6 Easy Ways to Undo Hair Damage
Turn Down the Heat
Good news: You don t have to completely swear off blow-drying. Just do it right. Your hair will be much better off if you start blow-drying when it isn t dripping wet, says Boston dermatologist Ranella Hirsch. Blot, don t rub, wet hair with a microfiber towel, which is less damaging than the classic terry-cloth turban. Use a heat-protective spray or serum. Our favorites: Tresemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray and John Frieda Frizz-Ease Hair Serum Thermal Protection Formula.
Hairstylists love to say you can reduce the times you shampoo to three times a week. But if you have fine and/or oily hair, you don t have to walk around looking dirty. Shampoo daily, but thoroughly drench your hair with water before you lather up, says New Orleans dermatologist Mary P. Lupo. Then concentrate on just the hair two inches closest to the scalp, since that s where sebum collects. And rinse really, really well under the coldest water you can stand. (Bonus: This will smooth the cuticle so frayed ends are less obvious.)
Stock your shower with products that have the words anti-breakage, strengthening, or renewal on the label to thicken hair and seal split ends. We like Pantene Pro-V Restoratives Time Renewal Shampoo and Conditioner and L Oréal Professionnel Force Vector Reinforcing Anti-Breakage Shampoo and Conditioner.
Semipermanent or permanent dyes—and not just the blonde kind—contain some peroxide, which will break down the waxy protective layer of hair, says Jeni Thomas, senior scientist for Pantene. So just give your ends a rest. Apply dye only to the roots and then comb it through the ends in just the last few minutes. Then keep your hair looking fresh longer by using a shampoo and conditioner formulated for dyed hair. (Try Garnier Fructis Color Shield Fortifying Shampoo and Cream Conditioner or Kiehl s Sunflower Color Preserving Shampoo and Conditioner. )
Stretching your hair with a brush while you incinerate it with a blow-dryer is not so hot for your hair s health. But you can fight frizz less harshly. A good-quality blow-dryer, like the Turbo Power Twin Turbo 3500, dries so quickly that there really isn t time for the hair to overheat, says hairstylist Garren of the Garren New York salon, who recommends an ionic dryer with at least 2,000 watts of power. Ditch the big round brush for one with smooth, synthetic bristles. (We like the Sephora Bamboo Nylon Paddle Brush. ) And at least try two things: Don t yank too hard on the hair and keep the nozzle as far away as possible. Two inches would be acceptable, Lupo says.