Q: “I get my new growth touched up every three weeks to cover up grey hair. I have dark brown hair. The past couple of times my hair started getting lighter kind of looking highlighted, but she said it was same color. This time I went and when I got home I noticed my hair really dark around my face, where my new growth is and my ends. I called to tell her what happened and she said she did not know. Do you have any idea what happened and is this normal?”
A: Without being able to see your hair and know your full color history, my best guess would be that your hairdresser probably changed up your formula without wanting to admit to it. I wouldn’t be sure whether that was done intentionally, whether they changed up the product line they were using and just didn’t formulate properly with the new line or whether they just simply didn’t leave it on long enough to process, so it stayed a bit lighter. And then when you went this last time, I’m not sure why it was so much darker. It could be because your stylist overcompensated for the fact that you’d been complaining about being lighter, so she took you too dark this time to make sure it took to your grey. But it could also be because you have a really high porosity to your hair (meaning your hair will soak up color quicker because it’s been over-processed) and it took to the dark color too much. Either way, the real issue here is that your stylist “doesn’t know” what happened and seems unwilling to be helpful in solving the problem. If this had just been one situation of you being unhappy about how things happened and she was willing to talk through it with you and figure out the solution, then I would say give her a chance. However, the way she’s approached making you feel taken care of is unsettling and I honestly wouldn’t trust her to have your best interest at heart going forward. If you need help in finding a new stylist, I’d be happy to help you through my Stylist Matchmaking service. Or I’d recommend talking to friends who’s hair you love and booking a consultation with one of their stylists. I hope this advice helps and thank you so much for writing in!
Q: “I’m seeking some tips on dealing with breakage. I have fine, thin hair that seems to break when I sneeze. I have your fine hair guide bookmarked, and I’ve made changes- using a silk pillowcase, only wide toothed combing when wet, not rough towel drying. I wash it every three days with Neuma products, use boar bristled brushes, and I try to only use claw clips and bobby pins or braids (I used to yank it into buns, no more). I have cut it short a couple of times to let the breakage “catch up”, but I’m still seeing short hairs around my part. Is there anything else I haven’t thought of to curb this? Thank you, and thank you for the behind the chair approach to your blog, I’ve never paid so much attention to haircare!”
A: I’m so glad that you’ve found some good ways to work with with your fine hair! One other thing you could think about doing is adding in a treatment system. I use the Kevin.Murphy range of Plumping.Wash, Plumping.Rinse and Body.Mass. I do all of the things you are doing (the pillowcase and good brushes and such) to maintain the strength and integrity of my hair. But then to help those fragile hairs that have a hard time growing on their own, the plumping treatments really help! I recommend Kevin.Murphy specifically because I know the chemistry behind it AND I’ve been using it on my hair for about 6 months and I’m seeing results. I’ll never recommend something that I don’t know works, so you’re safe with this! The Plumping Wash & Rinse are to add thickness to your hair strands immediately. It’s kind of a perfect volumizing regimen for fine hair because it gives moisture as well as volume, without weighing the hair down at the roots or drying out the ends. However, you could continue to use your Neuma products for the wash and rinse step if you’d like! What’s really important in this regimen is the Body.Mass. This is a leave in spray that you spray in at the roots every day for the first 14 days. It’s lightweight and can just be worked into the scalp with your fingers easily. It doesn’t dry sticky or tacky and it does give a little bit of volume, so you can even use it as a styling product. The reason you have to use it every day for the first 14 is because the product is clearing out the DHT that builds up in the dormant follicles causing hair loss or thinning. This is crucial because you need to have healthy follicles able to sustain new growth in order for the treatment to work. Then, after the 14 days, you can just use the Body.Mass on the scalp each time you wash. From that point on, your Body.Mass is simply using the same technology that eyelash lengthening and thickening products use. By allowing the hair to stay in the growing phase longer and from a healthier hair follicle, your strands will grow thicker and longer at a quicker pace. In my hair, it took about two months of use until I started to see results. But once I did, I started to see short hairs popping up and that was the new growth coming through. From there, it took about two more months until those hairs were long enough to sit down on their own without me spraying them into place. And then they were just a part of my haircut and I blended them into the layers. I would strongly recommend getting this treatment system and adding that to your routine. It sounds like you’re doing everything you can and you’re making great strides. But if you really care to rebuild and strengthen your hair follicles and your hair strands, this is the way to do it and make a long-term difference. You can purchase Kevin.Murphy products at any Kevin.Murphy salon and you can find one in your area by checking out the website. And of course, if you’re in Denver, you can get them from me downtown. Thank you so much for writing in and I hope you love the treatment line as much as I do!
