With the whole world staying inside due to COVID-19, people are more stylistically creative than ever. Reducing damage is essential to achieving the looks you want. No matter the quality of the styling products you’ve got on hand, you’re just not unlocking your full look potential with damaged hair.
Why is this? It circles back around to biological hair makeup. Hair is mostly made up of keratin. This natural substance gets worn down from a myriad of environmental factors. Unfortunately, when keratin is weakened, so is the performance of each individual hair strand. Dullness, brittle hair, and frizz all run wild when hair isn’t maintained properly.
These factors all lead to stubborn hair. The bottom line is— damaged hair isn’t going to cooperate with your dream look. Luckily, we’re here to identify some of the top contributors to damaged hair so you can start to rewind the aging process across your entire scalp.
Another thing to consider is that damage hits way harder in color-treated hair. When we boost our blonde to that oh-so-coveted platinum, we’re putting it under enormous stress. If you’re planning on a radical hair makeover, this article is even more important.
Hair damage repair products are a leading product category— kept alive by accidental daily oversights which lead to tired, limp locks. First, we’re going to look at the master list of leading hair damage causes. Then we’ll dive right into damage repair. Finally, we’ll finish up with how to reduce initial damage before it even happens. Sound like a plan? Here we go.
PHASE ONE: The Obvious Damagers
Here are the more obvious things you’re (probably) doing that are damaging your hair. If you didn’t already know some of these, don’t feel bad, we won’t tell.
- Abrasive Box Dyes are number one on the “most damaging” list. Ammonia, a common ingredient in store-bought dyes, is super bad for hair heath. It’s an irritant for your scalp too. Would you put ammonia on your face? No. We’d argue that putting it on your scalp is even worse because of the long-term hair damage caused by poor scalp chemistry.
- Hot Water is not-so-hot for your hair and scalp. Why? It dries it out and allows nutrients, natural oils, and moisture to escape post-wash. We suggest dialling down the heat a little. If you want to take it a step further, rinse with cold water. It’ll tighten your hair follicles, lock in moisture, and is more forgiving on your scalp.
- Excessive Heat from dryers and styling tools is a daily Beauty may come with a price, but what if we told you it didn’t have to? The cordless AER dryer dials down the heat using its smart AI technology— scanning your hair and the environment to keep you safe from abrasive drying. Cross this damage-causing category right off your list today and forever by securing yourself the AER dryer, available now on Indiegogo or check out www.aerdryer.com.
- Non-Natural Shampoos can strip the minerals and oils right out of your hair. This becomes an even larger problem when you over-wash. Since these issues are interconnected, we’re tying them together for this more obvious hair damage contributor. Pick up a natural shampoo that’s free from damaging ingredients and preservatives. You’ll thank us after a few washes.
- Chlorine kills (keratin). Okay, not completely. However, it does place major strain on keratin and natural oils found in each hair strand. Next time you spend hours in the pool, thank the chlorine for the frizz you’ll be carrying around for the next few days. Solution? Leave-in conditioner and keeping your hair up. While you’re at it, find a conditioner with sunscreen to protect your hair from UV rays. And no, not the sticky residue-laced sunscreen you slather on your kids. There are products with uber-lightweight sunscreens which don’t come with that grimy feeling.
PHASE TWO: The Not-So-Obvious Damagers
Some of you might want to turn back now. You can’t unread these next few sneaky damage-causing suckers. Some of them might have you tempted to change your entire beauty regimen. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Without further ado, here we go.
- Dry Shampoo is the first on our you’ve-got-to-be-kidding damage list. Think dry shampoo was your secret weapon? It may be the hidden thorn in your side as well. According to experts, overusing dry shampoos leads to a catastrophic unbalance in your hair and scalp’s natural processes. Is it fine to use as a last-minute rescue? Yes. But don’t get too comfortable using it as your go-to crutch.
- Ponytail Overkill can over-stretch your hair. Twists, ties, and knots are tugging at your hair and altering the texture— even when you don’t feel it happening. Too much strain will have your hair coming out in clumps down the shower drain. Take it easy there, cowgirl.
- Your Pillowcase. Shocking. Silk pillowcases are your best line of defense against terrible bed head and midnight drying (which is happening nightly, unbeknownst to you). Ditch the cotton for this silky smooth, de-frizzing alternative.
- Towel Drying is a no-go. Ok, not every form of towel drying. But vigorously rubbing your hair is stretching your hair when it’s at its weakest. Wet hair is more susceptible to damage. Put it up gently in a towel, let it sit for a while, and then blow dry it out with your AER Dryer for the best drying experience (free from damage).
