Damaged hair can be a real drag. And we don't mean that just aesthetically; having damaged hair that snares, drags, and breaks can be uncomfortable and unhealthy and damage your self-confidence.
That’s why it’s so important to take steps to protect your hair from damage and keep it looking and feeling its best. But when we live in a world with so many pollutants (both natural and man-made), protecting your hair every day can feel like a massive undertaking.
No one should live with dull, breaking, damaged hair. Instead, try these steps to protect your hair from damage so you can live a happier, healthier, fuller life. Read on to learn how you can move towards a healthier you today.
Excess heat is a sure-fire way to fry and damage your hair. Unfortunately, most of our styling techniques rely on high-heat technology, like blow dryers, flat irons, and curling irons.
The next time you’re tempted to reach for the curling iron, go for heat-free styling products instead. These innovative heat-free products work with your natural hair texture, not against it, to give you the volume you’re looking for.
There are plenty of types of heat-free styling products, such as:
- Lightweight curl cream
- Salt sprays for waves
- Volumizing mousse foam or texture mousse
- Curl mousse or curl defining cream
- Smoothing creams
Make sure to look for an organic styling cream, organic mousse or all-natural texture spray for the best results.
Don’t know where to start? Try Kavella’s Defining Cream and Volumizing Mousse. Consider cozy curlers paired with Kavella’s Volumizing Mousse and Defining Cream for styling wavy or curly hair overnight without heat.
Pillowcases and Bonnets
While cotton sheets and pillowcases may be extra comfy, resting your hair on them all night is a sure-fire way to zap out all of your hair’s moisture.
The result? Frizzy, dehydrated, brittle hair. After a while, sleeping on cotton sheets and pillows can enact serious damage to your hair and quickly disintegrate your hair's natural shine, health, and beauty.
Luckily, there’s a cure – silk or satin pillowcases and overnight hair bonnets. Switch out those dry, stuffy cotton pillowcases with satin or silk pillowcases to ensure a less dehydrating experience. If you want to take your nighttime protection to the next level, consider purchasing a hair bonnet.
Not only will a hair bonnet keep your hair hydrated, but it also limits frizz, protects your hairstyle, and supercharges your hair products to ensure they work at their fullest potential. You can also find a satin-lined hair bonnet, or use a satin scarf for protecting hair.
If your hair is super damaged, you may want to put on a recovery lotion or repairing hair mask underneath your bonnet so that it works all through the night.
The next time your hair is wet and tangled, put down that dry brush and pick up a wet brush instead.
Wet brushes are specifically-designed hair brushes to use when your hair is wet, fragile, and tangled. Instead of ripping through your hair, wet brushes gently glide through your knots to detangle even the toughest clumps with ease and grace.
Not only is this better for your hair – it’s better for you! With wet brushes, you can say goodbye to painful detangle sessions.
Make sure to properly research your wet brush as each brush works differently for various hair types and thicknesses.
Not only do braids look great and are always in style, but braids are also a great way to protect your hair from sustaining too much damage and overall wear and tear.
How can a braid be so powerful? When in a braid, your hair is gathered together in a protective shield, and the ends are protected from pulling, snagging, dragging, and overall wear. Braiding your hair also locks in some moisture.
However, you do have to make sure that your hair is not too tightly braided and you don't leave it in too long as this can lead to damage.
For even more moisture, consider adding hair oils or leave-in conditioners to the lengths and ends of hair before braiding. Be sure to avoid applying too much near the scalp, so your hair doesn’t appear too oily.
Seal in Moisture
Speaking of sealing in moisture in braids, another great remedy for protecting against damaged hair is to step up your routine hair care treatment with products designed to amp up your hair’s moisture.
Moisture in hair is important. Both water and oil protect and replenish your hair to give it a healthy glow. When your hair is dehydrated or lacking essential oils, it breaks, frizzes, has more static, splits, and looks dull and lifeless.
Luckily, there are plenty of products available to moisturize and add and retain essential water, oils, and nutrients. For example, try Kavella’s Recovery Lotion to close the cuticle down, which reduces moisture loss, or try Kavella’s Scalp & Hair Oil Treatment.
