Repairing damaged hair: Tips for getting your hair healthy again
Are you struggling with dry, brittle hair that never seems to look good? Have you noticed more split ends, breakage and an overall lackluster appearance lately? Don't worry - with the right hair care regimen, you can repair damaged hair and restore its natural shine and strength.
- What Causes Hair Damage in the First Place?
- How to Repair Damaged Hair From the Inside Out
- Tips for Styling Damaged Hair to Make it Look Healthier
- The Best Products and Ingredients to Repair Damaged Hair
- Go-To Hair Treatments for Severely Damaged Hair
- How Often Should You Do Hair Masks for Damaged Hair?
- Damaged Hair Care Routine: Steps to Follow Every Day
- Most Important Tips to Remember
- What is the best way to repair extremely damaged hair?
- How can I protect my hair from heat damage?
- What are some tips on how to repair hair that has been damaged from bleaching?
- How often should I wash my hair to repair damaged hair?
- What are some ways to repair dry and damaged hair?
- Can using too much hair color cause damage to your hair?
- How can I protect my hair from breakage?
- What are some good hair care practices to keep your hair healthy?
- Can I repair damaged hair from heat styling?
- How can I condition my hair to repair damage?
In this comprehensive guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about repairing damaged hair quickly and effectively. You'll learn what causes damage in the first place, how to repair hair from the inside out, tips for styling damaged hair to make it look healthier, and the best products and ingredients to use.
With a little TLC and these proven hair repair treatments, you can get your damaged strands back to looking smooth, soft and healthy again.
What Causes Hair Damage in the First Place?
Before you can truly fix damaged hair, it's helpful to understand just what causes it to become dry, brittle and lackluster. Hair damage can occur in several ways:
- Heat styling - Frequent use of hot tools like blow dryers, straighteners and curling irons can cause extreme damage to your hair's outer layer over time. The high heat weakens and breaks down the hair cuticle.
- Chemical processing - Bleaching, coloring, perming and straightening contain harsh chemicals that strip away oils and proteins from the hair shaft. This leads to dry, porous hair that's prone to breakage.
- Improper hair care - Not properly conditioning, over-washing, rubbing hair in towels, and using brushes and combs when wet can all contribute to mechanical damage.
- Environmental factors - Sun exposure, pollution and hard water minerals like chlorine and copper can create free radicals that degrade hair over time.
- Physical stress - Constant friction and tension from tight hairstyles puts stress on the hair follicles and causes trauma to the cuticle.
How to Repair Damaged Hair From the Inside Out
Repairing damaged hair requires treating it from the inside out. While a good conditioner and hair mask can help smooth and temporarily "patch up" the outer hair shaft, true restoration comes from within.
Here are some tips for repairing damaged hair from the inside out:
- Nourish your hair and scalp with oils: Coat hair fibers in nourishing oils like coconut, argan, jojoba and olive oil to replenish moisture, reinforce the cuticle layer and reduce breakage.
- Take hair-healthy vitamins: Biotin, niacin, zinc and vitamins A, C and E support healthy hair growth and strength. Make sure your diet or supplements include adequate protein as well.
- Use volumizing shampoos and conditioners: Look for formulas with thickening agents like wheat protein and amino acids to add body and make hair look fuller.
- Stimulate blood circulation: Scalp massages can increase blood flow and deliver more nutrients to the hair follicles.
- Avoid additional chemical/heat damage: Limit use of hot styling tools, hair dye and other chemical treatments while hair is repairing.
- Trim split ends: Schedule regular trims every 6-8 weeks to snip away split ends before they travel up the hair shaft and cause more breakage.
10 Tips for Styling Damaged Hair to Make it Look Healthier
You don't have to hide damaged hair under a hat until it recovers. With some smart styling tricks, you can make the most of your hair's texture and disguise the appearance of dry, damaged strands:
- Add volume at the roots. Tease hair lightly at the crown to lift flat, limp hair.
- Try volumizing mousses and sprays. They coat strands to make hair look thicker overall. Focus on mid-lengths and ends.
