Posted on December 11 2017
We all want our hair to look and feel its best.
We work hard to maintain its health and appearance - especially with all these holiday parties going on.
According to a survey conducted by Dove, hair care is a higher priority in a woman’s morning routine than eating breakfast (45% versus 41%), putting on makeup (39%), and more sleep (35%).
So what if you feel like your hair is constantly dry, and nothing seems to be working?
It can be frustrating, especially when you want to nail down a particular color or style.
We’re going to go over the causes of dryness and damage, and what you can do about it.
This way, you can review your hair care and your routine to see if you can find problem areas.
Let’s dive in.
First, let’s learn about what hair actually is.
Did you know your hair is actually dead?
This is why it doesn’t hurt to get a haircut.
It grows from the roots in a follicle, where it’s still “alive.”
Hair is fibrous and made of keratin, a protein, which grows from the follicle.
This is why you hear about “keratin treatments” to strengthen it.
A strand of hair is made up of 3 parts:
- the medulla (the inner layer)
- the cortex (surrounds the medulla)
- the cuticle (the outer layer, which is designed to protect the other layers)
According to WebMD, each hair grows about ¼ inch every month.
Eventually, the hair will fall out as part of the natural cycle, and a new one will grow.
Wondering why some people have such long hair?
Well, it’s due to genes and how long their growing cycle last (AKA some of us are luckier than others).
As for hair texture, it has to do with the size of the follicles.
Thick hair grows out of large follicles, while smaller, narrow follicles produce thin hair.
Without getting too technical, hair type (curly, straight, wavy) is determined by the number of disulfide bonds between hair proteins found within the hair shaft.
More disulfide bonds = curlier, fewer = straighter.
In some cases, hormones and certain medications can change hair texture and growth.
A Word About Damage
Dryness and damage often go hand-in-hand.
The only way to truly repair damage is to cut your hair.
This is because the damage will continue to travel up the hair shaft.
If your hair seems like it’s not growing, it is - but breakage can make it appear shorter.
However, if you really don’t want to lose length, there are plenty of products available to improve your hair’s look and feel, such as:
These hydrate, soften, and temporarily smooth and seal the cuticle to improve hair’s appearance.
For dry hair, it’s all about moisture and hydration.
What Causes Dry Hair?
Below are some common culprits.
Check them out and see if any of them apply to you.
- The weather.
‘Tis the season for cold, dry air and harsh winds - which means dry hair.
We definitely have a love/hate relationship with winter.
You can thank the lack of humidity and moisture in the air.
(This also causes an increase in static electricity, which you may have noticed if your hair is sticking up straight.)
And, while the heat indoors keeps us toasty warm, it further strips hair of moisture.
Going indoors to outdoors and back again can add up, and it’ll show in the form of dryness, breakage, and split ends.
A quick fix is wearing a hat, beanie, or hood when you step outside for some temporary coverage.
- Your scalp is dry.
The oils in hair follicles (which are under your skin) keep your hair moisturized.
Therefore, dry scalp = dry hair.
Your scalp may peel and shed, leading to dandruff.
You can use a special shampoo designed to combat a dry scalp and dandruff.
But did you know that scalp massage comes with a ton of benefits?
It increases blood flow to promote hair growth, distributes natural oils to boost hair luster, and can help to control or even eliminate dandruff.
Our Groove Rejuvenating Scalp Massager is a gently vibrating handheld massager that gives you all the benefits of a salon scalp massage in your own shower.
It has flexible rubber tips that comfortably stimulate and gently exfoliate your scalp while lathering up your favorite shampoo, or distributing your favorite conditioner or hydrating hair oil.
- Using the wrong shampoo.
Shampoo can remove the natural oils from your hair, leaving your strands looking dull, dry, and prone to breakage and split ends.
The key is to massage shampoo into your roots, where there is more oil and product buildup.
Let the suds run down your hair - don’t apply the shampoo directly on your tresses.
Sometimes, you just have to go through trial and error to find the shampoo that your hair agrees with.
A moisturizing formula may make your hair too greasy, while a clarifying formula may be responsible for dryness.
- Using too much heat.
Heat from styling tools is the number one cause of hair damage.
But why does the damage happen, and how does it get so severe?
These tools cause cracking along the edges of the cuticles, which lead to dry, brittle hair.
They remove your hair’s surface moisture AND removes the water bound to your hair.
And please, never straighten or curl your hair while it’s wet!
This essentially boils your hair from the inside out - the cuticle bubbles up.
Always use a heat protectant of some kind.
Our Bring on the Heat Conditioning Heat Protector Spray helps shield and condition your hair at high temperatures, so it will stay healthy and smooth after styling.
Spray just before using your flat iron, curling iron, blow dryer, or another favorite tool to prep your hair for intense heat and keep those locks on point.
Plus, its light and sweet blackberry-guava scent will keep your hair smelling awesome.
- It’s over-processed.
If you dye/bleach/highlight your hair, you might’ve noticed more brittleness and dryness.
We’ll explain the reason behind this.
Coloring your hair is done by oxidation, which reduces the natural pigment in your hair shaft.
This is why bleach will turn your hair nearly white if you leave it on too long.
