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How to Repair Damaged Hair From Heat Styling, Chemicals, Split Ends, And More

Act + Acre’s pre-wash oil is a favorite of senior beauty editor Lauren Valenti, who says the balancing treatment transformed her curls. Similarly, I’ve become quite fond of Ceremonia’s elixir enriched with passion fruit oil, castor oil, and aloe vera to nourish my hair even before the shampoo. Otherwise, Kérastase’s pre-shampoo is powered by abyssine, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and charcoal to detox the scalp by removing pollution particles. As for a mask formula, Nutrafol’s cream promises to soothe oily, itchy, flaky scalps by dissolving excess sebum and clearing away impurities. 

Act+Acre Cold Processed Scalp Detox

Ceremonia Aceite de Moska Pre-Shampoo Scalp & Hair Oil

Kérastase Chronologiste Detoxifying Charcoal Pre-Shampoo

Wash Hair With Sulfate-Free Shampoo & Conditioner

“Great rule of thumb is to never skimp on shampoo and conditioner, the thing you use the most!” says Brager, highlighting that sulfate-free products are the way to go. While those looking to promote hair growth might reach for Vegamour’s duo powered by vegan silk proteins, those experiencing increased dryness should consider these picks by Briogeo and Alterna to restore softness, shine, and moisture. Color- or chemical-treated hair, on the other hand, might benefit from Davines’ Nounou collection to revive processed strands with ease. 

Vegamour GRO Revitalizing Shampoo and Conditioner Kit

Briogeo Superfoods Matcha + Apple Replenishing Shampoo

Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Shampoo

Use Thermal Protectants

“Thermal protectants work wonders protecting hair from thermal damage as they provide a coating that won’t allow hair to burn so easily from excessive heat,” Caspara explains, though the first rule of thumb is to air dry or power dry with your fingers to get most of the moisture out before reaching for hot tools. Brager recommends Rodan+Fields’ oil that she will not start a red carpet style without, as it not only protects the hair, but adds hydration and shine. Otherwise, look to heat protectants by Oribe, Mizani, and Pureology before drying and styling to properly shield your precious strands from the elements. 

Rodan+Fields DEFRIZZ+ Oil Treatment

Oribe Invisible Defense Universal Protection Spray

Mizani Heat Screen Heat Protectant Spray

Pureology Color Fanatic Leave-in Conditioner

Reduce Temperature of Hot Tools 

Even when using heat protectants, Brager recommends lowering the temperature of your hot tools altogether. Though Dyson’s beloved blow dryer is designed to protect hair from damage despite its fast drying times, try a lower heat setting than you normally would. You can never be too careful! Brager is a fan of T3’s Smooth ID tools that can personalize heat settings to your hair type. 

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

T3 Smooth ID 1” Flat Iron

Handle Wet Hair & Style With Care

“Wet hair is very fragile; handle wet hair with care,” says Brager, who urges the use of a wide-tooth comb or wet brush. Her advice is to work from the ends of the hair up and let the hair air dry as much as possible before styling. This same kind of hair is necessary when you’re blow drying. “Choose a boar bristle brush or one that has a mix of plastic and boar’s hair bristles,” says Hill. “The idea is to stay away from metal brushes, which can abrasive to hair fiber and scalps.”

Crown Affair The Brush No. 001

Christophe Robin Special Blow Dry Hair Brush

Consider Bonding Treatments

Bond-building hair products have been all the rage in recent years, and for good reason. “You can improve the quality of hair after slight chemical damage using bond-building products that will rebuild the amino acid bonds that make up the keratin in hair, however, you cannot restore split ends or breakage in severely damaged hair,” details Caspara. Options by Olaplex and K18 are two of the market’s most talked about formulas, though Living Proof and Bumble and bumble promise to strengthen hair and resist future damage.

Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil

K18 Biomimetic Hairscience Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask

Living Proof Triple Bond Complex

Bumble and bumble Bond-Building Repair Treatment

Get Regular Trims

“The only way to rectify severe thermal or chemical damage is to frequently trim off dead ends and allow for healthier hair to grow down without being affected by lingering damage,” says Caspara. Severe damage aside, Brager notes that regular trims can reduce split ends from fraying and breaking off. 

Use Dry Shampoo Between Washes

Once your hair is done, you want to extend the life of your style for as long as possible. “Skip a wash day and use a clean, dry shampoo between washes to give your hair a break,” Brager says. She prefers Rodan+Fields’ dry shampoo that reduces oil, adds volume at the root, and soothes the scalp between washes through chamomile extract. Klorane’s formula is soothing too, thanks to balancing and soothing properties of oat milk.

Rodan+Fields REFRESH+ Dry Shampoo

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk

Embrace Your Natural Texture

In an effort to maintain your style, it can be helpful to embrace your natural hair. “Style hair when it’s necessary and let your natural texture flow whenever you can. Low-maintenance hairstyles are very on trend leading us into spring and summer,” says Brager. Try a spritz of Ceremonia’s texturizing spray to achieve soft, beachy waves, or revive days-old curls with Vernon François’ Nourishing Water powered by natural botanicals, oils, and amino acids. 

Ceremonia Guava Beach Waves

Vernon François Nourishing Water

Protect Hair While You Sleep

Another way to extend your style? Protect it while you sleep with satin or silk pillowcases, scarves, and bonnets. “Create a signature sleep style that allows oxygen to flow through the hair to the scalp, to prevent tangling and matting in the occipital point of the head while you sleep,” explains Hill, citing twists, pin curls, large braids, or the pineapple method as excellent sleep styles.

Slip Pure Silk Pillowcase



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