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6 Ways to Repair Damaged Hair

Female hair with split ends on white background

With the help a proper hair care regimen, some solid treatments, and a little patience, you can repair your damaged hair and restore it to its former glory.

So you’ve finally achieved that dreamy lilac hair color you’ve been working towards for months. It looks fantastic, but now your hair feels like straw! Coloring your hair, overdrying, washing too frequently, even wearing too tight a hairstyle—these things all can cause severe damage. And I’m not just talking about split ends: your hair might become brittle and break easily, or it might get extremely frizzy and hard to manage.

Here’s what to do.

Go Longer Between Coloring Treatments

Coloring is one of the primary ways hair gets damaged. If you color your hair, our first tip for repairing the damage is to go longer between coloring treatments.

If you’re working towards your dream color, it might be tempting to return to the stylist’s chair once a week. But the more frequently you color your hair, the more damaged it will become. You should wait at least four weeks between treatments. It’s even better to stretch that to six or eight weeks if you can.

While that means that you might have grown out roots or be rocking an orangey hue for a while, your hair will thank you in the long run.

Wash Your Hair Less Frequently

Shampoos strip the natural oils from your hair. This is especially true if you color your hair. Washing your dyed hair frequently will also strip the color faster.

Whether you color your hair or not, though, invest in a gentle shampoo. And if you do color your hair, choose a shampoo made just for that. You should also try to wash your only once or twice a week if you can. Investing in a good dry shampoo can help you look and feel fresh in between washes.

Opt Out of Tight Hair Styles

Young businesswoman with hair bun looking out of window
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

While high, tight ponytails might be in style, they’re hugely damaging to your hair, especially if you’ve been coloring it.

Pulling your hair back tightly from your face strains the follicles and can cause breakage. Hair that’s already damaged from color is even more likely to break.

Opt out of hairstyles like high ponytails and tight braids. Wear your hair loose, especially when you’re going to sleep.

Don’t Brush Your Hair When It’s Wet

Brushing your hair when it’s wet can cause extreme hair breakage, especially if the hair follicle is already damaged. Think about it: your hair can feel like a rat’s nest when you get out of the shower. Brushing it can be very harsh.

If you need to detangle your hair when wet, use a comb to work out any knots gently. If you’d like to brush your hair, wait until it’s fully dry before jumping in.

Do Deep Conditioning Treatments Once Per Week

Unlike the regular conditioner you use in the shower, deep conditioning treatments are designed to soak into and repair your hair. Some deep conditioning treatments take five or ten minutes; others are supposed to rest for a few hours.

Using deep conditioners can restore needed moisture and shine to your hair. There are hundreds of products out there to choose from. You can also make your own deep conditioners using household items like apple cider vinegar, honey, and eggs.

Dry Your Hair Carefully

Happy woman drying her hair in bathroom

Your hair is vulnerable when it’s wet. Just as you should treat wet hair carefully when combing it, you should also treat it carefully when drying.

Don’t wrap your hair up in a towel to dry or ring excess water out. Instead, gently pat your hair dry. Place your hair inside a towel and use pressure on both sides to remove the water. Don’t twist otherwise stress your hair.

Have Patience

The final way to repair damaged hair is simply to wait. Your hair will recover, with time. Treat your hair carefully, and you’ll need less time to return to normal.

What are your favorite tricks for repairing damaged hair? Let us know in the comments.

Hayley Milliman Hayley Milliman
Hayley is a former Teach for America teacher turned curriculum developer and writer. Over the past five years, she's written hundreds of articles on everything from education to personal finance to history. She's co-author of the book  Females. Read Full Bio »
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