How to identify, prevent and cure hair damage

Hair damage is unavoidable!

Daily wear and tear take their toll on your hair. It seems that no matter how careful you are – whether it’s taking a break from heat styling, extending the time between hair colouring appointments, applying deep conditioning treatments, spraying heat protector before hot products, wearing hats to shield from the elements, tying up hair using gentler accessories, whatever – damage of some sort is unavoidable, often by the most unlikely culprits.

Then there’s harm caused by your hairdresser. Damage is usually more extreme due to use of excessive heat and dangerous chemicals, amongst other causes. Our ‘6 reasons to sue your hairdresser’ blog explains what happens when hairdressing appointments go seriously wrong.

If you’ve noticed that your hair is looking far than perfect, it’s time to do something about it. That’s why today we bring you the lowdown on the common types of hair damage and how to solve them…

1: Split ends

Split ends are easy to spot. It’s where the end of a hair strand is split into two or more heads or if it micro-splits into numerous branches similar to a tree. Essentially, your hair’s in a weaker state and tangles a lot more. It happens due to excessive styling, heat exposure, friction from fabrics, and climate and environmental conditions.

Although the most common form of damage, it’s the worst in many ways as if it’s left untreated, it’ll only get worse with time. Cutting your hair is the best, if not only, option for banishing split ends. As a guide, get a trim every two months to keep on top of any straggly bits. This is especially important if you have fine hair as it’s more susceptible to damage and needs extra TLC.

A temporary solution until your next hair cut is split end-mending serums that contain polymers. Although no substitute for a trim, they do reduce splitting a little. And there are things you can do to prevent split ends from forming in the first place such as gentler handling of your hair, avoiding heat, towel drying and chemical products, and selecting satin or silk pillowcases.

2: Heat damage

The go-to modern hairstyles are either dead straight or curly hair, both of which are easy to create with hot styling tools. Used daily, though, these styling implements are a big cause of damage. Spraying heat protector is necessary every time as it protects styling up to 450 degrees. Another way to prevent heat damage is to use a setting appropriate for your hair texture. Also, try not to use heat every day in order to give your hair a break.

Ultimately, you cannot reverse the damage that’s been done but you can make it better. The tips of your hair are the oldest so a decent haircut will improve the health of your hair no end. Similarly, protein treatments replenish what’s missing from your hair.

3: Dye damage

Years of lifting and stripping away colour by bleaching, dyeing, highlighting and balayage ruin the condition of your hair. To fully appreciate what these colouring treatments do to your hair, check out our ‘What does over-processed hair look like?’ blog.

There’s no quick fix. You just have to wait for the colour or bleach to grow out and it takes months, if not years. But there’s a sure-fire way to make sure colouring causes as minimal damage as possible and that’s finding a professional who cares about you and the integrity of your hair. Our ‘Bad salon warning signs’ blog is a great steer. If your hairdresser chooses colour chemicals applicable to your hair type and avoids unnecessary overlap, that will help in a major way.

For a further hair boost, there’s always regular haircuts, less frequent styling, and leave-in treatments such as masks and conditioners which contain ingredients with reparative benefits to promote healthier, stronger hair in between salon visits.

4: Other chemical damage

Chemical treatments like relaxers and perms strip the hair, leading to breakage which cannot be solved by anything other than growing it out. Prevent further damage by adjusting your hairstyling habits, for example regular hot-oil deep treatment routines, protein-packed products, at-home bond-building treatments, water-based leave-in conditioning sprays and thinking about your diet. Drinking water and eating omega-3 rich foods are good for your hair as well as your body.

5: Thinning or hair loss

First a distinction: thinning is noticeably less hair, such as thinner ponytails, a visibly wider parting and more scalp showing than normal; whereas hair loss is increased shedding. Lots of different things cause thinning or hair loss – underlying hormone issues, stress, medication, nutritional deficiencies, allergic reactions and certain illnesses included. In these circumstances, take medical advice as supplements or herbal medicines may be prescribed.

What’s lesser known is that too-tight braids and ponytails are offenders too. These create traction which weakens the hair and follicle. Take a break from taut styles to reduce tension and preserve the roots.

6: Mechanical damage

Mechanical damage occurs because of the way you handle your hair. It’s basically anything that puts tension on your hair – if you’re too harsh while combing, brushing and detangling or, as hinted above, if you tie your hair tightly in a ponytail quite often.

Some additional care can go a long way towards ensuring you don’t suffer from mechanical damage. Brush your hair slowly and softly, avoid brushing wet hair, abstain from rubbing your hair with a towel, unbraid and remove ponytails carefully, and apply hair masks regularly.

7: Weather damage

Be it the sun in the spring and summer months, or wind and cold in autumn and winter, you can’t stay indoors forever so damage will come your hair’s way thanks to changing seasons. Relevant to the time of year, select items that limit your hair’s exposure to the elements – leave-in conditioners, hats, umbrellas etc along with less styling if you’re outdoors a lot. Again, soft pillowcases help retain the moisture that’s remaining in your hair at the end of the day.

To get in touch with our Hairdressing Claims legal team about suing your hairdresser, please email enquiries@hairdressingclaims.co.uk, call 0800 141 3682 from a landline for free, phone 0333 202 6560 from a mobile or complete our online enquiry form.


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