How to identify and repair damaged hair
Hair can become damaged for all sorts of reasons, and everyone is likely to experience damage to their hair at some point in their lives.
Sometimes the damage is caused by over styling hair or from chemical treatments, but often the damage occurs for less obvious reasons like the weather, diet changes, or even just age.
Whether your hair has become damaged or not, the good news is that there are steps you can take to improve the condition and appearance of your damaged hair, as well as help to encourage healthy hair regrowth, and minimise the risk of future damage occurring.
Let’s find out a little more about how hair becomes damaged and how to care for damaged hair.
What does damaged hair look like?
It is easy to identify when your hair has become damaged, as you will notice a change in its texture, manageability, and appearance.
Signs that your hair is damaged include:
- Split ends
- Very dry hair
- Brittle strands that break off easily
- Your hair appears limp and dull
- Knots easily
- Excessive shedding
If your hair is showing signs of damage, it’s time to take action and consider how you can change your hair care routine.
What types of hair damage are there?
The type of damage that has been done to your hair depends on the main culprit behind it all. Identifying the cause of the damage will help you prevent further damage from occurring. Common causes of hair damage include:
- Heat styling
- Chemical straightening and perms
- Hair bleaching and colouring
- UV rays
- Chemical ingredients in hair care products
- Product build-up
Depending on the cause of the damage, the type of damage you’re experiencing is likely to fall into one of the three following categories.
Dull and dry hair – Very dry hair may appear dull, limp, or frizzy. The texture of dry hair can be straw-like and rough and become tangled and knotty very easily. Dull and dry hair may be caused by frequent use of haircare products with synthetic ingredients, UV exposure, and heated styling tools.
Fragile hair – Fragile hair is hair that splits, snaps, and breaks off very easily. This type of damage is usually caused by chemical treatments and heated styling tools.
Thinning hair – Hair can become thin if you experience excessive shedding or slow hair regrowth. Hair thinning usually occurs if hair follicles become damaged, which commonly occurs due to excessive brushing or styling, chemical products or treatments, and extensions.
Whether or not the hair that is damaged can be repaired, depends on the type of damage present.
If you have split ends, then these cannot be mended, they will need to be cut off and you should concentrate on regrowing new, healthy hair and taking steps to prevent your new hair from becoming damaged.
If your hair is very dry, dull, and lacking moisture, then there are steps you can take to hydrate and nourish your hair to bring it back to life.
What hair routine should you follow to repair damaged hair?
The exact hair care routine for radiant hair depends on your hair type. However, if your hair is feeling dry, brittle, and damaged, adapting the following routine to suit your hair type could help to repair hair that has been damaged and encourage healthy hair regrowth.
- Avoid washing hair daily. Washing hair daily can strip the hair of its natural oils, drying it out more and leaving it susceptible to further damage.
- Use shampoos and conditioners containing natural ingredients. Haircare products containing synthetic ingredients can be harsh on the hair and the scalp, drying them out and causing damage over time. Choose shampoos and conditioners containing gentle, natural, and nourishing ingredients for smooth, shiny, healthy hair. Make sure they’re free from sulfates, parabens, silicones, and other chemical nasties too.
- Minimise the use of heated styling tools. Let tired hair rest by styling it as little as possible. If you can, ditch the hair dryer and air dry your hair instead. Heated styling tools like hair straighteners and curlers can also cause considerable damage to hair when used regularly, so avoiding them as much as possible is essential if you want to repair and improve the condition of your hair. Why not try a heat-free styling method instead?
- If you do use heat, apply heat protection. If you must use heat on your hair, then make sure you’re applying a heat protection spray before styling to help to protect it from damage.
- Apply deep conditioning masks regularly. If you’re not in the habit of applying deep conditioning treatments to your hair, then now is a good time to start. Every 1-2 weeks, apply a deep conditioning treatment to your hair and let it sit for about 30 minutes to help to repair the damage, nourish, and moisturise your hair.
Either buy a natural deep conditioning product suitable for your hair type or find out more about conditioning treatments you can make at home in our article do homemade hair care treatments really work?
- Have your hair trimmed regularly. If your hair is damaged, it’s particularly important to keep up with your haircuts. This can help to remove the damaged ends and prevent the damage from worsening. We recommend having your hair trimmed every 6-8 weeks.
How long does it take to repair damaged hair?
The length of time it takes to repair hair that has become damaged depends on the type and extent of the damage.
If damage is minimal, then you may notice a significant improvement in the condition of your hair after simply having a haircut to remove any split ends, switching to natural hair care products, and applying intensive conditioning treatments regularly for a couple of months.
However, for more serious all-over damage caused by chemical treatments or regular styling with heated tools, the road to hair recovery can be a lot longer. Very damaged hair can take 6-12 months, or sometimes even longer, to look and feel at its best again. When you change your hair care routine and begin to care for your hair more gently, you are likely to start seeing changes in your hair’s appearance and texture quite quickly, but the change in its overall condition will be gradual.
With a bit of patience and perseverance with your new haircare routine, you can encourage healthy hair regrowth and transform dry, damaged, tired hair into nourished hair that is full of life.
Will damaged hair get worse without treatment?
Yes. If your hair has become damaged and you do nothing to identify the cause of the damage or adapt your hair care routine to look after your hair better, then the damage is likely to continue getting worse.
Once hair becomes damaged and dry it becomes weak and brittle, making it susceptible to splitting and breaking off. If left untreated split ends may split further up the hair shaft or strands may snap off entirely. Similarly, dry hair will become drier and more susceptible to becoming damaged or breaking.
Healthy shiny hair is easier to manage, quicker to style, and looks and feels great, giving you a big confidence boost.
The condition of your hair is not only important for your appearance but also for your health too. Taking care of your hair is an important part of your health and wellbeing. If your hair is healthy then the skin on your scalp is more likely to be healthy too, reducing the risk of scalp irritation.
What products should you avoid if you have damaged hair?
Damaged hair needs to be treated gently, nourished, and hydrated to help to restore it to a healthy condition again.
To achieve this, you’ll need to take a close look at the products you are using on your hair and avoid anything that contains harsh, synthetic ingredients.
When it comes to synthetic ingredients that can damage hair, the worst offenders are:
- Bad alcohols
What products should you use if you have damaged hair?
Detox your hair by avoiding products containing harsh chemical ingredients and instead investing in all-natural products containing gentle, nourishing, and organic ingredients.
Here at Nereus London, our haircare range is free from toxic chemicals. Instead, we use active ingredients and fragrances that are 100% natural.
Ready to start taking better care of your hair?
The natural ingredients in Nereus London shampoo and conditioner will soothe your scalp, nourish and smooth your damaged hair, and promote healthy new hair growth.