If you’re struggling with split ends, hair that’s dull and lacking shine, or hair that is bleached and thinning, don’t worry! All you need is a haircare routine for damaged hair to get you back to healthy hair that is full of shine and length and bounce.
This guide is for you if you are experience any of the signs of damaged hair:
- thin ends or split ends
- your hair has become very tangled, more than usual
- your hair is dull and lacking shine
- your hair is shedding more than usual
- your hair is very dry and brittle with lots of breakage
If you’re experiencing any of these, just know that the key to repairing damaged hair is simple: a little bit of patience and being gentle with your hair.
What causes damaged hair?
There are 4 types of hair damage:
- split ends
- hair loss
- heat damage (normally from overuse of hot tools, especially without heat protectant)
- Color damage (from hair color)
- chemical damage (from chemical treatments like straightening treatments or perms)
UV exposure and bad nutrition can also damage hair.
Can damaged hair be repaired?
Hair isn’t a living thing, so any hair bonds that have been broken can’t technically be repaired. However, there are a growing number of products on the market that have “bond-building” technology which aims to build new bonds in the hair and make damaged hair look and feel healthy again.
Even if your hair is damaged, you can always cut off split ends or damaged strands, and wait for your hair to grow. If you avoid using chemical treatments, overusing hot tools, and other damage-causing products and styles, the hair that grows will be healthy.
Haircare routine for damaged hair
1. Cut off split ends
The first step to taking care of damaged hair is cutting off any hair you are willing to part with that is beyond repair. Thin, split ends can’t be salvaged and you’re better of starting with a fresh slate and cutting them off.
2. Comb your hair before shampooing
As you’re repairing your damaged hair, you want to make sure you don’t cause further damage. When your hair is wet it’s in its most vulnerable state, so you’ll want to avoid brushing it in its wet state to avoid further hair loss.
3. Use a shampoo and conditioner for damaged hair
Shampoos and conditioners that are meant to build bonds are a great choice and can leave your hair feeling softer and healthier. There are lots of options at the drugstore and among high-end brands that do a great job of bringing healthy hair back to life.
4. Try a hair mask
Damaged hair is also dry hair. Your hair will need lots of moisture to get back to feeling soft and looking shiny. Deep conditioning and moisture masks are great for damaged hair, but many people swear by bond-building masks from Olaplex and K18 which can revive damaged hair quickly. You should use a hair mask at least once a week, unless directed to use more often.
5. If your hair is very tangled, use a leave-in conditioner
So if you shouldn’t brush wet hair, what can you do? Leave-in conditioners help detangle and soften hair. Wide-tooth combs are a good gentle option to detangle hair.
6. Use a hair towels or t-shirt to dry your hair
As mentioned before, wet hair is hair at its most vulnerable, so you’ll want to dry it as fast as possible. This is where hair towels come in. They are specially designed with microfiber fabric to dry hair faster, but if you don’t have a hair towel a t-shirt works great as well to absorb the moisture from your hair.
7. Give the hot tools a break
Don’t worry, it’s not forever! But if you’re looking to repair damage, taking a break from hot tools will keep you from damaging your hair further. There are a lot of heatless hairstyles you can give a try during this time or you can embrace going au naturel.
8. When you do use hot tools, use heat protectant
If you are going to use hot tools, always use a heat protectant. Heat protectant slows how quickly your hair heats up. You can also use your hot tools on a lower temperature setting to reduce the amount of heat your hair is exposed to.
9. Protect your hair from sun exposure
We all know to wear sunscreen when we’re in the sun (even if we don’t always do it) but the sun can also damage your hair. Wearing a UV protection spray will also protect your scalp and protect your hair color from fading in the sun.
Best Products for Damaged Hair
Shampoo and conditioner set: Redken Bonding Shampoo and Conditioner for Damaged Hair Repair
This shampoo and conditioner set is amazing for all types of damage and will leave your hair feeling better right out of the shower.
Budget shampoo and conditioner set: SheaMoisture Manuka Honey and Yogurt Hydrate + Repair Shampoo and Conditioner
This shampoo and conditioner hydrates AND repairs with Manuka honey as the key ingredient for strengthening damaged hair.
Repairing Hair Mask: K18 Leave-in Molecular Repair Hair Mask
K18 isn’t cheap but it’s the holy grail right now for damaged hair. This mask promises to reverse hair damage in 4 minutes. You apply on damp hair after you’ve gotten out of the shower with no need to rinse out! Check out some of the reviews on this if you're interested in trying it.
Deep Conditioning Hair Mask: Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair Deep Conditioning Hair Mask
Hair Towels: Aquis Hair Wrap
The Aquis Hair Wrap claims to dry hair 50% faster and strengthen hair while it dries. It also comes in a lot of cute colors.
Heat Protectant and UV Exposure Spray: Coola Organic Scalp Spray and Hair Sunscreen Mist with SPF 30
This sunscreen spray for hair from Coola is water-resistant and safe for color-treated hair. Just apply 15 minutes before sun exposure and you’re good to go!
Though repairing hair can take time, after trying this haircare routine for damaged hair and you’ll start seeing some healthier hair quickly!