In the age of blow-out irons, extreme dyes, and perms (yes, they’re back!), the question isn’t whether your hair is damaged, but how bad it really is. Before you start feeling hopeless and you’d rather sell your soul than give up your iron, consider how even dead hair can be restored with a few sneaky little tweaks to your routine, according to scientists .
How Often to Wash Your Hair Depends on Hair Type
There are a lot of assumptions on the internet about how often you should wash your hair. Some people swear every other day, others up to once a week. But the truth is, there are no hard and fast rules that really guarantee healthy hair. It depends on your hair type. Dhiran Mistry of David Mallett Salon in New York City explains: “Washing your hair every day will dry your hair out thoroughly, but there are less harsh shampoos that are more moisturizing than other shampoos, which are a good middle ground for daily shampooing and won’t Overdry hair.” Some people with very thinning hair still like the feel of clean, dry hair because it makes it look fuller, he adds. People with thick hair do not need to wash their hair as often because the hair absorbs more of the natural oils produced by the scalp.
Use your shampoo smarter.
Don’t worry about sulfates or no sulfates. “We tested sulfates against other cleaners and saw no difference in damage or fading,” says Schueller. “All shampoos contain cleansers to strip oil and color from your hair.” Don’t even think about using a clarifying formula, since it’s designed to rid your hair of everything.
What you want is a shampoo that’s labeled “Repair Damage” and contains protein to help strengthen your hair (we like L’Oréal Paris Advanced Haircare Total Repair 5 Restoring Shampoo), or a cleanser that’s the lowest concentration detergent. A warning to lovers of hairspray, silicone serum, or mousse: You’ll want to alternate your cleansing conditioner (we like Purely Perfect Cleansing Creme) with your regular shampoo. “Cleansing conditioners won’t remove all of the product residue that can make hair less flexible and lead to breakage,” says Wilson.
Pay attention to the most important ingredients
Looking down at the shelves of hair care products can be overwhelming: there are so many hair care products out there, how do you choose the right one? When choosing your product, narrow down your options by looking for strengthening ingredients that will nourish your strands. Brooke recommends adding coconut oil, argan oil, aloe vera, or spirulina to your diet.
Eat a balanced diet.
You already know that you are what you eat. “Your hair is mostly protein, so eating a balanced diet with protein-rich foods is important,” says Brooke. Add these items to your shopping list:
Other good sources of hair nutrition: Berries, spinach, and avocado, as well as any other food rich in vitamins C and E, help boost collagen production for stronger hair.
Minimize heat styling
Ideally, says Mistry, “hairstyling should be reserved for special occasions. Finer hair can be air-dried, thicker hair can be [heat] dried, but left for a week before washing again. Curls that need some kind of reset Hair can be done with a water spray.” In other words, keep heat styling to a minimum to protect your hair and hair cuticles. Another tip: “If you know and understand your hair” how to make the most of its natural texture means you can rely more on products and less on heat styling. Products can protect your hair and improve shape or texture. ’” As a hair straightener, says Mistry.
If you dye your hair, spread out the dates
David Mallett’s colorist, Lionel Atlzas, recommends spaced color treatments to minimize stress on strands—especially between roots or highlights. “The best way to heal your hair is to use an at-home mask to condition and moisturize your hair, while using the mask once a week for about 5-10 minutes, spaced out from coloring.”
Another tip: when washing your hair, always use a color safe shampoo, preferably sulfate free as it will rip off the color