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On a mission: Long hair confession

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Oct 10, 2011
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^ in the current picture you can see how my hair has grown out from the previous blonde highlights. I have naturally coarse hair, and THICK. Longest it has been since I was 6 years old.  I have had mohawks, shaved my head, pixie cuts, you name it..i probably rocked it for a month or two.

I wear my hair constantly in a ponytail and I am now having hair issues.  I trim my hair monthly but now, it's summer in New Mexico (Dry, and even drier weather in Santa Fe) and my scalp is getting dry, the ends of my hair feel crunchy, and where my ponytail sits it itches. I don't even know where to start to take care of my hair.

I am a busy stay at home mom and I use dove for strengthing but I am also on a hair care budget. I intended to go all the way down to the top of my lower back and now I am at the middle of my back.

Help me to improve my hair texture and step me in the correct direction for long hair care.