By Jihan Forbes. Photos: Getty Images.
Let's give it up for our hair. Sure, we take good care of it most of the time, but sometimes, whether it's constant heat styling or crazy color treatments, for the sake of a look, we sacrifice its health. Almost everyone has found themselves reaping the consequences of harmful styling, and wound up with hair that is, well, not exactly commercial-worthy. But though we may sometimes be rough on it, hair grows back, and with some extra TLC (and plenty of patience), you can nurse your coif right back to peak health.
But do you need a ton of product to do it? Reddit User everyoneiknowistrash took to the site's curly hair forum to show what their hair looked like eight months post–styling damage. The user claims they achieved their new head of healthy hair by taking a minimalist approach, using conditioner only. "No shampoo, no dye, no products, no heat," the user wrote.
We all know that conditioner is key when it comes to giving your hair the kind of moisture it needs to thrive. But is conditioner alone enough when you're trying to nurse your damaged hair back to health?
According to New York City dermatologist Francesca Fusco (who's also a consultant for Unilever), not at all. While conditioning is a very important part of maintaining hair health, she says it's not wise to avoid shampooing altogether. "Shampooing cleans and removes dead skin, oil and buildup. The key is using a shampoo that is formulated for both scalp and hair and contains nourishing ingredients." This is especially important for people who also struggle with dandruff, as shampoo helps keep flakes in check "by ridding the buildup of yeast, which are a big factor in dandruff."
New York City dermatologist Neil Sadick agrees. "If you do not shampoo your hair regularly and cleanse the follicles, you can cause more damage. Not shampooing does not stimulate hair growth."
So if your hair is damaged, while it is important for you to adjust your routine to help it out, it's not as useful to be too minimalist with your product usage. That said, what products do help to maximize the healing process? Hairstylist Tippi Shorter, who has worked with celebs like Yara Shahidi and Alicia Keys, suggests a protein treatment when your hair is really in a bad place. "Protein is a rebuilder for damaged strands, but should only be used sparingly and discontinued when hair has regained its vitality," she told Allure. She also suggests looking for products that have vitamins A and E, as well as natural oils like jojoba or coconut. Fusco is also a fan of coconut oil for damaged hair, as it helps keep protein loss at bay.
If you are trying to care for damaged hair, you definitely want to avoid things like heat styling, chemical straighteners, and any products with high concentrations of bleach or alcohol. But as for the one-product-only approach? It might make your life easier in terms of your hair routine, but in the long run, healthy hair needs more than one product to really thrive.
This story originally appeared on Allure.
More from Allure: