How to Maintain Healthy Hair Despite Heat and Chemical Treatments
The most common tip you'll hear when it comes to maintaining healthy hair is to avoid using heat or chemicals on it. But what if you have curly hair and like to wear it straight? What if you have brown hair but red expresses your personal style better?
I'm a firm believer in being able to obtain your dream hairstyle - hair that is coloured and styled in the way that best reflects you - while still maintaining its health. If you check out my Instagram, you'll recognise that my hair is bleached and regularly curled. Not only that, but my hair is very long, which means the ends have been exposed to damaging elements for years.
Over the last 10 years of growing my hair long, and styling it to "death", I've come to thoroughly understand how heat and chemical treatments affect hair and what remedies can effectively restore the look of healthy hair.
Is Your Hair Damaged?
Heat and chemicals are by far the most damaging elements you can apply to your hair. They break down the structure of your hair and causes rips and tears along your strands. Natural factors like UV exposure and abrasion from the wind also causes your hair to decay over time. Signs that your hair is damaged are: dryness, lack of shine or dullness, breakage, split ends, brittleness and easily tangled hair.
It's essentially impossible to avoid damage to your hair, however, you can combat the signs of it with the right care. The key to restoring the look of healthy hair is to use products that contain fortifying ingredients such as proteins and omega-3 fatty acids that fill in gaps and tears while smoothing out the hair cuticle.
My Hair Care Routine to Repair Damaged Hair
I have different hair care routines for different concerns I experience throughout the year. It changes throughout the seasons and it also changes when I'm styling my hair too much and it needs some additional care. Currently, my routine contains products from Alterna Hair Care's Caviar Repair range. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know I absolutely adore their Moisture Replenishing line, however, I use their repair range when my hair is feeling brittle and could do with some extra love.
1. Eat Protein-Rich Foods
Before we get into products recommendations, I can't stress enough how important diet is for maintaining healthy hair. The stronger your hair is to begin with, the more damage it can endure. A high protein diet promotes stronger hair growth, so try to increase the amount of protein and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet to ensure you're growing the healthiest hair you can.
2. Apply a Heat Protectant Before Styling
A heat protectant is essential in reducing the damage to your hair caused by heat tools. I'm currently using Alterna Haircare's Caviar Repair Multi-Vitamin Heat Protection Spray. It's a new addition to my routine and it's a game changer. I find it different to other heat protectants I've used as it has a thicker consistency and acts like a leave-in treatment alongside being a very strong heat protectant. It contains Biotin, Vitamin A, B6, B12, C and E, as well as Copolymers (the ingredient that protects the hair from thermal heat) which repairs damage while protecting it from more.
My hair feels full and lustrous after blowdrying and very silky after curling it. It also seems to feel healthier as I continue to use it. I'm daring to call this my new holy-grail heat protectant! I'll definitely report back on how my hair is doing after using it for another few months.
3. Use a Repair Shampoo & Conditioner
It's necessary for the health of your hair to thoughtfully select a sulphate-free repair shampoo & conditioner that contains ingredients that restores your hair's structure. Alterna Haircare's Caviar Repair Instant Recovery Shampoo & Conditioner is my go-to when my hair is feeling a little limp from curling it so often. This formula is developed to restore the composition of your hair while re-establishing its natural protective layer that has been compromised from heat and chemical damage.
It contains moisturising and fortifying ingredients such as caviar extract and Seasilk, a mineral-rich marine botanical, which promote moisture retention and slows down your hair's ageing process. It also includes amino acid-rich ingredients, including several hydrolyzed vegetable proteins that effectively fill the rips and tears in your hair, leaving it revitalised and strong. Finally, you'll find Vitamin E and natural oils such as linseed oil and shea butter that coat each strand of hair with a fine protective layer that helps to repair the cuticle, leaving your hair feeling silky smooth.
4. Brush Your Hair with a Wooden Hair Brush
When your hair is damaged, it is important to avoid brushing your hair with plastic bristles which can pull and break hair. Wooden hairbrushes are much more gentle and are definitely worth the investment. Wooden bristles also help distribute oil from the scalp down to the ends helping to keep them nourished. These brushes used to be quite difficult to find but these days you'll be able to source them from any drug store.
5. Deep Condition at Least Once a Week
If you're growing out your hair or applying heat or chemicals to it, using a deep conditioning mask is crucial. A hair mask is similar to a conditioner but has much more potent conditioning ingredients. It's kind of like sending your hair to the spa. I use the Alterna Caviar Repair Fill & Fix Masque which replaces my normal conditioner 2 -4 times a month. The mask is incredibly dense and rich in strand-building proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A and D, Seasilk and caviar extract. These components strengthen and nurture your strands with hydration and antioxidant protection against free radical damage, preventing future damage.
However, the most magical thing about this mask is that it makes your split ends appear almost invisible after the first use! I was seriously astonished. I love using it before going to an event when I want my hair to be in its best condition!
6. Choose a Leave-In Treatment That Strengthens Your Hair
Unlike a hair mask or a regular conditioner, a leave-in treatment stays in your hair and keeps it nourished until the next wash. This is particularly important for damaged hair as the cuticles are particularly suspectable to damage through abrasion and daily wear and tear. I've mentioned my favourite leave-in treatment on Instagram and on my post about protein treatments, and I'm going to do it again: I'm totally crazy about Alterna Haircare's Caviar Repair Retexturizing Protein Cream.
It coats my hair with a layer of protein that helps strengthen the strands and reduce friction. Oh, and it makes it shine as bright as the sun 🌞. Some protein treatments deposit too much protein into the hair and can leave it feeling brittle. This one is very buildable and leaves your feeling so soft and luscious.
The key ingredients in the cream are caviar extract, Seasilk as well as multiple vegetable proteins. This further helps seal in moisture and fill in broken protein bonds to restore strength. When I apply this to my ends, it looks like a just had a fresh trim. However, I wouldn't recommend using this as a long-term remedy for split ends. Trimming them off is always the best solution.
I had all the signs of damage before making better-informed hair care decisions, and I can speak from experience when I say that having dry strands, dull hair, split ends and breakage can leave you feeling hopeless. Luckily for us, there are products on the market that help repair damage and restore the appearance of healthy hair. It's never too late to begin the healing process. With the right products, a consistent routine and attentive care, having perfectly styled hair while maintaining its health is possible for all of us.
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This post was made in collaboration with Alterna Haircare. I've used Alterna Haircare products for many years before being fortunate enough to work together with them. As always, all views are my own. 💜
If you want to dive deeper into my hair care secrets and learn which products are worth your investments and how you can save money while growing your longest and strongest hair yet. Check out The Hair Growth Lab to find out more!