Damaged Hair Treatments

Damaged Hair Got You Down?


In damaged hair, the hair cuticle is stripped of its natural lipids, or ceramides. It develops cracks and lifts away from the hair shaft. The result is hair that’s dry, dull, porous and frizzy.

Damage that goes deeper breaks down bonds in the hair’s structure. This can lead to loss of elasticity, brittleness and breakage. Very damaged hair feels like straw.

How to repair damaged hair


In damaged hair, the hair cuticle is stripped of its natural lipids, or ceramides. It develops cracks and lifts away from the hair shaft. The result is hair that’s dry, dull, porous and frizzy. Treat your hair gently, and use the right products.

The best hair care products for damaged hair actually repair broken bonds in the hair’s structure. They also repair, smooth and seal the hair cuticle.

For in-depth information about damaged hair causes and concerns, see our damaged hair FAQ below.

Damaged Hair FAQ

Causes


Common causes of hair damage are:

  • heat styling
  • chemical treatment, like colouring or bleaching
  • rough mechanical treatment, like excessive tugging or a very tight hair style
  • prolonged exposure to sun, wind, sea or pool chemicals.

Hair damage can also result from a nutritional deficiency, illness or certain types of medication. If you suspect a health-related cause, it’s best to consult a dermatologist or your GP.

How to repair damaged hair at home: what’s the best approach? The three key steps are to use the right product to repair hair bonds, to replenish moisture and to protect the hair from further damage.

The same steps apply whether you’ve got chemically treated hair or are wondering how to repair damaged natural hair without cutting it.

For step 1, we recommend Osmo Chromaplex Bond Sustainer Step 3.

Colouring hair involves having chemicals penetrate beyond the hair cuticles into the inner hair shaft. This inevitably causes some damage.

Cheap DIY or boxed supermarket hair dyes tend to be the most damaging.

That’s because they’re high in harsh chemicals like ammonia and peroxide.

They’re also missing the nourishing and protective ingredients used in professional, salon-quality hair colour.

Hydrogen peroxide is a common ingredient in hair dyes. It has oxidising and bleaching properties, and can contribute to drying and damage.

Like other bleaching agents, toner can make hair more dry and contribute to hair damage.

A perm uses heat and chemicals to alter the structure of hair.

So just how much does a perm damage your hair? Generally, the chemicals involved are nowhere near as harsh as bleach. However, they can cause damage, especially if not professionally applied.

At best, the process is likely to result in some loss of natural oils and moisture. At worst, it could leave hair brittle and frazzled.

Overly tight hair styles – like very tightly held pony tails – put pressure on the hair follicles. Eventually, this can lead to hair loss.

Below we answer some more specific questions about this.

So-called “bantu knots” are tight, coiled buns on the side of the head.

They can damage or break hair if they’re pulled too tight and then left in for a long time.

To prevent this, start twisting each section of hair about an inch away from the roots. This will reduce pressure on the hair follicles.

Provided they’re clipped in and removed reasonably gently, clip-in extensions won’t cause any hair damage.

Dreadlocks don’t necessarily damage your hair – but it takes know-how to create and maintain them properly.

For example, the process used to create dreadlocks may pull out and break some hair.

If dreadlocks are too tight or heavy, they may put too much pressure on the scalp. Eventually, this can cause alopecia (hair loss).

Also, not washing hair frequently enough, or failing to penetrate thickly matted hair with shampoo, can lead to a build-up of dead skin cells and oils. This may irritate the scalp and interfere with normal hair health.

This is unlikely. However, it’s best not to keep your hair covered or tightly pulled back for long periods.

This puts pressure on the hair follicles and can irritate the scalp.

wig of decent quality shouldn’t damage your hair.

However, be careful when using wig adhesives. The glue can break or pull out hair.

Avoid wearing a wig that pulls too tightly on your head or that doesn’t let your scalp breathe.

Some wig materials may also irritate the scalp. Typically, capless wigs allow the most air flow and are the most comfortable.

Thinning scissors don’t damage the hair.

However, they can leave your hair looking damaged if they’re not used professionally.

The thinning process leaves your hair with multiple different lengths. A stylist needs to consider the way your hair naturally falls and any kinks or curls. Otherwise, shorter hairs may end up sticking out.

This can make your hair appear scraggly and frizzy.

It’s best to leave thinning to a professional. If you plan on doing it yourself, stick to thinning only the final few inches of your hair.

Pure water isn’t damaging, but municipal water contains chlorine. This can contribute to dryness and damage.

Water may also contain a range of mineral deposits and metals. These may accumulate in the hair, changing its texture and interfering with its normal moisture and pH balance.

Actually, rice water contains vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and starches that can help repair damaged hair.

It’s important not to use old rice water or to leave it in the hair for too long. Otherwise it encourages bacterial growth. It may smell bad and make the hair stiff.

