How To Repair Damaged Hair | Types, Causes, And Remedies

Tips and tricks to help you restore the shine and strength of your hair.

Medically reviewed by Robert Finney, MD, FAAD Robert Finney Robert FinneyMD, FAAD facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MSc Annie Jangam MSc Experience: 11 years
Edited by , BA, MSc Eshna Das BA, MSc Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature) Swathi E MA (English Literature) Experience: 3 years
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Reviving damaged hair can be a daunting task. Split ends, tangles, dull and rough hair, frizz, hair loss, and breakage are all the tell-tale signs of damage. Various factors cause hair damage – recurrent use of styling products, heating tools, bad eating habits, chemical treatments, and environmental aggressors. Thankfully, you can repair damaged hair if you take care of your hair. Scroll down to learn about the causes and types of hair damage and how to treat it. Swipe up!

What Exactly Is Damaged Hair?

Damaged hair is when the outer hair cuticles are lifted to expose the hair cortex (the inner layer), affecting the hair’s structural integrity.

The hair shaft has three layers: medulla (the innermost part), cortex (the second layer that contains keratin fibers and melanin), and cuticle (the outer layer composed of dead, overlapping cells).

In healthy hair, the cuticles are flat, sealing moisture and protecting the inner layers to keep the hair shiny and smooth. Excessive chemical and color treatments, harsh products and grooming methods, exposure to UV rays, and pollution separate the cuticles, changing the hair texture. As a result, the hair looks frizzy, unmanageable, and damaged and becomes breakage-prone.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Run an inch-wide section of hair between two fingers. If you notice uneven and rough surfaces, it signifies intensive hair damage and requires immediate attention.

Before you start treating and repairing damaged hair, it is essential to identify the type of hair damage you have.

What Are The Types Of Hair Damage? 

Types Of Hair Damage How To Treat Damaged Hair
Split Ends

The hair ends are split into two or more heads, and the shaft feels rough to touch. It happens when the hair is stripped of its natural oils.

  • A temporary solution is to use nourishing and repairing serums to hydrate the damaged hair ends.
  • Get regular trims every four weeks to get rid of the split ends.
Color Damage

Hair colors may contain hydrogen peroxide (bleaching agent) and ammonia that open the hair cuticles and affect the hair structure.

  • Give regular breaks between color treatments.
  • Use color-safe shampoos and conditioners. They are gentle on the hair and prevent color fading.
  • Protect your hair from sun exposure.
Chemical Damage

Treatments like permingi  XA hairstyle created by using heat, chemicals, or other methods to create long-lasting waves, curls, etc. , hair rebondingi  XA procedure that uses powerful chemicals to smoothen and straighten hair, performed by a licensed cosmetologist at a hair salon. , permanent hair straightening can alter the internal structure of the hair. Excessive processing can leave the hair dry, porous, brittle, and fragile.

  • Consult a hairstylist to ensure if your hair type can sustain the treatment.
  • Avoid multiple treatments in succession to prevent stressing the hair.
  • Use specific hair care products, such as leave-in conditioners, to maintain and protect the hair.
  • Deep conditioning is a must to keep the hair nourished and hydrated.
Heat Damage

Using heat styling tools (curling or flat irons, blow dryer) can fry your hair as heat opens the cuticles.

  • Use heat tools sparingly.
  • Always use a heat protectant or a thermal styler on your hair strands.
  • Avoid high temperatures to minimize damage.
  • Keep moving the styling tool. Do not hold on at one section for long.
Dull And Dry Hair

Hair that lacks moisture has a dry and dull appearance as the cuticles are raised. Nutrient deficiencies and medical conditions can also cause lackluster hair that tends to get tangled easily.

  • Using the right hair care products for your hair type can keep it hydrated.
  • Use nourishing hair masks, hydrating conditioners, detanglers, and serums to restore the moisture.
  • Go for regular scalp massages with nutrient-rich oils like coconut oil to moisturize dry hair.
  • Brush with a wide-toothed comb.
  • Avoid alcohol-based products as they can dry your hair.
Thinning or Hair Loss

Using harsh products, wrong hair care practices, malnutrition, and medical conditions, such as rapid weight loss or hormonal imbalance, may cause hair shedding and hair loss.

