5 Tips for Repairing Damaged Hair

Restore your hair to its former glory

Closeup of a woman with thick, textured hair and freckles

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The road to healthy hair is paved with products, potions, and deep conditioners. If your hair is fried or suffers from split ends, sun damage, tangles, and broken, brittle pieces, it's time to get it back on track. It's easy to forget that hair can be very fragile. Exposure to the sun, blow-dryers, flat irons, and even daily brushing can take their toll and leave you wishing for a time machine. Repairing damaged hair won't happen overnight, but over time. Developing these habits will get you on the road to recovery.

De-Gunk Your Tresses

High angle view of a woman piling her hair up into a bun
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Product buildup and even the water you use to cleanse your hair can make it look limp and lifeless, and also cause split ends and a brittle texture. Deep cleaning your hair is the first step in repairing damage and boosting health. A good clarifying shampoo like Bumble and Bumble Sunday Shampoo ($26) removes product buildup, hard water deposits, and mineral buildup. Use it once a week.

Protect Your Hair From Sun Exposure

Smiling bonde woman with hair backlit by the sun
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Sun damage is one of the biggest culprits of hair damage, color fade, and brittle ends. If you're not already shielding your hair from the sun's UV rays, now's the time to start. Protect it with Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer ($28).

After a long day of sun exposure (e.g. trips to the beach, hiking, outdoor sporting activities) it's a good idea to give your hair a nice, long hydrating treatment to keep damage at bay and help your hair stay in great condition. Try Moroccanoil Intense Hydrating Mask.

Give Yourself a Hot Oil Treatment

Hot oil treatments infuse hair with shine and moisture. They're also super simple to do right at home. Apply your favorite hair oil generously to clean, towel-dried hair. Tip: You can raid the kitchen and try olive oil or coconut oil. Cover your head with a shower cap or plastic wrap. Apply heat using a hot towel (fresh from the dryer) or your blow-dryer. After heating the oil, leave it on for 10 minutes. Rinse out with cool water and shampoo.

Hot oil treatments can be done one to three times per month depending on the amount of damage and how dry your hair is.

Deep Condition

A weekly deep conditioning treatment or hair mask is a must for repairing damaged hair and preventing future breakage. A deep conditioner is especially essential if you color your tresses because damaged hair fades faster than healthy hair. Try Living Proof Restore Mask Treatment ($43).

Get a Haircut

Woman with a pixie haircut
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Let's face it: If your tresses are damaged and your ends are breaking, brittle and splitting, a haircut will save the day. You don't have to chop it all off, although bobs and pixie haircuts will undo all your damage while also being très chic. If you're not ready to go short, get a healthy trim, try layers, reinvent your face framing, or give a nod to some trendy bangs. This will remove some of the damage and make the repair process a little easier.

Get Ready for Healthy Hair

If you feel like you're losing at good hair days, have no fear. With a little discipline and patience, plus some help from restorative products, your hair will be back to its healthiest state in no time.