Dry Hair: Causes And Remedies

Medically reviewed by Dr. Shruti Chavan
by Ramona Sinha

Let’s start with a simple test. Run your fingers through your hair. How is the texture? Is it coarse like the straw? Now, quickly take a look at the ends. Do you notice visible split ends? If yes, your hair is dry, and this happens when the strands cannot retain moisture.

Dry hair is a common issue and is caused by multiple factors. If left untreated, it may become frizzy, unmanageable, and prone to breakage. Don’t worry. You can fix dry hair easily. Read on to explore the causes, tell-tale signs, treatments, and at-home DIY remedies to prevent dry and frizzy hair.

What Does Dry Hair Look Like?

Dry hair is easy to identify. Here are the tell-tale signs:

  • Appears frizzy.
  • Has a coarse texture.
  • Lacks luster.
  • Has visible split ends.
  • There are flyaways (due to breakage)
  • Feels limp, without much movement and bounce.
  • May appear reddish-brown (lightened color). However, this may indicate further damage.

You may also notice:

The hair dries out when the scalp does not produce enough natural oils to moisturize the strands. This oil, known as sebum, coats the hair strands to protect them and prevent moisture loss. Any disturbance in this process can leave your hair looking dry, frizzy, and dull.

In the next section, let’s take a look at the possible causes of dry hair.

What Causes Dry Hair?

1. Dry Scalp

A dry scalp is an obvious reason behind dry hair. A dry scalp cannot produce enough natural oils to keep the hair strands moisturized, causing dry hair, flakiness, and an itchy scalp.

2. Exposure To Harsh Chemical

Dyes, chemical relaxers, and other procedures that chemically alter your hair’s look and feel can have adverse effects on your tresses in the long run. Using hair care products containing harsh chemicals like sulfates can strip the natural oils and cause dryness, frizz, and cuticle damage.

3. Exposure To Extreme Conditions

Extreme weather and environmental conditions like prolonged sun exposure, cold weather, frequent wind, and salty (or chlorinated) water exposure can dry out your tresses. Environmental pollution can cause oxidative damage and dry out the hair.

Other than these, wrong hair care practices can also ruin your locks and cause dryness. This include:

  • Frequent shampooing
  • Using a harsh shampoo
  • Excessive use of heat styling tools
  • Frequently blow drying on high heat setting

Even your diet plays a role in maintaining hair health. Nutritional imbalances can make the hair dry, damaged, and also cause hair fall (1).

Apart from the causes listed above, your lifestyle, location, and genetic history can result in dry, brittle hair. For the right treatment, you should observe and keep a note of these changes.

To combat hair dryness and help restore its bounce and shine, try some of the treatments mentioned in the following section.

Dry Hair Treatments

Dry hair lacks moisture. Hence, the best way to treat dry hair is by moisturizing the hair. You may try:

1. Deep Conditioning

Use deep conditioning hair masks and leave-in conditioners to keep your hair moisturized. Look for ingredients like plant butter (shea or cocoa) and nourishing oils. These provide essential nutrients and help lock in moisture to smoothen the hair cuticles and reduce dryness.

2. Hot Oil Treatment Products

Hot oil treatments are usually done in salons. They involve massaging the scalp and hair with hair oils, such as argan, olive, and coconut, followed by putting your head under a steamer for better absorption. You may also try this at home. Warm any hair oil and massage it onto your scalp and hair. Wrap a warm towel around your head for 10-15 minutes or put on a shower cap.

3. Use Mild And Nourishing Shampoo

Use a mild shampoo that does not contain any harsh chemicals and drying ingredients like alcohol and SLS. This will help keep the cuticles flat and trap the moisture in the hair strands. Also, after shampooing, follow up with a conditioner.

4. Regular Trims

Split ends are a common sign of hair damage and dry hair. Regular trimming will eliminate the split ends and prevent frizzy hair.

Other than these, you can try a few home remedies to prevent dry hair.

