Hair Care For Dry Damaged Hair According To A Stylist


Written by Shannon Sweeny

Dry and damaged hair can be frustrating to deal with, and it can seemingly come out of nowhere. In the midst of our morning hair drying and straightening routines, though, we’re inflicting a lot of damage on our hair. This is especially true for people with dry hair, who are more prone to damage because their hair can be naturally brittle and weak.

So what do you do when your hair needs some TLC? With certain products, time, and patience, you can undo damage to your hair. The best tip: Be consistent with your routine and make sure you’re investing time into your hair. 

We talked to Ashley Smith, a hairstylist who’s been in the industry for more than five years. 

“I originally went to cosmetology school to get more training in makeup. In school my love for hair color took over,” Smith said in an email interview. “I now specialize in balayage and bridal hair. I still dabble in makeup, but my main focus is hair.”

Read more about what Smith recommends for caring for dry, damaged hair below.

What are some causes of dry or damaged hair?

Causes of dry and damaged hair most commonly is from applying too much lightener or bleach to the hair. Lightener is extremely damaging, breaking down the bonds in the hair to rid it of its melanin. Another common cause is heat damage. Overusing heat tools such as straighteners, curling irons, and blow dryers.

If someone starts noticing that their hair is dry or damaged, what should they do? 

If you start to notice damage to your hair the first step would be to cut back on heat styling. I would avoid any lightening services, and get regular trims every 6-8 weeks. Also try to incorporate a deep conditioner into your hair care routine. 

What products do you recommend using to prevent damage to your hair? 

Products everyone should be using: a deep conditioner once a week. My preference is the amika Soulfood. Everyone also needs a heat protectant. We use hot tools at sometimes upwards of 400 degrees. We are quite literally cooking our hair. There needs to be a barrier between the heat and our fragile hair! My favorite shampoo and conditioner is Olaplex. This focuses on repairing the bonds of the hair from the inside. Most products just focus on the outer layers of hair, whereas this also works on in the inner layers.

What products should people avoid using? 

I would avoid drugstore brands, such as Pantene, Aussie, Tresseme, etc. They are very diluted, so mostly water. They also have low quality ingredients which are more alkaline. This will create more damage to the hair.

What tips do you have for people about general hair care and preventing damage?

Invest in your hair! Get trims regularly (6-8 weeks) to avoid split ends. Once they start they go up the hair shaft and cause even more damage. Space out your lightening services. I like to put about 8 weeks between my clients who have blonde ambition. This also only helps if you’re using the proper at home care. Deep condition weekly and find new styles that require little to no heat.