If you subject your hair to strong chemicals, excessive heat, over styling and a myriad of other harmful forces, it’s practically impossible to avoid damage in some form or another. The easiest way to revive your hair is to cut off the damaged areas. Depending upon the level of damage sustained, though, this can amount to a substantial length which is heart-breaking if you love your hair just the way it is.
Before you resort to drastic measures and get out your hair shears or book a hairdressing appointment, we’re here to help you out with some handy tips about alternative, less radical methods of repairing dry, brittle, porous, lifeless hair.
As part-and-parcel of this advice, we also explain the causes and signs of damaged hair so you can try to steer clear of harm in the first place and identify symptoms on your own hair respectively.
To begin, then, what are the triggers to hair damage? In the main, damaged hair is the result of:-
Bleaching and dyeing: Chemicals are present in most hair colouring treatments, some stronger than others. Bleaching is, by far, the most harmful because it raises the cuticle and removes the colour pigment from the shaft. Your hair becomes weakened as a result.
Although less severe, hair dyeing isn’t totally harmless either. The aim of hair dye is to make your hair shaft porous in order to take on board the new colour. Your hair’s natural protective layer is stripped away, leaving your hair exposed.
Perming and straightening: With these procedures, you’re altering your hair structure to make it either curly or straight by applying chemicals that break then re-join the bonds in your hair. To change the properties of your hair, these chemicals go right into your cuticles which can be harsh.
Over styling: Brushing your hair too often, tying your hair up all the time and using too many hair accessories is bad news for your hair as well. Similarly, shampooing your hair more than needed gets rid of your hair’s natural oils. Heat is equally detrimental to your hair by opening up your cuticles, drying up moisture and damaging your hair shaft. It’s hairdryers, curling irons and flat irons that are to blame.
External forces: The sun, wind and cold have an adverse effect on your tresses. Other environmental factors play a part too. Think sand when you’re beachside, air pollution in the city, chlorine in the swimming pool and multiple other scenarios. If your hair isn’t adequately protected when it comes into contact with these forces, it’s in big trouble.
Bad hairdressing: If your hairdresser’s negligent and fails to perform pre-tests prior to chemical treatments, over heats sections of your hair during styling and / or uses blunt scissors, your hair and scalp are in peril. We’ve written about this previously. Access our earlier blog post here.
Next, how do you even know if your hair is damaged? Look out for these clues:-
Rough texture: The easiest way to know if your hair’s damaged is to hold it upside down and run the ends through your fingers. Does it feel rough to touch?
Dulled shine: Your hair shaft stops shining when your cuticles are damaged. Does your hair lack lustre and shine even after deep conditioning?
Split ends: Take a bit of your hair and gently twist it. Look carefully at the ends of hair that stick out. Are the ends split in two?
Lack of moisture: Damaged hair does not seem to be conditioned, no matter what you try which is a sure sign of damaged cuticles that are unable to seal in moisture.
Easy breakage: The tensile strength of your hair shaft reduces when the outer layer is damaged. Does your hair snap when you comb it or, worse still, if you run your fingers through it?
High porosity: As the cuticle is lifted, it’s much easier for moisture to pass. External moisture collects in the hair shaft and it starts to swell which gives your hair a frizzy appearance.
Too many tangles: Unlike healthy hair where the shafts are smooth, the rough cuticles of damaged hair get tangled up and result in knots. The dryness makes it hard to get these tangles out.
Finally, to get to the crux of the matter, here’s what you can do to fix damage to your hair, none of which involve having your hair chopped off:-
Avoid chemicals: These are your hair’s worst enemy. Do not use when your hair’s damaged. Approach with caution when your hair’s recovered. Choose solutions with only natural ingredients where possible.
Avoid hot styling tools: Put away your high heat-emitting styling products, let your hair dry naturally and try out styles that don’t require heat. It’s au naturel all the way.
Protect your hair: If it’s simply not possible to relinquish your hot styling equipment, make sure you use heat protection spray. In the same vein, you can’t live your life indoors, so use hats, scarves, swimming caps, leave-in conditioners or whatever the occasion demands in an attempt to be kinder to your hair.
Spot the warning signs early: The sooner you identify hair damage, the earlier you can start taking restorative action. Hair can be nourished back to health with oils and deep conditioners. Again, natural ingredients are best. If you’re late to notice damage, it’ll soon spread and, at this stage, you’ve got no option but get an acute haircut.
Get a trim: Even if your hair damage isn’t extensive, it’s a good idea to kick off the hair revival process with a trim to tidy things up. This will at least remove the sections of hair that take the strain the most: your ends.
Choose lightweight shampoos and conditioners: Opt for sulphate-and-other-chemical-free products with moisturising formulas that suit your hair type. It’s important to make the right choices as you’ll no doubt wash your hair at least twice weekly.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Consume protein-rich foods to nourish your hair back to health. The saying ‘you are what you eat’ is true. Eat a balanced diet generally and take regular exercise. When you’re feeling healthier and fitter, your hair will look stronger too.
Instruct a reputable hairdresser: Hair treatments should almost always be done professionally for a greater chance of success. Your hairdresser must be properly qualified, have insurance in place and use top notch products to keep your hair out of the danger zone. Don’t be afraid to ask. Your hair’s at stake.
At Hairdressing Claims, we regularly encounter clients who’ve suffered hair damage, hair breakage, scalp burns and scalp blisters due to lack of care on the part of their hairdresser. If you find yourself in this distressing situation, please contact our legal team in complete confidence and take the first step towards claiming compensation for harm caused.