When your hair feels damaged beyond repair, it's hard not to feel like all you can do is take a pair of scissors and chop it all off. The last time I got my hair highlighted, it felt like a bale of hay on top of my head, and I all but gave up on trying to revive it. I decided that I'd just have to live like that, and I'd never know what it felt like to have good hair again.
Luckily for me (and anyone else suffering hair damage), there are so many ways to protect your hair and help mend it from major damage. Before you do anything, it's important to figure out why your hair is damaged. Different types of damage call for different solutions.
"If the hair is dehydrated or over-processed from chemicals or overheating with appliances, the best approach to repair the hair is with professional in-salon treatments combined with at-home treatments over time," says hairstylist Michelle Cleveland. "This works best for this type of damage because the treatments will penetrate inside the hair shaft to help repair the bonds that make up the strength of the hair.
On the other hand, if the hair is broken and split, the best approach to repair it would be to combine both treatments as mentioned above with regular haircuts. The reason haircuts work best in this case is because once the hair is broken or split at the end, there truly is no way to repair it."
As Cleveland says, if your hair is truly broken and full of split ends, it might be time to schedule a trim—a half inch or so off the ends never hurt anyone. You may also need to space out your coloring appointments or look into trying a new colorist. Otherwise, there are plenty of products out there to mitigate damage. Just look for bond-building products with nourishing and hydrating ingredients like argan oil, peptides, shea butter, and more. I talked to celebrity stylists to get their input on the best products to revive damaged hair, so keep reading for their recommendations.
The best products for damaged hair:
"[Use] reparative products in the salon during and after color and at home to upkeep the health of your hair," says Matt Rez, celebrity stylist and Redken brand ambassador. "I love the Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate range of products, especially the new Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Treatment, as they lower the pH of hair from chemical damage and help repair the cuticle from within to lessen breakage and damage."
"Olaplex No. 3 is a weekly treatment that you can't overuse," says Kevin Kelly, balayage and color specialist. "It's made to help strengthen hair. The proper pH of hair is 3.5 to 5.5. Olaplex No. 3 brings your pH to where it should be to balance unwanted breakage, seal the hair cuticle, and [infuse] natural moisture."
This is one of celebrity stylist Jennifer Korab's favorite lines for damaged hair. Use the shampoo, conditioner, and serum in tandem for the best results. "These are designed to reconstruct hair that has been weakened or damaged due to regular heat styling, chemical services, and other mechanical damage," she says.
Kelly recommends this shampoo and conditioner duo for regular maintenance on the hair. Filled with proteins, amino acids, and enzymes, this shampoo and conditioner will help rebuild damaged hair and prevent further damage before it starts.
A good haircare routine is crucial to healthy hair, and for Korab, that also means mixing in a repairing hair mask. This is her favorite because it contains nourishing olive and soybean oils.
This is another hair mask that's packed with good-for-your-hair ingredients to deeply moisturize and nourish strands. Hemisqualane, camellia seed oil, and rice protein help strengthen and smooth.
"Repairing damage can be as easy as applying a little oil to your weakened strands a few times each week," says Korab. "While just about any type of natural oil will work, you'll see reparative benefits quicker when you use argan oil, coconut oil, hemp oil, pumpkin seed oil, lavender and rosemary oils, sesame oil, or horsetail extract oil."
"Prevent excessive heat use at home and make sure to use a leave-in product that has heat protection properties," says Rez. "Redken's One United has multiple benefits and heat protection. My clients' hair feels incredible with this leave-in spray."
Korab recommends this shampoo and conditioner to help color-treated damaged hair. With Keravis, a hair-strengthening protein, and Astaxanthin, an antioxidant, it helps curb damage.
This innovative repairing treatment helps mitigate damage in just four minutes. The peptide technology truly helps revive hair.
Spritz this into hair to help curb damage on a day-to-day basis before styling.