The Journey of Damaged Hair to Health Land by Gianni Marmo

I’ve never truly experienced hair breakage before. Not like I’ve experienced within the last seven months. In August, I made the decision to strip almost three years of black color from half of my hair. I wanted my dream hair; half black and half red. I knew, from a color theory standpoint, that this would not be difficult. Red is the underlying pigment of all dark colors, especially black. I knew the process wouldn’t be long, maybe one sitting for a few hours. I’ve been a color correction multiple times, and have cut off the appropriate amount of length after having lightener on my hair for up to eight hours. This was nothing.

Over the last few months, due to the hard water in Chicago, the severe weather changes, and of course heat styling -the entire front inch of my hairline broke off. The length was approximately two inches long. The result, besides hair length loss, appears that the front of my hair on the lightened side is scraggly and thin. While I have always come to terms with hair breakage, this is not something I have ever experienced.


So, in response to my own hair’s demise, I thought discussing what it means to recover from severely damaged hair is important. I see a lot more unhealthy hair than healthy in my chair, and over time with proper care and at-home products, I’ve been able to get my clients back to health. It is a journey. It is not short, as hair does not grow significantly over night. A healthy scalp will produce up to half an inch of new growth in a month. Split ends are in fact breakage, and I’m sorry, but no Pinterest hair masque will repair them. The only thing you can do with split ends is cut them. But, it is possible to repair other damage. This is my regime:

-A heat protectant before any heat styling. I really love Kevin.Murphy’s Staying Alive and Beauty & Pinup’s Fever. How I typically apply this is I will liberally distribute the product throughout all of my hair, blow dry it in, and if I’m feeling frisky, use an additional hot tool for style.

-Weekly deep conditioning treatments. We have Olaplex No.2 in the salon that I am a huge fan of that I will utilize. I am am obsessed with the Brazilian Blowout deep conditioning treatment. I use that more than I use anything. As soon as I started using that, I could hear my hair whispering sweet nothings into my ears and consistent “thank you for not frying us anymore.”

-HAIRCUTS!! Capitalization, bold, underscore, italics. This is more important than any product you could put on your hair. I just cut off an inch of my hair, as I am also trying to grow it out for the first time in my entire life. To have healthy hair growth, YOU MUST CUT YOUR HAIR. I don’t mean massive chops every time. I mean every 8-12 weeks, at least half an inch. Scraggly ends are not pretty and can actually make the hair appear dull and shorter than it actually is.

-Optional: Extensions. I know this option is not always cost effective for everyone with broken or damaged hair. Extensions can last anywhere from 2-6 months before re-installation.  I was lucky enough to have access to a few that I custom colored to match the side they were being installed to. This can alleviate a lot of anxiety and insecurity with the loss of length that comes with a lot of breakage. We used HairDreams wefts and I only needed three “sandwiches” as we call it, six small wefts taped together.


It honestly is that simple. We as hair stylists want you to have beautiful, healthy hair. We suggest products for you to take home not to sell you things, but to educate you and to help you maintain what we can do for you in our chairs. We don’t suggest frequent haircuts because we want you to have short hair, we want you to have healthy ends. Healthy ends means multiple possibilities, even if you like simple, classic hair. We do too! And we love seeing your healthy hair journey progressing.