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How to Repair and Fix Damaged Hair

Updated on February 8, 2016

Repair Dry Damaged Hair

This photo was taken before my dry, damaged hair started breaking off.
This photo was taken before my dry, damaged hair started breaking off.

Over bleached, Over processed Hair

Recently my dry, damaged hair started to break off. Lots of hair was snapping off when I combed it. What was happening to my hair? I was so embarrassed. I did what any logical person would do. I avoided looking at my hair in the mirror. I told myself there were more important things to think about. I am a major cheapskate so I tried to cheer myself up by thinking of the money I was saving by not going to the hairdresser's each month. Still, I snuck peeks at the back of my head in the bathroom mirror. Something resembling white chicken fluff peeked back at me. What was causing so much damage? And more importantly what could I do about it?

My Hair Before

Wet Hair Is More Vulnerable to Breakage

Here are some tips you can try if your hair is damaged:

Stop combing your hair when it's wet. Wet hair is more vulnerable. Combing hair when wet can cause it to snap.

Minimize breakage by using a wide tooth comb or simply detangle it with your fingers. If your comb has teeth that are too close together, like mine did, they can pull on the tangled ends and cause it to break.

Running a comb through my damaged hair was as dangerous as trimming it with the lawn mower. Clumps filled my comb, even after I sprayed it with leave-in detangler. At a visit to the Aveda institute in Charlotte, I instructed the student in training not to feel bad about yanking out giant clumps when she tried to comb it. She looked at me like I was making a joke. I assured her I could take it.

Damaged Hair vs. Dry Hair

Damaged hair- usually occurs if you apply strong chemical treatments on a regular basis. Chemical treatments include bleach, keratin treatments, relaxers and perms. These chemicals are all very damaging and are best left to professionals. If your ends are dull and lifeless and your hair feels brittle or you see breakage, you have damaged hair.

Dry hair- looks and feels frizzy with many split ends. Dry hair can be caused by heated styling tools, skipping conditioner, over coloring and too much sun.

Help! My hair is fried and breaking off!

A major addiction to bleach...led to split ends that traveled up the rest of my hair.
A major addiction to bleach...led to split ends that traveled up the rest of my hair.
A recent photo of my over processed, fried hair.  Daily blow drying plus straightening and chemical bleaching left my hair fried and falling out.
A recent photo of my over processed, fried hair. Daily blow drying plus straightening and chemical bleaching left my hair fried and falling out.
A photo taken before my hair started falling out.
A photo taken before my hair started falling out.

Overlapping Chemical Processes...My Personal Horror Story

Hair that is colored too often or applied on top of other chemical processes can leave hair extremely dry. As a major cheapskate, I have taken drastic measures to save money. I have cut and colored my own hair lots of times. My extreme love of saving has gotten me into major DIY haircolor trouble before. Usually my crazy experiments lead up to a begging session at the hair salon asking for help (and forgiveness). I do have a sense of humor and laughed when one lady said "I ain't promisin' you nothing" before sticking my sad head into the sink.

This time I wanted to save money and started touching up my dark roots at home with.....(gasp) box color. I thought I was a genius. I may be cheap but I'm still a brand snob and used the $5 off coupon at Publix to spring for the John Frieda kit.

It looked innocent enough. The box was very classy looking, a luxe black glossy box with a picture of a gorgeous hair model on it. I ignored all previous warning from hair stylists about using grocery store hair color and raced home to transform myself into a sexy vixen.

My dark roots were transformed into a curious shade somewhere in the carrot family. There was also still a very noticeable line between the now-orange roots and my infamous white blonde cotton candy puff hair (the ends). I was hopeful that the orange roots would fade after a few vigorous washings.

I avoided major mirror time and continued to style my fried locks as usual. I rubbed in some Aveda Damage Remedy ( a wonderful smelling oil that helps nourish hair) then hit the hair with a super hot blow dryer and the necessary evil flat iron. I knew the heat was the worst thing for my hair but no way was I stepping foot out of the house with my hair not done.

Trim Hair Proactively

If you have split ends and don't get them trimmed regularly, they will break off on their own and the breakage will continue up the hair shaft. During a recent visit o my boyfriend's mom's house, she asked "What on earth has happened to your hair?" I knew what was coming next. That's what my boyfriend's mom referred to as "someone chewing the end of your hair off." What an image.

Trim hair every 4-6 weeks so your hair won't split off.