- Using Tools on Dirty Hair can cause damage too. Make sure you’re shampooed next time you style. Excessive heat on hair with layered products or a few day’s grime can really screw up your hair. Breakage will sneak up on you if you make this a habit.
PHASE THREE: DIY Repair Mode
Now that the ugly hair damaging dangers are all out of the way, let’s switch gears. It’s time to reclaim some ground and fight back against unwanted damage. We’re about to introduce you to some stylist-endorsed DIY methods to bring the bounce back into your look. Some of them are new, some of them are tried and true, and some we’ve even touched on before. But hey, it works, so it’s worth the revisit.
We’ve created some hair masks ranked by Scent (how luxurious it smells), Reparation (how dramatic the effect), and Ease of Use (how easy it is to execute the process). They’re quick, easy, and sure to make your night. Try one each week for the remainder of the month and add your favorite to your ongoing hair care routine.
Reparation Mask I
Ease of Use: ◉◉◎◎
This mask will melt your stress away along with any frizz. You’ll need avocado oil, tea tree oil, and honey. Mix two drops of tea tree oil for every tablespoon of avocado oil (which is acting as a carrier oil). Top it off with a small dollop of fresh honey— a great opportunity to support local farm business.
Reparation Mask II
Ease of Use: ◉◉◉◎
Supercharged mineral mask? Look no further. Mix one-part witch hazel with two parts carrier oil of your choice. Also blend in a few drops of vitamin C serum. Massage it into your scalp and across your hair. Let it sit for up to ten minutes and then wash it off.
Reparation Mask III
Ease of Use: ◉◉◉◉
This one is super easy to mix because of its simplicity, but may be harder to find the ingredients depending on your area. You’ll need fresh eucalyptus and fresh aloe. That’s it.
Scoop out the fresh aloe and massage it into your scalp. While it soaks into your hair, tie the branches of eucalyptus to your shower head and turn the water on hot. This will steam up the bathroom with the eucalyptus scent. Next, dial back the water to cold and wash out the aloe. The cold water will tighten up your hair and give it a natural shine.
Here are some other fun ways to repair your hair:
- Deep Conditioner spa night
- Treat Yourself to a highly-rated hair serum and use curbside pickup
- Trim It Up a bit and freshen up the ends of your hair
- Discover beauty gurus’ go-tos with a hair repair YouTube marathon
PHASE FOUR: Proactive Solutions
Here’s a thought. Instead of solely repairing existing damage, what would our hair care routine look like if it was focused on proactively eluding hair damage?
While the tips in phase three are great quick fixes to improve hair quality, phase four is focused on creating a line of defense for months to come. Notice that most of these involve one thing in common— commitment to routine. They’re also rather influenced by what not to do. These are not a one-time cure-all. The most dramatic hair results are created by keeping momentum.
Here are some of the new habits to blend into your routine.
- Increase Vitamin Intake. Studies have shown that increasing the following can lead to stronger hair. Here’s the list: Omega-3 Fatty Acids (found in fish, nuts, and plant oils) Magnesium, and Vitamin A (found in eggs, spinach and supplements). Our top picks for hair-healthy foods include avocados, walnuts, fish, carrots and spinach.
- Ditch Your High-Heat Dryer which strips down your hair every use. There’s some irony here— the tools you’re using to style your hair are simultaneously contributing to making styling more difficult. While some beauty gurus may advise you to style your hair less, AER believes that you shouldn't have to sacrifice being creative for having healthy hair. The AER Dryer minimizes the heat used in the drying process with its Smart AI technology that lowers the heat as you dry.
- Switch to Natural styling products free from harsh fragrances, dyes, preservatives, and harmful ingredients. This goes for shampoo, conditioner, hair oils, setting spray, and other items in your hair care kit. While this is also a game-changer in the long run for your hair, it’s also supporting cleaner products. Keep an eye out for recyclable bottles too (and then actually recycle them when you’re finished).
- Shampoo Less Frequently than you are now. There are a lot of hair issues wrapped up in over washing. Surprisingly, the minerals contained within the water we use is loaded with counter-productive minerals. These minerals contribute to dryness, dullness, and subtle shifts in hair color over time.
Today is a perfect time to start your progression toward healthier hair. For now, maybe that looks like less shampooing and trying a hair mask or two. Remember, consistency is what’s most important— there’s no need to bite off a whole new routine all at once. Start small and watch the results compound into something big.
Blend in a new healthy-hair challenge every two weeks. By the end of the year, you’ll already be starting strong on your New Year’s resolution of smarter styling. Let’s get to it!