It’s safe to say that strong, thick and lustrous strands fall under the definition of healthy hair, but achieving that isn’t always so easy. Bleaching, chemical treatments, the latest hair color trends and buzzy hairstyles are all fun to experiment with but they aren’t always the best for your hair. If you indulge in these practices often, there’s a chance that you may have weak, damaged hair.
When your hair is weak, every aspect of your routine needs to be focused on making it stronger. With a few tweaks to your routine and the right arsenal of products, strengthening weak hair with visible signs of damage like hair breakage, dryness and split ends is totally possible. If you aren’t exactly sure where to start, take notes as we share signs of weak hair, what causes it, how to strengthen hair and the best products to add to your routine for strong, healthy strands.
What Causes Weak Hair?
Chemical treatments, damage from hot tools or bleach, skipping on routine trims and repeatedly wearing the same tight hairstyles can all lead to weak hair. This doesn’t mean you have to skip out on these things entirely (maybe skip the high-tension styling), but only partaking in them sporadically can make a big difference in the health of your hair.
5 Signs of Weak Hair
You can probably guess what weak hair looks and feels like in comparison to healthy hair — it’s dull, brittle, dry and laden with split ends and breakage. If you’re still not sure how to know if you have weak hair, keep an eye out for these five common signs of weak hair.
1. You’re Dealing With Breakage
Breakage is a pretty strong indicator of weak hair because it’s a significant form of damage. When the hair breaks off, that means it’s going through trauma. Sometimes breakage can be the result of a bleaching session gone wrong, and sometimes it can just be a combination of constant hair dye sessions, heat styling and ineffective hair products. If you have fine hair, you may find that you’re more prone to breakage and that’s important to keep in mind so you can keep it under control.
2. Your Hair is Dry
When we mention dryness, we don’t mean dry ends, we mean dry, brittle hair that is hard to style, rough to the touch and unruly. It’s hair that is significantly dry and in deep need of moisture throughout.
3. You Have Tons of Split Ends
Everyone deals with split ends, which is why routine trims and haircuts are so important for the health of your hair. If you neglect routine trims, the splits can move further up the hair shaft and can lead to breakage.
4. Your Hair Is Frizzy and Dull
If your mane isn’t looking its best, (i.e it’s frizzy, unruly and rough to the touch) this can also be a sign of weak hair. Maybe your hair is much frizzier than normal, maybe it looks lackluster, or maybe it’s just really hard to manage and style. If you’re experiencing this, there’s a good chance your hair is dehydrated, which means it needs water. This is different than dry hair, which needs oil to seal the cuticle and lock moisture in. If you don’t address dehydrated hair, it can lead to dry, weakened strands that look dull and feel rough.
5. Your Hair is Thinning
If your hair is thinning or falling out, this can be a sign of weak hair and potentially a weakened scalp. If your scalp is extremely dry, flakey and rashy, this can lead to hair loss. Talk to a professional such as a board-certified dermatologist or trichologist to learn what you can do to address this.
How to Strengthen Weak Hair
The best way to strengthen weak strands is with your routine and the products that you use. Check out four ways to strengthen weak hair.
1. Use the Right Shampoo and Conditioner
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it’s important to use a shampoo and conditioner formulated for your hair type and specific needs. If you want to promote hair strength, here are three shampoo and conditioner duos that can do just that.
The reparative duo contains citric acid to penetrate the hair cortex (the inner part of the hair shaft) to strengthen weak hair bonds from the inside out. The hair is already made up of weak bonds, they’re the ones that can be manipulated to dye and style your hair. This duo targets the strong bonds that have grown weak with frequent heat styling, bleaching, chemical treatments or hard water. After just one wash with this shampoo and conditioner, hair feels stronger and breakage is reduced. Pair it with the L’Oréal Paris Everpure Bond Strengthening Pre-Shampoo Treatment to get the full strengthening effect.
This shampoo and conditioner duo repairs five visible signs of damaged hair, including split ends, dryness and dull color. It’s formulated with protein and ceramides, which help fortify each strand, reinforcing the hair fiber and sealing in nourishment. With continued use, hair is noticeably stronger, shiny and silky.
Formulated with rosemary leaf, this thickening shampoo and conditioner duo fortifies fragile, thin hair to promote thicker-looking strands. The system injects strength into hair from the first wash, without harsh sulfates, salt, or surfactants that can strip, dull, and damage the hair.
2. Incorporate a Weekly Treatment to Strengthen Hair
To accompany your strengthening shampoo and conditioner, add a reparative hair treatment to your weekly routine. Here are two we recommend.
Your hair is made of a protein called keratin, which is why weak hair needs to be fed with protein in the repair process. Daily brushing, hot tools and over-styling can lead to dryness and damage, but this leave-in conditioner is the remedy for that. It doubles as a heat protectant, nourishing the hair with each use to help increase strength, flexibility and protect against everyday damage caused by heat and styling.
Formulated with a restoring fiber concentrate that contains collagen peptides, this hair mask is all about preserving those last few inches of hair. It targets damage, strengthens weak hair and reduces breakage. The bonus: It smells like a decadent, fruity treat with notes of pomegranate, orchid and caramel.
3. Deep Condition Your Strands
According to the AAD, chemical treatments — like hair coloring and keratin treatments — are some of the most common culprits of hair damage. These processes draw out the hair’s natural moisture, which leads to dry, brittle and frizzy strands. To help replenish moisture, consider using the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Power Restore Multi Use Treatment in place of your daily rinse-out conditioner or as a leave-in conditioner. It’s formulated for damaged hair and contains a repair concentrate with proteins to strengthen hair and protect against future damage.
4. Protect Your Strands From Heat
The AAD states that protecting your hair from heat is essential to maintaining a healthy mane. Be sure to apply a heat protectant the next time you go to style your hair with hot tools. We suggest the L’Oréal Paris Everpure Sulfate-Free Weightless Blow Dry Primer, Heat Protectant because it smooths hair as it protects against heat for up to 450 degrees. Additionally, the AAD also recommends wearing a wide brim hat to protect your hair from ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
How to Prevent Weak Hair
Once you’ve repaired and strengthened your weak hair, here’s what you need to do to prevent it from happening again.
Keep Bleaching and Hair Color to a Minimum
Bleach and hair color draws moisture from the hair, which leads to damage. It’s okay to indulge in these practices occasionally but frequently, it has the potential to be very damaging to your hair. If you color your hair often, compromise on other aspects of your routine. Try to cut out heat styling or keep it to a minimum and don’t skip routine haircuts.
Get a Haircut Every 8 to 12 Weeks
If you’re prone to split ends, schedule a routine haircut every two to three months. This will help to keep the splits under control, which means they won’t move further up the hair shaft and turn into breakage.
Use a Wide Tooth Comb Instead of a Brush
A hairbrush creates aggressive tugging motions on the hair, which can lead to breakage, especially if you’re using a brush to remove stubborn tangles. Instead, use a wide tooth comb because the large spaces between the teeth are gentle on the hair and provide more control, which helps to minimize the harsh pulling.
According to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), taking biotin or vitamin B7 supplements can help boost hair growth in some individuals. Talk to your doctor before adding supplements and vitamins into your diet.
Eats Foods That Are High in Fatty Acids
Another study by the NCBI found that adding foods that are rich in fatty acids, like Omega-3 and Omega-6 can improve hair density. Foods that are high in fatty acids include salmon, eggs, walnuts and soybeans. If you already love and indulge in these foods regularly, it’s no loss if you don’t find that they improve your hair health, but if they do it’ll be a nice benefit to your existing diet.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of L'Oréal Paris
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