How to Rehab Your Dry, Damaged Hair
Don’t worry—we’re not going to make you break up with your beloved flatiron (or curling iron, or blow-dryer). Keep your tools and use these tweaks to make your hair look stronger and shinier.
Try this: Suds your scalp only
It might be fun to soap your hair into a shampoo-commercial-style turban, but sudsing the full length can dry out your hair, causing fuzzy ends and dullness. Instead, focus your effort right where you need it: your scalp. Wet your hair, apply shampoo, thoroughly massage your scalp, then rinse. You’ll reduce product buildup without stripping the rest of your hair.
Try this: Upgrade to a leave-in
“A rinse-out treatment is similar to a face wash—you only give it a minute to do its job,” says Melbourne, Australia–based hairstylist Kevin Murphy, who suggests applying a leave-in cream to damp hair for 24-hour benefits. Our pick: Pantene Gold Series Leave-On Detangling Milk ($8; walmart.com).
Try this: Clarify with ACV
If, come Friday, 90 percent of your hair is dry shampoo, reach for apple cider vinegar (yes, straight from your kitchen). Pour three tablespoons’ worth over wet hair in the shower and massage it into your scalp. Wait a few minutes (wash your face, shave), then rinse—no need to shampoo. Follow with your regular conditioner and enjoy cleaner, shinier, softer hair. Beekman 1802 Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse ($35; shop.beekman1802.com) comes in a convenient spray bottle and packs other nourishing ingredients, such as goat’s milk. Sub in an ACV treatment for your regular shampoo once a week.
Try this: Top it with a warm towel
If you’re putting in the effort to use a hair mask, you might as well help it do its job even better. “Finger-comb the mask through hair—don’t just slap it on the top layer—then wrap hair in a bun and cover with a warm towel for 10 minutes,” recommends Christophe Lambenne, a colorist at Frédéric Fekkai Soho in New York City. Yes, it’s more work, but doing this will help the conditioning ingredients penetrate better, improving hair health—essential if you bleach. We like Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ultimate Reset Extreme Repair Mask ($68; shuuemuraartofhair-usa.com), which contains moisture-retaining rice extract.
Try this: Use products with veggie proteins
Get a trim at least every three months. But if you skip one to gain length, “use products that contain vegetable proteins, which help repair the surface of the hair,” advises Murphy. Look for quinoa, rice, and soy proteins on the label. Kiehl’s, Aveda, Ouidad, and Murphy’s line all offer products with them.
Try this: Consider a dry oil spray
Most shine sprays are cosmetic, but formulas with nourishing ingredients penetrate hair, making it healthier. R+Co Neon Lights Dry Oil Spray ($29; dermstore.com) contains olive, evening primrose, and marula seed oils in a silicone-free dry oil mist that adds shine without weight. Mist your brush, then comb through.
Try this: Condition first
It might feel strange, but washing after you condition will help prolong your style, especially if you have oily hair. “Conditioning before cleansing also helps add extra moisture without weighing down even fine hair,” says Los Angeles–based hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons. “This will naturally reduce tangles so you don’t have to work as hard outside the shower, when strands are more prone to breakage.” This duo makes it easy: Tresemmé Beauty-Full Volume Pre-Wash Conditioner and Shampoo ($5 each; target.com).