This Is How to Repair Damaged Hair Once and for All

Have dry, damaged hair? Here’s what could be causing it. Plus: how to repair damaged hair from the inside out with quick-fix tips. Good hair days can seem like they’re few and far between, especially when you have damaged hair. If your strands suffer from dryness, frizziness, dullness, thinning, or split ends, they could surely use more TLC. Keep reading to learn what causes hair damage and how to fix it for good.

What causes hair damage?

Here are five of the main culprits behind dry and damaged hair, as well as repair tips for each. Redheaded woman getting her hair blown out

1. Heat Styling

Blow dryers, hair straighteners, and curling irons can be godsends in terms of styling. But unfortunately, they’re not doing much good for your hair’s health. After all, overusing heated tools weakens the cuticle, your hair’s outermost layer. The result? Split ends, breakage, and compromised hair growth. Hair repair tips:
  • Let your hair air dry as often as possible.
  • When using styling tools, always prep with a heat-protective spray to minimize damage.
  • Aim to style your hair at a lower temperature and limit the time of direct contact with heat.

2. Sun Exposure

The dangers of sun exposure on your skin are well-known. But did you know that sunlight and UV rays can also contribute to hair damage? Sun exposure can be harmful to your hair’s color, shine, and moisture. Fine, light-colored, color-treated, and textured hair are particularly vulnerable. However, that doesn’t mean other hair types aren’t also susceptible to sun damage. Hair repair tips:
  • Limit your sun exposure when UV rays are strongest (typically from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m).
  • Mind your mane by wearing a hat or sitting in the shade.
Woman getting her hair highlighted; chemicals can lead to hair damage and breakage

3. Chemical Treatments

Hair dye, perms, and other chemically processed treatments can change your hair’s texture and weaken its resilience. Similar to the scenario with heat stylers, excessive reliance on such treatments can lead to cuticle breakdown and damaged hair fibers. Hair repair tips:
  • Extend the time between hair processing treatments (ideally at least eight to 10 weeks).
  • Can’t possibly choose between balayage and a chemical straightening? Simply book one chemical styling appointment, wait at least a few weeks, and then go in for the second treatment. Doing so will shock your strands less and give them extra time to bounce back.

4. Harmful Hair Products

Next, your hair products can either help or hinder the vitality of your strands. Common hair care ingredients can wreak havoc not only on your hair, but also your health. Sulfates and parabens are among the biggest culprits, yet there are a number of other additives you should also steer clear of. Hair repair tip:
  • Aim to use clean hair products. Need guidance? EWG’s Skin Deep Database is an excellent resource that ranks the safety and hazards of hair products and other cosmetics.

5. Bad Hair Habits

Finally, bad habits can also cause hair damage. These include the likes of overwashing, skipping conditioner, towel drying aggressively, and brushing wet hair. Hair repair tips:
  • Wash your hair sparingly. The ideal frequency will vary based on your hair type and level of physical activity, but one to three times per week is a good standard.
  • Use a conditioner to keep hair soft and give it the moisture it needs.
  • After showering, wrap wet hair in a towel instead of harshly rubbing it dry.
  • Use a wide-tooth comb through damp hair to work out any knots.
Sephora's Hair Food Kit featuring HUM Nutrition's Hair Sweet Hair gummies and amika's soulfood nourishing hair mask

How to Repair Damaged Hair

Really looking to fix your hair for good? Elevate your standard routine to repair damaged hair fast by taking an inside-out approach.

Get More Hair-Healthy Nutrients

First, you can eat your way to dream hair by enriching your diet. Some of the best nutrients and foods for healthy hair include:
  • omega fatty acids (oily fish, avocados)
  • antioxidants (berries, dark chocolate)
  • iron (spinach, kale)
  • zinc (red meat, oysters)
To restore damaged hair even further, you may also want to take a hair vitamin specific to your other concerns. HUM’s Hair Sweet Hair is terrific for hair growth and strength, while Red Carpet works wonders to achieve shiny, luscious locks (and glowing skin to boot).

Use a Nourishing Hair Mask

Need to repair severely chemically damaged hair or simply want to boost shine and moisture? Intensive hair masks can help you repair damaged hair fast at home. We love amika’s soulfood nourishing mask—rich in omega fatty acids and antioxidants—to restore and revitalize distressed tresses. Not only does it hydrate and repair dry, damaged hair, but it also improves softness, shine, and elasticity. Show your hair the love it deserves with Sephora’s exclusive, limited-edition Hair Food duo, featuring HUM’s Hair Sweet Hair gummies and amika’s soulfood nourishing hair mask.
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