A friend said she had the same problem when she decided to BC & go natural about 2 yrs ago. She had to cut off the scab hair ends little by little &told me to do the same.Now my hair is between 4″ & 5″ long & is returning to normal.I’m looking forward to ditching the wigs sometime this spring or summer & getting my 70’s ‘fro back.

  • CECILIA

    i have little ‘fairy knots’ on the ends of my hair..is this scab hair also?

    • http://www.growblackhair.net Samara

      Not necessarily. It could be because you are not wearing your hair in protective hair styles and putting oil on your ends. Scab hair does tend to have more knots in it, but it depends. I still get fairy knots, but it’s not as much as before. Instead of my ends become filled with tons of knots, I only get maybe up to 5 knots a month.

  • Natural7Anjel

    I do protective styles almost all the time, and I don’t have any knots, but I still have scab hair. Its so obvious where it is, too. My natural hair is so silky and I can even see a curl pattern UNDER a bunch of fuzz. I have about three inches of hair, but I need to but this mess off. Whats the point of having length when I don’t even want to wear it out? :(

    • http://www.growblackhair.net Samara

      It’s best to remove the scab hair so you can actually enjoy your real hair texture. I am in my second year of being natural and I finally enjoy my hair texture for the first time ever. It’s amazing how different my hair looks from when I first BC’d. My hair back then looked like a carpet/brillo pad/birds nest. Now it is so healthy, thick, full of beautiful curls and coils. A complete change. You will be so happy when you remove all the scab hair. Trust me. It may set you back a few months lengthwise, but you will really love your hair, once you see it free of scab hair.

  • Chica rosa

    I did the big chop 2 weeks ago and I have noticed that the back of my hair is really soft and curly, but the front from the tip of one pinna to the next is EXACTLY as you’ve described. It does not retain moisture, its dry, wiry, frizzy..you name it. My question is, how long before you grew it all out?

    • http://www.growblackhair.net Samara

      It took a complete year to grow it all the way out. I believe it was about 2 inches of hair. I grew my hair for a year and when I was able to distinguish the two textures (the softer curly one from the hard wiry one), I cut off all the scab hair. My hair has never looked better!

  • divanurse9

    Hi Samara,
    I’ve been transitioning since Aug 2009 and I believe I have scab hair on the crown of my head. When I used to relax my hair my crown would constantly break off as soon as it grew. My crown has finally started to grow and it’s dry, wiry and everything that you have described. However the rest of my hair is silky and soft. Is there any hope for my poor hair?

  • http://www.growblackhair.net Samara

    Absolutely. Just baby your hair and give it time to grow in. My sides is where I had the scab hair and I had scab hair there even after I cut off the scab hair from other portions of my head. Just be patient and grow it all the way out until the crown starts growing in it’s natural “real” texture, then cut it off.

  • http://www.typefohr.com Steph

    I am so glad I came across your blog post and youtube vid, thank you so much for the detailed info and pics! I just did my BC April 18 of this year and just curious to see what it would take to straighten my hair I blow dried and flat ironed it. I noticed it took one or two passes on low heat to get my hair straight but the ends were just rough. I’ve also noticed the same thing with my daughter, she has had her hair relaxed once but her ends are the exact same way, well were, I just took her to get those things clipped last weekends. I suppose I’m going to do the same thing either tomorrow or this coming weekend. Sorry for the long post.

  • http://lusciouscurls.wordpress.com Cara

    THank you so much for this article. My texture is pretty uniform around my entire head except for maybe my nape which has a looser texture. But there’s a section in the very front of my head starting from my hair line that is EXTREMELY dry, wiry, and just unresponsive to anything that I do to it. After reading this, I am very much convinced that it could be scab hair. I know how adamant I was about making sure that my edges were bone straight when I relaxed my hair so this area definitely could be suffering from scab hair. It looks exactly like the picture you’ve posted. Wow….I would have never even thought of that being the problem. I’ve just accepted it as my texture. Anyway, great post.

  • http://google.com Dustin

    Hey! Really well written, I will be coming back for more articles.

  • http://marie_nikita@yahoo.com Christina

    I just colored my hair black and the length is about to my jaw bone. Can I just transition to natural and not cut my hair untill it gets time to trim it and cut of scabby hair.In other words can I just grow it out the way it is now? Also what are some store brand shampoos and conditioners ( like motions ,dark and lovely etc) can I use on my hair. Some of those products that you listed are expensive. Im sorry , I am glad that you made this site also. It encourages me and I appreciate it.

    • http://www.growblackhair.net Samara

      The brands that I’ve suggested may be expensive, but they are best for our hair. The are rarely any store brand shampoos that don’t contain sulfates and most store bought conditioners have cones in them. If you want healthy hair, you will have to pay a bit more for quality products. If the Giovanni brand is in your price range, it’s located at Walmart for under $8 a bottle.

      You can grow your hair out like that, just don’t apply heat to your new growth and condition your hair often. Protective styles are your best friend when transitioning.

