Causes, Signs and How to Fix Damaged Hair

Unfortunately, hair easily gets damaged quickly but fixing or restoring it needs time and patience.

It can get extremely hard to prevent your hair from drying out and becoming damaged especially since we’ve made it some sort of lab rat.

Our hair is made up of three layers: the medulla, the cortex, and the outer layer-the cuticle. The cuticle is responsible for protecting it from becoming brittle, dry, and damaged.

Causes of damaged hair

1. Over-shampooing

Excessively shampooing it strips off its natural oils from the scalp, causing it to become dry and brittle.

Yes, shampooing is meant to cleanse the scalp and get rid of excess oil, product build-up, and dirt from it. But frequent shampooing damages it.

2. Dying

Sometimes trying out the new Ombre shades seems like the best idea and all-to-harmless, but the chemicals in the hair dyes penetrate through the layers of the hair shaft causing it to become brittle and damaged.

3. Bleaching

Bleaching exposes the inner layers of the hair shaft by causing the cuticle layer to open up. The ingredients in bleaching agents cause it to become weak and more susceptible to breaking and splitting. Since bleaching products interfere with the layers of the shaft, it becomes problematic for it to seal in moisture which leads it to become dry and lifeless.

4. Excessive use of heating tools

Excessive use of heat styling tools causes your hair to become dry, damaged and brittle. Heat styling tools generally open up tits cuticles causing it to lose moisture, becoming dry and damaged.

Signs of damage

  1. Rough texture –  Hair texture says a lot about its overall health. Gently run your fingers through your it while holding it upside down to determine whether its ends are rough and sticking out- if they are then it is damaged.
  1. When damaged, it looks dull – lacks shine and luster because the cuticles are damaged.
  2. Lacks elasticity – It can only stretch to a certain degree before breaking.
  3. Full of Split ends
  4. Increased hair porosity because of raised cuticles, therefore, external moisture easily penetrates its haft causing it to easily become frizzy.
  5. Dry – due to lack of moisture.
  6. Detangled – It easily gets tangled due to its rough texture.
  7. Breaks easily while combing or running fingers through it.

Tips to fix damaged hair

 1. Hair restoration

Reduce the use of harsh chemical treatments: the majority of common hair products contain harmful ingredients that strip off its natural oils as well as destroy its shaft. Therefore, it’s really important to completely eliminate all products that contain harsh chemical ingredients from your normal care routine such as:

  • Bleach: bleaching products cause it to become brittle and easily breakable as well as strips it’s natural color.
  • Chemical hair dyes do contain harmful ingredients that penetrate into the hair shaft hence damaging it from the inside. Instead, you could opt to use less harsh dying products such as natural or organic dyes such as tea, beetroot, or henna, which actually help to restore it to a healthy state.
  • Also, minimize or stop regular chemical straightening or curling. Since the products used to make straight hair curly contain chemicals that penetrate through the shaft and damaging it from inside thus making it limp.

Be gentle with it

It’s important to handle it with proper care especially while washing or drying it: this is because wet hair easily stretches hence easily breaks. It’s advisable to dry it using the right absorbent fabric because a traditional towel tends to pull and tug at your hair strands causing them to breaks easily.

When washing it, gently massage the scalp using your fingertips while pulling shampoo or conditioner along its length rather than just rubbing vigorously.

Reduce the number of times you shampoo it to at least once or twice a week to avoid stripping off natural oils that protect it from drying out. Over-shampooing it gets rid of the natural oil-sebum before it gets the chance to coat its strand for optimum prevention from drying out.

Alternatively, you can opt for dry hair shampoo between washes-therefore, you will be able to keep it clean and grease-free while at the same time maintain the needed sebum to keep it healthy and shiny.

Avoid using heat styling tools and dryers to dry it instead let it air dry. It can be difficult to handle your hair after its dried out, hence it’s advisable to apply products and/or even style it before it dries up or get a protector to apply to it (if you can’t see how you can possibly survive without heat styling it) before using any heat styling tools.

Always condition it

Every time you shampoo your hair, it’s important to condition it as well- in order to keep it supple, shiny and hydrated. Start by applying the conditioner at its roots and working it through it along the strands, when rinsing off the conditioner, use warm or cold water so as to make the hair cuticles lay flat on the shaft, seal in moisture and make it look shinier.

Deep condition your hair at least once a month. Deep conditioners are designed to penetrate its shafts in order to hydrate it. Basically, the process involves applying a conditioner an inch from the roots and working downwards towards the tips, comb through it, cover it with a shower cap and leave for an hour or so before shampooing it. You can opt to buy a conditioning product from the supermarket or use coconut, olive or almond oils.

Once in a while try a homemade mask especially when it looks dull, frizzy or limp.
Hair masks can restore its texture as well as make it shiny:

  • When frizzy: use a banana and avocado mask.
  • When dry: use milk and yogurt mask.
  • When dull: use some honey and one egg white.
  • If it is combination hair, you can combine any of the ingredients listed above.

Seal in moisture and protect it from frizzing using a finishing serum-gently applying it using your fingers. Argan, Moroccan, jojoba oils are good sealing serums.

Brush it using a boar bristle brush to avoid damaging it. Boar bristle brushes are made using natural fibers that simulate human hair texture and are designed to distribute sebum from the roots to its tip. However, start by detangling your hair using a wide-toothed comb then brush through it from root to tip.

How to grow healthy hair

Regularly massage your scalp: massaging your scalp stimulates proper blood circulation in the scalp which promotes the growth of healthy, strong hair. Massage your scalp as often as possible; you could even use oils such as coconut, almond, jojoba or olive oils before shampooing it. Additionally, consider using essential oils such as tea tree or lavender oils to promote hair growth.

1. Switch to natural care products

Especially shampoos and conditioners to avoid weighing down your hair with harsh cleansing ingredients.

For instance, avoid sulfate shampoos instead go for ones that say sulfate free on the label and preferably the ones which are made with natural ingredients; for the conditioners, get silicone free ones-silicone makes it look smooth and shiny, but over time it weighs down the hair because of product build-up causing it to appear dull.

2. Eat a balanced diet

Your hair is what you eat, therefore, it’s important to eat a healthy nutritious diet. Ensure your diet is rich in proteins, iron and omega-3 fatty acids. Sardines, salmon, avocado, flaxseeds, and nuts are good for promoting its health.

3. Drink plenty of water

Drink lots of water to prevent it from becoming dry and brittle. Protect it from outside elements such as the sun or severely cold temperatures; cover your hair by wearing a hat or bandana before stepping out for long periods of time. Also, while having a swim, make sure you wear a swimming cap to protect it from pool chemicals.

4. Regularly trim

Regular trim to get rid of the already damaged hair and split ends is very important step.