The winter months are known to wreak havoc on our hair. The combination of cold temperatures outside and dry heat inside can lead to split ends and breakage, according to Self magazine. As temperatures start to dip, normally-healthy hair may need a pick-me-up, and dry or damaged hair could use a boost of moisture. A hair treatment can be a simple and effective way of improving your hair’s strength, moisture and overall health.
- Healthy hair can stretch up to a third of its length without breaking, according to the Philip Kingsley website, making it stronger than copper wire
- If you gathered up a full head of healthy hair, it would be strong enough to support 23 tons of weight
- According to the CDC, hair grows at a rate of about half an inch per month, or six inches per year
Healthy hair is naturally buoyant and surprisingly strong. But if your hair is damaged or porous, or if you’d simply like a boost of moisture to revitalize the look and feel of your hair, you may consider a hair treatment to improve strength. We compiled a list of the top hair treatments for damaged or healthy hair:
Many people don’t realize that hair is significantly more prone to breakage when it’s wet. That’s why brushing your hair when it’s wet, rubbing it with a towel, sleeping on a rough pillowcase or blow drying it can all contribute to damage. Leave-in conditioners are a great option for adding a layer of protection when you step out of the shower. Not only do they help shield your hair from potential damage, but they can also boost moisture and leave your hair smoother and shinier. Leave-in conditioners are often a great first step if you want to improve moisture and protect your hair when it’s already healthy.
Olaplex is a salon favorite and cult classic among many customers, especially those who regularly bleach their hair. Rather than smoothing the surface of hair, the three-step treatment actually “works to re-link the bonds in the hair that have been broken by the chemical process” of coloring, according to Bustle. The product works at the molecular level, locating and repairing broken bonds, rather than at the surface of the hair follicle. Olaplex can be used at the salon to prevent breakage during the coloring process, or they offer a range of at-home products to repair damaged hair.
Protein treatments are a group of hair products that contain absorbable proteins that strengthen your hair. They’re a great way to add body and life back to limp or damaged tresses. These treatments use magnesium and modified proteins, which penetrate each strand and repair it by filling in the gaps between cuticles. They’re known for adding volume, but they’re also a great solution for hair breakage. Protein treatments come in a variety of forms, from shampoo and conditioner sets to leave-in products to masks.
Just because you have dry hair doesn’t mean you need a protein treatment, though. According to Glowsly, dryness can often be alleviated by switching to a richer conditioner. Protein treatments are best for porous hair, meaning hair that’s been damaged from “bleaching, over-chlorination from the pool, or permanent chemical hair treatments like relaxing or perming.”
If you do need a protein treatment, also make sure not to overdo it! When you add too much protein to your hair, it can feel coated, dry and brittle. In most cases, protein treatments should be used once a week at most.
Health.com compiled a list of their favorite protein treatments for stronger, healthier hair. In addition, NaturallyCurly.com compiled a list of the best protein treatments for curly, coily or wavy hair, which you can read here.
Deep Condition with Hot Oil
Want an easy, at-home moisture boost? Try deep conditioning your hair with olive oil. The kitchen staple is great for hair and is surprisingly similar to the oils naturally found on your scalp. A hot oil conditioning is a great option for anyone looking to boost their hair’s shine and improve softness.
Lifehack has a simple recipe for soft and vibrant hair: “Warm up half a cup of olive oil, being careful not to boil it. Massage this oil into your hair and cover it with a shower cap. Wrap up with a towel to keep in the heat. Allow the oil to sit for at least 45 minutes so the moisture can build up. Afterwards, shampoo and rinse.”
Other Oils to Revitalize Healthy Hair
In addition to olive oil, there are a few other types of oil in your pantry that are great for moisturizing your hair. Avocado oil is a great source of vitamins B and E, which is great for adding moisture and shine. And coconut oil is the oil that’s been shown to best-penetrate hair, according to Allure. Simply warm your chosen oil up, apply it to the sections of your hair you want to condition, and wrap your hair up. You can even leave them in overnight and shampoo and condition your hair the next morning.
Rice Water Rinse
Strange but true! The starch in rice, in addition to the amino acids, B vitamins, vitamin E, and minerals, are great for the health and texture of your hair. Popular for centuries in Japan, China and Southeast Asia, a rice rinse can help detangle and smooth hair, improve shine and make hair stronger, according to Medical News Today. Next time you make rice, hold onto the water you cooked it with for a rice rinse. After you’ve shampooed, simply pour the rice water onto your hair and massage it into your scalp. After 20 minutes, rinse your hair with warm water and enjoy the results! You can read the full recipe and directions here.
You may also want to check out this Hair Theme guide that explains in detail how hair grows from the follicle. It provides information about how you can encourage faster hair growth naturally.