Hair can be damaged to varying extents, by so many things. If you are reading this with damaged, broken hair, you may feel desperate. It is amazing how much severely damaged hair affects your mentality and it can have a really negative impact on your self-esteem and sense of identity. I write this article, not as a hair and beauty professional, but as a person who always had thick, healthy hair until around a year and a half ago when bleaching finally left me with burnt, frazzled hair – what was left of it – and a damaged scalp. Since then, I have done a lot of research. If you are reading this and you are dealing with this issue, whatever the cause, do not feel silly for being devastated. For many people, hair is so much more psychologically important than you realise. I write these tips based on what helped my hair in the condition that it was in, as many tips I read online – such as coconut oil – didn’t do anything to salvage it. I hope that they help you too, but even if you do not have seriously damaged hair, you may want to take note of some of these tips to prevent hair breakage and damage, especially if you colour your hair and especially if that involves bleaching.
1. Time and Patience:
Bad hair damage and breakage is like any other injury in this sense. Do not rush into anything – instead, give your hair the time it needs to recover. This can be testing, especially if you feel like a mess and want a quick fix. But the unfortunate truth is, there is no quick fix for serious hair damage. Though there are things that will help you on your way and speed up the process, you must resist doing anything rash and accept that time is a healer. How much time will depend on the severity of the breakage/damage, and the length of your hair. I have been waiting patiently for just under a year, after persisting with bleach for a little while after my above experience. My hair was half way down my back then and some of the breakage was as close as a centimetre from my scalp, but I now estimate that within a year I will have grown out all the damage. As the saying goes, patience is a virtue and remember that although it may be frustrating, you will have healthy hair again in time.
2. Consider a Cut:
Whether you already had short hair when your hair was badly damaged or your hair was long, getting as much of the broken lengths chopped off as you feel comfortable with will help. Removing the dead ends will help you feel better when you look in the mirror, but the shorter you have your hair the less time it will take to grow out the damage. Some people swear that getting a cut actually promotes hair growth too. Especially if the damage to your hair is all over, I would really recommend getting a cut as short as you feel you can.
3. Remove Causes of Damage:
Heat styling, rough brushing, harsh products and dye – especially bleach – are big causes of damage. I reiterate that I am not a hair professional and I cannot tell you every single thing that might damage your hair, but generally these things are the ‘Big Four’ that are responsible for breakage and damage. Really make an effort to eradicate these causes of damage from your hair routine while your mane recovers. It will prevent more damage, which could push your hair goals even further back. Anyone can take note of the fact that rough brushing is not good for hair and this is unarguably the easiest of the ‘Big Four’ to stop. Be gentle and respect your hair. Always start brushing at the ends, gradually working your way upward to the roots. If you are guilty of rough brushing, make a concious decision to treat your hair better and stop yanking it around, especially if your hair is tender and could easily break. Moving on, you might want to have another look at the products you are using on your hair. Having been a person who could always just use anything on my locks, this was a huge change for me but not a difficult or necessarily expensive one. Strong healthy hair may be able to take harsh products, but damaged hair will be quickly affected. Listen to your hair, because it will tell you when a product is no longer working for you through brittleness, breakage and splitting. If you like a bath, avoid putting your hair in water that is soapy or full of products like bubble bath because this won’t help you either. In fact, avoid washing your hair too much full stop. It strips away your natural oils and dries, which can be very detrimental to damaged hair. Of course, heat is bad too and the best thing to do is to stop using it. Leave your hair natural, or use alternative methods of styling such as rollers or plaiting wet hair overnight. If there comes a time where you are going to use heat, do so carefully. Always use strong, good quality heat protection and try to use a low level of heat for the least time you can. The last of the ‘Big Four’ is hair dye, and if your hair is damaged you could massively benefit from stopping colouring, especially if you are a dyed blonde like I was. This can be a daunting thing to do if you have found a colour that you adore, but think of the deferred gratification. You needn’t never dye your hair again, but once it is healthy it will be able to handle it so much better. Upon that point, when you do dye your hair – again, especially as a blonde – do find a really good professional who can colour your hair properly for you. It is worth the cost and the time it takes, and I would advise that once you find someone good stick with them.
