Hair often goes through the ringer in the name of beauty, and sometimes the consequences aren’t understood until the signs of damage start creeping up. When you start to notice a lack of moisture, split ends, breakage, dullness or weak strands, it’s not the end of the world. It just means it’s time for you to learn how to repair damaged hair and take back control. To help get your good hair days back, Redken debunks 8 myths on how to repair damaged hair, along with some handy hair growth tips.
Myth #1: You can use any shampoos and conditioner.
Everyday shampoos and conditioners might not offer the hair-fortifying or moisturizing properties damaged hair needs. Instead, switch to a hair strengthening shampoo and keep shampooing to a minimum (only a few times a week) to avoid stripping your scalp of essential oils. When you’re in the shower, massage—don’t rub—the shampoo gently into your scalp.
If you have oily hair, opt for a dry shampoo in between wash days, and when you do shampoo, concentrate only on the roots—the greasiest parts of the hair.
To restore moisture, apply a rich, rinse-out conditioner after every shampoo, a hair mask once a week or a hot oil treatment a few times a month. When using a mask or oil treatment, wear a shower cap to concentrate the moisture on your locks (and avoid messes!).
When shopping for a conditioner, be on the lookout for mango, shea and cocoa butters as ingredients; they seal and provide moisture. Palm, jojoba and olive oils give shine and moisture, and hydrolyzed keratin, a protein in hair and skin, strengthens the hair shaft.
The Redken Extreme haircare line features products formulated to help prevent breakage and damage by infusing hair with proteins. Among its offerings, the line contains a hair strengthening shampoo, conditioner, leave-in split end treatment, a primer (an in-shower treatment for damaged hair meant to protect hair and increase growth potential) and a fortifying hair mask.
Looking for DIY options for treatment for damaged hair? Avocado, butter and olive oil have all been known to soften hair.
Myth #2: You have to stash your hair dryer.
Although air-drying is best for damaged hair since overuse of heating tools can make things worse, you can get away with using a hair dryer once in a while if you prep your hair correctly. Expose your hair to less heat by letting an old t-shirt or micro-fiber towel soak up the water in your hair first. Then apply a heat-protectant or serum. When drying your hair, use the medium setting and keep the dryer no closer than two inches from your hair.
Again, as a possible cause of hair damage, it makes sense to steer clear of heating tools. However, using a flat iron occasionally is fine. Prep carefully by working on completely dry hair (using a straightener on damp hair fries the hair from the inside out—ouch!). You should also apply a leave in treatment for damaged hair that conditions, protects against heat damage and hair breakage and strengthens damaged hair, and use a lower heat setting.
Myth #4: Bye, bye hair dye.
Exposing your hair to even more chemicals when your hair is already damaged may seem crazy, but there are a few instances when coloring damaged hair is ok. If you dye your hair very rarely while your hair is damaged or you only want to touch up your roots with a single process haircolor, it’s ok to color your hair, since hair at the top of your head is healthier and newer than the ends, which tend to be driest and most damaged. Skip the double process haircolor till your hair is healthy again.
Myth #5: You can still rock your regular tight hairstyles.
Tight ponytails, braids or buns may be stylish, but they can weaken and thin hair, especially if your hair is fine. Instead, opt for a looser hairdo, and use a hair tie without a metal fastener (say no to rubber bands!) so your hair won’t snag when you undo your hair.
Myth #6: You have to chop it all off.
You don’t have to default to a trendy pixie or bob haircut just because you have damaged hair (but if you’re in the mood to shake things up, go for it!). You can still keep some length by only cutting split ends, and then focusing your efforts on how to repair damaged hair that’s left.
Myth #7: Frequent trims make hair grow faster.
Surprise! One of the most popular hair growth tips out there is false. You can go to your salon for trims as much as you want—they’re good for maintaining a healthy appearance to your hair—but they won’t make your hair grow faster or help stop damage. Everyone’s hair grows at a different rate; whether or not you cut it a little bit each month won’t affect its growth. So what makes hair grow faster? That brings us to our next tip.
Myth #8: You only have to focus on your hair.
Strengthening and moisturizing treatments and styling products can do a lot for damaged hair, but to improve your hair, you should also be paying attention to what you put in your body. After all, proper nutrition is what makes hair grow faster.
Among its many benefits, protein boosts hair strength, and lean red meat, in particular, contains iron and zinc, two minerals that help hair grow.
Biotin or Vitamin B7 is also known for promoting hair growth. You can find it in eggs (a great source of protein and a source of Vitamin D) or take a supplement of it daily.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in flaxseed oil and fish oil, can help with hair growth as well, and makes dull, damaged hair look shiny.