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The Ultimate Guide to Repair Chemically Damaged Hair

Written by Alexa Adler
The Ultimate Guide to Repair Chemically Damaged Hair

Changing your hair color or curl pattern can be so much fun. There’s nothing like a little transformation to introduce some excitement into your life. However, it’s a sad truth that often these transformations can leave our hair damaged and dehydrated. If you’ve ever woken up with your chemically treated hair feeling dry and brittle, this post is for you. We’ll break down the most common symptoms of damaged hair and what you can do to bring some life back to your locks. 

What Happens When We Treat Hair With Chemicals?

When we think about chemically damaged hair, we tend to think about hair that’s been bleached and dyed, and while it’s true that those treatments are often the culprits, several chemicals can harm our hair health. Strong hold products like hair sprays and gels can weaken our hair, in addition to environmental harm from things like chlorinated swimming pools. Even the healthiest hair is vulnerable to damage from chemicals. 

If you suspect your hair is damaged, we explore many of the common symptoms below and recommend some helpful tips and tricks for improving the health and feeling of your hair.

Hair Thinning

You might be surprised to see how many shampoos and hair care products include ingredients like parabens, which have been proven to affect hormonal balance and have even been linked to hair loss. These chemicals give products longer shelf life, acting as a preservative, but the reality is that you don’t want them anywhere near your hair. That’s why our entire line of products are proudly paraben-free (not to mention we’re also free from sulfates, phthalates, dyes, and synthetic fragrances). Check out our Oil Control + Exfoliation Set for our full collection.

Breakage and Split Ends

If you’ve ever bleached your hair, especially the DIY method, you’re probably familiar with breakage. When chemicals are on our hair for too long or applied over too many rounds, our hair can break off, unable to withstand the strength of the products. The hair you’re left with is often weak and damaged with split ends. Breakage can be especially jarring, there’s nothing worse than running your hands through your head and coming back with a clump of hair. With the right tweaks to your routine and product regimen, better hair health is on the way, we promise (more on that below!). 

Brittle and Dry Hair

When we apply chemicals like permanent dyes to our hair and scalp, we’re not just splashing some color on top. The chemicals open the hair shaft, break down the original pigment, and deposit the new color. This process is effective but can leave your hair feeling weak, brittle, and dry. Restoring and moisturizing the bonds of your hair strands after they’ve been treated is an essential step in the process and, sadly, one that too many people skip over.

Scalp Damage

In the more extreme cases, chemical treatments can go so far as to damage or burn the scalp. This is especially the case when working with harsh chemicals like bleach. One study found that scalp burns can be caused by hair bleaching with excess procedures such as unnecessary heating and excessive treatment with bleaching agents. We’d always recommend you go to a salon to lighten your hair for the safest way to achieve your blonde locks. If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, you don’t need a lecture on why you shouldn’t have treated your hair. You just need the right solutions for how you can get back on the right track. So let’s dig into some helpful next steps.

Hair that’s been chemically damaged is seriously lacking in moisture and hydration. The bonds that protect the inside of the hair strand have been broken open and need to be restored...

How To Repair Chemically Damaged Hair

Everyone’s hair and experience are different, so it’s important to remember that finding the right solution might take some time and experimentation. If you’re experiencing irritation and redness on your scalp due to chemical damage, we recommend speaking with a dermatologist or trichologist. Your scalp is skin (our largest organ!) and needs professional medical care when it’s seriously damaged.

Give It Time To Rest

One of the best things you can do when your hair is suffering is to leave it be. We know that can be frustrating, especially when the damage coincides with some bad hair days, but time is essential for hair strands to be able to start repairing themselves. If you are going platinum blonde, try to do sessions a few weeks apart, giving your hair as much time as possible between treatments to heal. 

Additionally, step back from styling products like gels, mousses, and hairsprays. That also means stepping away from the heat styling tools. More on that later. 

Introduce Moisturizing Treatments

Hair that’s been chemically damaged is seriously lacking in moisture and hydration. The bonds that protect the inside of the hair strand have been broken open and need to be restored to achieve a glossy, smooth sheen. After applying chemicals to your hair, try a deep conditioning mask to slick the hair strands with protein and moisture. Ensure you’re liberally applying conditioner in the shower and consider using a leave-in conditioner for added hydration throughout the day. 

Our Nourishing Conditioner leaves hair feeling silky smooth and is free from harmful chemicals like parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and dyes. It’s perfect for adding moisture to your hair and scalp.

Drinks Lots Of Water

Hydration is about more than just topical treatment.  Just like drinking water benefits the skin on our face and body, staying hydrated is essential for the health of the skin on our scalp as well.

The health of hair follicles is naturally tied with the health of the scalp.Regular hydration is what keeps the skin moisturized and nourished, in addition to keeping it more elastic and youthful. 

Lay Off Heat Styling

Giving your hair time to rest also means avoiding heated styling tools. Even with a protective spray, heat can seriously damage the bonds in your hair strands, and if they’re already weakened from chemical treatments, you could be doing irreparable harm. 

Heatless curls are our favorite way of styling our hair right now.

Take Care With Wet Hair

Our hair is at its most vulnerable when it is wet. Avoid brushing your hair when wet (unless you have curly hair, only use a wide-tooth comb, with lots of conditioning and hydrating). 

Don’t rub your damp hair with a towel. That’s an especially important note for swimmers who regularly interact with chlorine. Pat your hair until it is damp softly using a microfiber towel, then let it air dry the rest of the way. 

Use Protective Measures

Environmental factors can exacerbate the problem when our hair is already damaged. Hot summer days with high UV indexes or dry, chilly winter days can negatively affect our scalps' health. Applying an SPF to your scalp, especially along your part, is a great idea to prevent burns and irritation. Think about it. If you had a chemical peel on your face, would you go outside without a hat or sunscreen? No way.

So treat damaged hair and scalp like you’d treat your face. Wrapping your hair, wearing a hat, and sticking to the shade is always a good call.

Go For A Cut

Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to bring back overly damaged hair strands. For many people, the strands will sort of crunch and feel dry, brittle, and straw-like.

With chemical treatment damage, this tends to happen to the ends of the hair, where natural oils from the scalp don’t easily reach. That damage can also work up your hair strands, leading to larger split ends.

When the hair reaches this point, you’re better off parting ways with it. We promise that trimming off those damaged ends will get you closer to your best hair days.

Talk To A Professional

When all else fails, get the professionals involved. A salon can help you decide on a treatment and styling plan if your hair feels damaged and dead. If you want to alter your hair chemically, do your homework on stylists. A proper hair consultation is always worth the investment. If you’re dealing with something more extreme, like irritation on the scalp or a burning sensation, then you may want to head to the doctor’s office. 

How To Choose The Right Products

We wanted to close out with one last note on choosing the right products. Always read the ingredient labels and discard any products that include parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and dyes. So many cleaner alternatives these days can give you the look you want without harsh chemicals and surfactants. As with any other topical treatment, if you make the right choices for your hair and scalp, you’ll start to notice the difference in no time.

Oil Control + Exfoliation Set
Oil Control + Exfoliation Set

Built for those looking to address constant or moderate to severe flaking, redness, or irritation and want their mane left looking refreshed and silky smooth.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, nor is it a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have about the information contained herein, as well as the risks or benefits of any treatment.