How to Treat Damaged Hair
Aug 15, 2023
Beautiful, healthy hair says a lot about you. It helps you understand that looking your best helps you feel your best and do your best! But maintaining the length, volume, and shine that are the markers of healthy hair can be challenging because of everyday aggressors that can assault your hair.
Understanding the specific factors that damage your hair can help you drop some hair harming habits and choose the best products to nourish and protect your crowning glory no matter what life throws your way! Let’s talk about the three main sources of damage and explore some strategies to save the life of your locks.
Chemical Causes of Hair Damage
Chemical aggressors can be a major cause of hair breakage. If you lighten/bleach or chemically straighten your hair, you’re causing damage—no doubt about it. Coping with chemical damage comes down to two approaches---selecting the gentle alternative to minimize damage when you can and replenishing and restoring strands when stronger processes are baked into your styling choices.
Avoiding Harsh chemicals: Since the dawn of modern haircare, many haircare products have featured harsh chemicals that can damage the hair and scalp. That heritage of harshness led to the birth of Alterna Haircare in 1997 as a premium alternative to harmful products. Alterna’s mission has been to maximize luxurious performance while minimizing exposure to hair and scalp damaging ingredients and additives like harsh sulfates and parabens. From Caviar Anti-Aging to Renewing Scalp Care, every Alterna collection offers the true luxury of clean* premium haircare.
Nourish and Replenish: Chemical services like bleaching and dyeing can also harm your hair by damaging the cuticle and weakening the natural bonds that give your hair strength. If you regularly request these services at the salon, have an honest talk with your stylist about how to create the look you look while minimizing damage. Options include going au naturel and celebrating your natural color, using a semi-permanent dye, or simply waiting longer between appointments. But if you do choose to lighten your hair, incorporating Alterna’s Restructuring Bond Repair Intensive Leave-In Treatment Masque into your routine can strengthen hair by reducing breakage**.
More bad chemistry! Brazilian blowouts and other relaxers can be brutal. These chemical hair straighteners and relaxers—sometimes called Brazilian keratin treatments—provide semi-permanent super-smoothness by altering the structure of your hair. This restructuring of the hair’s cuticle weakens natural protein bonds leading to breakage and damage. If you want to wear your hair straight, consider using a flat iron to style post-blowout instead (just protect your hair first with a heat styling spray). If Brazilian blowouts are a must-have, use our Bond Repair Intensive Leave-In Treatment Masque to help strengthen hair and reduce breakage.**
Summer Love by the pool? For your hair, not so much. Harsh chemicals can show up in some lovely locations. Exposure to chlorinated pools can severely dry out your hair and cause discoloration—that infamous green tint. Tucking your strands into a swim cap or getting your hair wet before you take a dip can make it harder for the chlorine to be absorbed. After your swim session, try using Restructuring Bond Repair Shampoo and follow up with Restructuring Bond Repair Conditioner or Restructuring Bond Repair Masque to help restore your strands.
Physical Causes of Hair Damage
Unsurprisingly, physical stress isn’t a curl’s best friend. Heat styling, tight hairstyles, and rough brushing, can lead to hair breakage at the crown, split ends, and other types of damage in between. Reducing (or eliminating) these habits and incorporating our Restructuring Bond Repair Intensive Leave-In Masque Treatment into your routine will help transform damaged strands into hair that looks and feels healthy.
Heat styling: Regular use of heat styling tools like hair dryers, flat irons, and curling irons can remove needed moisture, weaken your hair’s natural bonds, and cause hair breakage at the crown and elsewhere. You don’t have to completely ditch your hot tools if you know how to minimize their harmful effects. First, always apply a heat protectant product before styling your hair (a surefire option is Alterna’s Caviar Anti-Aging Restructuring Bond Repair Leave-In Heat Protection Spray). Then, while using your styling tool, try to avoid using the highest heat setting—you can often achieve your desired look with a lower temperature!
And if you’re officially ready to ditch the curling wand so you can avoid hair damage by heat, experiment with heatless styling methods like braids, twists, and buns to create stylish looks with low effort. Try these techniques before bed and let hair dry overnight (on a silk pillowcase, of course) to wake up with your hair ready to go.
Tight hairstyles: Hairstyles that are too tight can put pressure on the hair and scalp, leading to damage like hair breakage at the crown and even hair loss around your hairline. Hair damage from extensions is another common issue. Avoid wearing super-tight ponytails, braids, or buns for long periods of time and instead opt for looser styles that still make you feel beautiful: low ponies, loose braids, and clip-in extensions. And make sure you’re using gentle, snag-free accessories like satin scrunchies to further reduce hair breakage.
Rough brushing: Don’t be so hard on yourself—or your hair! Brushing your hair aggressively, especially when it’s wet, can lead to tangles, hair breakage, and split ends. Take your time and use a wide-tooth comb or a brush with soft bristles to detangle your hair gently. Pro tip: Start at the ends and work your way up, rather than brushing from the roots down.
Environmental Causes of Hair Damage
If you’ve minimized hair damage from heat styling, cut back on bleaching, and blown off the blowouts—that’s all you need to do to keep your hair healthy, right? Unfortunately, no. There’s one last source of damage to consider: environmental aggressors.
UV rays: Exposure to the sun’s UV rays can lead to dryness, discoloration, hair breakage, and an overall fried aesthetic. Consider wearing a brimmed hat or scarf to protect your hair from direct sunlight. You can also use a leave-in conditioner with UV protection (like Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture CC Cream) to minimize damage.
Pollution: Where you live can have a huge effect on your hair. Exposure to pollutants like smog and dust can weaken the hair’s natural protective layer, leading to damage and breakage.
Hard water: Hard water contains a high concentration of minerals like calcium and magnesium that can build up on the hair and scalp. In the short term, this can cause dryness and crunchiness; in the long term, it can lead to color fading and hair damage. A water softener or filter for your showerhead will reduce the effects of hard water on your hair, and a clarifying shampoo will help keep strands squeaky clean, too.
Preventing Your Hair From Damage
In addition to taking steps to protect your hair from damage, using high-quality haircare products can help prevent hair damage. Alterna's Caviar Anti-Aging Restructuring Bond Repair collection features Restructuring Bond Repair Shampoo, Conditioner, Masque, Leave-In Heat Protection Spray, and 3-1 Sealing Serum, which work to help replenish and strengthen damaged hair.
Brand new to the collection, the innovative Restructuring Bond Repair Intensive Leave-In Treatment Masque transforms damaged hair into healthy-looking hair after the first use. This multi-benefit product works as a combination conditioner, hair masque, heat protection, and leave-in conditioner. It’s a truly transformative product that eliminates steps and saves time!
Designed to strengthen hair, it reduces and prevents breakage**, increases and maintains smoothness even after repeated washes, and significantly improves shine for hair that looks and feels healthy. It’s easy to use (and we break down exactly how to maximize its benefits here and results last up to five washes, meaning you can work it into your routine by alternating—or layering—it with other products targeting damaged hair. And a little goes a long way! For best results with this amazing masque, less is more, start with 1-2 pumps or dime-size amount and add more if needed. Each container can provide up to 28 treatments.
So now that you understand the damage caused to your hair by physical, chemical, and environmental aggressors, and how to minimize their effects by incorporating Caviar Anti-Aging Restructuring Bond Repair products into your haircare routine, you’re ready to look, feel and do your very best!
* Clean Haircare Philosophy | Alterna Haircare
** Combing breakage vs untreated hair