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Is It Dried Out Hair Or Heat Damage?

Jan 20, 2021

It’s often hard to tell whether your hair is suffering heat or perm damage, or is still relatively healthy but just too dry. It also doesn’t help that most hair care products you’d use lump the two together, saying “for dry or damaged hair.” So you buy them without knowing what state your hair is actually in!

The fact is damaged and dried out hair are not the same and require different approaches. So here’s your guide for finding out what causes hair breakage and how to distinguish heat damage from excessive dryness.

How To Tell If Your Hair Is Dry Or Damaged

Depending on your hair type, it can be easy to mistake dry textured hair with the one that’s been damaged. The key difference is, damaged hair mostly suggests that you’ve been overusing certain hair products and techniques, which have resulted in a ruined hair shaft. That’s when you get split ends and constant breakage. Dry hair, on the other hand, just feels rough and malnourished but still intact.

Key signs of damaged hair:

  • Blonding, straightening or perm damage from chemical processing

  • Heat damage from the excessive use of hot tools like flat irons and hairdryers (i.e. blow out hair)

  • Hair looking more wiry that straight

  • Split ends

Alternatively, key signs of dry hair:

  • Feels rough to touch, especially towards the ends

  • Tangly and not easy to brush

A quick test for finding out if your hair is damaged is to take a strand of hair and pull on either side. Healthy hair should stretch and return to its original length. Damaged hair would often snap. Dry hair would often stretch but not recover.

Another option is to run your hair through your fingers right to the ends. It should be smooth all the way down. Any uneven texture or kinds are potential signs of damage.

Besides chemical treatments though, hair damage could also be caused by the extended exposure to the sun and chlorine (e.g. tap water and swimming pools) as well as vitamin deficiency.

So how do you fix your hair, whether it’s dry or damaged? If you’re interested in the products to use, going through the Alterna Hair Quiz is a good place to start as it will give you your personal hair care plan depending on your hair condition in just a few clicks. After that, make sure to incorporate the tips below into your routine.

What to do with dried out hair

If you realize that your textured hair is rough and tangly but doesn’t yet seem to be damaged, you need to take a few preventative steps right away.

First, be gentle and try not to stress your hair out too much. This means easing on heat styling and blow-drying but also being more aware about your environment (e.g. pollution, sun, winter air).

Second, maintain a healthy hair routine by using products that are proven to effectively hydrate your hair. For your daily shampoo and conditioner, try the ones from Alterna’s Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture product line. They will not only cleanser but also restore and hydrate your hair, making it soft and smooth.

Third, at least once a week, go for a deep hydration treatment with a masque to really let your hair repair itself. Alterna’s Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Masque is a great choice here, with exclusive Seasilk that helps seal in moisture as well as a luxurious caviar extract with omega-3 fatty acids to protect your hair against environmental factors.

Make sure to incorporate these three steps into your routine and watch how your hair is going to look healthy and vibrant again in no time.

What to do with damaged hair

No one wants to be seen having brittle and straw-like hair that’s prone to breakage. But by following a somewhat strict recovery plan, you can eventually reverse the course and repair the damage done.

First, stop using any heat tools and don’t aggressively towel-dry your hair. Use your hairdryer on a low-heat setting and leave the hair in a loose braid or bun.

Second, use a strong heat protectant such as Alterna’s Caviar Anti-Aging Restructuring Bond Repair Leave-In Heat Protection Spray, which repairs and seals the hair surface, providing protection up to 450 ºF.

Third, switch to a shampoo and conditioner that would help to strengthen your hair and prevent damage, such as Alterna’s Caviar Anti-Aging Clinical Densifying Shampoo and Foam Conditioner. For styling, use a gentle mousse, such as Alterna’s Caviar Anti-Aging Clinical Densifying Styling Mousse that would thicken your strands and add a light hold at the same time.

Fourth, schedule an in-salon repair treatment and continue to get your hair trimmed until all the damage is gone.

As you can see, whether you suffer from damaged or dried out hair, diligently following the steps above will fix your hair appearance in as little as a few weeks. The key, as with everything, is consistency and investing in high-quality hair care that was created to help with specific hair problems and proven to bring results.


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