Ask a Hairstylist: The Best Cuts for a Damaged Top Layer of Hair

Expose the healthy hair underneath.

Q: Dear Bill, my current hair condition is thin, dry and damaged. Probably the best word to describe it would be "miserable." I'm looking for the most appropriate haircut for me.

Jurate wants a cut that suits her dry, fine hair.

I've also lost a lot of hair, but thankfully, it finally stopped falling out. I wash it every third day. A few years ago, I was washing every day, but that would probably make the situation worse now. 

I do not use foam, gel or sprays, and I straighten it very rarely. I usually cut it to about shoulder-length, sometimes shorter. I wish my hair was at least below my shoulders and in healthy condition.

Jurate's hair has a natural wave, but the upper layer is damaged.

My natural colour (as it is now) is grey-brown. I don't dye my hair. Only the upper layer is damaged, but it is damaged really badly. I do have a lot of new hair growing, which is good. 

My hair starts to wave at about one third of way down. I don't think a short cut will look good because of the wavy structure of my hair, but I don't see any other options. 

And about me: I am 27 years old, 5' 3" tall, and my face shape is oval (I think—or maybe rectangular). Hope to get some advice! Sincerely — Jurate

Jurate usually keeps her hair about shoulder-length, but wishes it could be longer and healthier.

A: Jurate, thank you for your consultation request.

I happen to like everything about your hair.

Keeping it one length is what I would suggest, and to super-condition the top layer to help keep it smooth.

It is a common problem for the top layer with fine hair; it takes all of the abuse. Often, the hair underneath is the healthiest.

Cutting long, soft layers like these cuts would help rectify this, exposing the healthy hair underneath:

Ali Larter at the 2012 GLAAD Media Awards.

Keri Russell at the 2008 premiere of 'Bedtime Stories'.

Marta Fernández at the 2011 Must! Awards.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley at the 2015 Vogue Paris Foundation Gala.

Just remember, not too many layers, as this will thin out your ends.

Cutting it into a rocking shag should work for you quite well:

Messy shag haircut.

I like this soft bang with a messy texture:

Olivia Wilde at the 2012 Palm Springs International Film Festival.

This is a great tone of colour for you:

Asia Argento at the 2008 preview of Mirror's Edge.

For a longer length, this should work—only colouring the healthy hair underneath. I would not put colour on the top section where the hair is dry. It will only make matters worse.


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