Hair Care Tips & Styling Ideas

8 Best Hair Treatments to Remedy Dry, Damaged and Dull Strands

Woman with long hair

Dealing with dry, dull and unmanageable hair that easily breaks? You’re not alone. Lucky for us, the newest breed of hair masks and treatments are not only designed to bring much-needed moisture back to dull and dry strands. They also feed your hair and scalp with much-needed nutrients to repair damage, soften strands, boost hair color and increase shine. But before we dive into the best treatments for your hair, let’s get to the root of the problem: what causes dryness and damage, and what can you do to avoid it in the first place?

What Causes Hair to Become Damaged?

As it turns out, there are many factors that can contribute to hair becoming dry and damaged. One is over-processing, which can happen to those who color or chemically straighten or curl their hair. That’s why Sharon Dorram, master colorist at Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger Salon, says her main rule of thumb is never to do more than two processes to your hair in the same visit.

Another potential cause? Blow-drying and using hot tools too often. “When your strands heat up too quickly or too much, it zaps the moisture right out, which causes breakage and damage,” says celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons. To prevent this, he recommends avoiding using hot tools as much as possible, and when you do, turning the heat setting down so you’re not frying your hair. Protective sprays, such as Oribe’s Royal Blowout Heat Styling Spray, can also come in handy to cut down on the damage.

Other potential causes of dry hair that Dorram points out include frequent and over-shampooing, using too many styling products, overexposure to environmental elements and certain medications.

The Best Hair Treatments to Salvage Dry Hair

To remedy dry hair, hairstylists recommend using a good intensive hair treatment that will replenish your hair’s moisture, seal the cuticle to prevent further moisture loss and damage and increase shine and manageability. “There are so many fantastic options now available to really help give hair its shine back, with treatments at every price point.” says Tina Malhotra, master stylist at Mia Wagner Salon in New York City. For best results, she recommends using a hair treatment at least once per week.

When shopping for hair treatments that address dryness, it’s important to keep an eye out for key ingredients. Dorram recommends looking for emollient botanical oils, such as baobab-seed oil and other natural oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which, unlike other oils, absorb completely into the hair without feeling heavy or greasy. Additionally, she likes to add vitamin E, which hydrates and locks in moisture.

To help you get started, here are some of the top-rated and recommended hair treatments that remedy dry, damaged strands.

  1. Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector
    $30.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector

    If your hair is over-processed or damaged, whether you dye it or frequently run a straightener through it, this treatment can help repair and quite literally bring dull strands back to life. It’s made with Olaplex’s patented technology that works at the molecular level to rebuild hair’s bonds, reducing damage, breakage and frizz. It can be used on every hair type, from fine and oily to dry and coarse, and it works best when left on for a minimum of 10 minutes before you shampoo and condition.

    (For even better results, use it after prepping your hair with the brand’s No. 0 Intense Bond Building Hair Treatment.)

    Buy now with free delivery
  2. R+Co ON A CLOUD Baobab Oil Repair Masque
    $44.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    R+Co ON A CLOUD Baobab Oil Repair Masque

    Looking for a quick-working hair mask that doesn’t require more than 5 minutes of leave-in time during your shower? You’ve met your match. This just-launched mask by R+Co is created using a protein-rich formula that renews damaged hair fibers and enhances your hair’s elasticity. Key ingredients include baobab oil-protein, vitamins E and C, plant protein and mango butter.

    Buy now with free delivery
  3. Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil
    $57.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil

    Kiss frizzed and frazzled hair goodbye with this smooth and softening hair oil that’s part of Oribe’s Gold Lust line. It is jam-packed with powerfully effective ingredients that help restore damaged hair and defend it against oxidative stress, photoaging, UV rays and other environmental pollutants. The nutrient-dense main ingredients include watermelon, lychee, sandalwood and edelweiss flower extracts, argan oil, jasmine oil, cassis seed oil and shea butter.

    Buy now with free delivery
  4. Briogeo Don't Despair Repair Deep Conditioning Mask
    $39.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    Briogeo Don't Despair Repair Deep Conditioning Mask

    This deep-conditioning mask restores intense hydration to lackluster strands. It contains a transformative blend of ingredients including essential B vitamins that strengthen hair from the inside out, rosehip and argan oils which soften hair and add more shine, along with algae which helps fight hair loss and reduces scalp inflammation. NYC-based master hair colorist Stephanie Brown recommends using this deep conditioner weekly if you have damaged or chemically treated hair.

    Buy now with free delivery
  5. UNITE Hair 7SECONDS Detangler
    $32.50 Buy now with Dermstore

    UNITE Hair 7SECONDS Detangler

    If you often find that you have to detangle your hair post-shower, a hydrating detangler would make a great addition to your hair-care routine. This one by UNITE Hair helps loosen up strands through the use of an ingredient called amodimethicone, which instantly detangles and also serves as a thermal and UV protector (which comes in handy if you’re planning on blow-drying). It also contains a hydrolyzed rice protein, which helps fortify and strengthen the hair.

    Buy now with free delivery
  6. miriam quevedo Black Baccara with Fresh Rose Stem Cells Hair Repairing Multiplying Serum
    $45.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    miriam quevedo Black Baccara with Fresh Rose Stem Cells Hair Repairing Multiplying Serum

    Just after getting out of the shower, once you’ve towel-dried your hair, is the best time to apply a strengthening hair serum like this one by miriam quevedo. It contains a black baccara rose youth concentrate, which provides protection against environmental stressors, as well as fresh rose stem cells to preserve the hair follicle’s stem cell function and boost vitality. Another key ingredient is vegan keratin, which is 100 percent natural and plant-based and leaves hair looking shinier and healthier.

    Buy now with free delivery
  7. VIRTUE Restorative Treatment Mask
    $68.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    VIRTUE Restorative Treatment Mask

    Adding an intensely hydrating hair mask into your hair care routine once or twice a week can make a world of a difference in its appearance, and one of the best out there is this one by VIRTUE®. It’s formulated with Alpha Keratin 60ku®, which immediately infuses hair with a hydrating and conditioning boost. It also contains an extract of a unique brown algae called cystoseira compressa, which is known to provide intensive repair as well as heat protection. Other active ingredients include amaranthus caudatus-seed extract, artichoke-leaf extract and baobab-seed oil.

    Buy now with free delivery
  8. Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil
    $71.00 Buy now with Dermstore

    Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil

    This hydrating mask by Christophe Robin helps build back hair that has lost its structure and its vibrancy. It contains a myriad of nourishing ingredients, including prickly pear-seed oil, which is antioxidant-rich, inula extract, which revives pigment in color-treated hair, as well as plant ceramides, which help bring back shine to lackluster strands. Apply it after you shampoo and leave it on for at least 10 minutes so that it can sink deep into your hair.

    Buy now with free delivery

Beauty Reporter

Jenn Sinrich

Jenn Sinrich is a freelance writer, editor and content strategist in NYC. Her work can be found in Women’s Health, SELF, Reader's Digest, Health, PureWow and more. When she's not putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), she can be found traveling the world and discovering more about the big apple of a city she's always dreamed of calling home. Follow her on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.