Restoring Dry, Damaged Hair

Maybe you’ve found yourself on the wrong side of an at-home hair experiment. Perhaps you got a little overzealous with the highlights. It could be the summer sun that fried your locks. Or maybe it was just temporary insanity. Whatever the cause, your hair is crispy, lackluster, and all out of sorts.

Take heart. Help is on the way. It won’t happen overnight, but with a little patience and dedication, you can bring back some of your hair’s former glory. I know, because I fried my hair and have seen significant improvements in the past few weeks.

Here are a few tips to get your shine, movement, and softness back:

  • Use an overnight hair mask. You can purchase deep conditioning treatments/masks at the pharmacy, or you can simply use oil. I’ve tried coconut oil and sweet almond oil, both seem to work fine. I’ve also heard olive oil works well. Whatever you choose to use, smooth the mask or oil through dry hair (wet hair has already absorbed water, leaving less room for the mask to penetrate the hair shaft). Place an old pillow case or towel under your head, or sleep with a shower cap (if you can handle the crinkling), and wash away the excess product in the morning. I’ve even left coconut oil in my hair for a full day- a ponytail and hat is sufficient to keep from looking like a grease ball.


  • Consider “heavier” products. I have a few items that I’ve purchased along the way that proved to be too moisturizing or heavy for my hair type. After a little trial and error, some of them proved to be just what I need while in recovery mode. A smoothing cream + up do = good hair day.


  • Experiment with leave-ins. I’ve always used a tiny bit of leave-in conditioner, but I find if I double the amount, my hair is softer.
  • Get a demi-permanant color or clear gloss. A demi-permant color is deposit-only, meaning it won’t lift the hair cuticle (thus risking more problems). It will simply add color and shine. If you’ve over highlighted or gone too light, a single, even hair color can create the appearance of healthier hair. Another option is to use a clear gloss (demi-permanant with no color). It won’t actually make your hair healthier, but it will improve it’s appearance. Both of these can be done at home or at a salon. I opted to have a demi-permanent color done at the salon because, well…I needed to stop the at-home insanity.
  • Wash less often. This is probably the most challenging because we want to start over when we have a bad hair day. Get creative with hair creams, up do’s, or hats, but leave your hair alone. Plan ahead for wash day by using a hair mask the night before.
  • Get a trim. It’s obvious, but a little trim can take care of the worst of your ends and give you a little confidence boost.

Remember, the hair on your head is dead and nothing can truly bring back it’s original state (except time and growth). But you can make it significantly better with patience and persistence. Best of luck, and hang in there. In a few short weeks, you’ll be back on track.

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