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How to Turn Damaged Hair Into Lustrous Tresses

Updated on October 10, 2010

Not everybody is blessed with naturally soft, lustrous hair. Whether it’s because of damage from chemicals and heat or genetic inheritance, it’s a problem for many people. However, there are ways to turn unmanageable, lack-luster hair into shiny, supple tresses. Best of all, it can be done with little or no money spent!

First off, you should determine whether or not your hair has been damaged by chemicals or heat. Using hair dyes, chemical perms and relaxers, or heated hair styling tools will undoubtedly cause permanent damage to the structure of your strands. It should be understood that there is no way to undo this damage, but there are things you can do to make it appear healthy, which we’ll go over later on.

If you’re concerned about the texture and softness of your hair, you’re probably familiar with the art of changing other aspects of its appearance as well. While using chemicals and heat to change the look of your hair can be addicting and even fun, it has ill effects on the health of your hair. The most obvious way to prevent any further damage is to stop using these destructive methods of changing your look. However, this is easier said than done for many people. Thankfully, there are options for those of us with a hair addiction.

Permanent dyes make use of hydrogen peroxide, commonly known as the developer, in order to open the hair cuticle in preparation for the dye depositing pigmentation into the strand’s core. The disrupted cuticle is what can make dyed hair look dull and frazzled. Instead of using harmful permanent dye, dyes that use staining to color the hair, such as semi-permanent or henna dyes, can sometimes be a suitable replacement. These will not harm the integrity of your precious strands, but rather coat the outside with a colored layer that gradually washes away. If this is not an option, you can opt to use the lowest volume developer possible with your chemical dye, which is volume 10. At this level, less damage will be accumulated.

Heat damage is a common way in which we tend to harm our hair. This is probably because styling our hair with heat is part of our daily routines and we rarely give a second thought as to the damage we may be doing. In order to combat heat damage from styling tools, heat protection sprays are a great option. They are relatively inexpensive and are quite effective. They work by adding a thin coating to the strands which protect them from the heat while still allowing their shape to be manipulated. It should be applied to damp hair right before the styling takes place. In addition to heat protection sprays, you can hunt for heat-free hairstyles in order to give your hair a rest every few days. There are a plethora of free hair tutorials available online that require no heat. While it may take a bit of experimentation to find heat-free styles that work for you, your hard work will be rewarded with healthier hair and perhaps a quicker morning routine.

So, the damage to your hair has already been done. What can be done to fix it now? As you’ve already read, damage to your hair can not actually be reversed once it has occurred. However, the appearance of damage can definitely be lessened. There are many products out there that claim to do this, but the most effective of them carry out at least one of two important tasks. The first important function a hair product should do in order to restore the healthy look of your hair is smoothing down the cuticle, which makes the surface of your strands much more reflective. The other task a hair product can do to make your hair look healthier is restore the keratin in the core of your hair. Keratin is the material in which your hair is made of. When you damage your hair, the keratin is broken down, leaving it weak and dull. Restoring the keratin will make your hair stronger and less porous, which will give it a healthy look and help prevent breakage.

Having dull, lifeless hair can be a challenge for those who love to change the look of their hair. Whether it’s because of genetics or chemicals and heat, people should understand that no product can truly cure damaged hair and the best thing to do is to prevent further damage. Thankfully, there are products that can make your hair look healthy and shiny and lessen the appearance of previous damage.


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    • EmilyHarr profile image

      Emily 3 years ago from Missouri

      Using sulfate free shampoo and silicone free conditioner is the best thing you can do :) Tried and proven! I've used keratin shampoos which are awesome and argan oil shampoo (Pro Naturals is a good brand) which is even better so totally recommend those!