  • Consult a doctor to identify the underlying cause (if any). Do blood tests to diagnose any nutritional or hormonal deficiencies.
  • Follow a well-balanced diet with essential nutrients and vitamins.
  • Massage your hair with nourishing essential oils, such as rosemary and lavender, to restore the damage.
  • Avoid tying your hair in tight buns or ponytails to prevent hair thinning and hair breakage.
Environmental Damage

Extreme humidity and wind can cause flyaways and frizzy hair. Cold weather may cause static electricity and damage the cuticles and cause frizz.

  • Use a good anti-humidity spray or serum to tame the flyaways and fix frizzy hair. The silicones in anti-humidity hairsprays coat the hair strands and protect the hair cuticles, preventing frizz.

We all dream of having a healthy mane. However, wrong hair care practices and several other factors may damage our hair. Keep scrolling to find out what exactly is responsible for your damaged hair.

What Are The Common Causes Of Hair Damage?

  •  Heat Styling
Heat Styling leads to damaged hair
Image: Shutterstock

We all are guilty of using blow dryers, hair straighteners, or curling irons at high temperatures to speed up drying and styling time. The excessive heat can raise the hair cuticles and damage their structure. Regular use of heat styling tools can make the hair dry and brittle.

However, this does not mean you have to avoid using heat styling tools altogether. All you need to do is proceed with caution. Follow these tips:

  1. Use a thermal styler or heat protectant spray before using hot tools.
  2. Use a deep conditioning repair mask once a week.
  3. Keep the blow dryer at least 6 inches from the hair.
  4. Ensure that the heat setting is low.
  5. Use a diffuseri  XAn add-on to the blow dryer that disperses air to lessen frizz and keep the natural wave pattern from getting tampered. or concentratori  XA hair dryer attachment that helps to aim the airflow in the desired direction for better drying of specific areas. when needed.
  • Stress

Physical and psychological stress may cause hair fall (1). Environmental stressors, such as UV rays, humidity, or pollution, can cause hair loss by releasing free radicals. To prevent hair damage:

  1. Cover your hair with a scarf or a hat to avoid prolonged UV exposure.
  2. Go for hair care products with sunscreen.
  3. Use anti-humidity products.
  4. Apply a serum to hydrate and protect your hair.

To avoid mental and emotional stress, take help from a therapist,  try yoga, meditation, and relaxation techniques. Also, maintain a good hair care routine.

  • Chemicals

Dry, rough, and brittle hair is often an aftermath of excessive chemical processing. Hair dyes, relaxersi  XChemical products, like creams or lotions, used to straighten and manage tight curls or curly hair. , and bleaching agents penetrate the cortex (inner part of the hair) and weaken the hair strands, causing damage from within. They make the hair more permeable to other chemicals, such as formaldehyde or ammonia, further damaging the hair shaft and the scalp. You can avoid this by doing the following:

  1. Use non-toxic and natural dyes.
  2. Avoid bleaching or coloring damaged hair.
  3. Take a break between your hair coloring sessions.
  4. Use the right concentrations and dilutions.
  5. Do not sleep overnight with a dye or bleach on your hair.
  6. Consult a professional for better results and safety.
  • pH Balance

Harsh shampoos, conditioners, and other hair care products disrupt the scalp’s natural pH balance and hair. Always use products that are pH-balanced or have a pH closer to your scalp’s pH level.

  • Wet Hair
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Image: Shutterstock

Wet hair is porous and fragile and can be easily damaged. Brushing wet or damp hair can stretch the hair and fracture the shafts.

  • Tight Hairstyles

Styling your hair the wrong way can contribute to hair damage. Tight hairstyles like buns and ponytails can pull the hair at the roots, causing hair fall and hair breakage. This may also recede your hairline and cause bald spots.

  • Nutritional Deficiency

Nutritional deficiency may cause hair fall and affect hair quality. Consume foods rich in protein, iron, copper, zinc, essential fatty acids, folic acid, amino acids, and vitamins to maintain healthy hair (2).

