When it comes to your hair, shine is the Holy Grail. Shiny hair telegraphs positive messages. It says your hair is healthy. It says your hair is strong. It says your hair is youthful. It says your hair is touchable. But if you have dry hair, the chances for shiny hair are automatically diminished. That’s because dry hair causes strands to appear dull, flat and lifeless. So if your hair is dry, you can kiss healthy shine goodbye.
The pros at Biolage know why dry hair happens, and even better? They know how to make dry hair go away. Here are five of the top reasons you may be experiencing dry hair and how you can fix the situation.
You May Have Dry Hair If You’re Using the Wrong Shampoo and Conditioner
All hair care regimens are not created equal. Shampoos and conditioners created for oily hair, for example, tend to contain ingredients that strip away excess oil. With dry hair, the goal is to preserve as much of hair’s natural oils as possible, because that’s how hair stays supple and shiny. As a result, shampoos and conditioners formulated for dry hair will be rich and creamy and packed with ingredients that are able to infuse hair with desperately needed moisture.
Here’s the fix: Look for phrases like “hydration,” “emollient” and “ultra-moisturizing” when shopping for a shampoo and conditioner. Look for moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera that will prevent natural oils from escaping. Let go of the quest for “squeaky clean” hair. Your shampoo should gently remove dirt and debris without the harsh stripping action that leads to that squeaky sensation. Shampoos and conditioners that leave behind lightweight moisturizing ingredients will be easier to detangle and style, which is healthier all the way around.
You May Have Dry Hair If You Shampoo Too Often
Dry hair probably doesn’t have to be washed daily. Skipping a day or more between shampoos gives the natural oils and sebum produced by your scalp time to work their way from scalp to ends before being whisked away. Daily shampooing also requires more frequent rubbing and friction, which cause hair breakage and the need to style hair more often, which can contribute to dryness and hair damage.
Here’s the fix: Go ahead and sleep in a couple of days a week when you reduce your shampooing frequency. If you feel like you would like to refresh your scalp on those non-shampoo days, try a dry shampoo, applied strictly to your scalp. It will absorb excess oil and dirt and improve the fragrance of your hair. You might also try conditioning cleansing: skip the shampoo and just apply a conditioner for dry hair when you’re in the shower. Work it into your scalp and through to the ends, then rinse and style as usual. Conditioning cleansing acts as a gentle re-set for dry hair without stripping it bare.
You May Have Dry Hair If You’re Overusing Hot Tools
The heat from your blow dryer, curling iron or flat iron is essential to achieve polished, sleek hair, but it’s also one of the number one culprits of dry hair. Heat saps your hair of its vital moisture, and the tugging and pulling associated with blow-drying hair and iron styling further taxes strands.
Here’s the fix: Actually there are several solutions for preventing heat damage. First off, always use a leave-in conditioner in addition to your rinse-out conditioning formula. A leave-in hair conditioner will keep moisturizing and softening your hair throughout the day. Look for leave-in formulas containing highly emollient natural ingredients like coconut oil. Second, add a heat protectant primer to your styling regimen to shield strands from heat damage and make blow-drying easier. Apply it to towel dried damp hair before styling. Next, check your tool’s heat setting. The lower the heat, the less hair damage and dryness, so dial down the temperature as much as possible. Finally, explore heat-free styling options for your hair. For example, you might want to encourage your natural wave or curl with a creamy, conditioning hair mousse that will lock in your texture and prevent frizz.
You May Have Dry Hair If You’re Overdoing the Hair Chemicals
If you’ve never met a balayage highlights or new hair color you didn’t love, you may be stressing out your dry hair even more. Hair chemicals like lightener work by lifting the outer layers or cuticle of each hair strand to allow the color to penetrate more deeply. With repeated applications, it becomes more difficult for the cuticle to return to a compact state, resulting in a condition known as hair porosity. Porous hair makes it difficult to retain the moisture it needs. The result is reduced elasticity, brittle hair, dryness and increased hair breakage.
Here’s the fix: Consider hair color products and services that are gentler and/or require less frequent application. For example, balayage highlights are typically applied to the mid-lengths and ends of hair strands, and usually just around the face and off of the part, so touchups are only required a few times a year. Also, talk to your stylist about hair color products that are lower in ammonia—like demi-permanent and semi-permanent hair color. Lower ammonia means the cuticle will not be lifted as much as it is with permanent hair color and bleach, which will reduce your hair’s susceptibility to porosity. Finally, no matter what type of hair color or other chemical processes you indulge in, it’s important to amplify hair moisture with the richest hair care formulas possible, including deep conditioning hair masks applied at least once or twice a week.
You May Have Dry Hair If Your Hormones are Changing
Pregnancy, birth control pills, menopause—all of these can rearrange a woman’s hormonal balance by altering the level of estrogen produced by the body. And one of the results of less estrogen includes dry hair. What’s more, as hair loses pigment, it also loses luster and elasticity, which is why naturally grey hair is often wiry and dry.
Here’s the fix: Check in with your doctor to rule out a medical diagnosis such as a thyroid condition. If she gives you the all clear, take a look at your diet, lifestyle and haircare habits. Are you drinking plenty of water, staying away from too much salt and eating oil-rich foods like nuts and avocados? Avoid over exposure to sun, saltwater or chlorine—all of which can cause dry hair to become dryer. When you do enjoy the sun and swimming, protect your hair with a leave-in conditioner. And finally, create a moisture-rich care and styling regimen, including shampoos, conditioners and hair masks for dry hair plus styling lotions and creams that will protect your dry hair as you style it and prevent hair damage and frizz.