9 Ways to Tell That Your Hair is Damaged and How to Treat It

Everyone hates hearing their hair is damaged. But we’re all in this together! Almost everyone suffers from hair damage at some point in their lives. 

Daily habits like using heat-styling tools can be “too hot to handle.” Sometimes it boils down to matters beyond your control that make your locks as damaged as your ex. Luckily, the earlier you know the signs of damaged hair, the more likely you’ll be able to repair it.

But how can you tell if your hair is damaged, and how can you restore it? Here are nine signs of damaged hair and ways to restore your luscious mane.

9 Signs Your Hair May Be Damaged

Hair damage can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Thankfully, it is something you can detect on your own, so you don't need assistance from a professional.  So keep an eye out for these obvious indicators of hair damage.

1. Hair loss or thinning

There’s no need to fret over hair loss through brushing or naturally shedding as we wash—but there are signs that tell us something may be wrong. Over time, hair damage can lead to thinning and hair loss, which is difficult to reverse, especially if left untreated.

What causes hair loss or thinning? 

Several factors could contribute to thinning, including stress, aging, heavy medications, or just having given birth. A clean scalp is essential to preventing this kind of hair loss. By removing daily buildup and delivering nutrients from roots to ends, we hope to strengthen the hair. 

A lack of protein may also cause hair loss, so a strengthening treatment always comes in handy!   

2. Lack of elasticity

Healthy hair should snap back into place when you pull it slightly. Wet, healthy hair can actually stretch twice its original shape before returning to its original state. 

It should be possible to tug your hair without damaging it. If you pull your hair and it breaks, your hair has lost its elasticity, and you may need a protein-enriched treatment. But don’t worry; there is always hope when it comes to restoring your hair to its former glory. 

3. Split ends

Symptoms of split ends include fraying hair, ends that are instantly dry after showering, or thin strands along the perimeter. If you’re trying to grow your hair, this may not be what you want to hear but getting regular trims will remove the damage, and the hair can continue growing healthy. 

Split ends can also be caused by weather or environmental dryness, leaving your hair thirsty for moisture. Did you know that staying hydrated yourself can help your hair retain moisture? And no, your daily iced coffee doesn’t count! 

Pro tip: Protect your hair from heat, frizz, and UV damage by using a hydrating oil 1-3 times daily. 

4. Dryness and brittleness

Now here’s one we all know the answer to! Hair becomes dry and brittle when it lacks moisture.  

Lack of moisture (dryness and brittleness) can be caused by anything from the climate to the quality of your water or even the frequency of your highlights. You can reduce the removal of natural oils from your hair by following a moisturizing routine that favors conditioning instead of shampooing. 

Regardless of your hair type, you can avoid damaging your hair by using a filtered shower head that removes harsh minerals. An occasional conditioning mask could also benefit you if you wash frequently; plus, they smell GREAT. It’s a treat for the head and the nose! 

5. Breakage

Breakage is usually caused by hair that lacks elasticity, which, as we learned, means it can't stretch much before breaking. Split ends may be the first warning sign before the breakage spreads to the roots. 

Raise your hand if you frequently color your hair 🙋🏼‍♀️

The over-processing caused by coloring or treatments can lead to hair breakage. In addition to regular hair masks, leave-in conditioners can protect and hydrate your hair after these treatments. 

When it comes to hair's elasticity, strength and moisture balance are necessary to get it back to the healthy state we love to see… without breaking the bank!

6. Change in texture

This one can be tricky if you’re unfamiliar with your hair’s texture. Changes in hair texture might not be the most obvious sign of damage, but they are worth paying attention to.

A recent change in hair products (or even diet!) could be the culprit, or it may indicate something more serious, such as damaged hair. Hair can also change textures if it's missing protein. 

Pro tip: Pay attention to these warning signs, as you cannot repair severely damaged hair with proteins or treatments. At a certain point, only one option is left: "snip, snip, hooray!

7. More tangles than usual

Excessive tangling is likely to occur if you experience any of the signs listed above. When hair shafts become rough, damaged, and lack moisture, they are easier to tangle with other strands, resulting in knots. 

If your hair is hard to detangle, no matter how much conditioner you apply, it has been damaged.

You could try a vegan protein-enriched treatment like Cry Baby Repairing Hair Mask to repair some of the damage. Strengthening treatments like Wild Thang Strengthening Hair Mask are also beneficial.

8. More dullness and less shine

Lacking some luster these days? Dullness or less shiny hair is usually dehydrated and damaged. Moisture loss causes hair to break and frizz uncontrollably, which can be overwhelming. As soon as your hair is stripped of its natural oils and proteins from salon treatments, boxed dyes, bleaches, or heated tools, it will lose its healthy shine.

