Constantly asking yourself: “Why is my hair so dull, dry and brittle? Why it is impossible to style?” Or even, “Why do I have so many split ends and broken hairs?!”? If you’re nodding your head, it’s time to take a look into what causes hair damage and what you can do about it.
Hair in good condition is smooth, shiny and manageable with a healthy bounce. Remember your last good hair day and how confident you were, knowing that everyone would notice how great you and your mane looked? Well, we’ve gathered up our best tips and tricks, along with the right products, to help you get those strands back to their (not so distant) former glory.
When your hair becomes damaged, this is because the cuticle, which protects the inside of the hair shaft from damage, is gradually worn away. This exposes the inner layers and results in visible damage.
But how did you and your troubled tresses get here?
Arm yourself against hair breakage and damage by getting to know some of the main offenders…
What causes hair breakage and damage? The main culprits
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here; there are as many reasons for damaged hair as there are haircare routines. Let’s talk through some of the different causes – you may recognise some of your own styling habits!
Coloured hair damage: how to protect and recover
Not sure what happens when you colour your hair and why it can cause hair breakage and damage? It might surprise you to hear that colouring hair, whether it’s making hair lighter or darker, changes the chemistry of your hair. To get the dye or bleach inside the hair, penetrating the surface, the colouring agent is formulated to open up little holes on the surface.
This process increases your hair’s porosity at the same time, meaning water can move in and out of the hair more easily, taking colour molecules with it.
Unfortunately, it also decreases your hair’s strength to withstand hair breakage, and increases friction between single hair fibres. Ultimately, this leaves the hair’s surface rough and feeling dry, and your hair duller and more prone to frizz.
Good news is, there are ways you can protect your hair and help it recover after a home colouring session or salon visit.
Deep masks with intensively nourishing ingredients are your friend here; slather on the Pantene Repair & Protect Mask once or twice a week to restore smoothness and manageability.
Using products that help to prolong the life of your colour may also mean you feel the need to colour less often. Used in conjunction with your regular shampoo & conditioner, the Pantene Pro-V Colour Protect Mask works to keep your hair colour vibrant by locking in moisture to prevent fading. Make sure you keep it on for a few minutes before rinsing off, so it really helps seal-in the colour.
Chemical treatments: perms and chemical straightening
Perms and chemical straightening are great ways to change up and transform your look. But with those changes comes a significant amount of hair damage.
Permanent curling or permanent straightening use chemical agents designed to break down your hair’s structure to create a completely new shape and fix it in place. While it revamps your look, the process can make hair incredibly vulnerable as it breaks down the bonds in the hair, leaving it fragile and more prone to hair breakage.
The solution? Similar to bleached or coloured hair, the best treat for those strands is a deeply nourishing mask that will help restore smoothness and manageability. Use Pantene Repair & Protect Mask once or twice a week.
Turn down the heat: How bad is heat styling?
If you use a blow dryer for drying and styling, you’ll know that it can be your best friend and worst enemy in one. While hairdryers smooth and straighten strands making them easier to style, this much-loved tool can also cause hair damage, making hair dry and frizzy over time.
Too much heat robs your hair of the moisture that’s essential for that lush, healthy feel you crave.
But there are bigger culprits: straightening iron and curling wands, because they’re in direct contact with your hair and get to much higher temperatures – up to 230 degrees!
In fact, if your straightener or curler is too hot, it can cause water in the hair to boil and form bubbles of heat inside the softened hair shaft? Yes, really.
Case in point: try putting a drop of water on your hair straightener when it’s on. You’ll see the drop boils and slowly starts to evaporate. Your hair is going through the exact same process which increases the dryness and maximizes the risk of hair damage.
Nobody’s asking you to sacrifice your driers or straighteners; it can be the only way you’re able to achieve the perfect style you’re after. You just need some hair fixes in your corner to support your hair under the strain of damaging effects.
- Start with the towel
Time permitting – we’re all fallen victim to the morning rush! - try to avoid blow drying immediately after washing. Towel dry, then wrap your hair in a towel and let it dry a bit while you are getting ready. The less soaking wet your hair is, the less sensitive to the heat.
- Use a heat-protection spray
Spray on a healthy dose of heat protection on your lengths and ends before you blow dry, straighten, or curl your hair.
- Use a soft brush
Round brushes are the best to achieve that salon-like blow out, but they’re also damaging when used together with the drier. So, if you are using it, go soft on it.
- Turn down the heat
Using your styling tools on the lowest temperature setting (around 180 degrees if possible) will help to keep your hair soft and healthy-looking
Summer stresses: sun, sea salt and chlorine
Sunshine is great for our mood, but it can zap the life out of your hair – as can chlorine and sea salt from all that summer holiday swim time. Think of the damage the sun has on your skin when you don’t protect it – you wouldn’t lay out in the midday sun without first slathering on sun cream. But your hair is as fragile as your skin and deserves the same level of care.
