Reader Question: How do I fix my fried hair?

Hello, Jamie!

I’m emailing you now because I’m in a (literal) hair CRISIS and after reading your blog I feel like you could provide some insight and advice on what I should do. 

To make long story short, I wanted to dye my hair blonde and, as you would assume any smart hair stylist would do, we would approach this gradually and proceed with highlights. NOPE. She smacked the bleach onto my hair and now my hair is butchered. Ruined. I went from having medium length hair to now having short, uneven and over-processed hair. And when I say uneven, one side of my hair is 3 to 4 inches shorter than the other. When I left the salon I had not seen the damage and she told me I would need to deep condition my hair once a week but within a few days half of my hair had fallen out. So, essentially, she FRIED my hair off! I’ve attached images of my hair so you can see. 

So, my only question is: What do I do? 

I’m in a situation where if I cut off all the “damage” I’ll be left with barely any hair, and if I don’t do anything I’ll be suffering for months with drastically uneven hair. Currently, I’m lathering my hair in conditioning treatments and I’m alternating shampoos with Kerastase and Bumble and Bumble Thickening. 

Thanks so much, and I hope to hear from you soon.​



Hi V!

Oh god, I’m so sorry this happened! What a nightmare and, obviously, never go back to that stylist!  Here’s what you can do.

Get your hair cut so that it’s even. I KNOW. That’s so not what you wanted to hear but from your photos it really is very uneven and, as my colorist, Dawn Tracey from Meche Salon in Beverly Hills, also pointed out “a straight blunt ended cut will give the appearance of volume and thickness.”  “When I’ve seen clients with this problem, I tell them that for the next six months or so they need to just cut length off the bottom while the chemical layers grow out.”

Use a conditioning mask that feels very “gelatinous.”  “She needs a creamy and buttery mask to nourish that fried hair.”

A few of my favorites:

As for shampoo, Dawn says you can use what you like. “Whatever formula is creamy and says things like ‘nourishing’ in the name.”  However, we both agree you really don’t need any kind of volumizing product since your focus should really be REPAIR right now.  “Most volumizing products have forms of alcohol in them that can actually strip the hair a bit,” explains Dawn.

Make sure you shampoo ONLY your scalp.  “Shampoo is meant to clean the sebum from the scalp that makes the hair seem greasy,” explains Dawn.  “The water and suds should rinse away any dust and dirt on the mid shaft to the ends. So, when the hair is this short and damaged, it’s important to protect those ends with an oil (like coconut) which has natural cleansing properties, while protecting the hair.” You can apply coconut oil before bed or before every shower.

Take a break from color for at least 3 months.  However, when you do start again, you should do a very light highlight.  “Fattening the interior with some darker, more natural color would also help,” tells Dawn.  “By no means do I mean ‘lowlights.”  She just needs a mid color to transition the roots and ends.”

Good luck! Hang in there- your hair WILL grow back.



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