Invest in moisturizing products like the Cha Ching Hair Mask or a top-notch leave-in product like One Hit Wonder

9. More frizziness than usual

If frizz is the only problem with your hair, regular deep conditioning might be all you need. Hooray!

Frizz is a frequent complaint about certain hair types, and it may be your hair's cry for help. But if you notice your hair has frizz and flyaways throughout the day, you might have some hidden damage. 

Examine the root (pun intended) cause of your frizz, which could be over-shampooing, shampooing the ends of your hair, or simply the weather. Hello, humidity. 

Pro tip: Hair needs moisture to stay healthy, especially wavy, curly, and kinky hair.

How to Treat Damaged Hair

How to Treat Damaged Hair Infographic

Good news: most damaged hair can be repaired if it isn't too severe. Using the information you've gained about damaged hair, you'll be able to restore your weak hair and prevent further problems.

Remember that trimming or cutting may be the answer if you have tried "everything" and still suffer from damaged hair. But we’ll be here to help you get a fresh start!

The following solutions can help you get started: 

1. Deep condition your hair

You must deep condition the hair regularly to restore it to a healthier state. One easy way to do this is using a hair mask (Hey, we have those here!). 

Hair masks and protein treatments contain essential vitamins and nutrients your hair needs to repair itself. With regular use, these treatments can leave hair feeling softer, more manageable, and stronger over time.

Slow and steady wins this race. Remember that it may take several months to notice a significant change. Keeping your hair moisturized and conditioning it regularly will prevent breakage.

The Cha Ching Moisturizing Hair Mask is a clear winner for deep conditioning. The hydrolyzed rice protein in this mask increases hair flexibility and tensile strength to help repair damage from the inside out. 

2. Don’t constantly keep your hair in a ponytail or tightly pinned back 

While we love a good slicked-back updo as much as the next person, you may break your hair by constantly pulling and tugging it into different styles every day, especially if elastics are involved. 

The best hairstyles are those that require little maintenance. Air dry and use your fingers to style whenever possible. Try to dress up your hair for special occasions instead of everyday wear and use treatments/leave-in products to keep your hair healthy and strong. 

3. Trim dead ends

For healthy hair, you should trim the ends frequently, and if the ends seem damaged, frayed, split, or uneven, you should cut them and start fresh.

In addition to making the hair dull, frizzy, and dry, split ends can cause further breakage. Hair that is severely damaged will need more than a trim to be restored to its former glory, while hair that is just mildly damaged can be revitalized with a trim.

You should trim your hair every few weeks or whenever split ends appear.

4. Use a heat protectant

Who hasn’t struggled with damage from hot tools from time to time?

Heat protectants should always be used when straightening, curling, or drying your hair. Keep the heat as low as possible when blowdrying to avoid losing moisture from your hair.

 One Hit Wonder serves as a heat protectant up to 445F/230C and provides hydration while preventing breakage. 

5. Take a break from hot tools

Despite using the right products, damaged hair cannot repair itself when exposed to heat continuously. After heat damage, your hair follicles should heal for at least 1-2 months before using hot appliances. For any devoted hot tool user, that’s a tough burn to get over. 

Give your hair a break by using gentle, natural products and wearing low-maintenance styles. Once you've done that, you should limit heated tools to only a few times each week. 

6. Use a detangler

When the hair is damaged and lacking moisture, knots can form, and brushing, combing, or pulling these knots in any way is a surefire way to get split ends and dry, brittle hair.

The best way to maintain healthy hair is to finger comb it and avoid surfaces that cause excessive friction. 

Post-wash, use a detangler like One Hit Wonder to provide the perfect amount of “slip” to effortlessly comb through knots. Wrapping your hair in a microfiber towel protects it from rubbing against abrasive fabrics.

7. Sleep on a silk pillowcase and use a microfiber towel post-wash

It is always better to avoid surfaces that cause excessive friction to your hair. Keep your hair free of abrasive fabrics by sleeping on silk pillowcases and using microfiber towels after washing.

As far as hair is concerned, silk pillowcases are ideal as they can help retain moisture from products and natural oils and reduce the friction that causes tangles and breakage.

Can damaged hair grow back healthy? 

Is damaged hair able to grow back healthy? To grow healthy hair, you must stop the cycle of damage. Your only option if you don't take action to repair your hair is to chop it off and wait.

The good news is that if you damage your hair from over-styling, too much heat, or harsh chemicals, it can grow back healthy with some habit changes and proper care. And that’s what we’re here for!

When you use products that nourish your scalp and hair, you will see a difference in the condition of your hair within six months to a year. This is just a drop in the bucket for a lifetime of healthy hair.

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