4. Embrace Your Natural Beauty:
While this point slightly overlaps with the tip to discontinue hair colouring, really consider embracing your natural shade. At least for a period of time, this will allow your hair to flourish without strong chemicals reducing progress and if you decide to grow it out it will provide you with a great visual of how far you have come. Plus, when and if you ever do want to change up your look again, you will have a blank canvas to start working on and in itself it is an interesting experience. A lot of people who colour their hair continue to do so and thus never actually have their natural shade again, so it is actually quite interesting to witness it.
5. Invest in some Quality Products:
When you begin the search for better hair products, you will find a mass of things claiming to rectify and reverse damage but in reality few of them work, especially when it comes to severe damage. You will find what works for you based on your hair type and level of damage, and the first thing you should look at is your shampoo and conditioner, because they are used in most hair care routines frequently and sometimes daily. You may already have a great set that still works but if you are stuck and looking for something that will help your hair and keep it moisturised, clean and in top condition, I would recommend SheaMoisture. Not only is their brand well worth supporting (they have always been cruelty-free since conception in 1912, they use a lot of organic and Fair Trade ingredients, and they are a family owned and operated business that began in Sierra Leone and is now part of a Community Commerce programme, where they invest proceeds from each purchase into community projects in the U.S. and Africa) but their products are free from sulfates, parabens, mineral oils, formaldehyde, phthalates and petroleum, among other things that aren’t good for damaged hair. They have an abundance of products that I want to explore further but since I tried it out I am completely hooked on their ‘Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo’. You can get it from lots of different retailers and it costs around £12 for a 500ml bottle, which lasts for months. This is no ad or anything like that, I just love their natural and conscious brand, and the results I’ve had from using it have been amazing. I was used to my hair feeling brittle after shampooing and before conditioning, but this shampoo eradicates that entirely. Hair feels moisturised after use and it definitely reduced how much hair was breaking off when I washed it. Especially as my natural hair grows longer, you can clearly tell that it shines with health and I put much of that down to this shampoo, meaning that even if you don’t have damaged hair you should still give it a try. Shampoo and conditioner aside, other products you should look at purchasing include heat protection as mentioned before, hair serum and a hair mask or treatment for regular use. I would advise – after being introduced to it by a brilliant salon owner – that you consider trying Olaplex, specifically their ‘No. 3 Hair Perfector’. Olaplex has many different products too but this is the treatment I use on my hair and it is excellent. It reduces breakage drastically and strengthens hair, being a patented formula that actually repairs broken damaged strands by rebuilding bonds within the hair. Despite many other products claiming to do the same, this is actually a unique quality. Once a hair strand is fully damaged, there is generally no restoring it. There may be ways to smooth it, or cover it slightly, but it will never be as it was – except through using Olaplex, which works to do just that. Plus, it is vegan, cruelty-free and free from formaldehyde, parabens and phthalates. In the U.K., I get mine from their official distributor, Cult Beauty, for around £26 for a 100ml bottle. This might seem a bit expensive for the amount you get but it is wholly worth it and a little goes a long way. Avoid using sites like Amazon, because they are usually fakes. Ensuring you have a quality hair care range will help speed up recovery and is a true necessity for those with very damaged, broken hair to stop further injury. Without a doubt, when you find go-to products it will change how you look after your hair forever.
I hope that you find these tips useful and they help your hair, whether it is damaged or not. Sometimes the best tips come from someone who has learnt from experience. If this article has helped you, or if you had a bad hair incident that you want to share, please feel free to leave a comment. If you enjoyed reading drop a like, and if you want more content like this delivered to your inbox – from travel inspo, to vegan recipes, to lifestyle articles – then don’t forget to subscribe.
2 thoughts on “Top Tips for Damaged, Broken Hair”
Want a very interesting post, my hair is a bit of a mess at the moment not had it cut for a long time and it’s been dry and brittle from the sun, so I’m now going to give your tips a go. Thanks very much.
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Thank you! Hope it helps you get your healthy hair back 😊