There’s little scientific evidence that rice water makes hair grow faster.

If you’re wondering how to repair damaged hair, natural oils are an important part of the answer. They’re excellent for restoring hair condition.

However, overuse of oils can make hair limp and greasy.

It can also lead to a build-up of grime, block pores on the scalp, cause dandruff and interfere with the production of natural oils.

Oil your hair no more than once or twice a week, and use only a modest amount. A little goes a long way.

Can protein treatments damage hair? Does dry shampoo damage hair? Does viral shampoo damage hair? Does silicone damage hair? These and other questions are common.

None of these products is likely to cause significant hair damage.

However, using low-quality products – or the wrong products for your hair – can compromise the hair’s normal moisture and pH balance.

A build-up of products can also irritate the scalp and interfere with hair health.

Tips


Have hair trimmed regularly to remove damaged or split ends. Aside from that, use same key products as for treating any damaged hair.

Curly hair is no more prone to damage than straight hair – but it may naturally look more frizzy, coarse and dry.

As a result, searches like these are especially common:

  • how to restore damaged curly hair
  • how to repair damaged 4c natural hair
  • how to repair damaged afro hair

Even more than for other hair types, the answer here is moisture – and plenty of it.

Wondering how to repair damaged hair from straightening, blow drying or other heat styling?

How to repair heat-damaged natural hair:

  • give your hair regular holidays from heat styling
  • when you do heat style, use the lowest possible heat setting
  • use a modern, high-quality straightener and hair dryer
  • use the right hair treatment products for damaged hair.

Top-rated hair products for damaged hair are specially formulated to restore moisture, repair broken hair bonds and heal and seal the hair cuticles to prevent further damage.

A common question is how to repair heat-damaged hair fast. The truth is that you can’t repair heat damage overnight.

However, combining patience, proper care and the right products will pay off.

Your hair is likely to start looking and feeling better in as little as a couple of weeks.

How to fix damaged hair from dye:

  • use a specialised product to repair hair bonds (an example is Osmo Chromaplex Bond Sustainer Step 3)
  • always use shampoo and conditioner designed to be gentle on coloured hair
  • once a week, add an intensely nourishing hair mask to your regimen.

To help prevent damage from hair dye in the first place, avoid harsh boxed dyes. Aim not to wash your hair for a day or two before colouring. And immediately after colouring, use a deep-conditioning treatment.

Bleach, chemical straighteners and perm chemicals all cause hair damage.

If they’re not properly applied or they’re used too often, the damage can be extreme.

For example, the structure of extreme bleach-damaged hair is completely compromised. Bonds within the hair are broken and the hair becomes brittle, matted and straw-like.

The best way to repair chemical hair damage is to use a specialised product to repair the hair bonds. One example is Osmo Chromaplex Bond Sustainer Step 3.

Also use deeply moisturising shampoos and conditioners that are free of harsh chemicals.

Regular use of a bond-repairing treatment, such as Osmo Chromaplex Bond Sustainer Step 3, is the most likely to help. Also stick with professional, ultra-conditioning shampoo and conditioner.

Unfortunately, extreme damage can’t always be reversed.

At this stage, the best approach is to encourage and protect healthy new hair growth.

Have damaged ends regularly trimmed. Avoid further chemical treatment. And focus on keeping new hair nourished and protected.

Ideally, apply a specialised product to repair the hair bonds. One example is Osmo Chromaplex Bond Sustainer Step 3.

For regular use, stick with ultra-moisturising shampoos and conditioners that are free of harsh chemicals.

Add extra moisture with a mask and hair oil, and protect the hair from further, harsh treatment.

Does brushing your hair damage it?

Using the wrong brush or brushing too roughly can cause split ends and breakage. It can also add static, making hair frizzier.

Opt for a professional quality brush such as a WetBrush for damage-free detangling.

Misc.


It depends how much damage you’re dealing with.

After using a professional hair treatment product for damaged hair, you’ll probably experience an instant improvement. Your hair will look and feel better.

However, it’s likely to take at least a couple of weeks to properly restore and revitalise your hair.

In the case of severe damage, the process will take a lot longer.

We commonly get asked questions like “does flat ironing damage your hair?”, “does a ghd straightener damage hair?” or “do diffusers damage hair?”

The most technologically advanced hair straighteners and hair dryers reduce the damage caused by heat styling. Diffusers can also help, by dispersing heat over a wider area of your hair.

Nonetheless, any frequent or high heat exposure causes some damage.

Heat-damaged hair usually looks dull and frizzy. This is because it has been stripped of moisture, and the cuticle scales have lifted away from the hair shaft.

Too much heat styling can also lead to hair breakage. This can result in lots of uneven lengths and fly-away hairs.