How to Fix Hair Breakage from Color Damage

Author Allie Maltese after shot

Expert Doug Martucci breaks down how to repair and reconstruct broken strands

Playing with high fashion or bold hair color usually involves bleach, which in turn, means hair damage. I went ultra-blonde last spring and I’m still paying the price for it. Although I loved the way my hair looked, the process unfortunately broke my strands beyond recognition and when the breakage continued almost six months later, I knew I had to do something. I should also mention that I’m pregnant, so when the pregnancy wasn’t helping my hair like it does with most women, I knew something was up. I worked with Doug Martucci, NY-based Stylist and Creative Director of PRORITUALS Haircare to help bring my hair back to life. Doug, who is also co-owner of Pharaoh’s Hair Designer’s in Long Island, put me on a hair regimen back in December and just weeks later, my hair is already stronger and healthier than ever. And for the very first time, I got extensions to help with the grow-out process – let’s just say, and this is an understatement, that Doug is a hair genius. To help others in this position, I sat down with Doug for a Q + A on all things hair breakage and extensions. Read on for his hair saving tips!

Doug Martucci

BN: Why does hair continue to break after color damage?
Doug: Just because the initial damage is done doesn’t mean the hair isn’t still weakened after the service. Once the hair has weak spots created by damage, the hair will be much more prone to break. The thought that ammonia-free is better for your hair is not always true. Ammonia-free means there is a substitute chemical in place that, in many cases, can be worse for your hair. Ammonia is a gas that dissipates when mixed; some of the alternative chemicals continue to get progressively stronger when mixed.

Before shots: hair breakage and damage

BN: You mentioned my hair may have too much protein in it from the products I was using to try and repair my hair. Can you explain why hair breaks when it has too much protein? How can you tell your hair has too much?
Doug: Hair breaks when too much protein is present because there is no moisture. Hair is truly happy when it is balanced between protein and moisture. When hair incurs breakage from too much protein there are a few warning signs. Hair become stiff, brittle and feels harsh and dry. We as a society have become concerned with the damage and reinforcing with protein that we often forget to balance out moisture.

BN: Do you know if pregnancy can cause hair breakage and if so, why does this happen?
Doug: Absolutely, hormones are rapidly changing during pregnancy. Some people will experience luxurious growth and great hair, and some will experience the opposite. If you’re experiencing the opposite it’s time to step up your moisture game. Eat foods rich in fatty acids. Incorporating healthy oils into your diet can begin to rebuild the moisture content. Incorporate a hair mask into your regimen 2-3 times a week to provide a dose of hydration during these times. Remember your body is experiencing a ton of changes; you may have to play with your regimen until you find your balance.

BN: What do you recommend people with broken hair do to get it back to its previous glory?
Doug: Start by assessing what’s going on. Is the hair damaged or is it thirsty? I always recommend a pH shampoo such as PRORITUALS Color Therapy – it’s a moisture loaded shampoo that uses coconut oil, sunflower oil, and is sulfate-free and salt-free. Even if you’re not color treated, it will replace lost fatty acids to help make hair more manageable and soft. Next use Spray Treat if your hair is on the damaged side, or Colorfuel if your hair is thirsty. Spray Treat helps to rebuild the structural integrity of hair. Finding the balance between protein and moisture will help restore the balance and bring hair back to its happy state. Hair, skin and nail vitamins are also a great trick. Biotin and folic acid will help create longer, thicker hair from the inside. PRORITUALS Daily Shampoo and conditioner contain biotin, and when topically applied have had increased benefits to hair and scalp health.

BN: Can you talk a bit about the use of extensions in hair that has been damaged by color, caring for them, etc.? What did you use on my hair?
Doug: I used a combo of tape in and cold fusion extensions on your hair. You have to be very careful with hair that’s compromised about which method to use. Cold fusion or the use of cylinders can be a great fit for someone who has a thicker density of hair. Tape in extensions are also ideal to cover a large amount of hair quickly. They are easily removed and can be reused for future applications if the hair is good shape. Over styling, consistent blow drying and high heat from thermals will affect the longevity of the hair. Opt for styling every third day to provide longevity. Reach for a dry shampoo that will prolong your time between washing and styling.

After extensions and some serious deep moisture treatment

BN: Is there anyone who shouldn’t get extensions and if so, why?
Doug: Fine, fragile hair that is prone to breakage. Remember extensions are adding weight to your hair. There are many alternatives out there when it comes to the addition of hair. If hair is not healthy or strong enough to withstand the weight of extensions you may experience a tragedy once they are removed. Also, if you’re not into maintenance, you may want to rethink the step into hair extensions. They are a commitment, and if not properly maintained by a trained stylist you may experience negative effects. For cold fusion you should see your stylist every 6-8 weeks. For tape-ins, every 10-12 weeks, and for keratin fusion extensions every 12-15 weeks. The goal is to minimize knotting at the base and the amount of tension being applied to the scalp. If you’re growing a bit faster, move your appointment up to avoid dreading and knotting at the point of attachment.

To make an appointment with Doug, call (631) 878-6353 or check out his work on Facebook or Instagram.

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