Ask Chuck: How to fix hair after extra-hot flat iron

By Charles Colson
June 27, 2013 at 1:27 a.m.

My hair is quite frizzy, dry, discolored and burnt in places. What can I say? I accidentally put the flat iron on too high a temperature. My salt and pepper color is now yellow-looking in spots. Is my hair completely ruined?

No, there is still hope. I remember recently writing an article about this possibility. First of all, when some hair grays, it can have a yellow tinge after growing in completely.

Usually, this does not occur if you were prematurely gray at an early age. I have always said I think the Lord blesses us with perfect coloring of gray in our later lives because we may have had to live with it for so long.

A flat iron that is too hot can easily discolor hair of almost any shade. It can become frizzy and brittle to the touch. I realize this can be startling to the point you may think it has to be cut short. Hopefully, you caught the problem in time. Mainly, just a hair shaping can resolve much of the problem.

If the hair maintains a yellow look, there are now shampoos designed just for gray, discoloring hair.

One example is from a product from the Nexus brand. The bluing color of the lather simply controls any yellowing. There are also weekly rinses that are successful and rinse out with each shampoo. If you swim a lot, it is best to take a very small amount of conditioner and apply it just lightly through the hair to act as a sunscreen for the hair.

The best solution in working with curling irons, flat irons and even blow-dryers that are too hot is to use them with care, giving it your undivided attention. Think about it: You are actually ironing out your hair as if it were clothing. Iron with wisdom and remember - haste really does make waste. So, do you still wonder why now?

I know this is probably the dumbest question you have ever been asked, but my husband is so vain that when he dyes his mustache and beard, it keeps getting darker and darker. He even tries my patience and tells me he's going to one day dye the gray on his chest also. I know this seems like a Dear Abby question for you, but how can I advise him to not make it so dark because he is somewhat older now?

Men, men, men. Can they be as vain as women? Of course they can. They just don't think so. What he is probably doing that causes his facial hair to become so dark is that he is going by the exact directions from the box. This is where even women get into trouble with dying their own hair.

What the box directions never tell you is that, in many instances, everyone's hair is different as far as timing hair color - especially for men. They don't realize that facial and body hair take much faster than the hair on their heads. Yes, it actually may take in just eight to 10 minutes when the directions mention 25 to 30 minutes.

This has always been puzzling even for hairdressers to understand - unless they work with these conditions often. It is best to remove the dye in much less time, and if it isn't quite dark enough, simply reapply the color for a few more minutes.

Now as far as his teasing you about dying his chest hair, this has become quite normal for men to do anyway. It doesn't matter if you tag them as too vain; they still would rather not have too much gray hair showing on their chests. At least he feels it's something to brag about and makes him feel better and younger, right guys?

Charles, why doesn't my hairdresser understand that I want just body and not a lot of curl in my hair with my perm? Can you suggest an easy way for me to get this point over?

Hopefully, your hairdresser can take constructive criticism. If not, teach her or him that you don't want to hurt their feelings. I have learned that the client may be holding the best solution for both of you to work with and stay the best of friends. Remember, you have been with your hair more than anyone and can offer a great deal of advice.

As far as asking for just a body wave, you should feel free to ask your hairdresser what rod colors are being used. Every result from a perm is measured by the color and circumference of the perm rod.

Usually, just for body, the best colors are white, black or gray and can even be altered by using one large rod and one medium rod simultaneously, and these rods may be as large as a quarter or more in circumference. There is a possibility other shades of rods will measure the same.

Then, most important is the processing time. Tell your hairdresser it doesn't matter if the body wave will not last as long; you just want it to look very natural when finished.

The processing time may differ quite a bit as to using smaller rods for more curl. I have actually given perms just on hair rollers so as to create loose body and no curl evident. Have your hairdresser take several test curls and stop the action as quick as the loose body appears.

Keep a strong, trusting connection with your hairdresser so it will be easier to communicate. You will both then be on the same page.

Try telling them you are quite impressed with their hairstyling techniques, and I bet they will turn cartwheels to please you. In turn, the hairdresser should always keep in mind that without devoted clients, there could be no business.

How far do we all think these valuable thoughts could extend to many other types of professional businesses of service, such as retail stores, restaurants, etc.?

Charles Colson is an area hair stylist and registered massage therapist. You may email hair or massage questions to or call 361-575-5331.



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