Towhead Blonde fades in time

Dear Scott: Is there a new product or a way that won’t damage my hair when I get it highlighted? I have tried hair stylists that come with excellent recommendations without successful results. I’m in my late 30s, and have very good hair. It is a dark blonde color naturally, and right now that’s what I’m wearing. I was a Towhead Blonde my whole life. I love how it used to look after a summer of sun, but it doesn’t seem to change the way it used to. Every time I have it highlighted, it starts breaking off. My hair right now is nice, thick, and strong, without anything on it, so why would it break the way it does when it is highlighted?




Answer: The origination of the name “Towhead Blonde” in itself is somewhat fun and intriguing.

Tow-spinning dates back to colonial times when a plant called Flax was grown by families to make fabric for their clothes. Flax is stronger than cotton but due to the expense of processing, it declined in popularity. It is now used to make yarn for finer quality linen fabrics.

The flax was soaked in water, then passed through a series of nails to separate the fibers. The smaller fibers were unusable for making into yarn and discarded. This process was called towing. The discarded smaller fibers were said to look like the color of blonde hair, in particular, a child’s hair color.

The bright blonde streaks of the Towhead Blonde child slowly dissipates into a dull dishwater-blonde color as they get older. This unfortunate circumstance can begin to happen as early as 10 years old .

Without the use of a chemical lightening process of some kind, the natural color of the hair becomes too dark for the sun to work it’s natural magic.

If your hair is of great quality without anything on it, it is safe to assume that the lightening processes that are being done are to blame. The hair is either being over-processed from sitting under heat too long, the chemicals are too strong, or both.

There are many ways to turn back the clock to your childhood years of Towhead Blonde without causing breakage of the hair. Foils are a common mode of implication to achieve a streaky look like back when you were a kid. The use of a gentler product other than bleach should be used. Minimal processing time is needed to eliminate the breakage.

The Ombre look is another favorite for turning back time. Ombre is a highlighting process that doesn’t always have to look like two-toned hair from urban America. It can also be used to create multi-dimensional up-lightening effects that appear very natural.

A lightening wash is another harmless method to take the dark cloud away from your head. This simple quick process takes about 5 minutes and will lighten the hair just a shade or two. Upkeep is minimal.

Now go put the sunshine back in your hair, and brighten your day.


Scott Terwilliger, an Aiken salon owner, can be reached at