An extra hot blow-dry, skipping that overdue trim, morning straighteners and evening curlers – we’ve done it all to our locks. Using too much heat and not caring for our hair can damage it. If you've noticed that your hair has become a bit dry, dull and lifeless, read our guide on hair repair for tips on how to make it shine again.
How to Tell if I Have Damaged Hair
If you notice a change in your hair early enough, it will be easy to prevent further damage. Having said that, once your hair is severely damaged, you will be able to improve its appearance and make way for healthy hair growth but you won’t be able to repair it completely.
Think of it this way – both hair and nails are made of keratin. You can’t fix a broken nail but you can certainly condition, buff and apply strengthening product to make sure it still looks great and prevent further breakage. Hair is the same – there are products out there that can help your hair look fantastic but the way to truly repair the damage is hair growth.
If you’ve used a lot of heat and feel that your tresses are starting to look a bit dull, dry, or lackluster with a lot of split ends, it means that your hair is damaged. Equally, if your hair has been exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays for too long without a UV hair protector, you’ll notice that your hair has become dry and almost straw-like. Don’t worry just yet, this simply means that it’s time for you to treat your locks to a hair spa.
How Can I Repair Damaged Hair?
Get a Trim
If you are starting to find a lot of split ends and you generally feel your hair is dry, it’s time to go for a trim. Simply say to your hair stylist that you want them to cut your hair so there are no split ends.
This doesn’t have to be a full haircut if you are not keen on one – a light trim can do wonders. Your hair will immediately look and feel much healthier and thicker.
Washing Your Hair
When your hair is damaged, it is even more vulnerable when it is wet. Brushing your hair when it is wet is a big no, so try to avoid doing it.
Washing your hair too often is not good for your hair either as it simply dries it out by not allowing your natural hair oils to form and coat your tresses. Try limiting your hair washing to two to three times per week.
Not sure how to minimise the number of your weekly hair washes? Go for an up-do, French braids or use dry shampoo that will absorb excess oil from your roots in between washes.
Choosing the Right Shampoo
If you have damaged hair, the shampoo and conditioner you choose can make all the difference.
When picking your next shampoo bottle, have a look at the label – does it say it is without parabens and sulfates? If so, this is the right shampoo for you.
Sulfate and paraben-free shampoos are less likely to irritate the scalp with chemicals, help to keep your hair’s natural moisture and retain natural oils.
This will help improve the overall condition of your locks and pave way for the growth of healthy, shiny hair.
Drying Your Hair
Using straighteners, curlers and a hair dryer on maximum heat all contribute to damaging your hair if you don’t use heat protective sprays.
If you want to revive damaged hair, try to go some time without using any hair technology, allowing your tresses to be in their natural state for as long as possible.
If you do require that cheeky blow-dry before an event or two, make sure you go for it only if you use a heat protecting spray beforehand.
Don’t forget, there are also ways to curl your hair without using any heat such as rollers or hair wrapping. Your hair will look just as good without the damage.
Caring for Your Hair
Just like using face masks once a week can brighten up your complexion, using hair masks can really benefit your hair. It’s a good idea to make it a habit to apply a hair mask once a week even if you think your locks are relatively healthy. Remember, prevention is easier than the cure.
There are many hair masks out there, so it’s best to choose one that fits well with your lifestyle. From sleep-in masks and wash-off masks to others that dub as conditioners – it's best to shop around and see which ones fit into your schedule.
Another key to hair repair is hair oil. To keep those strands healthy and shiny, apply the oil to damp ends after you wash and condition your hair.
You only need a pea-sized amount that you can pop on your hair using your fingertips. Doing so will make your hair easy to brush through, manageable and hydrated. When choosing the best hair oil for your locks, opt for products that are unrefined, cold-pressed and organic.
Damage-proof Hair Styles
It’s a good idea to give your hair a break every once in a while.
You can do so without anyone knowing by sporting some fantastic damage-proof hair styles.
This can be anything from a loose side braid or a relaxed up do or a messy bun.
To protect your hair in the winter, wear a comfortable hat or beanie to make sure your hair doesn’t have to go through sub-zero temperatures on a daily basis.
Similarly in the summer, use a UV protective spray or spritz so that your hair isn’t damaged by harmful sun rays.
Is Your Diet Damaging Your Hair?
Just like with your skin and waistline, the condition of your hair is directly connected to your diet. To keep your hair shiny, smooth and silky, your body needs a cocktail of vitamins, minerals and other healthy nutrients including protein, magnesium, vitamin E, iron and selenium.
Make sure you eat a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, red meat as well as oily fish – your bouncy, shiny locks will make skipping that sugary snack worth it.