Most of us can tell when our hair isn't as soft as it used to be. Changes in our diet, environment and routines can quickly cause our locks to lose their silky feel and lustre. And if your hair is falling flat, plagued by split ends, or feels rough to the touch, all the evidence points to dry or damaged hair.
Thankfully, you don’t have to make like a scarecrow and put up with straw-like strands. Dry or damaged hair can heal with some time and a few simple treatments – which we discuss here.
So, to discover what dry hair looks like, the difference between dry hair vs. healthy hair and how to treat dry hair back to hydrated health, read on.
What is healthy hair?
Is your hair healthy, or is there some underlying dryness to tackle? There are obvious signs of dry hair vs healthy hair – as long as you know what you’re looking for. Here’s how to tell if your hair is living its best life or needs a little extra help in the hydration department.
Characteristics of healthy hair include:
Healthy hair is shiny and silky-smooth.
This coveted shiny and smooth hair texture results from a healthy hair cuticle.
The hair has good elasticity.
The strength of your hair is also known as its elasticity. It’s the ability of your hair to stretch out and return to its original shape, without breaking. It also helps your strands keep a tight curl, bounce around like in a Pantene commercial, or hold a blow wave.
Healthy hair sheds itself (but not too much).
The average person sheds about 125 strands per day. We want to shed hair because that means our mane is cycling through hair follicles at a normal rate, trading old locks for new ones. However, if you’re shedding this much hair by breakfast and your shower drain is looking too clogged, you may want to see a dermatologist to ensure there are no underlying issues.
Breakage is minimal.
Hair breakage is a sign of damage and strands in need of some serious TLC. If you notice fried ends on your strands or a brittle texture, you probably have a breakage problem caused by dry or damaged hair.
So, what does dry hair look like then?
Tell-tale characteristics of dry hair
Both your strands and scalp are dry.
If you have dry hair, you may also experience a flaky or itchy scalp as the result of your scalp not naturally creating enough sebum. Sebum is an oily material our bodies produce via the sebaceous glands.
Dry hair is porous and more prone to frizz.
An open cuticle causes hair to lose its moisture quickly. So, if your hair frizzes easily, you’re probably dealing with this issue. It’s important to keep hair prone to dryness as hydrated as possible.
Your hair falls flat and lacks life.
Lacklustre tresses are a hallmark of dryness. Your hair should also have a bit of natural movement. If your hair always looks sad and flat? Consider starting a deep moisturising routine ASAP.
How to Treat Dry Hair
If you’re fed up with your dry mane, don’t worry! There are many products and treatments ready to revitalise your Sahara-esque strands.
Choose the right hair products.
Walking through the hair care aisle at your favourite pharmacy, it’s impossible to miss the many shampoos and conditioners claiming to solve your dry hair woes. However, many of these products just won’t cut it because they contain ingredients like sulfates or silicones, which can actually make dry hair worse.
Instead, make sure you invest in a high-quality shampoo and conditioner without any nasties. We can’t stress the importance of this in your quest for strands.
Washing your hair too frequently can cause your strands to be stripped of their natural oil, leaving it dull and dry. Aim to wash your hair every second or third day if you can, instead of every day.
Treat your hair to some TLC.
To breathe new life into hair that’s dry and dull, make a deep-hydrating treatment like our Like A Virgin Hair Masque part of your weekly routine. This little miracle masque helps heal split ends, tame frizz, and restore much-needed hydration to dry, damaged hair.
How to tell if you have damaged hair
Damaged hair has many of the same symptoms as dry hair, except it's more severe and requires more intensive treatment. So how can you tell the difference? The best way to test whether your hair is damaged or simply dry is to apply a moisturising trifecta and observe the result.
If after using a good quality moisturising shampoo, conditioner and hair treatment oil your hair is smooth, it’s likely just dry. If there’s little to no improvement? Your hair is probably damaged and needs to be repaired.
Here are a few simple ways to treat dry hair that’s damaged:
1. Use a repair mask. Swap out your regular hair mask for a heavy-hitter like our Sweet Repair Hair Mask, which is clinically proven to reduce damage by up to 65%. With Biomimetic Ceramides, Vegan Keratin Complex and Hyaluronic Acid, it helps heal hair from its deepest layer outwards.
2. Use a bond builder. These are a great way to intensively repair hair from within. Clinically proven to reduce hair breakage by 85%, our Bond Builder holistically repairs ALL three hair bonds for stronger, healthier, more resilient hair.
3. Turn down the heat. Avoid using your hair tools on high heat while your tresses heal, as it can cause further damage. It’s also a good idea to take a break and air-dry as much as possible. At least for a while.
Looking for more tips and tricks on how to get the healthiest locks on the block? We’ve got you covered. Check out all things beauty, body, and haircare on our blog.
Edited By: Pip Jarvis and Iris