View Full Version : Severely sun damaged hair, need advice

Shadow Walker
June 6th, 2012, 10:04 AM
As most of you know, I work outdoors during the spring, summer, and fall. Over the past few years my hair has been getting lighter in certain spots, most notably down the middle of my hair since I tie it back everyday to work. It's become so bad that now I literally have a blonde stripe going down my hair, and the rest of it is turning a rust color. I don't have a good picture of it yet since the exposure on my phone can't properly catch it.

The length is also pretty fried and split, and it seems like in the past year the damage has become pretty bad. I do have a picture of this, I took it after combing this section of my hair straight.

Pic ( http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/5070/20120605140605410.jpg)

I'm not sure what to do. The way I see it, my options are to either dye it to correct the sun bleaching, cut it back to shoulder length, or leave it. None of these options are particularly attractive to me, but my hair looks ridiculous and I need to do something.

What are your thoughts, LHC?

June 6th, 2012, 10:24 AM
I'd try henna, it's less damaging than normal dye. Please don't cut it to shoulder unless there's no other option, your hair is at a stunning lenght. Maybe cut back an inch or 2 to get rid of some of the end damage?
Hope this helped.

June 6th, 2012, 10:25 AM
I think it's salvageable :) It just depends on how crazy you want to get. I think henndigo would go a long way to getting your color darker, or an herbal dye like Elumen. Some deep treatments and micro trims would help too.

Just don't cut it :scared:

June 6th, 2012, 10:25 AM
Hi there,

I think there is always the possibility of trimming your hair instead of cutting to shoulder length or dyeing it, or any other extreme. Have you thought about maybe trimming an inch off and seeing how it feels? Because I don't know how dyeing it would fix the problem, unless you meant henna which could smooth it out?

June 6th, 2012, 10:36 AM
Well, personally, I think that lighter ends are an inevitable part of long hair. At least in my case, my ends are noticeably lighter than my roots, and this is with keeping my hair up and ends tucked away almost all of the time. The color variation is pretty, in my opinion, and the streak that you have sounds like natural highlighting.

As for the damage, well to me personally, it would depend on how comfortable you are with the way your hair is looking, and whether it's a deal breaker that would make you want to cut your hair. The picture you shared looks pretty normal to me -- more like shorter hairs than actual splits, as far as I can see.

If I were you, I'd probably try to do some deep conditioning treatments to see if that helps (oiling, heavy conditioner, the like). I'm sorry that I don't know your routine, but it could just be that you need to reintroduce some moisture to your hair.

Could you consider another more protective style for your hair, like a braid or even a banded ponytail? This could possibly help with preventing further sun damage.

I've always admired your hair, and every picture I've seen of it has looked amazing. :flower:

Shadow Walker
June 6th, 2012, 10:39 AM
Well, I'm more concerned about the sun bleaching than the damage. I have no problem holding at hip and trimming off the damage, but the sun discoloration goes from about shoulder length down.

Nightshade, what color would henndigo make my hair? I want to stay with my natural color if possible.

June 6th, 2012, 10:46 AM
You might want to try covering your hair in the sun as well, maybe a snood or a bandana? Or you could try one of those really cool pony-sleeve things for bikers.

June 6th, 2012, 11:12 AM
I hope it doesn't sound unsympathetic, but I think that to an extent, this is something that we have to learn to live with. Changes caused by the sun are a natural part of the annual cycle.

My suggestion would be to use conditioners and oils to improve any actual damage, and if absolutely necessary do a bit of S+D type trimming for any individual hairs that are too badly damaged, but to leave the colour alone.

As others have said, a major trim or cutting back would be a great shame.

June 6th, 2012, 11:39 AM
You might want to try covering your hair in the sun as well, maybe a snood or a bandana? Or you could try one of those really cool pony-sleeve things for bikers.

I second this, cover it from now on so it doesn't get a lot lighter.

