In an ideal world, we all have shampoo commercial-worthy hair. But in reality, sometimes it’s more straw-like, scorched, or full of frizz. And if those are the problems you’re dealing with, your real issue may be dry hair.
While curly hair types are more susceptible to lack of moisture, “dry hair mostly results from lifestyle factors,” says Jennifer Herrmann, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills. The top culprits include heat and chemicals. Think: certain hair dyes, overuse of clarifying shampoos, heat damage from blow-outs and styling, or over-processing with keratin treatments.
Heat damages your hair because it cooks it, says Dr. Herrmann. “Natural water in hair can turn to steam, creating bubbles in the hair shaft, which damages the cuticle, the outer protective coating that keeps hair strong and resilient,” she explains.
Chemicals can also damage this cuticle while simultaneously stripping your hair of natural oils that are crucial for hydration. And while processing treatments can make hair appear sleek, they actually “break chemical bonds in the hair when trying to ‘straighten’ it,” Dr. Herrmann explains. “Over time, this can not only lead to severely dry and damaged hair, but also scarring and permanent hair loss.”
Your best bet to beat dry hair? Use styling tools infrequently, avoid dying it lighter than one shade lighter compared to your natural color, and wear a hat to protect strands from UV damage, Dr. Herrmann recommends. Your shower routine makes a difference, too. Lathering up a great shampoo can do wonders for your locks, but your conditioner will be the real MVP in bringing moisture back to your strands—enhancing softness and smoothness in the process.
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