Home treatments for dry and damaged hair

Dry, damaged hair can make it virtually impossible to have a good hair day.

Dry hair just doesn’t look good. It can be dull, brittle, tangled, and frizzy…it can even lead to dandruff and hair loss. Keep reading to learn more about dry hair, including:

  • What causes dry hair
  • Homemade hair treatments for damaged hair
  • Hair care tips to prevent damage and dryness

Causes of dry hair

Common causes of dry hair include:

  • Harsh weather (both hot and cold)
  • Chlorine
  • Illness or nutritional deficiency
  • Medical conditions like anorexia nervosa and hypothyroidism 
  • Use of heating products (like flat irons)
  • Washing too frequently/ use of harsh shampoos
  • Chemical treatments like perms and dyes
  • Old age
  • Friction caused by sleeping on a cotton pillowcase
  • Stress

Did you know that your hair has no natural moisture? Your hair relies on oils produced in the hair root to stay hydrated and looking shiny.

If your hair allows that to moisture escape, or if your scalp just isn’t producing enough oil, your hair can become dry. Each individual hair is made up of three layers: the protective outer layer (called the “cuticle”), the middle layer (called the “cortex”), and the inner fiber (called the “medulla”).

The cuticle is responsible for protecting the hair. When that protective outer layer gets damaged, your hair becomes dry and dull.

Home remedies for dry hair

Mayo hair mask

It might seem gross to put mayonnaise in your hair, but it really does work. For this recipe, you will need 1 cup full-fat mayo and a shower cap.

Your hair should be slightly damp when you start. Apply a thick layer of mayonnaise on your hair and scalp. Using your fingers, massage it into your scalp and work it through your hair, all the way to the ends.

Use a plastic shower cap to protect your hair while the mayo soaks in. Leave the cap in place for 60 minutes, then wash as usual with shampoo and conditioner.

Use cool or lukewarm water; hot water can damage hair and make conditioner less effective.

To treat very dry hair, repeat the mayo hair mask once per week.

Avocado treatment

Avocados are full of proteins, minerals, vitamins, and saturated fats that nourish, hydrate, and strengthen hair.

For this recipe, you will need wheat-germ oil, jojoba oil, one ripe avocado, and a shower cap.

Start by peeling and mashing the avocado. Mix in 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil and 1 teaspoon of wheat-germ oil.

Wash your hair to remove dirt and product. Work the mixture into damp hair, starting at the scalp and working your way to the ends. Like the previous treatment, use a plastic shower cap to protect hair while the avocado does its work. Follow up with normal shampoo after 30 minutes.

Repeat once or twice per week for severely damaged and/or dry hair. If you don’t have access to the oils in the recipe, you can substitute with 2 teaspoons of olive oil.

Repair severely chemically damaged hair

As someone who frequently gets my hair colored, I unfortunately have plenty of experience with dry hair. For chemical damage, I recommend a hot oil treatment with olive oil.

Olive oil is great for hair because it contains nourishing ingredients like:

  • Fatty acids
  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin E

Olive oil helps seal cuticles moisture to protect from further harm.

How to do it: Heat about 1 cup of olive oil in the microwave until it is warm (but not hot). Massage the oil into your scalp and through your hair (make sure to get the ends). Leave the oil in your hair for at least half a hour (you can also leave it in overnight if you wish).

Follow up with your normal shampoo and conditioner. Repeat once per week for best results.

Alternative recipe: mix ½ cup honey and ¼ cup olive oil and follow the same steps.

Banana mask

Bananas effectively nourish hair with their high potassium and moisture content. This treatment is great for those looking get softer hair and to prevent split ends.

For this recipe, you will need one overly ripe banana and a shower cap. People with longer hair might need 2-3 bananas.

Mash the banana(s) and gently massage into scalp and hair. Put on the shower cap and leave your hair alone for up to 60 minutes. Rinse/shampoo with lukewarm water. Repeat once per week for best results.

For increased shine and smoothness, mix 1 tablespoon of almond oil and 2 tablespoons of honey to the recipe. Leave on for 20-30 minutes then rinse.

Home remedy for dry hair and split ends

Dry hair is often associated with “split ends” – a phrase that refers to the fraying/splitting of the hair shaft.

The scientific name for “split ends” is “trichoptilosis.”

Split ends are caused by chemical, mechanical, or thermal stress that eats away at the out layer of hair cuticles.

Any stylist will tell you that the only was to fix split ends is to cut them off, but I know this isn’t always an option (I for one like to keep my hair long and don’t want to cut it just to get rid of my split ends).

You can improve the appearance of split ends with a nourishing egg mask.

Eggs contain lots of fatty acids and protein, which can help treat split ends and strengthen hair follicles. The egg mask will also reduce tangles, increase smoothness, and improve resistance to breakage.

All you will need for this recipe is one egg yolk, 1 tablespoon honey, and 3 tablespoons olive oil.

Brush your hair before you begin. Whisk the egg yolk in a bowl. Add the olive oil and honey and stir until smooth.

Using your fingers, work the mixture into your hair. Let it sit for about 30 minutes then rinse with cool or lukewarm water. Follow with regular shampoo and conditioner. Repeat once per week for best results.

Alternative recipe: replace the olive oil and honey in the above recipe with 1-2 teaspoons almond oil.

More tips for preventing/caring for dry hair

  1. Use a mild shampoo and don’t wash your hair every day
  2. Avoid hair products containing alcohol
  3. Always use conditioner after shampooing
  4. If nothing works, visit a stylist and ask about a deep conditioning treatment
  5. If you notice dryness in combination with weakness, fatigue, intolerance to cold, and/or hair loss, consult a doctor.

Remember, treating dry and damaged hair isn’t something that can be accomplished overnight. Be patient and stick to the above advice, and you should start to notice results in a few weeks.

Click here to learn more about treating dandruff.

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