Is There a Safe Way To Lighten Your Hair If It Breaks Easily?

"I don't want to have a horrible blonde that makes me look pale and leads to more breakage."
Bill Angst
Publish date:
Social count:
"I don't want to have a horrible blonde that makes me look pale and leads to more breakage."
Hair consultation - Jackie

Jackie is considering blonde highlights, but doesn't want to look washed-out.

Want your own hair consultation from celebrity hairstylist Bill Angst? Send at least TWO well-lit, preferably hi-res photos of you (one close-up, one full-body) with a brief description of your hair texture, colour and main hair challenges to with “Bill Angst Hair Consultation” in the subject line. 

Q: Hello! I am debating lightening my hair colour a bit, with highlights. I don't know what type of blonde to go for, or how much to lighten it. I really don't want to look washed-out.

This is my natural hair colour, which I haven't seen since I was about 15. When I was a kid, I had white-blonde hair, and then it turned to this mystery colour (not blonde, but not brown). When I used to dye my own hair, it would always turn yellow-blonde, which ended up washing me out. I get very pale in the winter, but have dark eyes, so I don't know that I can pull off a light blonde like girls with blue eyes can. 

Hair consultation - Jackie

Jackie's hair is fine, curly and prone to breakage.

I have fine hair—a lot of it, but it's fine. It's naturally curly and I struggle to get it to grow. My hair breaks easily, even without colour in it. I'm very nervous because it took nine years to get back to my natural hair colour, and I don't want to have a horrible blonde that makes me look pale and leads to more breakage. I don't know what to do! Please help! — Jackie

A: Jackie, I think your natural colour is lovely.

If your hair is so delicate that it breaks, please stay away from blonde. Lightening hair always weakens the cuticle, and will promote more breakage.

If you would like a change, I would alter the cut. But if you absolutely need to do a colour treatment, I would recommend going a bit darker with a non-ammonia colour. This will leave the cuticle intact and will promote shine.

Here are a few shape ideas that come to mind.

Growing your hair into a one-length style would be so pretty.

Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married TIFF premiere, 2008

Anne Hathaway at the 2008 TIFF premiere of 'Rachel Getting Married'.

It would show off your natural colour better. With shorter layers, there is not enough surface for the light to reflect. One length creates a continuous surface to show off the natural highlights in your hair.

Switching up the part is another option with this shorter, one-length cut.

Charlize Theron, Young Adult New York premiere, 2011

Charlize Theron at the 2011 New York premiere of 'Young Adult'.

Wavy blonde bob

Wavy blonde bob.

Curly brunette bob with bangs

Curly brunette bob with bangs.

Please stay away from blonde…

Bill Angst is one of Canada’s top celebrity hairstylists and the owner of Angst Salon at 240 Queen Street East in Toronto. Call 416-360-5942 to book an appointment.