Ultraviolet light from the sun affects the hair’s cuticle in way that’s similar to bleach; eventually it breaks down the keratin in your hair. This can result in lighter streaks, dryness and, if you colour your hair, changing your shade (some of course do like the lighter tones the sun brings to their hair!).
So, if you’re going to be out in the sun for a long period of time, be sure to cover your hair with a hat to protect it from damage. Good news: It will also protect your scalp from sun damage, or turning red and peeling.
You can also keep your hair moisturized by carrying Pantene Dry Oil with Vitamin E wherever you go to avoid the drying effects of the sun. It’s lightweight enough that it absorbs easily into the hair to keep it feeling soft and smooth all day long.
For your hair’s post-holiday rehab, nourish using our Intense Rescue Shot Ampoules. These can reduce the signs of 3 months of hair damage, so the effects of a two-week holiday are no match for their repairing power. You can also take them with you on holiday as their ampoule size makes it easy to be slipped in your travel pouch.
After a dip in the ocean, go for a conditioning shampoo like Pantene Repair and Protect to not only get rid of the sea salt, but also nourish hair to smooth out any roughness and replenish shine. For hair that’s been exposed to chlorine, a clarifying shampoo is best as it deeply cleanses hair of harmful chemicals that can cause hair damage. Our Pantene Sheer Volume shampoo has just the cleansing qualities you need.
Every day wear and tear
Be kind with the brush
Your hair is pretty strong and can withstand a lot of styling. But there’s only so far it can be pushed, and over-brushing or combing puts a lot of strain on the hair – especially if it’s wet and/or tangled. Over time, the force of over-brushing can leave hair rougher and more difficult to manage. The golden rule of brushing? Never brush your hair when it’s wet, as it’s at its most vulnerable and you’ll put it under a lot of strain. Instead, wait until your hair is completely dry before giving it a once over with your brush or comb.
Backcombing is a particular styling no-no, as it tugs against the scales of the cuticle and can result in hair breakage. Once the cuticle’s scales are lifted, the next time a comb or brush passes over them they’ll be ripped off. So, beware if you’re a fan of the backcombing for volume!
Be gentle with the towel
It’s tempting to give your hair a good old rub with your towel to roughly dry it before you blow dry. However, all that rough and tough handling can cause your hair to tear and break; instead, carefully pat your scalp with the towel and then gently hug your hair lengths with the towel. Even better; wrap your hair in a microfibre towel or cotton t-shirt to draw out water before drying it...
Damage control: 3 easy steps to care for hair
Match your haircare products to your hair’s needs
We all love co-ordination, right? Matching your hair products to your hair concerns is essential if you want hair that looks and feels good. If you often put your hair through the wringer with your styling, seek products that help repair the signs of hair damage. Our Pantene Repair & Protect range instantly reverses signs of damage for hair that shines, restores your hair’s strength and protects against future styling damage and split ends.
Condition your hair when you wash – Every. Single. Time.
Soft, shiny and manageable hair comes from conditioning your hair every single time you wash. Want to keep damage levels at bay? Never be without good conditioner stocks in your shower. It improves the moisture content of damaged hair and smooths the cuticle to help revive your hair’s appearance.
Even if your hair gets weighed down easily, you should not skip the conditioning step but instead look for a lightweight conditioner to bring the perfect balance of moisture your way.
Our Pantene Repair & Protect Conditioner has been specifically designed to smooth the hair cuticle, add moisture to the hair and protect against future damage. Loaded with strong conditioning agents, this powerful bottle can smooth your hair’s natural protective layer, helping it fight against damaging factors like styling and environment.
If you are looking for a bit more conditioning power, take a look at our 3 Minute Miracle Intensive Conditioners, which are also suitable for application with every hair wash.
It’s well known that depositing conditioning agents improves hair’s softness and structure – just take a look at the image below comparing damaged hair with conditioned hair to see for yourself.
Use a deep hair repair treatment, frequently
Listen to what your hair is trying to tell you – if you know you’re putting your hair through lots of heat styling, colour, chemical treatments (or all of the above!), be sure to respond by giving it some treat time. Grab one of our Intense Rescue Shots ampoules and give your damaged hair the health boost it’s craving. 60 seconds later it will have reduced 3 months’ worth of visible damage* and there’s no danger of using too much product, giving your hair that all important smoother, softer look and feel.
Now you know the causes of damage, you can take the fate of your hair back in to your own hands for great hair days ahead. Knowledge is power, and so damage need not be a worry with these all-important tips to keep your hair shiny and healthy-looking. Ready to take up the fight for great hair, every day?