Nothing ruins your chances of having a great hair day more than a head full of damaged hair. The truth is, damaged hair requires special care to make it look and feel healthy and smooth. So, if you find yourself battling dry strands, brittle hair and split ends due to heat damage, hair color or constant bleaching, it’s important that you learn how to fix damaged hair using a proper hair care routine. Below, we’re sharing tips on how to repair hair damage and the products that will help you in the process, including the best shampoo for damaged hair and more.
What Causes Damaged Hair?
Damaged strands can be a byproduct of a number of different things, oftentimes a combination of factors. Here are three of the most common causes of hair damage.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), when you lighten your hair more than three shades, it requires higher volumes of peroxide or bleach, which causes more hair damage. Bleach draws moisture from the hair, leading to dryness, and routine bleaching can lead to more serious hair damage like breakage and split ends.
2. Heat Styling
Hot tools — we love them for achieving trendy styles like the voluminous blowout but they aren’t the best for our hair, especially when they’re used frequently. Most times, our hot tools can reach temperatures that are higher than what we tend to cook our food with and that can seriously fry your strands. Using them in moderation is fine but it should always be done with healthy hair practices, like using heat protectant and using them on the lowest temperature setting.
3. Hair Color
Permanent hair color can also dry out your strands, leading to damage like brittle hair and dehydration. Because of this, it’s best to give your hair time to repair in between hair color sessions — usually around six to eight weeks. Additionally, the AAD recommends going for a darker shade than your current color because this avoid bleach and it’s less damaging to your hair.
Can Damaged Hair Be Repaired?
To a certain extent, damaged hair can be repaired with healthy hair practices, like masking and forgoing heat and hair brushing. But, if your hair has begun to break off, it’s best to get a haircut and start fresh to prevent the breakage from moving further up your hair.
How Do I Fix Extremely Damaged Hair?
When you have extremely damaged hair, you have to be very careful with how you care for it. If you’re trying to heal your hair, avoid all types of heat, hair color and bleaching. Limit how often you wash your hair — it’s best to wash your damaged hair no more than two times a week because overwashing can lead to dryness, thus further damaging your hair.
It’s also important that you incorporate a protein treatment, like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Power Restore Multi-Use Treatment into your routine. Use it in place of conditioner or as a leave-in treatment to coat weak hair fibers. A protein concentrate is good for damaged hair because it strengthens the hair while leaving it silky and healthy-looking.
How to Treat Damaged Hair
While you may think that a haircut is your only solution for healing your damaged strands, there are a few ways you can care for your hair to repair the current damage and prevent future damage. Here are 11tips for fixing damaged strands.
1. Use Shampoo and Conditioner for Damaged Hair
The first step in your journey to healthy hair is to opt for a hair care system that was specially formulated for damaged hair. We love the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Bond Repair Pre-Shampoo Treatment, L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Bond Repair Shampoo with Citric Acid and L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Bond Repair Conditioner with Citric Acid because they work to strengthen the hair from the inside out by reinforcing weak hair bonds.
The trio uses citric acid to penetrate and rebuild weak hair bonds as it helps to shield hair from future styling and coloring damage. Apply the pre-shampoo treatment and leave it on for five to ten minutes before washing your hair with the shampoo and conditioner.
2. Wash Your Hair In Lukewarm Water
Hot, steamy showers feel great on your skin, but all that heat can do a number on your hair, especially when you have damaged strands. Super-hot water strips your hair of essential oils, which can make it feel even drier while also prematurely fading your hair color.
So, turn down the dial and rinse your hair in lukewarm water the next time you wash it. It may not be as indulgent, but it's much better for your hair.
3. Use a Deep Conditioning Treatment
If you’re not already using a deep conditioner in your weekly hair care routine, it’s time to start. Deep conditioning treatments target common signs of hair damage like dryness, split ends and breakage. Plus, many deep conditioning treatments contain nourishing hair ingredients, like proteins and collagen peptides to strengthen hair while protecting against future damage. The L’Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Damage Erasing Balm Rinse-Out Mask is formulated with caring ingredients, including hydrating almond oil and a repair concentrate with proteins to condition and revive damaged hair in just three to five minutes.
