If you’ve chemically treated your hair one too many times, abused blow-dryers (on high heat!), overused flat irons and aggressively brushed your hair, you probably have unhappy, damaged tresses. But, fortunately, you can salvage your once healthy hair. Here’s how to prevent further damage and repair those stressed-out locks.
1. Chop, chop. Drive out damaged hair instantly by getting a haircut — removing split ends and any fried leftovers. Make sure to maintain your new, healthier ‘do with a regular trim every four weeks.
2. Shampoo less. For severely damaged locks, wash your hair once or twice a week, according to Ladies Home Journal. Also, look for products with hydrating ingredients, such as glycerin and collagen, suggests Real Simple.
Product picks: Tricomin Revitalizing Shampoo by ProCyte, Oscar Blandi Shampoo di Jasmine Smoothing Shampoo, Alterna Hemp with Organics Repair Shampoo.
3. Deep condition. You have several options for conditioning your hair, including going to the salon for a professional treatment or applying a deep conditioner at home. Oftentimes your cupboard is filled with foods that can create a helpful at-home therapy for soothing your hair.
Try this recipe from SheKnows: Mix and whisk two large eggs, a tablespoon of honey and the juice from two limes. After covering your hair with plastic wrap, keep the mixture on your head for 45 minutes.
When choosing traditional treatments, select products that are specifically made for damaged hair. Do the same when picking styling products and hair care, writes hair expert Mark Garrison for Ladies Home Journal. Another option is to use a light leave-in conditioner, which you can spritz on wet or already dry hair, suggests Karen Mitchell of The Beauty Bar in Brooklyn to My Lifetime.
Product picks: Alterna Caviar Blonde Leave In Conditioner, Korres Shea Butter & Vitamins Nourishing Mask, Tricomin Deep Conditioning Treatment by ProCyte, Frederic Fekkai Protein Rx Reparative Conditioner.
4. Buy top tools. Top-quality tools are important in preventing further damage to troubled tresses. Invest in boar-bristled brushes — or other natural bristles — along with a high-quality blow-dryer, which will dry hair faster, translating into less damage to your locks. Also, choose ceramic hot irons over metal ones, experts tell My Lifetime.
However, ceramic flat irons can also cause damage. According to dermatologist Paradi Mirmirani, M.D., F.A.A.D., who spoke at the American Academy of Dermatology’s 2008 Summer Meeting, while a ceramic iron "allows for quicker straightening of the hair with less damage, it is really a classic case of buyer beware." When used every day and on the highest heat, ceramic flat irons can "cause very noticeable problems that can be hard to repair," Dr. Mirmirani tells the convention.
5. Styling do’s. To minimize damage, when using a blow-dryer, put it on the lowest setting and hold it at least six inches from your hair, writes Stephen M. Schleicher, M.D., in his book Skin Sense! : A Dermatologist’s Guide To Skin And Facial Care. Blow-dry damp tresses but never use a blow-dryer on soaking wet hair.
To use a flat iron properly, Dr. Mirmirani recommends: Before using the flat iron, apply a heat protectant product; use the flat iron on dry hair only; if available, set the iron to no higher than 347 degrees (or 175 degrees Celsius) or the low/medium setting; and don’t use it more than two to three times a week.
Also, never brush damaged hair when it’s wet, which can easily cause further breakage. Say no to backcombing, or teasing, because it can foster split ends. In general, brush your hair less frequently.
6. Hair holiday. Give damaged hair a well-deserved break from blow-dryers and hot irons. Plus, hold off on bleaching, straightening, perms or other chemical treatments. By not using these treatments and tools, you’ll be able to nurse your hair back to health.
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