Say No to Chlorine
By now, it should come as no surprise that harsh chemicals drastically damage hair. Unfortunately, this counts for chemicals you'll find in everyday life, not just those used to treat and style hair.
Perhaps one of the most common chemicals that hair comes in contact with is chlorine. If you are a frequent swimmer and don't take measures to properly protect your hair, chances are that most of your hair damage is a result of repeated chlorine exposure.
Chlorine damages hair in three major ways. The main way is that chlorine damages and disintegrates a protective layer and protective cuticles. After a while, with so much of the protective layer gone, your hair's cortex layer becomes more exposed.
The cortex layer contains most of your hair's natural color pigment, so when too much of this exposed layer interacts with chlorine, your hair begins to fade and lose its vibrancy.
Additionally, chlorine wears down your hair’s amino acids and alters your hair's structural integrity. When this happens, your hair weakens and becomes much more prone to damage and breakage.
So what can you do? Thankfully, there is an easy solution – swim caps! Sure, swim caps can take a little bit of getting used to and may not look as aesthetically pleasing as free-flowing hair, but your hair will avoid severe damage caused by chlorine. And if you are a frequent swimmer, you need all of the protection you can get.
Don’t Overdo It on the Shampoo
Shampoo is a wonderful invention; it soaks up all of that greasy oil to deliver clean, great-looking hair. The problem? When you overdo it, shampoo can lead to nasty damage and breakage. Too much shampooing, or shampooing with harsh surfactants such as sodium lauryl sulfate, can remove essential, necessary oils. Losing these oils can dry out your hair and cause it to become brittle and break.
So how often should you shampoo your hair? The answer depends on your individual body and hair type. However, a good rule of thumb is to shampoo every two and three days. If you have dry or damaged hair (or are prone to having dry hair easily), you may even want to shampoo every four or five days.
Find the balance and what works for you. If you have dry or porous hair, you can still clarify your hair as needed, but make sure you use a moisture-latent shampoo like Kavella’s Moisturizing Shampoo in between!
Choose Clean Ingredients
Just as it’s important to consume and eat clean ingredients, it’s also important to use clean ingredients in your hair care routine.
As tempting as they may be, cheap, inexpensive hair care products tend to use a lot of filler ingredients, most of which actively damage and work against your hair.
For example, many hair care products use a term called “fragrance” on their ingredient list instead of listing the bottle’s actual ingredients, which in most cases, are very harmful.
This term is what the hair industry calls a “trade secret,” which means that it’s perfectly legal to slap the word “fragrance” on the back of the bottle to hide real ingredients like phthalates or other toxins or irritants.
Not only can these ingredients potentially suck moisture from your hair, but they can wreak havoc on your body’s systems. Most of these ingredients, like phthalates and sulfates, are endocrine system disruptors, which means that they block your body’s ability to produce essential hormones that are vital for a properly functioning body.
Instead of picking up the first bottle of conditioner you see, do your research on not only the ingredient list but the company itself. When possible, go for companies that use safe, natural ingredients in their products.
For example, Kavella is an ethical hair care company that makes clean products with strict ingredient standards. All Kavella hair care products are vegan, gluten-free and use safe ingredients.
When shopping, make sure to choose vegan hair masks, silicone-free hair mousse, organic styling cream, and more.
Using Better Hair Styling Products
Even though using hair curling and flat irons causes damage, they can be hard to cut out completely. That’s why it’s important to step up your hair care product game. If you can, choose products that reduce damage.
For example, steam irons are a great workaround to a flat iron as the steam helps add moisture during the straightening process. Even though it may be counterintuitive (as you can hear your hair sizzle on contact), steam is great for locking in and adding as much moisture as possible. For the healthiest hair, you still want to limit the use of this type of tool to once per week or less.
Sometimes, it’s the little details that count the most. It doesn’t always come down to a big price tag and a fancy steam curling iron. You can ensure that you are treating hair rights by simply choosing different hair ties that don’t snag your hair.