  • Fungal Infections

Dandruff is a common fungal infection of the scalp caused by the microbe Malassezia. It feeds on sebum and natural scalp oils and causes irritation and inflammation that may affect hair and scalp health and cause hair loss in the long run. Use anti-dandruff shampoos and consult a doctor for treatment.

  • Hair Type And Texture

Thin and fine hair is susceptible to damage. Be gentle when grooming your hair and follow a proper hair care routine to keep it healthy.

  • Bad Hair Care Practices

 From taking hot showers to sleeping with damp hair, we put our hair through a lot of stress. These habits can damage your hair. Always avoid

  1. Taking hot showers
  2. Over-washing your hair
  3. Aggressively massaging or brushing
  4. Sleeping or tying damp hair
  5. Sleeping with the hair down

Damaged hair is fragile. Hence, it needs more care. A dedicated hair care routine will help you fix it. Here are a few ways you can repair or restore your hair health.

A wide range of factors contribute to damaged hair. But how do you know if it is damaged in the first place? Find out in the next section.

How Do You Know If Your Hair Is Damaged?

You can tell if your hair is damaged by looking out for the following signs:

  • Hair strands break easily
  • Hair is thick at the top but thin towards the ends
  • Frizzy hair
  • Dull or severely dry hair
  • Excessively tangled hair
  • Patches of short hair due to over-bleaching or toning

Rach Wat, a beauty blogger, recounted her struggles with damaged hair. In her blog, she wrote, “Other than the white hair snapping, I began to get really bad split ends, color still doesn’t stay properly in my hair, and the split ends make hair more difficult to style as my hair just doesn’t want to behave (i).”

If you notice these signs, it is time to give your hair some TLC. Check out the next section for some simple ways to restore your hair health and vitality.

How Do You Treat Damaged Hair?

  • Wash your hair twice or thrice a week to keep it clean and free of dead skin cells, dirt, excess sebum, and dandruff.
  • Use glycerin-based shampoos and conditioners.
  • Go for deep conditioning treatments like a good hair mask once a week.
  • Apply detanglers, serums, and leave-in conditioners. These products offer multiple benefits like oil control, imparting shine, and smoothing the hair. They also protect your hair from damage and tame frizz.
  • Massage your scalp with moisturizing oils once a week. It boosts circulation, stimulates hair growth, and improves hair thickness.
  • Get regular haircuts. This removes split ends and protects your hair from further damage.
  • Avoid products that contain sulfates, parabens, alcohol, synthetic dyes, and fragrances.

You can also try home remedies to keep your hair healthy. Home-made hair masks with simple ingredients are widely used to nourish the hair and keep it hydrated. Check out some popular home remedies in the next section.

Home Remedies For Repairing Dry And Damaged Hair

1. Avocado And Egg Mask

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Image: Shutterstock

Research shows that the peptidesi  XShort chains of amino acids (usually 2 to 50) connected by chemical bonds that occur naturally in human tissues. in the egg yolk promote hair growth (3). Avocado is widely used as a home remedy to soften the hair. 

You Will Need

  • 1 small and ripe avocado
  • 1-2 eggs (depending on your hair length and thickness)

Process

  1. Mash the ripe avocado and mix it with the egg(s).
  2. Apply this mixture to your hair and scalp.
  3. Leave it for 20 minutes.
  4. Wash with a gentle shampoo.

2. Banana And Yogurt Hair Mask

Olive extracts (including oil) can stimulate hair growth (4). Anecdotal evidence claims that bananas and yogurt are excellent hair moisturizers. 

You Will Need

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons of yogurt

Process

  1. Mash the banana and mix it with olive oil and yogurt.
  2. Apply this mixture to your hair and scalp and leave it on for 20 minutes.
  3. Wash with a gentle shampoo.

3. Flaxseed Gel Serum

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Image: Shutterstock

This is a popular DIY remedy and is said to keep the hair hydrated.

