Contrary to popular belief, (and as much as it pains us to admit it), you can’t really repair damaged hair, you can only make it look healthier- temporarily. To understand damaged hair, it’s important to know that most hair is made up of three layers: the inner fiber called the medulla, the middle layer called the cortex, and the outer cuticle. When hair is damaged, the cuticle lifts and eventually wears away, exposing the fragile inner cortex. As a result, it looks lack-lustre, dry and easily broken.
Whether your locks are dehydrated, frizzy, frayed or fragile, or a mix of all four, here are some sure-fire ways to bring your sensitized strands back to life and prevent future damage.
Extreme Dye Jobs and Chemical Treatments
Knowing the reason behind the damage is your first step to healthier hair. Intensive dyes and chemical processes, like relaxers and perms, strip the hair which can lead to breakage. Unnatural colours, where hair bleached before application, are more difficult to achieve and maintain. Experts recommend choosing a dye within three shades of your natural colour and opting for shades that are darker rather than lighter to limit damage. And if possible, wash your hair no more than twice a week and wait 8 to 10 weeks between your salon visits. But if you love changing up your hairstyle, prevention is your best line of defense. Which is why it’s important to nourish and boost hair health long before and after your treatments. Choose protein-rich products that create bonds between hair proteins, reinforcing the cuticle, preventing damage and enhancing shine. Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector is an at-home bond builder that’ll keep your chemically treated hair soft and strong thanks to its unique blend of active ingredients.
Daily Heat Styling
Step away from the straighteners! We repeat! Step away from the straighteners! When hair is exposed to heat, the cuticles open, allowing the hair to dry and set in shape. Straighteners and curling wands flatten the outer layers of the fibres, creating the illusion of mirror shine. But with daily use, they’ll make damaged hair look and feel infinitely worse. So, if you can’t live without your ghd’s, then you need to make thermal protectors your new best friend. Using a product that contains heat activated ingredients every time you style your hair is essential. They coat strands in an invisible shield to prevent the damage inflicted by direct heat exposure. Sulfate-free, Kerastase Genesis Defense Thermique Blow Dry Primer protects, hydrates and effectively prevents frizz and breakage for 24 hours.
Dehydrated Textured Hair
For those with both extremely dehydrated and curly or textured hair, this damage can look much worse than it really is. Over-processed curly hair will show signs of damage much quicker than non-textured types. This means that it requires regular, generous doses of moisture to help it bounce back to life. Treat your parched locks to concentrated hair masks and deep conditioning treatments like Biolage HydraSource Dry Hair Deep Treatment which is packed with super greens, aloe vera and spirulina, famed for their hair strengthening and gloss inducing properties.
If you’re a fan of homemade treatments, this inexpensive hack will replenish your brittle lengths, leaving you with gorgeous, healthy hair.
Mix half an avocado, one small cup of full-fat yogurt, three tablespoons of honey, and one egg yolk. Apply from root to tip, cover your hair with a shower cap, and leave on for 15-30 minutes before shampooing.