When summer saltwater, chlorine and UV rays threaten to dry out your hair, don’t ignore the signs. Take action at the first signs of brittle hair to prevent damage, breakage and excessive shedding. Your daily styling routine could be exacerbating the damage with harsh hair color, heat styling and chemical treatments without adequate preventive care or heat protectant.
Hairstylist Caile Noble advises that if you see “extreme dryness or sponginess of the hair when drying,” this is a sign of brittle hair. “You’ll know there is breakage,” he says, “when there are shorter hairs where they shouldn’t be and fraying at the ends. Hopefully, you don’t allow your hair to get to this point.” And, adds celebrity stylist Diane C. Bailey, “…by the number of hairs that are in your comb when styling.”
Don’t be a victim of dry hair trauma. Here are 5 expert-approved ways to help you rescue your hair from dry brittleness, adapted from tips originally published on The Fashion Spot.
Post-Pregnancy Hair Reality Check
The hormonal changes you experience during pregnancy usually makes your hair grow thick and shiny, with very little fallout. But for most women, the hormonal changes after pregnancy are a very different story. “When you are pregnant,” Bailey notes, “your hair is inclined to grow. However, six months to a year after childbirth, some mothers experience postpartum alopecia, which results in hair shedding and loss…” Bailey suggests clients take vitamins to support the regrowth of hair. Just be sure to get your doctor’s sign-off on taking a new supplement if you are still breastfeeding.
“This is definitely something I get a lot with my clients,” adds expert stylist and colorist Spenser O’Shaw. “As your body changes, sometimes there is a need for different nutrition and vitamins. More fruits, vegetables and protein are always pluses and I’m personally obsessed with Viviscal, which helps promote healthy hair growth from within.”
Play to Your Hair Type
“Fine hair is weaker and curly hair is often drier,” says Noble. “Both of these [factors] make the hair more prone to becoming brittle or damaged easier than other types of hair.” No matter your hair’s natural texture or type, Noble recommends avoiding alcohol- and petroleum-based products. “Water-based and natural oil-based products are key! They allow you to achieve the same style without drying or damaging your hair, and oftentimes repair the hair.”
Detangle Like a Boss
Bad detangling technique can be a major source of hair damage and breakage. See Bailey’s expert detangling dos and don’ts…
Do: “Use a large tooth-tailed comb, create your own cocktail detangler (lightly mix water, leave-in conditioner and oil) and comb from the ends of the hair up to the root in small sections.”
Don’t: “Brush your hair when it’s dry. Don’t sleep in a ponytail (too much tension causes breakage).” Do not use shampoo every day. Instead, use a cocktail like Bailey’s to moisturize hair and then layer in a leave-in conditioner.”
Moisturizing Hair Mask vs. Leave-In Conditioner
Both a deep conditioning mask and a leave-in conditioner can work very well if you use them correctly. “The biggest mistake people make when doing treatments at home,” says Noble, “is rinsing the conditioner out too soon. The leave-in time is crucial to seeing the product’s benefits.”
Textured natural hair loves conditioners with emollients, and hydrating butters and oils. If you have tight textured curls with low moisture retention, nurture hair at least once a week with a relaxing deep protein treatment containing natural oils.
Choose the Best Time to Moisturize
Believe it or not, the time of day that you moisturize your hair matters. “For fine hair,” says O’Shaw, “moisturize in the evening so you can style without feeling like your hair is being weighed down. For thicker hair, use moisturizers in the morning to gain control, “…as an opportunity to tame the craziness and add moisture.”