On a good hair day we rarely give our tresses a second thought. But when a bad hair day makes an unexpected appearance, we quickly declare our locks public enemy number one. We suddenly see, with amazing clarity, all the split ends, dullness and damage that seemed to have appeared overnight.
When overuse of hot styling tools, too much exposure to UV rays, excessive coloring or other factors take their toll on your delicate strands, it is time to get serious about hair repair. While it is always better to avoid the damage in the first place, the following techniques can help you repair damaged hair and keep bad hair days at bay.
Deep Clean Your Strands
Over time, the products you use on your hair – from shampoo to conditioner to styling products and even the minerals in your water – can cause build-up to accumulate on your strands. This results in limp, lifeless locks and can even cause split ends and breakage.
The good news is that it is easy to rid your hair of this gunky build-up. From clarifying shampoos to home remedies using everyday products like apple cider vinegar or baking soda, the first step in repairing damage and returning your hair to its normal state is to remove the product and mineral build-up. The average person should plan to do a clarifying treatment at least once per month.
While conditioning should be part of your regular hair care routine, a deep conditioning treatment – performed weekly – is an excellent way to repair existing damage and keep new hair growth healthy and shiny. This is especially true if you regularly color your hair, since damaged hair loses color faster than healthy hair.
The deep conditioner you select should be one that works best for your individual hair type. You want to make sure the treatment doesn’t weigh your hair down or leave your locks appearing greasy. If you are having trouble finding the right deep conditioner, talk to your salon professional who can guide you to the best option for your hair.
UV Sun Protection
The sun is a glorious thing and everyone enjoys a day outside enjoying the rejuvenation of a bright, sunny day – summer or winter. Unfortunately, the sun is also one of the main causes of hair damage, all year long. Harsh UV rays cause bleaching and brittle ends and can cause your strands to look lifeless and dull.
The best way to protect your hair from harsh UV rays is to avoid exposure altogether. A good hat, preferably with a wide brim, will keep the sun off your locks. If a hat isn’t practical, consider protecting your strands with a specially formulated leave-in treatment with an SPF of at least 12 or more. You can also make your own SPF treatment by mixing two tablespoons of sunblock with a cup of water. Store this mixture in a spray bottle and spritz it on throughout the day to enjoy maximum protection when at the beach or on the slopes.
It may sound old fashioned, but a simple hot oil treatment can infuse your hair with the nutrients it needs to repair damage and keep new growth healthy. You can raid your pantry for olive oil or buy a treatment from your drugstore or salon.
Simply wash and towel dry your hair, apply the oil then put a shower cap over your hair to keep everything in place. Use a hair dryer or the sun to warm the oil. Let your hair cool, then rinse with cool water and style as usual. Since hot oil treatments can create a greasy appearance, don’t overdo this hair repair treatment. Once a month is usually sufficient.
Regular Hair Cuts
There is no better weapon in your hair care arsenal for repairing damage and keeping hair healthy than regular visits to your salon. Left unchecked, split ends will grow and cause further damage, so keeping those trimmed off will go a long way toward managing potential damage.
While damage to your hair may seem an inevitable part of daily life, all hope is not lost. With just a bit of attention and regular care, you can reverse the signs of damage and enjoy healthy, shiny locks.