Q: “I read your response to ombre without using bleach. My question is that don’t all developers have peroxide aka bleach in anyway? What is the difference between a lightener and a cream peroxide developer? You mentioned using a high lift colour for ombre. Typically what level of developer would be used with a high lift colour? Lastly what is the lowest vol developer that can be used for total grey coverage?”
A: All developers are made of peroxide, yes. But they don’t contain bleach in them. If that were the case, we would be adding bleach to every permanent or demi-permanent color that we mix up (depending on the color line) and that would have devastating results on color processes in the chemistry of how they are formulated (since bleach is a lightening agent) and in the damage of the hair. The difference between a lightener and a cream peroxide developer is that lightener is the bleach you would mix with a developer. And the cream developer is the oxidizing agent that you would mix to the bleach to begin the lightening process. In order to color or lighten, you have to use both agents (color or bleach and a peroxide developer) to allow the color to process, so that would be the difference. The color or bleach is just it’s own agent and incapable of penetrating the hair strand for permanence until it’s mixed with the developer. Typically, high lift colors use a 40 volume developer, but you should always always follow manufacturer’s directions when using the color line. Especially when working with on the scalp applications and/or high lift series. And to answer your last question, the lowest volume developer you can use for grey coverage is 20 volume because you need something strong enough to penetrate the cortex, not just deposit, so that you get permanent results. But again, in this kind of situation, there will be specific instructions that your color line will recommend and I’d advise you to follow those! Great question and thank you so much for taking the time to write in!
Q: “I just recently began using a family friend who is licensed for hair. I get very blonde highlights about every 2 months. My hair on top has begun to break off. My hair is very thin … Is this the stylist’s fault that my hair is breaking off ???”
A: More than likely, it is probably due to over-processing from the bleach. That may or may not be your stylist’s fault depending on how she is applying your color, whether just to your new growth or to the mid-strands and ends as well. For example, if she is taking a high volume developer with your bleach and instead of just applying to your new growth, she’s also running that bleach down your ends, that would definitely cause breakage from over-processing your hair. Especially if your natural texture is fine and thin. But it could also not necessarily be her fault if your hair is just too fragile to handle the bleaching you’re putting it through. However, it should be her job as your stylist to make sure your hair is in the proper condition before doing anything to it.. even if that damage took place before she touched it. If it was too fragile for highlights before she did them, that was her obligation to say so. And if she had, you probably wouldn’t have seen breakage. What you need to do is get yourself a protein treatment stat. You’re losing your hair because it’s not strong enough to withstand what you’re putting it through. So for the immediate solution, you need to be doing weekly protein treatments to add lots of strength to your hair and to help rebuild from the cortex (or inner layer of the hair) out.. And then, you need to have a convo with your stylist. I wouldn’t be accusatory, but I would bring up the fact that you are seeing more breakage recently since she’s taken over doing your hair and you want to get to the bottom of figuring out why. If she’s willing to discuss it with you and figure out some options to better take care of your hair, then I would give her another chance. But if she gets defensive and isn’t helpful, I would probably spend a bit more money and go see someone in a salon. I know that might be an awkward conversation to have, but it’s better than ending up with more breakage and continued confusion. It’s also important to note that breakage and thinning can happen for a variety of reasons. In this case, it seems like the obvious culprit could be your bleaching. And I’d assume, as a professional, that’s the case. However, even a simple medication or supplement could cause that and if this continues no matter what your hair regimen is, it’s worth getting some blood work done or consulting a physician. The biggest indicators of our internal health are our hair, skin and nails so it’s always important to pay attention to the condition of those and let your doctor know when a sudden change happens. I’ve written about my journey with hair loss and my thyroid disorder, so trust me that I know both as a hairdresser who’s seen hair loss from behind the chair and as just a women who has experienced the stress of hair loss from an unknown cause. Thank you so much for your question! And if you need help connecting with a new hairdresser, feel free to check out my Hairstylist Matchmaking!