You Will Need

  • 2 teaspoons of flaxseed
  • 250 ml of water
  • Muslin cloth

Process

  1. Boil the flaxseeds in water for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Remove it from the heat when the consistency of the mixture thickens.
  3. Filter the mixture using a muslin cloth.
  4. Apply it as a hair serum.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Flaxseed gel is an excellent DIY hairstyling ingredient. You can refrigerate this gel for a week and use it to tame flyaways and define your curls.

Other than these, you can also use olive, argan, sweet almond, and coconut oils for prewash. Massage the hair and scalp well with any of the oils and wash it off after 2-3 hours. These oils aid hair restoration and strengthen dry and damaged hair strands. They tame frizz and flyaways and boost hair repair.

Home remedies are a great option, but for more intensive hair treatment for damaged hair, it is a good idea to visit a salon. Go for special hair treatments (keratin) or hair spas occasionally to pamper and treat your damaged hair professionally. However, if you do not see any progress, consult a doctor.

When To See A Doctor

It is advisable to consult a dermatologist if you notice:

  • Excessive hair fall
  • Dry, dull hair accompanied by fatigue and weight loss
  • Sudden thinning of hair or discoloration
  • Burning sensation on your scalp
  • Itchiness, redness, or scalp irritation

Infographic: Hair Oils For Damaged Hair

Multiple factors such as tight hairstyles, stress, poor eating habits, and bad hair care practices can cause damage to your hair. Following simple tips such as massaging your scalp with your favorite hair oil once a week can stimulate blood circulation and improve your hair health.

Check out the infographic below to know more!

hair oils for damaged hair (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Get the high-quality PDF version of this infographic.

Download Infographic in PDF version

When the outer hair cuticles are lifted, exposing the cortex, it means you have damaged hair. Damaged hair has weaker structural integrity. Excessive coloring, chemical and heating treatments and tools, improper hair care practices, and exposure to UV rays, pollution, and dirt leave your hair weak and damaged. Your hair becomes frizzy, breakage-prone, dry, and unmanageable. Depending on the type of damage, there are different ways to treat and rejuvenate your hair strands. Practicing regular hair care techniques, such as massaging your scalp and using the right hair care products, repair damaged hair and make it healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to repair damaged hair?

About 6 months to a year. According to anecdotal evidence, using correct hair care techniques and specialized nourishing hair care products may help repair damaged hair effectively.

Does damaged hair grow slower?

Possibly. Anecdotal evidence indicates that damaged hair, or hair prone to breakage, may grow slowly.

What happens if you don’t cut damaged hair?

Anecdotal evidence suggests damaged hair, if left uncut, may lead to split ends and fraysi  XHair strands that are dry and damaged especially towards the end and prone to split ends due to heat and chemical exposure. and may appear thinner.

Will damaged hair grow back healthy?

Yes. If you allow your hair to recover without the use of chemicals and heat styling tools and nourish it with the right products and techniques, it will be able to repair itself.

Key Takeaways

  • Damaged hair means dealing with split ends, frizz, breakage, dull and brittle hair, rough and coarse texture, and tangles and knots.
  • Many factors cause hair damage, such as heating tools, environmental aggressions, chemical and coloring treatments, styling products, and bad eating habits.
  • There are many ways you can repair and replenish damaged hair, such as washing your hair to keep it clean, using moisturizing shampoos, massaging your scalp with oil, and more.
  • You can also try home remedies using natural ingredients from your pantry to curb hair damage and make your hair healthy and manageable.
  • If your hair still remains damaged or worsens, you may need to seek help from a doctor.

Learn how to repair damaged hair with natural remedies. Watch this video to discover simple and effective tips to restore your hair’s health and shine.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Hair and stress: A pilot study of hair and cytokine balance alteration in healthy young women under major exam stress
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5397031/
  2. Diet and hair loss: effects of nutrient deficiency and supplement use
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315033/
  3. Naturally Occurring Hair Growth Peptide: Water-Soluble Chicken Egg Yolk Peptides Stimulate Hair Growth Through Induction of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Production
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29583066/
  4. Topical Application of Oleuropein Induces Anagen Hair Growth in Telogen Mouse Skin
    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0129578
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