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Confession: I Fried My Hair, Now I Need to Fix It

fried my hair
So, I have a confession. It’s really, really horrible. I completely. I mean really fried my hair. I went too crazy with my Beachwaver, using it way too often, using it at max heat, and being lazy and not using my heat protectant spray like a good beauty blogger. I thought that stuff didn’t do much except make my hair a bit greasy. Apparently it actually does something…

So, roughly the top 1/3 of my hair is basically feeling like a brillo pad. Whenever I wash it, I just cringe. I need to dry my hair if it gets wet (it takes well over 6 hours to dry on its own otherwise), and that just seems to make it worse. Luckily if I do that at night, by the next day the brillo-padness seems to calm down quite a bit. For better (or worse?) I can’t follow David Hensley’s advice and just cut off my hair, it’s the entire hair shaft for the top 1/3 of my head. I guess I could shave it off…. but I’ve always had long hair and things are just super frizzy and dry, nothing is breaking off. I can save my hair!

So, I’ve been coming up with a plan of attack. First, I bugged my beloved Shannon, who did my hair when I lived in the OC. Her advice (via Facebook):

Go get a good hair cut and conditioning treatment. Also, you can put Coconut oil in it at night if it’s really dry. (Use a crappy pillow case.) Use the Purple (for moisture) Pureology and wear a hat in the sun.
My former hair stylist, who I miss dearly

Luckily, I already had an appointment with Heather, my hair dresser here in Michigan. (Who I also like, but she just isn’t Shannon, so it isn’t the same. Does that make sense? It does to me.) I got a hair cut, Heather did some “texturizing” in the top layers that took out more of the damaged top bits, and we did a very intensive moisturizing treatment. She had some advice as well.

Avoid heat, but if you must, use nothing over 390. Use your heat protectant spray all the time, wash at the most every other day and use the intensive treatment twice a week. When you use the treatment, try to put your hair in a shower cap or a towel to keep it moist, and the longer you can leave it on your hair the better. It will take time, but after a month or so you’ll be better.
My Michigan hair stylist

So, I’ve purchased Heather’s preferred intensive treatment (Keratin Intensive Treatment), I have my Pureology Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner Duo in the shower, though I also have Matrix Total Results Repair products to test out. I’ve discovered that Laid Brand Shady Girl Shampoo & Conditioner are the ones that give me the softest and healthiest hair after washing (almost no frizz at all pre-styling products), so I’m already preferentially using those. I’ve broken out all of my leave-in conditioners as well, and I even bought some coconut oil, so I’ll let you know if I turn into a grease ball with that.

So, watch for a lot of intensive hair treatment posts in the near future!

PS I forgot to add, that after my hair cut and intensive moisturizing treatment at the salon, my hair felt AMAZING. So healthy and silky. I know it can be saved, I’m just going to need to spend a lot of time with conditioner on my head to do it!

I received some of the mentioned products for consideration, though some of them I purchased myself.

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About Me

I’m a doctor, a mommy and a bit of a beauty addict. If you let me, I can take 2 hours to get ready in the morning. Really. I'm on a quest for faster beauty that works!

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  1. 8.3.12

    I'd like to know how this works. Need to take care of my hair.

  2. 8.3.12
    Christina said:

    I've totally fried my hair before too – coconut oil helps but before I discovered that, I tried the Garnier 3 minute masque stuff. Worked wonders, really did.

    Also – I think I read this on the BeautyBrains, but coconut oil does take hours to actually absorb into your hair – so maybe try it overnight, but what I usually do is massage it into the ends of mostly damp, wet hair, and then wrap it up in a small (non quick dry) towel, and cover that with a disposable shower cap before sleeping. Thing is that you'll still wake up with wet hair, but at least it'll have absorbed and the towel wouldn't have absorbed all of the oil with the water from your hair like it would have with a quick-dry towel.

    Also, really easy to overdo coconut oil. I have thick hair like you do – it really only takes a little bit to coat the top 1/3 or your hair. I'm thinking less than a quarter lump.

  3. 8.3.12

    Dimethicone products will layer on the hair cuticle to help seal it. Apply lightly after other products that you want to have soak in.

  4. 8.3.12
    Anonymous said:

    I use Silk Elements MegaSilk heat protection spray from Sally's Beauty. Love the stuff. I didn't want to use it, because I thought I'd look like a grease ball, but my hair looks and feels better than ever. And it's cheap!