Here’s a little more info about bleaching: it raises your hair cuticle, which can, unfortunately, cause hairs to tangle easily, and make it more vulnerable to damage and snapping.
Put simply, the more often you bleach = more damage.
And, going from a dark brunette to a light blonde, for example, can cause more damage because the bleach is left on longer and is stronger.
Bleaching/coloring/highlighting should be done professionally to get the best results and to minimize the damage.
Thanks, Mom and Dad!
Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done in this case.
Your hair just may be more genetically prone to developing:
- Trichoptilosis (split ends)
- Trichorrhexis nodosa (tangles)
- Fragilitas Crinium (hair breaks off close to the scalp, causing short patches)
- Monilethrix (“bamboo hair” - small beaded nodes along the strand that break off)
Don’t worry - these problems are extremely common.
The key will be to maintain healthy hair habits to limit these problems.
What Can I Do?
- Use a treatment, like a deep conditioner in the shower, a leave-in conditioner, or a hair oil.
Giving your hair more intense, targeted treatment once a week - especially during the winter - will help replenish moisture and restore its health.
Look for humectants, which lock in moisture.
Softer hair is usually noticeable right away.
You can even use good ol’ coconut oil or olive oil from your kitchen to create a DIY hair mask.
Natural ingredients work great - we also recommend almond oil, jojoba oil, and argan oil.
Additionally, while you’re in the shower, make sure you’re giving your hair enough time to soak up your regular conditioner - at least 3 minutes.
And, always use conditioner after you shampoo.
Our Remi Moisturizing and Restorative Hair Treatment is a nourishing pre-shampoo hair mask that hydrates dry and damaged hair, boosts shine and volume, and improves the overall condition of your hair.
It uses natural extracts like argan oil, castor oil, and coconut oil to hydrate the hair and reveal the most gorgeous, lush hair you’ve ever seen.
- Limit styling time.
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to blow dry or style our hair.
Think about how much time and effort that would save!
However, most of us need to.
To start, try reducing the number of times you blow dry your hair throughout the week.
You could also let your hair dry first, THEN blow dry.
This will cut down the amount of time your hair will be exposed to heat.
Use the lowest heat setting to further minimize damage.
The same goes for using heat styling tools - use them only when you need to, and on the lowest setting to get the job done.
Here are a couple of other options.
With Studio Dry Hair Drying Gloves and Towels, your hair will dry quickly without heat, and therefore remain healthy.
The material is made with exclusive PILE-DRY™ technology so hair will be softer, fuller, and left with a brilliant shine.
The material absorbs water from hair, but does not remove styling product (i.e. leave-in conditioner, mousse, gel).
With all this being said, going outside in cold air with wet hair will make your hair even more brittle and dry.
Your hair should be dry before you leave the house.
Hot water can strip the oils and moisture in your hair.
Instead of washing your hair every day, try every other day.
There are plenty of moisturizing formulas out there.
If you can go even longer, try only washing your hair 3-4 times a week.
If you need a touch-up in between, dry shampoo will be your BFF.
You’ve probably heard of this old trick: End your shower by rinsing your hair with cold water for shininess.
Can you bear the temperature after you step out of the shower?
It’s up to you!
- Brush hair when it’s dry or damp - not wet.
Your hair is in its weakest state when its wet.
You can tug and pull at it when brushing, which leads to damage.
We recommend spraying a detangler on your locks as soon as you get out of the shower and letting it “soak in,” then brushing.
If you do need to detangle when it’s wet, use a wide-toothed comb, or a brush specially designed for wet hair, like the Tangle-Me-Knot Detangling Wet Hair Brush.
Flexible bristles allow you to brush through wet locks without tugging through painful knots.
It’s great for all hair types and textures, so whether you have thicker locks or a straight thin style, this brush is a pre-styling staple to keep your hair healthy.
If you have curly hair, make sure to condition and hydrate your hair to avoid any breakage or split ends.
We also recommend using a silk pillowcase if you go to bed with wet hair as it won’t get caught on the material and break off, like with cotton.
- Use products with UV protection.
The sun doesn’t just damage your skin - it can harm hair, too.
Excessive exposure to UVA and UVB rays can cause dry and damaged hair.
The American Academy of Dermatology explains that natural brunette hair can develop a reddish tint if it’s unprotected in the sun.
Color-treated hair can also dull and fade.
There are different products, such as oils and serums, designed with SPF protection for your hair.
- Use a humidifier in your home/office.
You’ve probably used a humidifier when you’ve been sick or congested.
But did you know they can help your hair, too?
A humidifier will provide an extra moisture boost in the air when you’ve got the heat cranked up.
It’ll also benefit your skin, too, as it won't dry out as fast.
- Visit your stylist.
There are times when you just need to bring in the pros.
They can help with your hair’s unique, specific needs and answer any questions you may have.
They’re a good source for product recommendations, too.
Additionally, a trim every 6-8 weeks will help to eliminate and prevent split ends.
There’s a lot of hair care info and tips out there.
It can be hard to keep track of it all.
You can use this blog as your one-stop guide for dry, damaged hair.
It’s annoying but fixable!
You should see improvement in no time for no bad hair days.