Dry hair is a beauty issue that's hard to remedy. There aren't many quick fixes. Instead, healthy hair requires a consistent routine filled with nutrient- and moisture-rich ingredients. But that doesn't mean you need to book an appointment with your stylist every single time you find a split end (or 10) hiding among your strands. In fact, there is a varied and diverse set of treatments and products you can use to boost your hair's health and hydration at home—no salon visit necessary. Coconut oil is perhaps the most popular and obvious of these, but we promise this list is much more comprehensive than that.
It's all thanks to four expert stylists. They shared their favorite at-home treatments and products that have the most fast-acting, effective, and long-lasting results. Then we even followed suit by tossing in a few of our own go-to hydrating habits. We figured it's the more the merrier, right? Especially when it comes to bolstering your hair routine against the cold and drying winds of winter.
Use Prickly Pear Oil
Celebrity hairstylist Sunnie Brook forgos the classic coconut oil hair masque in lieu of another lesser-known oil. "Prickly pear oil adds shine, repairs damaged ends, and protects hair from the sun," she says. This cactus oil is rich in nourishing fatty acids, natural collagen, and vitamin E. Just be sure to cater the application process to your hair's texture and density. "If you have medium to thick hair, oils are good, but if you have fine hair, oils can tend to weigh the hair down," Brook tells us.
"If you want to hydrate ends with oils but have fine hair, add the oil to some warm water in a fine mist spray bottle and spray on damp hair."
Cleanse and Blow-Dry Strategically
Another genius tip for dry-haired girls: Try adding a touch of oil to the ends of your hair before shampooing. It will moisturize them while keeping them protected drying cleansing agents. "When drying your hair after you wash it, use a 100% Turkish cotton towel (they are super absorbent) to remove as much of the water in your hair before using a blow-dryer," Brook says. Then she recommends focusing on drying the roots of the hair first. "Depending on the texture of your hair, leave the ends to air-dry or lower the temperature of the dryer to medium to protect them from heat."
Use Kora Organics Noni Glow Oil
Speaking of hair oils, celebrity hairstylist Ericka Verrett is a big fan. "Oils are very well-suited for use on dry hair and make a great DIY treatment.There are so many different ways to use and incorporate them into your haircare routine." Instead of traditional oil cures, she likes to keep multitasking oil products in her kit. "I am in love with the Kora Organics Noni Glow Body Oil for using on dry hair.I mix it with coconut oil for a pre-shampoo treatment. It leaves hair gorgeously silky and smooth." Even though it's technically formulated to boost the health of skin, this oil is rich in noni extract, rosehip oil, and sunflower seed oil, which all work to nourish and hydrate hair.
Simply mix a few pumps of this product with a spoonful of coconut oil and apply it to dirty hair 10 minutes before shampooing. After you wash it out, your hair will be smooth, shiny, and hydrated.
Opt For a Silk Pillowcase
Celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan recommends switching out your pillowcase. Yes, really. The type of pillowcase you use can have a real effect on the state of your hair. "My biggest tip for dry hair is to sleep on the Hollywood Silk Solutions Silk Pillowcase ($45)," she says. "This is the most passive action you can take to make the biggest difference in your hair and skin. Regular cotton pillowcases absorb and pull moisture from your skin and hair, leaving it drier than before you went to bed, while silk pillowcases allow your hair to soak and absorb oils."
Use Kerastase Elixer Ultime
Melissa D'Avenio, expert hairstylist at Antonio Prieto Salon, loves stocking up on Kerastase's classic hair oil, Elixer Ultime ($58). "It's a serum using a combination of four oils that really penetrate into the hair, allowing for maximum nourishment," she says. "It also delivers a beautiful shine without looking oily." For extra-dry hair, she likes the Kerastase Magistral Mask ($21). "It contains the ingredient Irisome that protects the hair from frying out from roots to end. You can use it as a daily conditioner and also as a weekly treatment if you leave it in cleansed hair for 10 minutes," she says.
Try Taking Hair Supplements
As for dryness, there are a couple of different types. "Some hair types need keratin added in, and some need more cream-based moisture," Marjan says. Essentially you might think your hair needs moisture when it really needs protein or vice versa.
"If your hair has been overprocessed, chances are that oil may not be enough. I would suggest addressing dry hair from multiple aspects. Make sure to reduce stress, have a healthy lifestyle, and take Olly Undeniable Beauty Gummy Vitamins ($14) for your hair, as they will allow your hair to grow in stronger and healthier, preventing further dryness in the future." Marjan recommends scalp massages, which can stimulate natural oils and brushing hair delicately to distribute oil from the scalp to the ends but only when it's dry.
"Remember that hair is like fabric and we need to treat it delicately."
Mix Together a Coconut Oil and Honey Masque
For Marjan, the best DIY at-home treatment involves melting together a teaspoon of organic unrefined honey with coconut oil. "Honey acts as a humectant, sealing in the moisture from the coconut oil, making it more effective than if used alone." In other words, the honey boosts the coconut oil's natural hydrating powers, keeping the hair healthier for longer. So if coconut oil is your go-to, add honey before applying it from root to end. You may see a real difference. Just be sure to rinse out your hair thoroughly post-treatment to avoid stickiness and tangles.
Brush With Boar Bristles
Brushing our hair, especially on the second and third day post-wash, is an easy and effective way to boost our hair's health. Like Marjan says, "brushing the hair delicately when it is dry with a smoothing brush will pull moisture from the scalp through the ends." This hydrates the dry ends with your scalp's natural oil, which normally wouldn't reach them, as it tends to sit at the roots where it is produced. As a bonus, this keeps our blow-outs from looking too greasy too soon. Just be sure to use a boar bristle brush, as they're most effective at distributing oil.
Also avoid brushing your hair when it's wet. "It is more elastic and can pull fragile strands, causing breakage." Our current favorite brush to use is Harry Josh's Premium Oval Brush ($40), which has a combination of oil-distributing boar bristles and detangling nylon bristles.
Try Using Aloe Vera
Another DIY hair hydration treatment we love is using pure aloe vera. It's not just for soothing sunburned skin. Thanks to antioxidants, fatty acids, and natural vitamins A, C, and E, this plant locks in moisture to the hair and scalp. We use aloe-infused haircare products (like Captain Blankenship's Mer-Mane Shampoo $34). Or if our hair is really damaged and dry, we apply it to our hair in its natural state. Just slice open the long-stemmed aloe leaf and apply the cooling gel directly to the hair.
Use an Olaplex Treatment
"For girls who bleach out their hair or have hair that is dry due to overprocessing, I would suggest at-home Olaplex treatments to repair the damage," Marjan says. Olaplex's No. 3 Treatment is easy to apply from root to end before washing. We keep it on for 10 minutes before washing it out. It strengthens the chemical bonds in the hair's cuticle, meaning it actually reseals split ends.
Marjan also recommends using a leave-in conditioner and preventing heat damage using Tresemme Repair and Protect 7 Collection. "I strongly recommend only using non-damaging hot tools like Ghd, as it's a myth that the hotter the iron, the better you can style your hair. Always finish blow-drying with the cool shot on your Ghd Blowdryer ($199) to close the cuticle and prevent frizz."