Some (okay, most) hair elastics are made from harsh fabric which ends up sticking to your hair and pulling, snagging, and damaging your hair cuticles. Instead, choose hair elastics with soft fabrics made from materials like:
- Pure elastic
- Slip silk
If you’re looking for an especially gentle, safe hair elastic option, choose elastics made from microfiber. These are specifically helpful when tying back wet hair as they will not pull or snag at all. The downside, of course, is that they’re not as effective at keeping hair in place. For that, you may want to find a blend with more elastic in it.
Cut Back on Bad Habits
Anxiety manifests itself in a number of ways. For those with luscious, long locks of hair, sometimes nervousness or anxiety can get you to twirl, twist, or pull out your hair. And chances are that you probably don’t even realize you’re doing it until you notice a clump of hair in your hand.
Cut back on bad anxiety habits by replacing your nervous habit with a stress ball, fidget toy, or something else that can easily replace tugging or pulling on your hair. If that doesn’t seem to cut it, try cutting out stress in general by exercising more, practicing yoga and meditation, or getting more sleep.
Consider Hair Oils
Adding topical natural oils or butters like coconut oil, shea butter, and argan oil can do wonders for improving moisture and hair health. If you have too many split ends, this won’t erase the damage, and you’ll still need to start fresh with a trim.
However, they will certainly improve your hair and give it a much-needed boost, and they will temporarily help hide those dead and split ends.
How to Know When Your Hair Is Damaged
It's not easy to know when your hair is damaged. Other times, you may know that something is wrong with your hair, but you don't know whether it's due to a lack of moisture or a lack of oils and nutrients, or if your hair has just been exposed to too many damaging agents like harsh chemicals, too many hair products, and so forth.
That's why it's so important to recognize the signs of when your hair is damaged and what kind of damage it has sustained.
Here are a few signs that your hair is damaged and how you can best rectify the damage.
Most times, when we think of hair damage, we think of brittle hair strands and split ends. However, many men and women can sustain hair loss or thinning hair when their hair has weathered too much damage.
Hair loss can occur when your hair loses too much protein by being stripped down from chlorine exposure, aggressive brushing, or intense heat. When your hair thins or you lose too much, consider finding strengthening products like strengthening shampoo and conditioner that will rebuild your hair’s protein.
When your hair loses its special vivacious glow, it could be a direct result of too much hair damage. Oftentimes, dull or brittle hair is a result of a lack of moisture.
Consider finding products that increase the moisture in your hair to get that vibrancy back. If you suspect that you are suffering from chlorine damage, consider using a mask during pool swimming or update your shower head to a filtered shower head to prevent chlorine damage.
Too Much Tangling
If your hair clumps into painful knots easily, chances are that your hair is damaged and needs love and care to return to its normal health. Hair becomes too damaged when the exterior hair shaft becomes raised and frayed, which, in turn, leads to excessive knots and tangling.
As a result, you need to find a way to soothe your hair’s outer layer to make it flat and smooth once again.
This is where sleeping with a night bonnet or on silk sheets can really help, as most of that abrasion occurs from your hair dehydrating on stiff cotton sheets.
Frizzy hair is another big sign that your hair is dehydrated and has lost too much moisture. If you notice your hair frizzing or not being tamed easily, chances are that you need to step up your moisture care and to find ways to close the cuticle of the hair.
Consider purchasing moisturizing products like the Kavalla moisturizer, and take other steps (like braiding or sleeping with a head wrap) to lock that moisture in.
Protecting Your Hair
Damaged hair can do more than just wreck your self-esteem; damaged hair looks bad, can lead to hair loss and thinning hair, and can even cause your hair to grow at different rates and speeds.
Especially for those with a history of heavy styling and dying, protecting your hair from damage is essential for healthy hair and a healthy you. You can protect your hair from damage by locking in moisture, being wary of harsh chemicals like chlorine or fragrances, and using higher-quality products like gentle hair elastics.
Consider using products like silicone-free mousse, recovery lotion, and more to revive your hair from damage in the past. For severe damage, use products overnight to leave in for damaged hair.
Incorporate some of these tips into your hair routine, and watch your hair’s health improve.