How can I reverse damaged hair to the previous health and shiny looks?
Shiny, bouncy, healthy hair – it’s every woman’s best beauty asset. But as much as we treasure our tresses, we put them through a lot of torture. Blow-dryers, flat irons, hair dyeing or bleaching, chemical straightening and tight ponytails can leave our hair dry, fried and unable to hold a style.
Hair expert John Gray, author of The World of Hair, explains all this rough handling strips away your mane’s outer protective layer – the “F” layer – leading to a degradation of the cortex, the central core of the hair shaft. Ouch!
Dire as that sounds, with just a few tweaks to your hair care routine, your damaged hair will act, look and feel healthy while you prevent future harm.
“Hair care technology has come a long way. You can still color your hair, use styling tools or spend time out in the sun and have great hair -– as long as you are taking the right steps to protect it.” – Pantene senior scientist Jeni Thomas.
Here’s how to mend your damaged hair from the four main types of assault.
How to Repair Damaged Color-Treated Hair
Can color-damaged hair be repaired? Yes, it can be done.
If you dye or lighten your hair, staying within two shades of your natural color will be far less damaging than going from dark brown to blond – or the other way around. When you touch up your hair at home with permanent or semi-permanent color, focus on the roots so you’re not processing your porous ends again.
Be cautious about exposing your color-processed hair to chemical straightening or permanent waves. If you love the results you get with chemical straightening, then talk to your stylist about switching to a gentler process that improves the texture of your hair. The gentler hair care products leave your hair soft, glossy and manageable rather than pin-straight.
Chemical treatments alter the structure of the hair.
Use a shampoo and conditioner formulated for colored hair. Hence using the hair care products specifically designed for the color-treated hair contain unique ingredients, such as certain polymers that enhance this new structure.
Heat Damage from Hair Care Tools
You can prevent your efforts of looking for the ways of how to fix damaged hair. Instead, do the right thing and prevent all the damage to your precious locks.
Here’s my guide for Hair Drying Without Damaging it. You’ll pick up a few tips you’ve never known about.
The highest setting of your flat iron, curling iron and blow-dryer may actually exceed the boiling point of water. Instead of poaching your tresses, apply a heat-protecting spray and use the lowest setting that will allow you to get the results you want and maintain your healthy hair.
Don’t blow-dry your hair when it’s sopping wet!
Instead, wait until it’s two-thirds dry, or blot with a towel to absorb extra moisture.
When you use your flat iron, keep it moving. Try to go through each section of hair only once.
Look for hair care products that contain the words “moisturizing” or “hydrating” on the label. As science shows such products will provide your thirsty locks with the restorative drink they need.
Damaging Hair Through Rough Handling
Use only a wide-tooth comb to detangle wet hair. Cut down on how frequently and aggressively you brush your hair. Forget the 100 nightly strokes maxim and use the minimum number of brush strokes that are needed to achieve or refresh your style.
If you wear a ponytail, be sure to use seamless elastics and take care when you remove them. Carelessly ripping out your pony holder can lead to breakage.
If you already have signs of breakage, such as flyways around the crown, use a smoothing cream. Rub a dime-size amount between your palms, then lightly apply to your flyaway zones. So easy, and so much more effective and less damaging to your hair.
How to Repair Sun-Damaged Hair
I was a beach bum at one time of my life, before I discovered how damaging the sun can be for my skin and my hair alike.
Just as UV rays damage your skin, they also wreak havoc on your locks, weakening the protein structure that keeps hair strong and healthy.
The best way to protect your healthy hair from damage on a sunny day is to wear a hat. You can choose one with a wide brim, and you’ll protect your skin too.
But applying extra hair care products that cut the absorption of the damaging sun rays is an effective idea. It’s better to prevent than reverse damaged hair to its health.
Check out an extensive and quality list for UV Hair Protection Products in my detailed post.
If your tresses have already seen more sunny days than you can count, choose a shampoo and conditioner that are designed to strengthen your hair, and pick the formula that’s right for your texture: fine/fragile or medium/thick.
In this post, I discuss in detail which Natural Hair Care Products can strengthen your hair follicle and increase hair growth.
Like for the skin needing hydration, sun-damaged hair call for the revival with a powerful duet of hair shampoo and conditioner. Make sure your hair care products are free of parabends and sulfates. Instead, look for the ingredients like jojoba oil, coconut and argan oils.
How to Ease Existing Hair Damage
Try to use these really affordable hair care products that will ease the damage of your hair.
By using almond oil before you dry your hair can dramatically reduce the hair frizz. In fact, it actually can strengthen and soften the hair. Just apply a small amount of almond oil to the finger tips and smooth out the ends of the hair.
Another less-known way to to help your hair to repair the damage from sun, heating tools and color processing is rice water. Don’t pour down the drain the water you rinse rice in. The Inositol (vitamin B8) found in rice water can penetrate the damaged hair, feeding and repair it from inside out.
Inositol is a carbohydrate that repairs and protects while staying in your hair to work its magic even after rinsing.
Download this file that features the effects Inositol has on the damaged hair.
FUN FACT: Women in the village of Huang Luo, China, boast with the longest hair ever. They use rice water mixed with a few natural ingredients to wash their hair.
Recipe for Rice Water for Hair Treatment
Use 1:1 proportion of water and rice.
How to Make Rice Water for In-home Hair Treatment.
Take one cup of rice and quickly rinse it with water to get rid of any impurities.
Transfer rice into a bowl and mix it with water. I use spring water, not tap water. Mix rice with water until the mixture becomes cloudy. This is the key to get as much nutrients from rice as possible.
Then strain rice and collect rice water into a glass or porcelain container. I use a glass measuring cup. Allow the rice water to sit at room temperature anywhere from 12 to 24 hours, no longer to avoid spoilage.
Refrigerate rice water until your next hair wash.
Transfer rice water into a clean bottle to use during rinsing in the shower. I use a bottle from the old shampoo to allow the distribution of the rice water evenly throughout my hair.
How to Use Rice Water Solution for Hair Treatment
Depending on the length of your hair, you will need to use the entire rice water solution or part of it. Just keep unused rice water in the fridge until your next hair wash.
After your regular shampoo and conditioner, apply rice water all over the hair. Wait for 3-5 minutes for the rice solution to penetrate your hair structure. You can massage the rice water into your hair and the scalp. After 3-5 minutes, rinse with clean water.
After the fist use of rice water, you will feel the structure and smoothness of the hair. Try to use a rice water solution every time you wash your hair. You will begin seeing the results in your hair getting shinier, healthier-looking and more beautiful.