4. Switch Your Hairbrush for a Wide Tooth Comb
Tangles and the aggressive tugging motions of a hairbrush can lead to serious hair breakage. This is true for dry hair and it’s especially true for wet hair. According to the AAD, wet hair is the most fragile and therefore the most prone to damage. Because of this, it’s best to opt for a wide tooth comb when your hair is wet as the wide spaces between the teeth can smooth your hair with less tugging and friction.
If your hair is prone to tangles, get the knots out before shampooing so it’s easier to comb when it’s wet. The L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free 21-in-1 Color Caring Spray, Leave In is a nourishing leave-in with a long list of benefits that include smoothing the hair and detangling. Spritz it on dry or wet hair to remove tangles before combing.
5. Dry Your Hair With a T-Shirt
Instead of tossing your old, faded t-shirts, use them when you hop out of the shower to plop your hair. Regardless of how healthy your hair is, aggressively rubbing your hair dry with a terry cloth towel creates harsh tugging that can lead to breakage.
Cotton tees work well because they’re absorbent but much gentler on the hair than towels. Remember, gentle is the name of the game when it comes to caring for damaged hair. Another great alternative is a microfiber towel which helps to quickly absorb water and dry hair without pulling on it.
6. Apply Leave-In Conditioner
Applying a hydrating leave-in conditioner after washing your hair can help to reduce frizz, seal split ends and damage, plus make the hair look and feel softer and more manageable. The L’Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Protein Recharge Leave-In Conditioner Treatment is a great choice because the lightweight, creamy formula smooths the appearance of damage and doubles as a heat protectant.
If you have curls, consider reaching for the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Curls Non-Stop Dreamy Curls Leave-In Conditioner which hydrates the hair and reduces frizz without weigh down.
7. Always Use Heat Protectant
Before you begin creating your voluminous curls or sleek blowout, you should always apply heat protectant to your hair. This should be the first step in the heat styling process, regardless of your hair type, but especially if you have any signs of hair damage. Try the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Sulfate-Free Weightless Blow Dry Primer, Heat Protectant to smooth and protect wet hair, or the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Frizz Killer Serum Leave-In to reduce frizz and shield dry hair.
8. Give Heatless Hairstyles a Try
Heat protectant is important, but if your hair is significantly damaged, you should avoid applying heat to your hair altogether — you’ll never regret not applying heat to your hair. Embracing your natural hair texture or opting for heatless hairstyles are two great ways to give your strands a break from hot tools that are a major cause of damage.
If you have curly hair, use a curl-enhancing leave-in treatment and try scrunching your strands to enhance your curl pattern and provide volume. If you have naturally straight hair, try experimenting with heatless styles like overnight beach waves when you want to add texture, low ponytails and messy buns.
9. Consider How Much You’re Brushing Your Hair
That old saying about brushing your hair for 100 strokes before bed to keep it smooth and soft? It’s not true and according to the AAD, it can actually cause more damage to your hair in the long run. While your hair definitely does need to be combed or brushed to remove tangles, it doesn’t need that much brushing. Some gentle strokes with your wide tooth comb will do the job.
10. Get a Haircut
Sometimes, damaged hair needs a fresh start in the form of a haircut. If you’re dealing with severe hair breakage, the only way to avoid breakage creeping further up your hair to the roots is with a haircut. Long hair is gorgeous, but trendy short styles like the messy lob and the box bob are totally having a moment, so use it as an opportunity to experiment with a totally new hairstyle.
If your goal is to grow your hair, add regular hair dustings to your routine instead of trims. A hair dusting targets dry, split ends so you remove the damaged bits of your hair without having to sacrifice length.
11. Sleep on a Silk or Satin Pillowcase
As we mentioned, friction and tugging from brushing your hair can lead to breakage which means if you're a rough sleeper, friction between your hair and your cotton pillowcase can also lead to breakage. A silk or satin pillowcase has a soft, slinky finish that’s gentler on the hair, resulting in fewer tangles and less frizz when you wake up. It also helps with moisture retention, whereas cotton can draw out the necessary oils that moisture the hair.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of L'Oréal Paris
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