Ask a Hairstylist: The Best Cuts for Damaged Hair with Breakage

When you've killed your hair with colour.

Q: Hi Bill! I would like to start by saying that the hair advice you offer to readers is absolutely wonderful—very informative and helpful!

I'm wondering what type of cut and colour you would suggest for my damaged hair. It is naturally fine and straight, and has progressively suffered from my obsession with playing with different hair colours. Over the past year and a half, I've gone from light blonde to dark brown and back a couple of times, and as you can see, my hair has finally given up!

Alexandra is looking for the right cut and colour for her fine, fragile, damaged hair.

After getting a Hayden Panettiere-inspired bob that I loved, it has eventually grown out to its current stage with some trims and mini-cuts along the way. There is extreme breakage around the hairline and ears, and the hair that has survived to this point is extremely thin and fragile, giving it a stringy, "blah" appearance. Despite my attempt to grow my hair out, I've finally come to terms with the fact that it needs to be cut off. What would be a flattering cut that would rid of my damaged strands? 

Alexandra's hair has breakage at the front and sides.

Also, what colour would you suggest? My natural colour is dark ash blonde, but it is currently a DIY box-dye overtop of light blonde highlights (terrible decision). I'm most comfortable in the blonde spectrum and would like to go blonde again; every time I've dyed my hair brown, I end up regretting it within a few days and soon after have an appointment for highlights set up. I have blue eyes and my complexion changes drastically with the season, ranging from fair in the winter to quite tanned in the summer. I have a very petite frame and stand at 5'3". Many thanks for your help! — Alexandra

Alexandra wants a blonde colour that won't look so "blah."

A: Alexandra, thank you for your kind words.

So you've killed your hair… I hope it was fun for you! I say, get it out of your system when you are young. This is how to measure what does and does not work.

This is what I feel would be an ideal colour and cut to give you back some shine and depth:

Bob with blonde highlights.

The cut would also help address your breakage issues.

This is a long-term idea for your colour and cut:

Fine, straight, ash blonde hair.

Similar hair, with more of your natural colour and soft highlights. 

The tones in this colour would suit your skin tone as well:

Blonde hair with dark roots.

There is a lot of depth, but it's still healthy.

Here are a few cuts that would work. These have a bit more edge.

Angled straight bob with side part.

I think this would be super-fun for the summer:

Messy straight short haircut.

It would give you an opportunity to start from scratch.

This is a more youthful cut, similar to the first photo:

Straight blonde bob with side part.

If you can't cut it shorter, this a great way to keep some length and rock a messy look:

Elisha Cuthbert at the 2003 SAG Awards.

You will never acquire a beautiful, healthy colour if you keep on experimenting. The best colours are usually the ones that are an enhancement of the original colour.

Saying that, I am all for bleaching the crap out of your hair when you need to for effect!


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