Rehab Your Hair
Photography by: courtesy of Shutterstock
Tress offense: Suds overdose Over-cleansing your hair can be extremely damaging, especially when it’s color-treated. Many of the ingredients that remove impurities and add fragrance also strip away natural moisture from your strands and scalp. “Most of us don’t need to wash our hair every day, especially as we age and sebum (oil) production naturally decreases,” says Peterson. “Sebum functions as a protectant and lubricant that minimizes friction from combing, brushing, washing and other daily wear.” It also decreases flyaways.
Rehab Rx: We’re not suggesting going cold turkey on cleansing, of course. Try washing your hair every other day to start and work up to every third day with a gentle, lowsuds shampoo (look for one that does not contain the harsh detergent—and well-known skin irritant—sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS, on ingredients lists). When you do shampoo, “use just a small amount on your scalp where you get oily, but skip the length of your hair,” says Hazan, who suggests only using conditioner on drier ends of your hair, not your scalp. On in-between days, dry shampoo is an effective, guiltfree fix. It absorbs excess sebum and styling product residue without stripping and also adds a touch of volume by temporarily thickening individual strands. The key: Look for a dry shampoo without the ingredient talc, which some experts suspect could be toxic. Just sprinkle or spray onto your head, let it sit for a minute or two, then brush out.
Get your fix: Ojon Rub-Out Dry Cleansing Powder ($24; ojon.com) with soap bark extract, rice powder and tapioca starch absorbs excess sebum and impurities while freshening the scalp between shampoos.
WEN Replenishing Treatment Mist ($32 for 6 ounces; chazdean .com) helps keep locks smelling fresh even though you’re shampooing less often. Its blend of aromatic plant botanicals, oils and extracts also add moisture while fighting frizz and flyaways. Bonus: You can mist it on your face, too, for a midafternoon pick-me-up.
Tress offense: Drying out Many of us ignore those labels telling us to leave conditioners on for two to five minutes—who has time to hang out in the shower that long? Or we might worry that we’ll over-condition and be left with limp, greasy hair. But adding as much moisture as possible is your key to hair rehab success. “The more hydration present, the more flexible the cuticle is, which prevents breaking and split ends,” says Peterson.
Rehab Rx: “It would be practically impossible to overdo it when it comes to hydrating treatments and masks,” Peterson says. And hydrating your hair doesn’t always need to follow a shampooing. Try prepping your strands with a protective, moisturizing oil for 10 to 15 minutes before washing it (or all night if you want intense conditioning), avoiding the scalp and concentrating on the ends.
Get your fix: John Masters Organics Honey & Hibiscus Hair Reconstructor ($28; johnmasters.com) is an intensive conditioner that should be used at least once a week. Its soy protein strengthens follicles and kelp extract provides a boost of shine.
Leonor Greyl Huile de Palme Pre-Shampoo ($49; leonorgreyl-usa.com) is a 100 percent natural emulsion including ECOCERT-certified palm oil that coats each strand to untangle, soften brittle ends and smooth damaged cuticles. Apply it before washing and exposing your hair to chlorine or saltwater, too.