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Image: Unsplash via Cortney White 

Ever seem like you were taking one step forward and two steps back when it comes to damage by chemical processes or heat styling tools with your hair? 

So how do you go from dry, brittle, damaged hair to smooth, shiny, healthy hair? The answer isn’t always a simple one. For the most part, hair damage is permanent because hair is actually a collection of dead cells, making them beyond repair. The only real cure is time, a pair of shears, and taking steps to prevent new damage.

But don’t despair, with proper hair care and a few targeted treatments, you can help restore the outer cuticle and begin to improve the look and feel of your hair.

Sometimes it’s all too clear how you ended up with damaged hair. Maybe you used a flat iron on high heat one too many times. Perhaps, a chemical process like bleach was too strong or left on your hair too long. Whatever caused the damage, keep reading to learn how to prevent further damage. Note: you may need to repeat several steps to recover from all of the damage. 

 

Damage from permanent color

Whether you dyed your hair a bright color or just tried a new shade dying your own hair can have consequences that last longer than the color. Chemical dyes can remove your hair’s natural moisture, quickly making smooth hair coarse to the touch. Unless your hair was light, to begin with, you may also have had to bleach your hair before applying the dye. 

 

How to avoid further damage

Experts recommend choosing a dye within three shades of your natural color and opting for shades that are darker rather than lighter to limit the damage. Unnatural colors are more difficult to maintain (trust me- hence my custom shade of red hair) and have to be touched up more frequently.

  • Dye less often. Extending the time between touch-ups can also help reduce damage. If possible, wait for 8 to 10 weeks or longer between dye jobs. This gives your hair time to recover between treatments.
  • Less frequent washing
  • Use shampoos formulated specifically for dyed/colored hair
  • Please go to a professional. Coloring is often best left to the professionals. A professional colorist knows how to use the correct products to minimize damage.
  • Try opting for demi- or semi-permanent. Chemical processes can change the hair so aggressively that the only fix is to grow it out and start over (sorry, but it’s just the truth). 

 

How to ease existing damage

Use oils. Oils have been shown by Trusted Source to help rehydrate the hair and smooth the cuticle. The key benefit? The oil’s molecules are small enough to penetrate the outer cuticle and hydrate from the inside out. It can also help replenish the protective oils on the outside of your hair.

Use color-safe shampoos and conditioners. These products are formulated with the proper pH to prevent the hair shaft from swelling. Your color will last longer and your hair will look and feel its best. 

 

Here are just a few suggestions for Color safe shampoos:

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo 

Deva Curl low-poo Delight 

As I Am Curl Clarity Shampoo 

Evolve UltraShine Moisture Shampoo

Jessicurl Gentle Lather Shampoo 

Briogeo Don’t Despair Repair! Super Moisture Shampoo

The Mane Choice Easy on the Curls Detangling Shampoo

Briogeo Curl Charisma Rice Amino + Avocado Hydrating Shampoo 

Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Strengthening Shampoo 

As I Am Coconut Cowash

 

Product Suggestions for Color Safe Conditioners:

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Conditioner 

Mielle Organics Mongongo Oil Hydrating Conditioner

Mop Top Citrus Medley Light Conditioner 

Jessicurl Too Shea! Extra Moisturizing Conditioner

Curl Junkie Beauticurls Strengthening Hair Conditioner

 

Hair oil suggestions

Sunny Isle Jamaican Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Difeel Premium Coconut Oil

Righteous Roots Oil

Use color-safe shampoos and conditioners. These products are formulated with the proper pH to prevent the hair shaft from swelling. Your color will last longer and your hair will look and feel its best.

Next week we’ll continue with the series and talk about damage from bleach and heat styling tools, plus how to recover. Stay tuned.