Home Remedies For Dry Hair

1. Oiling

Oiling helps protect the strands and moisturize dry and frizzy hair. You can use argan, olive, coconut, Brazilian nut, and avocado oils to nourish your hair. Leave it on for an hour and then wash it off. You can also mix different oils and apply them to your hair.

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of argan oil
  • 1 tablespoon of almond, coconut, or avocado oil
  • Towel or shower cap

Procedure

  1. Mix the oils and heat the mixture to a lukewarm temperature.
  2. Massage the scalp and hair with the oil blend.
  3. Wrap a towel around your head or put on a shower cap
  4. Leave the nourishing oil blend on for an hour.
  5. Rinse with shampoo.
  6. Repeat every alternate day.

2. Yogurt And Coconut Oil Mask

Yogurt is popularly used in DIY hair masks and helps moisturize the hair. Coconut oil penetrates the hair to moisturize it from within and prevent hair damage (2).

You Will Need

  • 1 cup of yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • Shower cap

Procedure

  1. Mix the coconut oil and yogurt.
  2. Apply it to the scalp and hair and put on the shower cap.
  3. Leave it on for 20 minutes.
  4. Rinse with lukewarm water.

3. Honey And Banana Mask

Honey is an emollient and moisturizing agent. Bananas can also moisturize the hair and improve its shine and manageability (3), (4). These two ingredients make for an effective home remedy for dry hair and scalp.

You Will Need

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 tablespoon of organic honey
  • A bowl
  • A fork

Procedure

  1. Mash the ripe banana and mix it with honey.
  2. Apply the mask to your scalp and hair.
  3. Shampoo after 20 minutes and follow up with a conditioner.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar Wash

You may find that your scalp is oily, yet your hair is dry. In this case, you can try washing it with apple cider vinegar (ACV). It is a popular home remedy and can improve hair shine and softness.

You Will Need

  • 1 tablespoon of ACV
  • 1 cup of water

Note: Adjust the quantity as per the hair length.

Procedure

  1. Mix the ACV and water and pour it in a bottle.
  2. Shake it well and use it as a post-shampoo rinse.
  3. Leave it on for 3 minutes and rinse again.

For healthy hair year-round, it is important to take a little precaution and care. Here are some tips to avoid dry hair.

Tips To Avoid Dry Hair

  • Ensure that you stay hydrated – it keeps skin and hair healthy.
  • If you live in an area with extreme dry and cold weather, use a humidifier to regulate moisture inside your home. This can prevent skin, scalp, and hair dryness.
  • If you are heading to the beach or for a swim, apply a little oil or leave-in conditioner to your hair. Wear a protective cap to prevent chlorinated or saltwater from getting into your hair.
  • Use a silk pillowcase to minimize friction and hair breakage.
  • Do not comb your hair when wet. It causes more friction and can damage the strands.
  • Avoid excessive heat styling. Use heat protectants to minimize dryness. Also, use heat styling tools on a low setting.
  • Switch to hair products that target specific hair concerns. Use products that contain moisturizing ingredients.
  • When stepping out, wear a hat to prevent UV exposure and hair damage.
  • Do not shampoo frequently as it may strip the natural oils.
  • Never use hot water for washing your hair. Always use either room temperature water or lukewarm water.

The Final Take

Your hair may dry out for many reasons. If left untreated, it may cause further damage and make your hair fragile. These simple measures and a few lifestyle changes can help nurse your hair back to health. If your dry hair is caused by an underlying condition, consult a doctor immediately.

4 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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Ramona Sinha

Ramona is a journalist-turned-content writer. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and has been writing for the digital world for over five years. She specializes in writing for Skin Care. She has done a certificate course titled ‘Dermatology: Trip To The Skin’, offered by Novosibirsk State University. She believes that beauty begins with a good skin care regimen and is on a mission to eliminate all toxins from her routine. She helps and guides readers in selecting products and ingredients specific to their skin type/issue. When Ramona is not working, her books and passion for music, good food, and traveling keep her busy.
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