My Hair Has Never Looked So Healthy, and It's Thanks to These 15 Products

I need to get something off my chest: For the best part of a year, I have been dealing with what can only be described as a halo of flyaways. My hair is very fine, so I was used to dealing with the odd tuft that had fallen victim to breakage. However, a few months ago, said wispy tufts became thick, blunt stumps. Up until then, my hair had always been surprisingly healthy. I very rarely use heat on it and had never had a major issue with split ends. But alas, it seemed that all too suddenly, hair breakage was out to get me.

And I was far from alone. In fact, it seems as though everyone is struggling with broken baby hairs and weak strands right now. And while I originally put my hair weakness down to lockdown neglect, even after I’d had my much-needed salon appointments, the weak tufts of hair remained. It was actually during my first post-lockdown colour appointment that I became aware of how serious the situation was.


(Image credit: @JOANNACOOPS)

As I watched the stylist glide the brush through my freshly bleached hair during the blow-dry, I couldn’t believe just how many flyaways were blowing free. In a bid to get some answers, I reached out to Dominic Roach, creative director of colour at Butchers. "Weak, breaking hair is an ever-present problem for many heads amongst us, however, with guests now returning to us in the salon after lockdown, the problem does seem to be more prevalent,” he says.

Since then, I have made it my mission to strengthen my strands and get them fighting fit once more. I reached out to just about every great hairstylist I know and squeezed every tip, trick and product recommendation out of them. Now, my hair is in the best condition it has been for nearly two years. Keep scrolling for everything I learned, as well as the 15 products that helped strengthen my hair.

Why Is Hair More Prone to Breakage Right Now?



It’s no coincidence that weak strands and breakage are rife at the moment. In fact, the lockdowns in recent years will have taken a serious toll. "A whole host of issues can cause weak strands,” says Nicola Smart, Consultant Trichologist at the Smart Hair Clinic. "Anything from the tools you use, excessive heat, emotional stress, over-processing and even hair lifecycles can contribute,” she adds.

So why is it that the breakage isn’t stopping after our long-overdue salon treatments? Wanting our pre-lockdown colour back (which likely took years to achieve) in just one session isn’t helping. "The longer hair goes untreated, the more resistant it becomes to colour and heat. Anything longer than an inch of regrowth will need a more potent mix of colour, especially if going lighter. Combine that with existing colour through the ends and potential overlapping of colour, and you’ve got a very valid reason for lockdown breakage,” explains Jack Cunningham-Rose, Redken educator.

What Can You Do to Help Minimise Breakage?


(Image credit: @CELMATIQUE)

If you're returning to your hair salon for a colour appointment, Roach recommends minimising expectations. "The combination of colour and heat styling can be a shock to the hair system. For many, the past year or so was probably the longest they have been without colour in a long time. I’m seeing many guests returning to the chair with big roots and even bigger expectations, which means putting the hair under pressure when trying to achieve those results in one process,” he warns.

When it comes to everyday help for at-home, there are tonnes of hair strengthening tips that are easily doable. "During summer, protect and cover your hair in sunny environments, especially if it’s coloured. Use silk pillowcases and sleep with hair in a loose braid to minimise friction in longer hair,” says Cunningham-Rose. And for textured hair, these protective hairstyles both look chic and help to protect your lengths.

Hairstylist Mark Hill recommends reassessing your brushing technique. "Don’t be rough and don’t drag tangles through your hair. Doing so damages the outer layer that you want to keep smooth and tight. If you have a knot, gently brush the ends first and gradually work your way up,” he suggests.

What Sorts of Products Should You Use?

Unsurprisingly, the sorts of products we’re using on our hair can make all the difference when it comes to strengthening strands. "Once the hair becomes brittle and the cuticles get damaged, it can’t be fixed,” says Smart. "However, there are things that temporarily strengthen the hair, including products containing protein. This allows an extra layer of protection by binding the cuticle and plugging any gaps to help strengthen. Secondly, you’ve got to infuse the hair with moisture,” she adds.

As for the products themselves, look for deep-conditioning treatments and masks to get as much moisture into lengths as possible. "Using the right products to help keep hair strong is key, with conditioners and treatments being essential. A treatment will penetrate deeper into the hair to help restore lost moisture, repair and strengthen. A conditioner will help smooth and seal the outer layer of the hair to give it ultimate protection,” advises Hill.

Want to know what worked for me? These are the 15 best strengthening hair treatments I swear by.

Freelance Beauty Editor

Shannon Lawlor is a renowned beauty journalist and has contributed to Who What Wear’s beauty content since 2020. As a leading beauty editor, expert and brand consultant, she has over eight years of experience working for some of the industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear (of course), Glamour UK, Stylist, Refinery29 and Fabulous.

Having also worked behind the scenes with some of the industry’s biggest brands and retailers, Shannon has a unique insight into what people really want from their beauty routines. Understanding that beauty lovers seek honest, open and responsible advice, she has it made her mission to demystify the intimidating world of beauty, taking a no-frills approach to the most relatable topics.

While Shannon is the first to admit she doesn’t hold the answer to every beauty question out there, she is dedicated to sharing her expert insights in a bid to help. As a self-proclaimed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for easy-to-use, foolproof beauty products and has made it her mission to scope out the best of the best.

When she’s not working, Shannon is likely soaking in the bath or giving no-holds-barred beauty reviews on Instagram from her bathroom floor.