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4 Quick Fixes For Fried Hair, According to a Hairstylist

Blonde braided hair

Tamara Bellis / Unsplash

So you've fried your hair. You got a little crazy with the curling iron, you stayed out in the sun for days on end, or maybe your colorist went overboard dying your black hair platinum. In any case, even if your hair feels like straw, the good news is: There's relief.

First, you'll want to give the hot tools (like flat irons and curling irons) a break as much as possible. Next, we recommend getting some one-on-one time in with your stylist and committing to a trim every three weeks. Lastly, keep reading for our tips on how to repair fried hair damage. With a lot of TLC and patience, your hair will be its old self in no time.

damaged hair
Alison Czinkota/Byrdie

Option #1: The Simple Fix

Deep conditioner is your new best friend, well, at least in your haircare routine. Look for a product that contains keratin and is labeled for dry, damaged hair. Run product throughout hair and leave on for several minutes. The product will absorb into your hair shaft and help soften hay-like strands. Take your shower conditioning a step further by placing a plastic cap on and letting the steam do its thing.

We suggest deep conditioning twice a week for the first couple of weeks, then continuing once a week.

Deep conditioners, we recommend:

Refrain from washing your hair every day to prevent stripping it of its natural oils. If you take a shower but opt not to wash your hair, protect your hair with a shower cap.

Option #2: Bring in the Blowdryer

For this fix, you need a conditioner with cetyl alcohol, according to Robert Ramos in InStyle. "It's an ultrarich fatty acid that helps hair retain moisture," says Ramos. A great conditioner is Kerastase Masquintense ($56). Comb conditioner through hair, then blast it with a hairdryer for 15 minutes. Rinse.

Meet the Expert

Robert Ramos is an Emmy-nominated hairstylist and co-owner of LA-based Ramos Carreon Salon. His clientele includes Jessica Alba, Eva Mendes, and Nick Jonas.

Option #3: The Complicated (But Sure) Fix

We love this recipe shared by celebrity stylist Chris McMillan outlined in Allure. (You may know McMillan as Jennifer Aniston's hairstylist):

  • Step 1: Mix in a bowl 2 tablespoons of a rinse-out conditioner, a leave-in conditioner, a deep conditioner, and a hair mask.
  • Step 2: Comb the mixture through clean, damp hair making sure to focus most of the product on mid-shaft down to the ends.
  • Step 3: Wet two large towels, wring them out, and heat one in a microwave for 1–2 minutes (depending on how hot your microwave gets the towel—you want it tolerable to touch, but steamy warm).
  • Step 4: Wrap hair up in the hot towel while you heat the second towel in the microwave.
  • Step 5: Alternate wrapping hair in towels about 2–3 times.

This ultra-deep conditioning treatment should be repeated once a week.

Option #4: Cut It Off

It may sound crazy, but cutting off damaged hair is the only way to truly repair it. To keep hair in great shape, get a trim every three weeks (yes, three initially) and swear off razor cuts and styling tools, including curling irons, blow dryers and flatirons.

Also, stay away from any processing, which will only weaken hair further. According to Allure, relaxers are the harshest on hair, followed by bleach, permanent color, demi-permanent dye, and then rinses or glazes. If you have damaged hair, opt for highlights instead of all-over color and ask your stylist to use a glaze instead of dye if you are going darker. For camouflaging gray hair, stick with demi-permanent formulas.

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