@yogaqueen: I was in the near same situation as you. I have naturally dirty blonde hair and I’ve been highlighting or dyeing for many years, never using good conditioners, heat protectant spray, etc. As of Oct. 2010 I stopped dyeing and highlighting, and started using a good leave-in conditioner every day (as well as my regular conditioner), and a heat protectant spray whether I style or not.
However, I did have my stylist do a professional dye job to match my natural color so that I wouldn’t have a dye line. You might try that, and then go from there.
It’s just a looooooong process. You’ll be tempted to change this, dye that, etc etc. But trust me, the shiny, healthy hair is SO WORTH IT! My hair grows extremely slowly. Extremely. I feel your pain. In addition to growing out my dyed hair, I’m also growing out all my old layers which I’ve come to hate. It’s probably going to be at least another 12-18 months before I’m done with that process, and then I can focus on gaining a few inches in length. I’ve maintained an overall length of 15″ but I’d like 19″.
The waiting is a bitch, but that’s what it takes. Here is what you can do in the meantime:
-Take 5000 mcg Biotin once a day. Doesn’t make your hair grow faster (nothing does, btw) but it strengthens your roots so that less falls out, which in the end will make you have more hair.
-Condition every day, and shampoo as infrequently as you can get away with.
-Use a leave in conditioner every time you get out the shower.
-Every 1-3 weeks, use a deep conditioning hair treatment. I like Aussie’s 3-minute miracle, but there are many.
-Use a heat protectant spray whether you style or not. It helps protect from UV rays and heat as well styling tools. Also, they help detangle your hair which helps keep you from damaging it when you brush it.
For conditioners and leave-in conditioners, I love the Herbal Essences brand. LOVE them. They keep my hair soft and moisturized and you can’t beat the price. I’ve tried other expensive stuff but it’s just not worth it. If you do nothing else, use their Long Term Relationship leave-in. Seriously, it’s THE BEST. I’ve tried dozens. I ususally order it online because it’s kind of hard to find locally sometimes.