Okay, okay, I get it—lightener is bad for your hair! What do I care? I'm a hairstylist. What could possibly go wrong?
A lot. A lot can go wrong.
Last summer I was platinum blonde. My friends called me Daenerys Targaryen. I had long, healthy locks and there was no possible way my hair could be any more platinum. And what does every woman do when they're happy with their hair? Change it, girl!
I went right over my bleach blonde hair with a level 3. The moment I washed it out, I thought to myself, "What were you thinking?!"
I hated it.
So like any normal person would do, I put lightener on my entire head with 30 volume developer. Again—what could possibly go wrong?
It was bright orange. We're talking Slim Shady circa 2001 orange. So, I lightened it again. And again. And again. It was horrific. My hair had about seven different shades of orange in there. So, to make it all better, I made a coworker put a full head of highlights in. It was getting there, but then I had to chop most of it off.
Once I lifted to a level that I was happy with, it was fried. Not damaged. Fried. Dead. Gone to a point of no return.
So, here's what I have been doing to get my hair healthy again:
First and foremost, ladies. HEAT PROTECTOR! I can not stress this enough. If you are like me and blow dry and flat iron your hair every day, you must use a heat protector. I promise you, if you don't, your hair will never grow, and it will feel like mush when you brush it out. I recommend Kenra Platinum Blow-Dry Spray. This will not only protect your hair from heat up to 420 degrees Fahrenheit, but it will also cut down your blow dry time for you thick-haired beauties.
Second, dry shampoo. I feel like this is general knowledge, because most women I talk to do not wash their hair every day. But, the women I talk to who say they just have to wash it every day because it simply is too oily, I always recommend a nice dry shampoo. I recommend Batiste. It is affordable and you just can not beat the quality. I will say—for my brunette beauties—this product does tend to leave a white cast near the root. Not to worry though! Batiste made a dry shampoo with a "touch of brown" so that does not happen.
Third, throw away the Pantene! If you knew how much alcohol was in any drug store shampoo, you would be terrified. The first ingredient on the back of the bottle is the most potent one. If it says alcohol, throw it away. Do you ever notice that your hair feels rough, tangled, and almost waxy after you wash it? That's because of the alcohol content in your shampoos and conditioners. Spend the few extra dollars if you can and buy a salon-grade shampoo and conditioner. I know it seems expensive, but salon-grade products have a higher concentration than drug store products, meaning they will last longer anyway. It's better off this way if you want to maintain the integrity of those locks! I've been using Joico K-Pak shampoo and conditioner for color treated hair. It has keratin and protein in it, which is what the K-P stands for. I promise, it is worth it.
Lastly you will want to find a good hair mask. Do not, I repeat, do not use these every time you shampoo! I know they are good for your hair and make your hair feel like silk, but over time they can dry your hair out when used excessively. I have been using the It's a Ten Potion 10 Deep Repair hair mask. I use it about once a week. After I wash my hair with the Joico, I will apply this liberally from root to end, comb it out with a wide tooth comb, wash my body, shave, sing a couple songs at the top of my lungs and rinse with cold water.
A couple other things I would suggest, is if you are blonde like I am, try out a shadow root. That is what I have done and I haven't gotten a root retouch in at least two months. My natural hair color is very dark, and when my roots would grow in, it looked horrendous. So the shadow root helped blend in my regrowth to my blonde to prolong the color process.
Another thing is to not brush your hair when it is wet. This will cause an unbelievable amount of breakage and you won't even notice. If your hair is too thick to use a comb, I suggest investing in a Wet Brush. I don't know what sorcery is used in those bristles, but it works through tangles like a dream with little to no breakage.
Ladies, I understand that it is hard to break our routines, but if your hair is not growing, and is just breaking off, try these products and steps, and you will be so happy in the long run.
And that is how I have been nursing my hair back to health!
Thanks for reading!