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 your colorist went overboard dying your black hair platinum. Maybe you put a perm atop a coloring job and fried your hair that way. In any case, if your hair feels like straw, it's fried. But the good news is: there's relief.
First of all, you need to lay off the hot tools (flat irons and curling irons) as much as possible and then you need to get your ends trimmed every 3 weeks. Then you need to follow these fried hair fixes to repair the damage.
Option #1: The Simple Fix
You need a deep conditioner, stat. 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 soften your hay-like strands.
The time it takes: about 10 minutes, not including the shower. We suggest deep conditioning twice a week the first couple weeks, then continue 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 Magazine. "It's an ultrarich fatty acid that helps hair retain moisture," says Ramos. A great conditioner is Kerastase Masquintense. Comb conditioner through hair then blast it with a hair dryer 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 magazine. (You may know McMillan as Jennifer Aniston's hairstylist).
- Step 1: Mix in a bowl 2 tablespoons each of 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 2 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 microwave.
- Step 5: Alternate wrapping hair in towels about 2-3 times.
This ultra-deep conditioner 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 3 weeks (yes, 3 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.