Question of the Day: Color and Damaged Hair

Q: Elle, please help. Any tips on damaged colored hair? I really screwed up by dyeing my hair too light then immediately putting another dye on top to darken it. I now have more shredding then usual AND it feels hard and straw-like. Without having to chop it all off again, any suggestions on how I can get it soft again? Thx!

A: Well first, you need to accept that your hair may never be the same again. I know that sounds dramatic, but even my tips are a little funky where I dyed my hair over a year ago; the stylist noticed it when I had my hair done last week, and I generally don’t have issues with dryness or shedding. But anywhos, concentrating on deep conditioning is a good idea, so make sure you are DC’ing at LEAST weekly, and even more if you don’t feel your hair returning to normal (When I dyed my hair with Feria it felt HORRIBLE, so I DC’ed my hair like three times). Second, you need to try to close your cuticle (in order to lift your color you have to lift your cuticle) – so concentrate on acidic treatments, rather than alkaline. I have seen people rave about treatments like Roux Porosity Control (Which has a pH of 4.5 I think – However, I have not tried this so I cannot give my opinion on it.) or ACV rinses (Although there are debates about the effectiveness of ACV rinses). Since dye lifts your cuticle, moisturize your hair first, then take steps to attempt to close the cuticle. But…chemical processes can also permanently damage the cuticle, so baby your hair (careful detangling, low manipulation, etc), and after your hair feels more moisturized, incorporate protein into your routine. Good luck!

xoxo

12 comments

  1. I have very fine hair, light ash brown naturally that is very resistant to blonding under the wrong hands. I moved, and had to try a new colorist and she overprocessed my ends so badly they were stretchy!! Found a much better hairstylist and am slowly growing out the damage. I am not willing to cut my hair short, so I have been trying a multitude of products to make my poor dry ends look healthy and soft. Nothing I’ve tried has been terribly effective. I bought the Shielo brand Antioxidant Leave In Protectant from Shielo’s website. I applied about 4 times and worked it through my ends and up to about chin level and immediately my hair was easier to comb. Upon drying and styling, it truly looks like my hair was never even damaged in the first place.

    I STRONGLY, highly recommend this product to anyone with overprocessed ends. I’m sure it would work great on other hair types too.

  2. I have coloured my hair and I am natural, what I do is colour in sections, so it is not an overall colour, highlights, plus I do the colouring myself. I add castor oil to the colour before I add to my hair, plus I invested in a steamer and that helps with the moisturising process.

  3. when my hair was permed i got highlights that mad my hair red because i had a rinse in it prior that didn’t completely wash out. i just left it alone because eventually it would tour to the color it was supposed to be, brown. but by getting the highlights i had a lot of split ends and my hair was breaking. so i stop perming my hair and transitioned for about 7 months, hated and did the big chop in february. i did the big chop again because for some reason my hair was so uneven…..and yet it still is 😦 having an uneven fro is frustrating. i don’t think i’m ever gonna dye my hair only because i’d have to take the extra steps to take care of it i’m still new to this natural hair thing, maybe try rinsing again.

  4. Good Morning Elle,

    The same thing happened to me. I would suggest DC’ing several times those first couple of days/weeks after to restore the moisture. For me, I probably have around a 4b/4c curl pattern, i found that wash n gos did not work me at first because my hair was just so dry, so maybe twistouts/braidouts might be better especially if they are done overnight. Also, as far as incorporating protein, I read that adding an egg yolk to your fav condish is a good way to start using protein. If a whole egg yolk is too much, I used half. Please correct me if i’m wrong on that.

    In addition, I love your blog! I like how you added the qotd while still keeping up with your videos. That side twist into the bun was really cute! Anywho, I live in the DMV area and I was wondering if you knew of any good Beauty supply stores?

    God Bless

    1. I have seen some people have horrible results using egg, so I would start out with a lighter protein, like Aubrey Organics GPB, and incorporate more if needed (ie, a product with keratin).

      The only BSS I know in the DMV is the Hair and Body Boutique in Silver Spring.

  5. Thanks Elle! I will definitely do that. Also just so you know, as per your review, I bought the Shea Moisture Shea Butter. Last night decided to take a chance and spritz with water & glycerin and 2-strand twist with just the Shea Moisture Shea Butter. Today my hair feels much better. So I will be adding this to my routine along with your suggestions. thx again. xoxo

  6. i did the big chop.i couldn’t stand the damage caused by bleaching my hair and coloring after. my hair was super dry .some products did not work with my hair anymore.i tried this one natural hair product that totally made hair start shedding after appying it.so i just chopped it off and i am glad i did.no more coloring or bleaching my hair

  7. I had the same problem (Very frustrating). I did my big chop back in January 2010 and 6 months into my journey i began experimenting with color. At one point my hair literally turned orange so i used a darker color to cover my orange hair. My hair was fried after that and just gradually got worst as time went by. I tried everything, i DC 2 to 3 times weekly, did protein treatments, kept my hair moisturized etc. No matter what i did the colored part of my hair felt lifeless-it was brittle, straw like and plagued with split ends (i had to trim very regularly). Nothing really seemed to work, so after a year and 5 months being natural I went the extreme route and did another big chop. Lesson learned- no more color for me, permanent color that is! I hope you have better luck than i did and hope that you don’t have to do another chop.

  8. What products would you recommend as a pre treatment before color as well as a post treatment after color?

    1. I have never done a pretreatment before coloring, and I wouldn’t, because if you apply products before color it’s going to hinder the color penetrating your hair. I liked Curl Junkie Curl Rehab as my DC after.

  9. Oh wow. I’d be interested to hear more about her hair recovery process and if she was able to nurse it back to health.

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