- Go for gentle waves. Soft curls and waves give the illusion of thickness and movement. Curl hair without clamping irons.
- Try texturizing sprays and powders. These roughen up the cuticle for a fuller, plumper appearance.
- Hide with headbands and accessories. Scarves, clips and headbands disguise frazzled ends around the hairline and face.
- Sleep on a silk pillowcase. The smooth fabric results in less friction and pulling that can damage already fragile strands.
- Switch to a wide-tooth comb. Only comb hair when damp and use a wide-tooth comb to minimize stress on wet strands.
- Try low-maintenance styles. Braids, buns, and ponytails put less pressure on damaged sections than leaving hair loose.
- Give hair a break. Avoid tightly pulling hair back and give your strands a break from hot styling tools whenever possible.
- Use dry shampoo. Extend the time between washes and use dry shampoo at roots to soak up excess oils and add volume.
The Best Products and Ingredients to Repair Damaged Hair
Using the right hair care products is key to replenishing moisture, strengthening hair fibers and reducing additional damage as your hair recovers. Look for formulas that contain:
- Keratin - Smooths the cuticle and fills in cracks and damage. Strengthens hair fibers.
- Argan, coconut and olive oils - Penetrate the hair shaft to deeply condition, reduce frizz and protect from heat damage.
- Shea butter - Softens and smooths hair while locking in moisture. Reduces breakage.
- Honey - Natural humectant that helps hair hold onto hydration. Also contains antioxidants.
- Avocado - Rich in amino acids and vitamins A, D, E to nourish hair and repair damage.
- Eggs - Contain protein and biotin to rebuild hair fibers and stimulate growth.
- Beer - Adds shine, body and softness. Helps thicken strands.
- Glycerin - Draws moisture into the hair shaft to keep strands hydrated.
- Rice water - Contains amino acids, vitamins and minerals that strengthen hair, add shine and smooth the cuticle.
- Aloe vera - Soothes the scalp and minimizes cuticle damage while hydrating strands.
Go-To Hair Treatments for Severely Damaged Hair
If your hair is extremely porous and damaged from overprocessing, here are some intensive at-home treatments to restore it:
- Hot oil treatment - Coat hair in oils like coconut, olive and argan. Wrap hair and apply heat with a towel or heat cap to open cuticles.
- Mayonnaise hair mask - Slather hair in mayo, put on a shower cap, and leave on for 30 minutes before washing out. Very moisturizing.
- Avocado hair mask - Mash up an avocado and mix with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Leave on hair for 20 minutes then rinse.
- Honey hair mask - Combine 1/4 cup honey with 2 tablespoons conditioner. Apply to hair, cover with a shower cap, leave on for 30 minutes and then rinse.
- Beer rinse - Rinse hair with flat room temperature beer after shampooing. It leaves hair shiny and voluminous.
- Apple cider vinegar rinse - Dilute apple cider vinegar with water and pour over hair after washing. Rinse out after a few minutes. Seals cuticles.
How Often Should You Do Hair Masks for Damaged Hair?
When your hair is in need of some serious TLC, using a customized mask 1-2 times per week can dramatically improve its texture and appearance. Look for moisturizing and strengthening ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, avocado and olive oil.
Balance the masks with your regular shampoo and conditioner routine. Avoid over-washing damaged hair, as too much cleansing can cause more dehydration and breakage. Washing 1-2 times per week is sufficient for most hair types.
Listen to what your hair is telling you. If it’s looking dull between masks, feel free to reapply one or two times a week. But if your strands quickly get greasy and limp, avoid overdoing intensive treatments.
Damaged Hair Care Routine: Steps to Follow Every Day
Caring for and styling fragile, damaged hair requires gentleness and patience. Here are steps to follow daily to nurse your hair back to health:
- Shampoo hair a maximum of twice a week with a volumizing, strengthening shampoo. Make sure to massage shampoo into your scalp, not just your strands.
