Is Your Hair Damaged Beyond Repair, or Just Dry?


For some reason, we equate dry hair with damaged hair. Maybe it’s because so many shampoo companies will slap on their bottles “for dry or damaged hair”.

Dry and damaged hair are completely different cases.

I see this so often: client comes in asking for all the dead ends to be cut off. “Take off the split ends and give me healthy hair.”

I run my fingers through their hair and feel a bit of roughness towards the ends, I look closely at the hairs and see zero split ends and no damage.

“Your hair is not damaged,” I say. “There’s actually no split ends. What you’re feeling is dryness.”

“Oh really?”

“Yup. What you need is a small trim and a good moisturizing treatment. You will have to keep up the moisture treatment at home and you’ll get your healthy, luscious hair back in no time.”

Usually there’s a sigh of relief that the hair can be saved!!!

If your hair is dry:

  • Usually, the hair tangles.

  • It feels rough.

  • Generally, it’s towards the ends, because the hair on the bottom is older and tends to get dry over time.

  • Remember, the hair on your ends is old hair. It’s been around for anywhere from 2-4 years, depending on how long your hair is. Naturally, it’s going to be drier than the rest.

If your hair is damaged:

  • You have had some chemical processing done - blonding, perming, or chemical straightening. The damage from these processes is called chemical damage.

  • You have used a lot of hot tools. This is called heat damage. Think: flat ironing.

  • The hair will not be straight, but more wiry looking.

  • If you straighten or use hot tools, the hair may smoke.

  • You will clearly see split ends.

Dry hair can also have split ends, because once the hair is dry it begins to “crack”. In that case I would say you have dry hair with a bit of damage.

Always have your hair properly “diagnosed” by a stylist. A good stylist will tell you what is really happening with your hair and what you need to do to repair it.

What do do if you have dry hair:

  • Ask for an in-salon moisture treatment. They are very potent, and usually last up to 8 weeks, depending how much you wash your hair. Kerastase, Kevin Murphy and Redken are great.

  • Take home a dry hair regimen: shampoo, conditioner, and a masque that you use weekly until you see visible results.

  • Use a leave-in conditioner for extra hydration.

  • Use a serum to seal in the split ends and add shine.

Many times I will do the treatment for my client, and then cut the hair. This way I can see what actually needs to be taken off, since the treatment heals so much of the dryness.

What do do if you have damaged hair:

  • Ask for an in-salon repairing treatment.

  • Stop using hot tools.

  • If you must, use your hairdryer on low-heat setting.

  • Use a strong heat protectant.

  • Stop lightening your hair. Toner is fine - it actually seals damage and makes hair healthier.

  • Take home a repairing treatment that uses protein: shampoo, conditioner, and a repairing masque.

  • Use a leave-in repairing, protein-based, styling cream.

  • Continue to get your hair trimmed until all damage is gone.