Dry, dull, dehydrated hair can happen to the best of us. It lacks the softness, shine and bounce that we expect from our strands. Dry hair—or hair that lacks moisture and oil—can be caused by anything from excessive hair washing and blow drying to hormone abnormalities. For example, frequent use of hot hair tools (especially without heat protectant) can dry out and damage your strands. To help solve our hair woes, hairstylist and salon manager Lena Stanley provided us with some expert tips for shiny, healthy hair.
“Try to reduce the use of blow dryers and flat irons,” explains Stanley. Heat damage is a huge cause of brittle hair and split ends. If you’re going to use heat styling tools, Stanley advises to “use a leave in conditioner, preferably containing silicone, as it coats and protects hair from heat.”
One easy way to keep dry hair moisturized is by using natural oils. One of the best secret weapons for battling dry hair lives right in our kitchen cabinet. Coconut oil has been hailed as the all-around savior when it comes to natural beauty regimens. Not only is it great for parched lips and smooth skin, but it keeps our skin hydrated and relieves dry hair. “Try coating the ends of your hair with coconut oil for 10 minutes to an hour before showering to give it that extra boost of moisture,” Stanley says.
Wash your hair with sulfate-free shampoos. “They are less stripping and will extend the life of your color, if you’ve dyed your hair,” Stanley says. Sulfates can be extremely harsh on your hair and if your hair is naturally curly, they can also weigh your curls down drastically.
A good conditioner can keep cuticles lying flat, which helps our hair stay hydrated and able to absorb moisture. Even if you don’t shampoo your hair every day, moisturizing it in the shower with leave-in conditioners can make a huge difference. Also, be gentle when towel-drying. “Rubbing wet hair with a towel can put stress on the hair and even cause breakage and split ends,” explains Stanley.
*Be careful about overdoing it with heavy moisturizers or hair masks—as these can weigh down some hair types or give you that unpleasant “greasy” look.
When picking the perfect mate, choosing blindly is never the best option. So, why would we do this for our hair? Not all products work for all hair types. Take some time to get to know your hair and exactly what it needs to stay moisturized and healthy.
For example: While both straight and curly hair types can suffer from a lack of moisture, one needs a little more love, while the other benefits from a more hands-off approach. Those with coarse, tightly curled hair may need to use a moisturizing hair mask every time they shower. For fine, straight hair, on the other hand, this much moisture could lead to a greasy, weighed-down look instead.
Fortunately, celebrity hairstylist Carly Walters helped us break down the different ways to moisturize, style and care for each hair type. Check out her advice for different hair texture types here.
Note: For some, hair care habits may not be to blame. Depending on your genes, your hair may not be producing enough oil at the root, which will lead to a dry scalp. A hormone imbalance can also be the cause of dryness and dehydration. So, if changing your hair washing and styling routine doesn’t seem to make a difference, contact your health care provider to get to the root cause of your dry hair.