how to repair damaged hair
Dr. Sedat Öz
Written by Dr. Sedat Öz
30 May 2022
Average reading time of this content is 7 minutes
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When your hair becomes damaged, it not only looks less healthy, but it also feels less luxuriant and becomes brittle and dry. When hair is damaged, cracks appear in the outside layer of cells, or cuticle. This then lifts up, causing the hair to lose its shiny appearance and making it prone to breaking off or frizzing. Damaged hair is harder to manage and style, and can sometimes lead to an irritated or infected scalp. So, it is important to treat and fix damaged hair as soon as you become aware of it. Here are some ideas and pieces of advice to help you work out how to repair your damaged hair.

What Causes Hair Damage?

It is important to know, or at least make an educated guess about how your hair was damaged and why. This helps you work out how to fix damaged hair properly. For instance, if you have used too many heated styling tools, this can lead to heat damage and dehydration. Harsh chemicals and bleaches can strip out natural oils and make hair look brittle and lifeless after a while.

Swimming in salty or chlorinated weather for too long can also ruin hair’s good condition. So, work out where you might have ‘gone wrong’ and this will help you put things right. Sometimes, you may need to address more than one issue at once.

How to Repair Existing Hair Damage?

So, hair damage comes in different shapes and sizes. Here are some of the most common ways to help reverse them.

  • Dye, bleach or colourant

If you have used too much, or too strong dye, bleach or colourant on your hair, you may find that it becomes dry to the touch. This is because the chemicals in the dye strip out the natural moisture from the hair. Try using a hair mask for damaged hair to replenish some of the lost moisture and oils. Or rub a few drops of an oil such as olive oil or sweet almond oil through the strands, from the ends up to the scalp. This will help rehydrate the hair and smooth the cuticles back down.

Use a good shampoo – the best shampoo for damaged hair is one with UV and sun protection ingredients in. This is because it will help protect your hair and its colour when you are out in strong sunshine. Avoid swimming in chlorinated water if you have recently bleached your hair. The chlorine could change the colour of the bleach and dry out your hair even further.

  • Heated styling tools

If the damage comes from using heated tools, cut down on the amount of times you use these devices. Blow dry heat damaged hair from further away or turn the hairdryer’s heat setting down. Move the hair dryer continuously while drying your hair to stop it burning a single section. Apply a heat resistant serum before blow drying your hair, to add a protective layer.

If you can, let your hair dry in the air without using any heat at all. Don’t brush it while it is wet because hair is more prone to damage in this state. Wait until it is dry and use a soft bristled-brush, stroking gently from the top of the hair down to the ends. Have days when you do not style it, leaving it to its natural look to give it a break.

  • Tangled or matted hair

Your hair could be tangled or matted if you don’t brush or comb it regularly. This can cause lots of damage, especially if you are rough with it when trying to comb it out again. Tangled hair damages more easily. Raised cuticles rub against each other, causing friction and a loss of moisture. To repair this, apply a damaged hair treatment like a hair serum or oil to smooth out he strands. Then start at the ends and gently burhs and detangle it.

Do this with dry hair to avoid breaking more strands while it is wet. Unless you have tight curls or an afro, when it can be combed while damp. Be patient and work through each tangle carefully. If it is impossible to untangle, you may need to visit a salon for some professional help. They can advise you on what to do and show you some of the best hair products for damaged hair.

  • Dehydrated, dry hair

For dull , dehydrated or dry hair, the fix is simple – apply the oil that your hair has lost and watch it bounce back to life. Shampoo works by stripping out the excess oils in your hair, but sometimes, it can work too effectively. Wash your hair every other day at the most. Choose a shampoo with added moisture and fewer detergents in it. Some good ingredients to watch out for in shampoo include jojoba oil, Moroccan oil and sweet almond oil. These types of shampoo can help calm down frizzy and fried hair as well.

Other ideas include applying an apple cider rinse. This can help fix your hair’s pH level if it has gone too high and caused the cuticle to lift up and become frizzed or dry. Look for shampoos and treatments for damaged hair that are rich in vitamin E too as this helps to strengthen the hair from the inside. Eat a diet that is rich in vitamin E too, along with vitamins A and C and iron. These all help contribute to strong, luxuriant hair.

How to Prevent Further Damage?

Pay attention to how dry or moisturised your hair is as this is key to protecting it from harm. Apply a good damaged hair treatment with plenty of oils in as required. Choose a shampoo and conditioner with added hydrating ingredients in it. Ask your hairdresser what they recommend, as they can often give you excellent advice. They may also have access to professional products that you cannot buy elsewhere.

When you dye your hair, choose a tone that is within three shades of your own natural hair. Bright or unnatural colours can be harder to maintain and require more frequent touch-ups to hide roots and restore vibrancy. Try to wait at least eight to ten weeks between dye jobs. Always use a shampoo designed for coloured hair and rinse in cold water to stop heat hurting your chemically treated hair.

Visit the hairdresser on a regular basis; choose one you trust. This helps you to keep your hair in a well-cut, manageable style. It also allows the hairdresser to look for any signs of damage and suggest ways to help. At the very least, you can have the split ends cut to avoid further damage at the very bottom of your hair. This is also the best way to experiment with new styles. Your hairdresser will be able to envisage what will look good on you better than you can. They will also normally have experience in creating the kinds of cuts and colours you are looking at switching to.

When you are back at home, try to brush you hair less. This may seem strange, but it can help reduce the damage caused by harsher treatment of your hair. Brush before you wash it to get rid of the tangles and then when you are styling it for going out. Be gentle when you brush and always go from the scalp down to the ends.

Another tip is to tie up long hair when you are going out for a run of similar exercise. This stops it flying about as you move and keeps it away from some of the salty sweat around your face and neck. Likewise, use a swimming cap when moving in chlorinated or salty water to protect it and wash it as soon as you can afterwards.

For more information please check out HWT Clinic’s Blog

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