How to Correct Over Processed Hair
We do a lot to keep our hair looking its best, but sometimes the very things we do to make it look good are the things that lead to serious damage. All of the brushing, blow drying, straightening, curling, and coloring we put our hair through on a regular basis can lead to over processed hair in a hurry. Hair that tangles easily, looks frizzy, has a rough texture, and lacks shine or movement can all be the result of too much processing, both of the salon variety and at home.
If you’ve over processed your hair, there’s no quick way to restore it to perfect health. Unfortunately, once the damage is done, the only way it will ever be fully healthy again is when all of the damage has been cut off and only the healthy, unprocessed hair remains. That being said, there are a lot of things you can do to speed up the process and keep your hair looking and feeling great while you prevent future damage.
Cut the Damage Off
Ask your stylist to assess how far up your head the damage runs. Typically, damage starts at the tips and progresses upwards over time when the problem has been neglected. Once you’ve got a professional opinion about where your hair makes the switch from damaged to healthy, you can decide how far you’re willing to go in chopping it off. At a minimum, you need to lop of an inch or two during the initial cut, with more being better if the damage goes further up than that. If you’re feeling brave, or you’re simply desperate to get rid of severe damage, a dramatically short haircut can over a stylish and chic quick fix. After the initial cut, get religious about going in for trims every six weeks. Regular trims will help get rid of early damage before it has a chance to spread, keeping your hair healthy.
Slow Down On Styling
Did you know that it isn’t actually ideal to wash your hair every day? Hygiene is important, but we’ve become so obsessed that we tend to go overboard, damaging our hair in the process. Two to three times a week is plenty, and it is critical in the prevention of further damage to over processed hair. You can use dry shampoo on the days in between washes if you’re prone to greasiness. You’ll also need to limit blow drying your hair to once a week on low. Minimize or completely avoid heated styling tools. It might be hard to break the heat styling habit, but the more you can adhere to this, the quicker you’ll have your hair in tip-top shape again. Think of it this way, you’re lucky in the sense that updos are so popular right now. They’re the perfect antidote for over processed hair that’s going through recovery. Start experimenting with chignons, French tucks, messy buns, and all manner of bohemian braided styles.
Let a Professional Treat the Problem
Find out if your stylist does professional hair treatments for over processed hair, and if not, get a recommendation for someone who does. They tend to be pricy, but these treatments are different than any type you can do at home, and it shows in the results. Three to four times a year, you’ll have a salon treatment that typically involves a spray on conditioner that penetrates the hair follicle and repairs your hair at the root. This causes your hair to grow out stronger and healthier, stopping breakage while adding shine, volume, and better movement.
Use a Hair Mask
At least once or twice a month, do a home hair mask treatment to help repair surface damage. This heavy duty conditioning will smooth out frizz and help protect your hair from future damage. It will also strengthen hair, giving it extra resiliency from breakage caused by brittle, over processed hair. Go for an ultra-moisturizing mask that contains keratin to help strengthen the hair shaft.
Always Use a Heat Protectant Spray
Under ideal circumstances, you should stop using heat styling tools altogether when you’re letting your hair recover from over processing. But let’s be realistic, you’re probably going to flat iron or curl your hair from time to time. When you do, be sure to set your tools on the coolest/lowest setting, and always use a heat protectant spray. The spray acts as a barrier to heat damage, preventing frizz and dryness. Heat protectant spray minimizes damage, but it doesn’t prevent it entirely, so even with the spray, try to minimize how often you turn to your flat iron for a quick fix.
Babying your over processed hair takes time and patience, but in the end, it will restore your locks to their formerly healthy and lustrous state. As you begin to see the rewards of your efforts, you’ll be glad you did it.