How about a tea stain? It won't alter the hair dramatically. You can also pick up a deposit only dye that's really close to your natural color to make it even, something like Pravana in your natural color (seems like is medium brown, I can't really tell in pictures) would be great. Henna and indigo are amazing, but honestly it takes a lot of tries to get the color close to yours, You might end up with darker/redder color.

June 6th, 2012, 11:58 AM
Agree with above, highlighting from the sun is natural and beautiful.
I don't see much damage, only one white dot.
Do regular deep conditioning treatments to get some moisture back into your hair and regular small trims.

I also agree that you could protect your hair better by braiding it and wearing a hat. I will often anchor the end of my braid under my hat while working outside.

June 6th, 2012, 12:10 PM
Henndigo tends to give brownish. It wouldn't be that different from how your hair looks in pictures, on my monitor. (Depending, of course, on what percentages each of henna and indigo you used.)

I agree that sun protection of some form might help protect your hair and keep it a more even color. Perhaps a ponyscrub would work? You could probably put something like that under whatever hat you normally would wear.

June 6th, 2012, 12:20 PM
hi Shadowalker, I've just been talking with my DH (curlier hair than you, but also thick) about this. :)

Since he started putting conditioner in and doing more CO washes, he has a LOT less splitting, breaking, and damage, it is a LOT better. The sun streaks - his are much less now - are still there, and still much more dry.

Leave-in helps him a lot, as it's helped me - Fox's Shea Butter Conditioning Cream, Conditioner - both light and heavy - heavier works better for his thicker hair than for my ii hair. How do you wash? Can you CO or WO? SMTs also help me a LOT (and my DH when I can get him to do one) - can you do regular SMTs or some other deep treatment?

Also, with your hairtype, oiling seems like it would work well, and you can oil, braid, and leave it in for a couple of days.

As others have suggested, and as I'm trying to convince my DH, wearing different hairdos does seem to make a difference. I just detangled his hair last night and he slept with it in a braid and Garnier Fructis conditioner in it, it's kinda waxy today, but at least not dreaded. :)

June 6th, 2012, 12:49 PM
I don't see that much damage TBH, just a little lightening from the sun maybe, and I don't think that is particularly damaging. You could try sun protection products made for the hair, they do exist but you'd have to really look for them. If all else fails and you're convinced there's damage, I'd microtrim if I were you. That and slather on lots of conditioner after washing, conditioning twice even or doing regular deep treatments (every time you wash).

June 6th, 2012, 01:08 PM
Well, I'm more concerned about the sun bleaching than the damage. I have no problem holding at hip and trimming off the damage, but the sun discoloration goes from about shoulder length down.

Nightshade, what color would henndigo make my hair? I want to stay with my natural color if possible.

You can get a wide range of hues. From black to reddish brown, but it'll always lean warm because of the henna. A vegetable dye may be easier to color match and less work :)

Shadow Walker
June 6th, 2012, 01:20 PM
I wish I could take a good picture of the sun damage, because literally I have a blonde stripe running down the back or my hair. The picture I posted was of some breakage, not the sun bleaching. I'll see if I can get a decent picture.

June 6th, 2012, 01:37 PM
You have already gotten a number of good suggestions which I won't repeat, however I am curious as to why you don't have some sort of sun protection? Granted my skin is fair and I don't do sun well, but I always wear a hat when I'm out in the sun, which both protects my skin and also my hair. Depending on the hat I can braid it and club the braid, use a Flexi to hold a braid or bun, or even make a top of head bun sort of thing and cover the whole mess with a hat. Are hats not acceptable for the work you are doing?

If the more complete protection of a hat isn't possible, would braiding it with some sort of leave in, such as Fox's Shea Butter Cream, oils, whatever, help to protect it? Obviously of you wear your hair the same way every day, and you are out in the sun, the sun will lighten your hair in the same place (and clothes, too, of course).

