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When it comes to your hair, smooth and shiny is likely your ultimate beauty goal—so if you have damaged hair, that can put a damper on things. Common signs of damaged hair include dullness, dryness, unmanageability, roughness, and split ends. But what exactly causes damaged hair—and what can you do about it? Keep reading to find out. Below, we share some of the most common causes of damaged hair, along with tips for preventing damaged hair and caring for already damaged hair with products like heat protectants and hair masks.
There are quite a few different possible causes of damaged hair. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), some of the top causes of damaged hair include excessive use of heat tools like blow-dryers and curling irons, brushing your hair while it’s wet (since that’s when hair is at its most fragile), over-processing hair with color, and pulling your hair back into super-tight hairstyles.
Now that you know what causes damaged hair, you can put together a hair care routine to help prevent damaged hair as well as revive the appearance of hair that is already damaged.
1. Switch to a system of hair care products formulated for damaged hair. Look for a shampoo, conditioner, and hair mask formulated for damaged hair, like the L’Oréal Paris EverPure Repair & Defend Shampoo, L’Oréal Paris EverPure Repair & Defend Conditioner, and L’Oréal Paris EverPure Repair Remedy Balm. Make sure to gently massage the shampoo into your hair rather than harshly rub it in. Swap out the conditioner for the hair mask once or twice a week, leaving it on for 3-5 minutes before rinsing out. You can even use it as a pre-shampoo hair mask for added conditioning or detangling.
2. Pay attention to how you heat style. According to the AAD, if you’re going to style your hair with a blow-dryer, curling iron, or flat iron, you should use the lowest heat setting, limit the amount of time your heat tool touches your hair, and try to use these styling tools as infrequently as possible. When you do heat style your hair, make sure to apply a heat protectant, like the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle SLEEK IT Iron Straight Heatspray, first.
3. Air dry hair when you can. The AAD also recommends air drying your hair whenever possible. You don’t have to sacrifice your style, though. Spritz the L’Oréal Paris Advanced Hairstyle AIR DRY IT Wave Swept Spray onto damp hair, then let your hair air dry for beachy waves. For more defined waves, braid your hair after spraying it, then undo the braid once your hair has dried.
4. Be gentle when hair is wet. Don’t reach for a brush right after hopping out of the shower. If you have straight hair, the AAD suggests allowing your hair to air dry for a while before combing it—very, very gently—with a wide tooth comb. Meanwhile, if you have textured hair or tight curls, the AAD states that you should always use a wide tooth comb to comb hair—and you should do this while hair is damp. Another step the AAD advises is to quit rubbing your wet hair with a towel. Instead, either wrap your hair in a towel, which will help absorb the water, or simply let your hair air dry. You already know which of our styling products can be used to create air-dried beachy waves!
5. Keep it loose. As far as hair styles go, opt for loose hairstyles instead of tight ones, or wear one that doesn’t require you to pull on your hair. Need a recommendation? Here are 3 Messy Buns to Wear Year-Round. When tying your hair back, use a rubber band that is covered and specifically designed for hair styling.
To determine your level of hair damage (and find tips tailored to your level of hair damage), next, head on over to our article, How Damaged Is Your Hair?