Caring for Dry, Brittle Hair

Anything from a cold wind to a scorching hot straightening iron can damage your hair, making it dry and frizzy. But before you simply resign yourself to lifeless, brittle hair, try these tips to help restore its healthy shine.

Stick with gentle cleansers. Harsh, chemical-filled shampoos can strip your hair of natural oils and make it even drier. Look for all-natural products made specifically for dry hair to help add moisture back in. Also, consider changing your shampooing schedule: Instead of washing your hair daily, scale back to once or twice a week to help preserve your natural oils and give your hair a rest.

Condition, condition, condition. Get the richest, most moisturizing conditioner you can find, and apply it liberally and often. Even if you’re taking a shampoo vacation, you can still wet your hair in the shower and apply your conditioner. Look for leave-in formulations that will moisturize your hair all day long.

Don’t forget the deep conditioner. In addition to daily conditioning, you should make time for weekly and monthly deep-conditioning treatments. Warm up hot oil (you can buy oil specifically made for the hair or use olive or other oils), massage it into your hair and scalp, then wrap your head in a hot towel and let the oil soak in for at least a half hour before you shampoo.


Avoid rough handling. All that combing, blow-drying, and straightening can take their toll on your hair. Avoid overscrubbing when you’re washing, let your hair air dry, and comb or brush only as needed.


Limit your processing. Coloring, perms, and other chemical treatments can dry and damage your hair even further. Go easy on your hair — put off the harshest treatments until your hair regains its health.


Don’t expose yourself. The sun, wind, and cold can dry out your hair. Wear a hat during the winter to protect it from the cold, and look into hair-care products with sunscreens to minimize sun damage.


Make sure you’re eating healthy. Brittle hair may be caused by a vitamin deficiency, so make sure you’re eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and dairy — and consider taking a multivitamin as well. Eight glasses of water each day will help hydrate your hair from the inside out.


Try an all-natural treatment. Mayonnaise, bananas, and avocados are all excellent moisturizers for your hair. Leave any of these on your hair for at least 15 minutes, then shampoo and rinse out.


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