  5. 8.3.12

    I've had good luck with argan oil treatments (I love the Nexxus Frizz Defy and I've just tried the Organix for fine hair and it's great too), and I've started drying my hair just by sitting in front of the a/c or a fan and brushing it out. It takes a little while, but if you wash it at night, you can spend 30 mins on your computer or watching TV in front of cool air and your hair will be lovely and smooth.On hectic work days, I'd leave it damp with lots of leave-in treatment and just coil it up in a bun- the heat from your head will warm it, so you get a nice light conditioning treatment all day.

  6. 8.3.12
    Anonymous said:

    Thank you for sharing, my hair is SHOT from having to color at home .. has to stay long because I am getting married and I don't want to cut too much because I want an updo for my wedding. I just don't like super short hair for my wedding day. my hair has never been this long..always had a short sassy cut.. so appreciate all hair rescue tips for my fried long hair!

  7. 8.3.12
    Dlori said:

    Shannon, May I make a suggestion. I have long, red silky hair that I can sit on. I don't mean to sound like a jerk but it's really lovely. So why am I telling you this? Because several years ago, I did what you did and abused the hell out of my curling iron when I went on vacation for a month. I never realized the damage until one day, shortly after arriving home, the whole crown of my head was severely damaged AND hair was breaking off. My hair was almost as long as it is now. I love long hair but since my hair was breaking off, I had to let the hairdresser attempt to cut a style into my mess of hair and yes it was short. However, it grew back soooooo fast and very healthy because I took great care of it. However, for you, I don't think cutting is the answer. Yes, maybe 2 inches but I'd like to make a few suggestions. There are a few haircare products from Shu Uemura. You MUST get a product called Essence Absolue. It's an oil but will NOT make your hair oily. EVERY day, you take about a quarter size amount , rub it in the palms of your hands to heat it up a little and since your damage is mostly at the crown, you rub the oil throughout your hair, but focus on the damaged area. Generally, you'd put the most product from mid length to the ends because that's where most damage occurs but since yours is at the root, that's where it goes. Make sure you massage it gently into the scalp and hair so everything is covered. Your hair will absorb the oil but it shouldn't look oily or weigh it down. This has to be done daily for months. Do not wash your hair more than 3 times a week, preferably 2, and do not use any heat, no blow dryers, irons, etc on your hair. My hair takes a full day to dry on its own but if you want healthy hair, you have to suffer a little. A 5 oz bottle costs &68, which is a lot but it goes a very long way.I also recommend the Shu Uemura shampoo, conditioner and mask (conditioning treatment) for damaged hair. Those products will also be expensive BUT they work. And NO HEAT on the hair. Be extremely gentle when brushing and combing hair and lastly, go to the health food store and ask for a vitamin with a very high dose of vitamin B and Folic Acid. Those will repair your hair from the inside. You can't get too much vitamin B because whatever your body doesn't use, it will excrete. Please let me know how it turns out and Best of luck. You'll be just fine.

    kleimanlaw at aol dot com

  8. 8.3.12

    Oh my god! This is like my worst nightmare and why I don't flat iron more than once a month for like as special event. Heck, I only blow dry my hair once or twice a week!

  9. 8.4.12

    Christine! You MUST try Aphogee's 2-step protein treatment!!! I fried my hair terribly years ago and this completely saved my hair!!! If you do a search on my blog, I have detailed instructions for how to use this wacky treatment (it smells like rotten eggs…but don't let that scare you!). It is a hair miracle product that I can't live without. People always tell me how long and healthy my hair is and I credit this treament as I use it every 8 weeks. Email me if you have any questions about it. xoxo

  10. 8.4.12
    Crystal said:

    I've fried my poor hair a few times myself (usually by bleaching it platinum). You will probably have to get a haircut, but I definitely recommend using a sulfate-free shampoo and a deep conditioner, using a leave-in conditioner everyday, and avoiding heat styling altogether. Luckily for you, it's summer, so natural, beachy hair is in! Definitely avoid the flat iron at all costs until your hair is strong again. Good luck!

  11. 8.5.12
    Moxie said:

    I'm really glad to read that after your haircut & moisturizing treatment at the salon, your hair felt great. Sorry it happened, but glad that your hair is getting better!

  12. 10.20.12
    Anonymous said:

    I had general anesthetic for sinus surgery about a year and a half ago. I haven't had to cut my bangs since because the hair in front fried. Is there anything I can use on my bangs to bring them back to way they were before? It is very frustrating to say the least. I use a hot iron spray and that helps a little, but I feel I need something that will give me back the bangs I use to have. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

  13. 10.20.12

    Anon- I have an update post with info on what works for me! Good luck!