Some of us really put our hair through the wringer: Whether you love to color your hair or use your curling daily—or you always mean to do a mask but never do—daily damage adds up over time. To avoid having more bad hair days than good, we rounded up six tips from hair industry experts to help you return your hair back to its soft and silky state. Ahead, how to revive your damaged strands.
Getty / Todor Tsvetkov
Your scalp needs the same extra care that you give your face—especially when the seasons change. "Typically, people use a heavier face cream to compensate in colder months, and you need to do the same for your scalp," explains Sally Hershberger, a celebrity hairstylist. "It's almost as if you need to do a hard reset. I recommend using a tea tree oil or any other clarifying treatment to remove any remaining dry skin from the scalp. However, clarifiers can be drying to the hair, so make sure to use a heavier conditioner or mask to moisturize dry strands."
Put Down the Tools
Since most hot tools can reach temperatures well over 400 degrees, it's important to ensure that your hair doesn't feel the burn. As Matrix celebrity colorist George Papanikolas explains, "most breakage and frying comes from heated tools, so to prevent breakage when you do use them, use a heat protectant like Biolage R.A.W. Color Care Heat Styling Primer ($19.50, ulta.com) for heat protection up to 450 degrees." Also, limit using your go-to styling tools to just three times a week at most, shares Stephanie Brown, master colorist at IGK Salon SoHo.
Reduce Your Color Schedule
Repeatedly coloring your hair leads to severe damage—which is why Papanikolas recommends "spacing out your single process color appointments to every four to six weeks and highlights to 12 weeks." If you are highlighting your hair, stick within six shades of your natural base color, he adds—anything lighter can compromise the integrity of the hair, leading to "damage, stress, and breakage." Also, before your next appointment, "ask your stylist to add some extra protection to their formula, like an oil or bond protector that will helps protects hair against damage," says Cédric, a celebrity hairstylist.
Don't Skip the Trim
When growing your hair out, you may think that a haircut will prevent hair growth—but the opposite is actually true. Shelly Aguirre, stylist at Maxine Salon explains that "hair grows about half an inch a month, so getting your hair trimmed every three months, helps gain length."
Let Your Down Hair
"Tight ponytails can damage the hair," says Nunzio Saviano, a New York City stylist and salon owner. "If you are repeatedly pulling the hair back and up tightly, it can weaken already fragile hair, causing breakage around the hairline." To avoid this, sleep with your hair down, preferably on a silk pillowcase.
Add Protein to Your Diet
Your hair is made of protein, which is why dietary protein is key. "It's the building blocks of your strands and provides the hair with strength and structure. Alongside, a protein-rich diet, take a daily protein supplement like PK4 Soya Protein Boost ($45, dermstore.com)—formulated with all essential amino acids needed for hair growth," shares Anabel Kingsley, brand president at Philip Kingsley. Also monitor your vitamin B12 levels, since deficiency can cause excessive hair shedding, she notes.