Does your hair feel about as soft as a scouring pad? Are you scared it’s going to break at the sheer thought of brushing it? Does it look puffy instead of bouncy? These are just a few symptoms of brittle hair.
Brittle hair can be a combination of dry, dull, frizzy, broken, split-ended, shedding and lackluster hair. There are a few serious medical causes, such as malnutrition, hypothyroidism and having a biotin deficiency. If your brittle hair is chronically awful, your first course of action should be to check in with your doctor.
But the most common culprits of crispy, fragile hair are excessive exposure to UV rays, heat styling, chlorine and chemical processes, like dyes and bleaches. Guilty as charged? Then a few tweaks to your styling routine could quickly get you back on track to healthy, shiny and strong hair.
First, cut down on heat styling. Hair dryers that heat up to over 175°C and curling irons applied for one minute or longer at 125°C can induce water bubbles inside your hair, damaging the shaft. Extreme heat essentially cooks your hair. This terrifying condition is known as “bubble hair” – it makes strands feel rough to the touch and keeps them from sliding off each other in a uniform way, aka, no more bounce.
Make sure your hot tools have temperature controls and stick with the low to medium settings. Also, be sure to use a heat-protecting styling aid to buffer the damage. In fact, try skipping a day or two of heat styling entirely each week to give your haystack a much-needed rest.
Next, switch to using moisture-replenishing shampoos, conditioners and styling products. The newest formulas actually deliver hefty doses of hydration without making your hair feel greasy or gunky. If you’re scared that conditioner will weigh down your hair, then just apply it to your ends, which are usually the most brittle. Look for styling aids that contain shine-enhancing and hair-softening oils, like sunflower, soybean, argan and sweet almond oils. A weekly intensive moisture-boosting hair mask or scalp treatment will also help rejuvenate fragile, weak hair.
Finally, avoid tight hairstyles and metal hair accessories which could stress and tear your already fragile hair. Use very soft hair ties and well-padded ponytail bands.