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Damaged hair recovery plan: A little TLC

Uh oh! You’ve overdone it. You bleached, colored, and heat-straightened your hair, and now it’s a damaged mess. Can you undo the damage you’ve done?

Damaged hair is not living tissue. Like fingernails, your hair shafts are connected to your body, but they’re made of layers of keratin that can’t “heal.” A true cure for damaged hair is to cut off the damaged part and let healthy new hair grow in. But what if you’re not ready for a Big Chop? If you take good care of damaged hair, nobody will know that you ever turned a pile of gold into a pile of straw.


Cool off!

Most of the damage to your hair occurred because of heat. So to fix your damaged hair, turn down the heat!

· Shampoo and rinse with lukewarm water. Hot water is the enemy of damaged hair. Use water that feels “room temperature” to lather and rinse.

· Dry with a T-shirt. The rough surface of a terrycloth towel can be hard on hair. A soft, well-worn T-shirt will absorb water from your hair without roughing it up. Never scrub or buff damaged hair—just wrap it in the T and blot gently to remove excess water.

· Set your dryer to LOW. The best possible way to dry your hair is to let the water evaporate on its own, while you occasionally tousle the top and back to let the wetter hair get exposed to air.

But who has the time for that? If you use a blow dryer, set it on the lowest setting. It takes a little longer, but it will dry your hair safely. If you’re really in a rush and have to crank up the heat, be sure to shield your hair with a protective spray before you switch the dryer on—and leave your hair a tiny bit damp instead of bone-dry.


Easy does it!

What else can you do to help damaged hair? Just baby it a little.

· Use a wide-tooth comb. Combs are more gentle than brushes, and wide-tooth combs can help you detangle wet hair. Don’t use a hairbrush on damaged hair when it’s wet and fragile.

· Don’t stretch or stress your hair. Pulling hair into a ponytail, or holding it back with a clip, pulls your hair away from the scalp in an unnatural direction. For damaged hair, that little stretch can lead to breakage. Get a haircut that doesn’t require you to pull your damaged hair up or back on a daily basis.

· Leave your texture alone. Let your waves wave and your straight hair hang straight. Trying to straighten out waves or add waves—isn’t it funny how we always want the opposite of what we have?—requires heat, and heat causes damaged hair. Ask your stylist to help you find the style and products that make the most of your natural texture.

Need more ideas? Your stylist is the ultimate expert in how to make your damaged hair shine!




 

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