Split ends, cracked cuticles, ruthless tangles - damaged hair presents itself in many forms. While it can feel unavoidable at times, there are a great many ways to protect your hair and prevent harm.
But, what exactly causes damage? Styling and color treatment each play an enormous role in hurting your hair. Whether it’s an impulsive dye job or a weekly blow dry, any of these things can cause harm. Most processes that disrupt your hair’s natural state can cause damage, especially if done at home.
Below are some tips for damaged hair, how to take care of it, and how to prevent future affliction.
How to Care for Damaged Hair
What you do to restore your locks can depend on the cause of the hair damage, but there are some universal tips for damaged hair that tackle all types of harm.
Breakage and dryness are the roots of most hair problems. Sometimes, just lopping off your locks is the quick and easy solution, but it’s also a huge commitment. Treatment is about maintaining your mane by building healthy habits and understanding what’s right for you.
In general, washing your hair strips it of moisture by getting rid of its naturally hydrating oils. Try to wash your hair every other day or less often if you can, and use shampoo-conditioner combos optimized for your type of hair.
For even better results, rinse your hair with cold water. Heat is tough on your cuticles, which are your hair’s natural defensive layer. This method works exceptionally well on frizzy and naturally textured hair.
To repair already dried out hair, masks and oils are your best friend. Usually applied twice a week, these restore moisture and shine to dull, dehydrated hair. For an extra step, spritz on some leave-in fortifying spray on just-washed hair.
How to Treat Damage Caused by Heated Tools
Even with a professional hairdryer, frequently blow drying your hair can have negative effects. Applying extreme heat removes water not only on the surface of your hair, but water absorbed into your hair, which serves to keep it hydrated. As a result, hair can break and become brittle.
To prevent hair dry damage, make sure to pick the best hair dryer for your hair type. The best hair dryer for natural hair is an ionic-ceramic hybrid, which focuses on high power and evenly distributing heat. If you have thin, straight locks, prioritize temperature control.
Flat irons are also huge offenders, adding pressure to already extreme heat. Avoid wet-to-dry straighteners - these deny your hair the much-needed drying time and strip it of its natural oils.
For already heat-damaged hair, coconut oil is a miracle remedy. It hydrates hair from the inside out, restoring protective oils on the outer layer of your locks. Maintaining these will guard your hair from heat, but make sure not to over-oil! Use just enough to give your hair shine, not a damp, greasy look.
How to Treat Damage Caused by Hair Dye
To do its job, the dye has to lift your cuticles to reach the hair shafts where the color will bind to your hair. This is usually accomplished by ammonia or its slightly less aggressive substitute, ethanolamine, found in “ammonia-free” options. While rinsing out the dye re-closes your cuticles, they’ve already been weakened.
Bleaching only causes additional damage, using peroxide to strip the pigment from your hair. This can lead to extreme dryness and ultimately, frizz and split ends.
What dye you choose makes a difference - preventing dye damage starts pre-process. Demi- and semi-permanent options are gentlest on hair, and generally, it’s less damaging to go darker than lighter. Also consider going to a professional colorist, who will have the required expertise and products, if your budget allows.
Once your hair is colored, be mindful of your products: Make sure to avoid anything with high amounts of alcohol or peroxide. And always opt for dye-specific shampoo and conditioner formulas.
Styling Damaged Hair
It may feel like it’s just better to never style your strands again, but that’s just unrealistic. Achieving salon-quality looks isn’t quite so daunting with a healthy hair care routine.
Hair drying is essential to styling, so be sure you equip yourself with the ionic hair dryer. You may have to splurge a bit to get as close to professional hair dryer quality as possible.
If you have the time, let your hair air dry a bit before hair drying. Detangle your hair as best you can without using a brush - over-brushing your hair can actually cause breakage. If you’re going for a sleek, straightened look, save your round brush for the blow dry session and avoid the flat iron at all costs.
Always use a heat protectant spray, even if you have the best hair dryer and styler for natural hair. And never overlook that attachable hair dryer concentrator - it can speed up the process and avoid overheating already dried parts of your hair. Once your hair is dry, apply a protein-infused pomade or light oil to combat frizz and strengthen your style.
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