- Use a moisturizing conditioner every time you shampoo, and comb it through your hair with a wide-toothed comb. Avoid rubbing or tangling hair when wet.
- Blot wet hair with an old cotton t-shirt instead of roughly toweling dry. Air drying is best to minimize additional friction damage.
- Apply a nourishing leave-in conditioner or hair oil while hair is still damp to boost hydration and prevent strands from drying out.
- Always protect hair from heat tools by using a heat protecting spray beforehand. Minimize use of hot styling tools whenever possible.
- Wear hair loose whenever possible, and opt for soft scrunchies over tight hair ties to secure your hair when it’s up.
- Use a boar bristle brush and brush hair gently from root to tip once a day to evenly distribute oils.
- Sleep on a silk pillowcase to avoid abrasion and breakage during sleep. Also sleep with hair in a loose braid or bun.
- Get regular trims every 6-8 weeks to prevent split ends from traveling further up the hair shaft.
Most Important Tips to Remember
Repairing damaged, overprocessed hair takes time and TLC. With the proper hair care regimen and techniques, you can help get your strands back to looking shiny, strong and healthy again.
Here are the most important tips to remember:
- Avoid heat styling and additional chemical treatments while hair is recovering
- Use hair masks and treatments 1-2 times per week to deeply condition strands
- Wash hair infrequently (1-2 times per week) with a volumizing, moisturizing shampoo and conditioner
- Air dry hair instead of blow drying and minimize brushing/combing when wet
- Apply oils, leave-in conditioners and heat protecting products before styling
- Take hair vitamins and supplements to nourish hair from within
- Get regular trims to prevent split ends from causing more damage
- Protect fragile strands in gentle updos/braids and sleep on a silk pillowcase
With time and TLC, you can absolutely repair and revitalize damaged hair! Use these tips and techniques as a guide and adjust as needed based on your own hair's unique needs.
What is the best way to repair extremely damaged hair?
The best way to repair extremely damaged hair is to give your hair a break from heat styling, use a deep conditioning hair treatment regularly, and trim the ends of your hair regularly to remove any split ends.
How can I protect my hair from heat damage?
To protect your hair from heat damage, it is important to use a heat protection spray or serum before using any heat styling tools, such as hair straighteners or curling irons.
What are some tips on how to repair hair that has been damaged from bleaching?
To repair hair that has been damaged from bleaching, you can use hair masks or treatments specifically designed for damaged hair, avoid using heat styling tools, and give your hair regular breaks from harsh chemical treatments.
How often should I wash my hair to repair damaged hair?
It is best to wash your hair every other day or every few days to allow your hair's natural oils to nourish and protect your hair strands. Washing your hair daily can strip away these natural oils and cause your hair to become dry and damaged.
What are some ways to repair dry and damaged hair?
Some ways to repair dry and damaged hair include using a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, applying a hair mask or deep conditioning treatment regularly, and avoiding using heat styling tools on your hair.
Can using too much hair color cause damage to your hair?
Yes, using too much hair color or frequently dyeing your hair can cause damage to your hair strands. It is important to give your hair breaks between color treatments and use hair products specifically formulated for colored hair.
How can I protect my hair from breakage?
To protect your hair from breakage, you should avoid brushing your hair when it is wet, use a wide-toothed comb or brush to detangle your hair, and avoid using hair elastics with metal clasps that can snag and break your hair.
What are some good hair care practices to keep your hair healthy?
Some good hair care practices to keep your hair healthy include using a gentle shampoo and conditioner, avoiding heat styling tools, protecting your hair from the sun and harsh weather conditions, and getting regular trims to prevent split ends.
Can I repair damaged hair from heat styling?
Yes, you can repair damaged hair from heat styling by using hair oils or serums to nourish and hydrate your hair, using heat protectant products before using any heat styling tools, and giving your hair regular breaks from heat styling.
How can I condition my hair to repair damage?
To condition your hair and repair damage, you can use a leave-in conditioner or hair mask after washing your hair, and regularly apply a deep conditioning treatment to nourish and restore your hair's health.