Moisture-starved, dry hair is the pits, especially since it’s often preventable. But ignoring the signs of brittle hair can result in excessive shedding, damage and breakage — often due to aggressive heat styling, chemical treatments and lack of preventive care. “Extreme dryness or sponginess of the hair when drying are immediate signs of brittle hair,” explains hairstylist Caile Noble, who works with Sofia Carson. “You’ll know there is breakage when there are shorter hairs where they shouldn’t be and fraying at the ends. Hopefully, you don’t allow your hair to get to this point.” Occasionally hair 911 trauma happens, though, so here are six ways (vetted by some savvy experts) to help you reverse the effects stat.
Spot the Signs Early
Texture plays a large part in hair receiving and retaining moisture. “For example, you may want to ask yourself: Does my hair have elasticity? Does it have shine? Does it feel smooth to the touch? Is it frizzy?” shares celebrity stylist and SheaMoisture brand ambassador Diane C. Bailey. “You know your hair is brittle and breaking by the number of hairs that are in your comb when styling.”
The Post-Pregnancy Shed Is Real
Hormonal changes during pregnancy are inevitable and will definitely affect the health of your hair. “This is definitely something I get a lot with my clients,” admits Verb stylist and color expert Spenser O’Shaw. “As your body changes, sometimes there is a need for different nutrition and vitamins. More fruits, vegetables and protein are always pluses and I’m personally obsessed with Viviscal, which helps promote healthy hair growth from within.”
“When you are pregnant, your hair is inclined to grow. However, six months to a year after childbirth, some mothers experience postpartum alopecia, which results in hair shedding and loss,” explains Bailey. “The best way to counter this is by continuing to take prenatal vitamins and possibly biotin and iron supplements.” She suggests clients continue to take vitamins even after you have stopped breastfeeding to support the regrowth of hair.
Yep, Hair Type Matters
“Fine hair is weaker and curly hair is often dry,” says Noble. “Both of these reasons make the hair more prone to becoming brittle or damaged easier than other types of hair.” To combat, he recommends avoiding alcohol and petroleum-based products for all hair textures and types. “Water-based and natural oil-based products are key! They allow you to achieve the same style without drying/damaging your hair and oftentimes repair the hair,” he adds.
Detangle Like a Pro
The quickest way to break off even more hair is a faulty detangling method. Bailey calls out a few of her expert dos and don’ts below.
Do: “Use a large tooth-tailed comb, create a cocktail detangler (water, leave-in conditioner and oil lightly mixed) and comb from the ends of the hair using small sections and up to the root.”
Don’t: “Do not brush your hair dry, don’t sleep in a ponytail (too much tension creates breakage), when you do a wash and go, don’t co-wash (shampoo and conditioner) daily. Instead of co-washing daily, use the cocktail to moisturize it and layer it with a leave-in cream or a hair lotion.”
Mask vs. Conditioner? There Are Pros (and Cons) for Both!
“Hair masks and leave-in conditioners are great and all serve similar benefits if used correctly,” shares Noble. “The biggest mistake people make when doing treatments at home is rinsing the conditioner out too soon. The leave-in time is crucial to seeing the product’s benefits.”
Textured hair loves being pampered with emollients, nurturing botanicals and rich hydrating butters and oils. “Once a week, treat yourself to a relaxing deep treatment with my favorite, SheaMoisture High Porosity Moisture-Seal Masque,” explains Bailey. “It is the best deep treatment for fine, tight, coily or overlapping corkscrew kinky hair that has low moisture retention. This masque strengthens with baobab protein to reduce breakage and provides a moisturizing seal of hemp seed oil.”
Time Your Moisture Regimen
When it comes to infusing moisture back into your hair, timing is actually key. “For fine hair, moisturize in the evening so you can still style without feeling like your hair is being weighed down,” says O’Shaw. “It is all about control in the morning for thicker hair, so use that as an opportunity to tame the craziness and add moisture.” Naturally, he’s a fan of Verb Ghost Oil for a lightweight moisturizing treatment.
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