  • http://marie_nikita@yahoo.com christina

    After your hair grew to 12 inches did you start using heat on it again? How did you keep it that straight? It is beautiful!

    • http://www.growblackhair.net Samara

      I don’t straighten my hair. I blew out my hair which I only do on rare occasions, like once or twice a year to avoid getting heat damage.

  • chris

    Im glad that you made this site. I have two questions. the first is , can I grow my hair the way that it is to the length that I want and then cut it? But, of course I would get my trim every 3 to 6 months. And two when you finally got your hair to were you wanted it did you use any chemical processing or heat on your hair? By the way your hair is beautiful.

    • http://www.growblackhair.net Samara

      You can do that until you grow out the relaxed hair, but I don’t get my hair cut every 3-6 months. You will never gain any length if you continue this practice once you cut off your relaxed ends.

      I am completely natural. I do not use chemicals on my hair and I don’t use heat either except for maybe once or twice a year if at all.

  • Sabrina

    Thank you for the heads up and for putting my mind at ease. I resently decided to go natural a few months ago, and I decided to make the big chop in August. I thought my hair would instantly recover from the 10 years of perm I put my hair through. I was soooo wrong. Luckily my hair isn’t dry, btittle, and wiry like the other ladies. However, it is extremely frizzy in between the naturally curly parts of my hair. I’m relieved to know that this mess will not last for very long.

  • lisa

    i absolutely love watching your channel on youtube.i also like your website as well. you inspire my soo much. i would just like to first off thank you for that..i think you as well as your hair is very beautiful. my question is this about this. i have a hard time keeping my hair moisturized especially the ends i read the scab hair. i don’t know if that’s the problem, because it mentioned the hair being really unresponsive and my hair seems to respond to things just extra dry.i don’t think my hair likes oils too much , but i’m not completely sure. castor oil seems to not bother it. could you please help with a moisturizing routine. i don’t really know how often to wash it or moisturize it. also i have started trying to sleep with the shower bag on at night for help..is that a bad thing?..thank you very much and may God bless you and your family

  • http://www.growblackhair.net Samara

    i absolutely love watching your channel on youtube.i also like your website as well. you inspire my soo much. i would just like to first off thank you for that..i think you as well as your hair is very beautiful. my question is this about this. i have a hard time keeping my hair moisturized especially the ends i read the scab hair. i don’t know if that’s the problem, because it mentioned the hair being really unresponsive and my hair seems to respond to things just extra dry.i don’t think my hair likes oils too much , but i’m not completely sure. castor oil seems to not bother it. could you please help with a moisturizing routine. i don’t really know how often to wash it or moisturize it. also i have started trying to sleep with the shower bag on at night for help..is that a bad thing?..thank you very much and may God bless you and your family

    Castor oil is an oil and acts as a humecant so that’s why your hair loves it so much. Keep using it in your hair and on your ends to seal in moisture. You should moisturize your hair daily and cleanse your hair weekly. Remember to deep condition everytime you shampoo. Use a sulfate free shampoo and use a moisturizer that is natural and free of silicone, mineral oil, beewax or petroleum. There’s tons to choose from. Try curlmart.com since they carry many brands. Good luck and God Bless.

  • Sierra

    I have been natural for 2 years now and my hair has been stuck at this same length all this time (medium length-chin length when straighten). The front of my hair is 3c and parts of the back are 4a. At the crown and middle of the back of my head is where I think I have the scab hair. The ends are always the worst and don’t respond well to either protein or moisture treatments. I remember using the most relaxer at the crown and middle back area of my head. If only I could reverse the times of relaxers..lol.

    Scab hair is no joke. I will keep up with continous trims and hope it grows out soon. Thanks for your article!!

  • http://www.leimo.com.au hair loss and treatment

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us. And for including what caused your scabbed hair. Good thing you’re over it!

  • Malaika

    Hello, I just did a min b/c and through my natural hair research, some of this *scab* hair could also be due to a lack of PH balance. I say this because my 7 year old daughter (never had a relaxer) had ends very similar to *scab*, however once I discovered the importance of PH balance, her ends have dramatically changed. Im not sure if you guys are familiar with Kimmaytube ( on YouTube), she shows how PH balance can smooth the hair cuticle resulting in less frizz and knots on hair ends.

    Try the recipe

    2 table spoons of KKKC Knot Today Leave-in conditioner (or any leave-in conditioner of your choice.
    2 table spoons of 100% Aloe Vera Juice
    1-2 teaspoons of castor oil
    1-2 teaspoons of jojoba oil

    *mix well (consistency should be like yogurt)
    Apply liberally to freshly washed and conditioned hair.

    Makes wonderful twist-outs–you don’t need anything else.
    This has truly been a staple for my family and I!

    • http://www.growblackhair.net Samara

      I am familiar with Kimmytube’s channel I am also a subscriber and I have articles about pH balance on this site as well. Your daughter may have damaged ends instead of scab hair, but scab hair is damaged hair as well. The only difference is that it is already damaged underneath the scalp due to relaxer use.

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