Minimize Heat Styling and Other Tips to Save Your Hair

  • Squeeze excess water from hair before drying. Do not rub vigorously with a towel but use a blotting motion.
  • Lower the heat on your blow dryer and hold the dryer 8 inches from hair. This is a hard idea to get used to since most of us are trying to run out the door and need our hair to dry as fast as possible.
  • Let hair dry naturally whenever possible. At least one day a week, give your hair a break from all heat.
  • Too much heat fries your hair. Once hair is fried past the point of no return, the only remaining option is to cut off the damaged hair.
  • Skip the ceramic flat iron. This was the hardest cycle for me to break. If I don't blow dry and style my hair, it looks terrible. I have now set aside the flat iron and just do a quick blow dry and minimal styling around my face with a large barrel curling iron. The back is cut short and I leave that section to Mother Nature.
  • Don't perm, relax or color your hair more than once every 8 weeks.
  • Don't bleach your hair. This weakens it big time. I am a die-hard fan of ultra light blonde hair that is the color of Marilyn Monroe's famous white locks.
  • Use a sulphate free shampoo.
  • Don't wash your hair every day. This is a huge time saver and saves you the hassle of blow drying and styling. Spritz a style refresher like Herbal Essences on your hair and tuck any stray strands back into place. If you can, limit washing to every other day.
  • Use a satin pillowcase. Wild sleeping habits can put additional stress on your hair. Pamper yourself and upgrade your pillowcase today.
  • Spend more for a good conditioner. The bargain grocery store conditioner may save you money but it is not nourishing your hair.
  • Use a leave-in conditioner every day. After showering, spray all over your hair. Look for specially formulated products to protect your tresses from damaging heat styling.
  • Deep condition your hair with coconut or olive oil. Apply to hair at night, cover with a shower cap and let it go to work on the damaged hair while you sleep.
  • Use a protein treatment to prevent breakage.

Onion Juice for Hair Growth

A 2002 study in The Journal of Dermatology reported that 20 out of 23 participants who applied onion juice to their scalps twice a day saw hair regrowth in 6 weeks. This study was for the topical use of crude onion juice in the treatment of patchy alopecia (non-scarring hair loss condition). The first group received the onion juice treatment and consisted of 23 patients, 16 males and 7 females aged 5 to 42 years. The placebo group received a treatment made from tap water only. Hair regrowth at 4 weeks was seen in 17 of the 23 onion juice treated patients and at 6 weeks, hair regrowth was observed in 20 of the patients.

Use Fresh Onion Juice to Regrow Hair

Onion juice can be used to treat thin and graying hair. If the smell of the onion juice is too strong, try using essential oils with the onion juice. Use the juice of one onion twice a day for best results.

Peel an onion, divide into 4 sections and blend in blender.

Strain the mixture.

Apply the onion juice and massage it into the scalp.

Leave juice on for 30 minutes to an hour, then wash it out.

Onions are rich in sulfur. Onion juice provides the scalp with nourishment and improves circulation. Onion juice can also be used to fight dandruff.

Save Your Hair With DIY Treatment

Herbal Remedies For Hair Regrowth

Stinging Nettle- an abundant herb in North America that helps prevent the conversion of testosterone hormones into dihydrotestosterone, which is the main cause of hair loss.

Rosemary- use to improve the circulation of the scalp

Combine rosemary with olive oil to treat a dry, flaky scalp.

Peppermint- improves blood circulation of the scalp.

Take Your Vitamins

  • Take a daily supplement like Nature's Bounty Hair, Skin and Nails. My boss swears by taking two capsules of fish oil and her hair is long and healthy.
  • Consider prenatal vitamins.

Use Olaplex When Coloring Hair to Minimize Breakage

Olaplex is a bonding agent that prevents breakage when applied with hair color. Ask your stylist to mix this with your hair color to minimize breakage from hair coloring.

Cut Off Your Damaged Hair

If you're hair is completely fried, like mine was, you may need to cut off the damaged hair and start fresh. Currently, my hair is very short. It was really hard to see the blonde chunks laying on the floor at the hairdresser's. I picked them up, studied them, then tossed them to the floor. Inwardly, I cried. I'm now working to regrow my hair and have cut back on combing my hair when wet and restarted my vitamin regimen.

Make money selling the hottest brands of jeans on Ebay.
Make money selling the hottest brands of jeans on Ebay.
Rent your property on Craigslist for additional income.
Rent your property on Craigslist for additional income.

Go to the Hairdresser Monthly to Keep Hair Healthy

Although I love saving money, I also like looking good. My plan is to go to the hair salon before I get desperate and take matters into my own hands. If your hair is very damaged, get it cut and start taking better care of your hair. Take fish oil capsules daily to strengthen damaged hair.

Try Ulta Not Your Mother's Lock Luster Argan Oil

Need a great smelling hair repair product? For soft hair that smells great, try Ulta's Not Your Mother's Lock Luster Argan Oil Treatment. It's easy to use, smells great, lightweight, and makes hair soft and tangle free. Your damaged dry hair will love it.


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