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Natural Beauty

What to Do After You’ve Wrecked Your Hair

Are your formerly lush locks looking frizzy, fried, and more like straw than hair? With some serious triage, you can repair the damage, restore softness and shine, and manage that mane. Plus, 6 premium natural hair care products worth the splurge!

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1. Replenish and Repair 

Repair your hair and revive strength and shine with a deep-conditioning mask designed to replenish moisture and heal destructive influences. Look for one with amino acids, protein, or collagen to boost resilience and elasticity, and emollient ingredients like argan oil, jojoba oil, or macadamia oil to restore lost hydration. For the most intensive conditioning, apply a mask after shampooing, then use a blow dryer set on medium to low—heat encourages hair to expand, allowing restorative ingredients to penetrate the shaft. After hair is warm, leave mask on for 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse. Use deep conditioning masks once a week, more often if your hair is color treated or frizzy. 

2. Color Correct

Noticing your locks have a brassy or, worse, greenish hue? Blonde, platinum, or light gray hair is more vulnerable, but brunettes aren’t exempt—especially if you have highlights (from either the salon or the sun). And if your hair’s color-treated, water (especially pool water) and sun exposure fade color, emphasizing underlying warmer hues and leaving you with a brassy tone. To take the edge off brassy tints, try a shampoo infused with violet or blue malva; the blueish-purple pigments neutralize brassy yellows and oranges. For green swimmer’s hair, try an at-home (cheap, easy) fix. Highly acidic ingredients such as tomato juice, lemon juice, or baking soda mixed with water can cut through the greenish tinge.

3. Fix your Frizzies 

Hair’s cuticle is made up of smooth, overlapping scales; UV rays and weather extremes can rough up those scales, making hair coarser and allowing hydration to escape. When the cuticle is damaged, it can cause static and frizz. And dry, dehydrated hair is fragile and more prone to breakage—those broken bits make hair look fuzzy and unkempt. Repair that damaged hair and keep your tresses sleek, shiny, and frizz-free with shampoos and conditioners that are rich in super-emollient plant oils (such as coconut oil, avocado oil, or shea butter), plus keratin, to restore moisture and relax frizzies. Rinse with cool water to seal and smooth the cuticle, for a polished, fuzz-free finish. 

4. Let Hair Hang Loose 

Tying up your locks day after day causes breakage, especially when the shaft is already weak and damaged. Even gentle elastics and scrunchies create tension, and metal clips cut into hair and make breakage more likely. Over time, too much pulling can impact hair follicles and even lead to shedding and loss. The easiest hair repair in this case is to simply unleash your mane and give it a rest from all that traction. If you have to tie your hair back, don’t put your pony in the same place every day, or opt for a loose braid. Use silk scrunchies, not hair elastics, for a gentler hold, and apply a leave-in conditioner first, to hydrate and protect. 

5. Revamp Your Styling Regimen

Repairing hair calls for extra-gentle handling and minimal styling. After shampooing, skip the blow drying; heat damages your already vulnerable locks, so let hair air dry as often as possible. Gently towel wet hair (no rough scrubbing or tousling), then use a wide-tooth comb to ease out tangles, starting at the ends and working your way up to the roots. Spritz with a detangling spray or leave-in conditioner to gently ease out snarls, and never brush wet hair; it’s more elastic and prone to breakage. And reserve curling irons and flat irons for special occasions; keep the temperature below 350°F, and use heat-protectant product before styling. 

6. Trim and Mend

No matter how careful you’ve been with your hair, split ends are almost inevitable. Left uncorrected, splits can travel up the shaft, leading to breakage and making hair look frizzy and rough. Tidy up your tresses and repair hair damage with a serious trim (maybe it’s an ideal time to try out a new, shorter bob). If you’re shy of scissors, cut as much as you can stomach, then switch to shampoos and conditioners designed to mend remaining splits. Dabbing jojoba, sesame, or sweet almond oil on ends of hair can temporarily seal splits for a sleeker look, while restoring moisture to minimize fraying. Or try a DIY mask: mix equal parts honey and olive oil, slather on hair, and leave in for 30 minutes.

Serious Fixes for Troubled Tresses

Alodia Nourish & Hydrate Deep Conditioning Masque, with avocado oil, coconut oil, amino acids, honey and essential oils.

Attitude Repair & Color Protection Conditioner, with argan oil, oat extract and other botanicals.

Desert Harvest Aloe Vera Herbal Conditioner, with certified organic aloe vera, vitamins, herbs and essential oils.

Evo Ritual Salvation Repairing Shampoo, with aloe vera, protein, collagen and panthenol.

ORising Fortifying Shampoo for Weak Hair, with ginkgo biloba, sunflower seed oil, lavender and other botanicals.

Prose, customized hair care products (made different for everyone) with ultra-clean ingredients, such as argan oil, pea protein, jojoba beads, and green tea water.