Sun exposure, chlorine, harsh chemicals in coloring, straightening and perming and heat stress from curling irons and blow dryers all conspire to make your hair porous, brittle, dry and dull. Those with fine hair tend to be most at risk, according to the health and beauty website Free Beauty Tips. Although many stylists recommend snipping off damaged ends, you can take some steps to repair your damaged hair while keeping the length intact.
Mild Shampoo and Conditioner
Use a gentle shampoo and wash your hair no more than twice a week. Frequent shampooing makes hair more brittle, according to Free Beauty Tips. Dr. Thomas Goodman Jr., a dermatologist and assistant professor at the University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences, concurs. "It's in vogue these days to shampoo every day, but shampooing doesn't only wash away dirt, it washes out the hair's protective oils," he says. Choose a low-pH product. An online reviewer of beauty products, About Your Hair, advises using shampoo with a pH of 4.5 to 5.5.
Finish shampooing with a shot of cool water. According to Harper's Bazaar, this can close the hair cuticle, resulting in shinier, smoother hair.
Use a hydrating leave-in conditioner after shampooing. This can penetrate the hair cuticle and deposit valuable moisture, according to hair information website Hair Expert. A conditioner that contains humectants can hold in moisture for a longer time.
Mayonnaise Repair Treatment
Beat 2 egg yolks and combine them with 1/2 cup mayonnaise for use as a conditioner. The egg yolks contain L-cysteine, an amino acid important for hair growth. Beauticians have long recommended mayonnaise for its emollient qualities. "Mayonnaise makes an excellent conditioner," says Steven Docherty, senior art director at New York City's Vidal Sassoon Salon.
Use the back of a spoon or your fingers to apply the mixture to damp, freshly shampooed hair, working it from the roots to the tips, and taking special care that it contacts damaged, dry parts of your hair. The mixture can be messy; you may want to wear an old shirt or smock.
Cover your head with a plastic cap, and allow the mixture to stay on your hair for an hour.
Follow the mayonnaise treatment with a quality leave-in conditioner formulated for dry and damaged hair. Let your hair air dry; until it is healthier, you should declare a moratorium on blow dryers, curling irons, hair sprays and styling products, especially those that contain alcohol. Consider using foam or plastic rollers; these won't further damage your locks.
Repeat the moisturizing and repairing treatment faithfully once a week for several months. Hair Expert notes that this is the best way to see real, lasting results. Treatments such as these work by helping the peeling, damaged cuticles to lie back down on the hair shaft, as well as lubricating them so they don't catch on brushes, pillowcases, styling tools and each other. This beneficial effect is only temporary, so the treatment must be repeated regularly.