Obviously you are trying to figure out how to deal with what has already happened. For the future are you trying to prevent damage as much as possible or minimize the sun lightening the color or finding a balance between them?

June 6th, 2012, 01:53 PM
Some years back, I lived and traveled on a sailboat for a year and my dark blond hair bleached out to the color of honey without noticeable damage. (upon my return, I had a cut at Seattle's Gary Bosz salon and Gary himself complimented me on the condition and color). Once back living on land, the dark hairs came in again, but there never was a demarcation line. It all sort of blended in.

I would suggest trying a braid. Then the sun would hit different spots every day and this would help it blend. There are hair products with sunscreens in them. I think dying would damage more than what you already have.

Also, the biker sleeve for protection, and a trim of a few inches, as others have suggested, are great ideas.

June 6th, 2012, 02:46 PM
A few years ago I went on vacation to the Dominican Republic for a couple weeks. I came back home, and wanted to get my hair a new style. When I went to my hairdresser, she said my hair was very damaged from the sun (?) and suggested a deep conditioning mask for my hair (at that appointment). I said, hey sure why not? It made my hair soft and slightly temporarily darker. I'm not sure what it was, but I'm sure any salon would be able to tell you.

My hair was very short at this period of time. it was chin length and I was getting it cut to pixie length. (fyi)

June 6th, 2012, 02:59 PM
I'm also thinking perhaps you could wrap your hair in a braid like these anime characters:

Ray Kon from "Beyblades"

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSrEGC2npE9U49VtM0l_TTfgJgr6Ejbt SGRTMd4SI2VqndQZEmxdK6p1MVy

Yuna from "Final Fantasy"


June 6th, 2012, 03:48 PM
I'm not a dye fan. It trim the damage only not the discoloration. Maybe you could do a temporary rinse. I'd wear a leave in conditioner to moisture the hair maybe an oil treatment. Wear it up.

June 6th, 2012, 05:30 PM
You might want to try covering your hair in the sun as well, maybe a snood or a bandana? Or you could try one of those really cool pony-sleeve things for bikers.

Im so new to obtaining healthy hair and havent figured it out for myself yet so I'll leave all the advice to the pro's! But I second the motion to using a bandana or pony-sleeve. They are nice looking and I think pretty sexy on a guy!:p

June 6th, 2012, 06:20 PM
I think you just need some moisture, be it oils or more conditioner. That's almost exactly how my hair looks if it's too dry. :)

June 6th, 2012, 07:05 PM
I think a braid would be great, so that different parts of your hair are exposed or hidden from the sun. Even if you braid it exactly the same way every time, just the growing-out process would expose different parts of your hair to the sun. It's not a quick fix but it would eventually even out the color.

June 6th, 2012, 07:22 PM
If the breakage is limited to a particular layer, like just the canopy, then an intensive and aggressive S&D may be in order. My underlayer starts to look like that when I've let it down and get tangled one too many times. An S&D over time fixes it right up.

June 7th, 2012, 03:41 AM
I just purchased a sun protection spray for my hair (SPF 25) as the top layer and front have gone completely white in the sun and feel quite damaged. I'm sure some other LHCer's use a sunscreen on their hair to preserve their color.

p.s Your hair is looking gorgeous as usual!

June 7th, 2012, 05:23 AM
Shadow Walker, I'm seconding the sun protection spray. You could also use a leave-in marketed for coloured hair. Most of the time it has sun protection in it and it will nourish at the same time.

The Body Shop has a nice natural one, which smells like berries (not candylike, just like berries). Each morning when combing, dampen your hair with a mister and then use the leave-in. It will help protect against sun damage AND nourish your hair, helping with the splits.

You could also use castor oil as a pre-wash treatment. It's cheap, good for your hair and it darkens the haircolour :)

June 7th, 2012, 05:54 AM
I have no advice, I just want to ask you: please don't cut :)

I love long hair on men. More men should have long hair to please us ;)