How do you determine the best products for dry or damaged hair? First, you have to understand hair, its moisture level, and how each product affects these.
A number of factors contribute to your hair’s moisture level, including things you can’t control, like the sun or winter’s dry air. Your scalp produces oils that coat hair strands as they grow out of your head. Once they appear, though, it’s up to you to keep them healthy, because, technically speaking, they’re dead.
Don’t fret! Even if you haven’t been moisturizing your hair and scalp, it’s never too late to start. If you’ve been at the dry hair game for years, you’ve probably missed some options. Let’s review all of the best products for dry or damaged hair that can treat your hair—from root to tip.
Table of Contents
- Best Shampoo for Dry or Damaged Hair
- Best Conditioner for Dry or Damaged Hair
- Best Deep Conditioner for Dry or Damaged Hair
- Best Leave-in Conditioner for Dry or Damaged Hair
- Best Moisturizer for Dry or Damaged Hair
- Best Hair Treatment for Dry or Damaged Hair
- Best Supplements for Dry or Damaged Hair
- Best Oil for Dry or Damaged Hair
- Best Heat Protectant for Dry or Damaged Hair
- Best Flat Iron for Dry or Damaged Hair
- Best Hair Dryer for Dry or Damaged Hair
- 5 Dry or Damaged Hair Myths
Best Shampoo for Dry or Damaged Hair
First things first, avoid sulfates in your shampoos. Sulfates give your shampoo suds but strip the natural oils from your hair. Those oils keep your hair shiny and soft.
Shampooing too much also strips your hair of oils. When hair dries out, it breaks easier. You want to shampoo when hair turns greasy. For some people, this is every other day, for others it’s a few times a month. Find what works best for you.
Look for helpful additions in your shampoo. The protein keratin makes up the base of a strand, so keratin-infused shampoo is one of the best dry or damaged hair products. Additional heat and sun protection make a difference, too.
- it’s a 10 Miracle Shampoo plus Keratin meets all the above requirements: it’s sulfate free, it’s infused with keratin, and it protects from sun and heat damage.
- MoroccanOil Hydrating Shampoo uses argan oil to hydrate your hair.
- Aveda, which uses naturally derived ingredients, is praised for their Damage Remedy Restructuring Shampoo.
Best Conditioner for Dry or Damaged Hair
Layers of tiny flakes cover every strand of hair on your head. Over time, they become worn and brittle. Conditioners smooth the flakes back down, covering them and locking in moisture. That’s why tangles disappear after conditioning.
Unlike shampoo, you can’t really use too much conditioner. If you have very thin hair, conditioner may weigh it down. At worst, you’ll create a buildup of silicone, which you‘ll wash away the next time you shampoo.
For those with thick and curly hair, condition as often as possible—even if you don’t shampoo. Like shampoos, look for additional ingredients that help with dry hair.
- If you’re concerned about silicon buildup, you’ll love Era Organics Extra Nourishing and Hydrating Conditioner.
- ArtNaturals Argon Oil Conditioner blends various oils and plant-based ingredients to create a reliable conditioner with sun protection.
- Use the lightweight Kérastase Resistence Ciment Anti-Unsure Treatment to allow more volume.
Best Deep Conditioner for Dry or Damaged Hair
Deep conditioners require more time on your locks, but the results last longer. While normal conditioner treats the surface of a strand, a deep conditioner penetrates it. In addition to nourishing your hair, they also penetrate your scalp.
Most deep conditioners require between ten and thirty minutes to work. However, you only use them once a week at most. It’s a tradeoff. But, if you want to battle dry or damaged hair, deep conditioning is a must, making it one of the required dry or damaged hair products.
Recommended Deep Conditioners
- Use Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask for ten minutes to repair your hair.
- ArtNaturals Argan Hair Mask only needs five minutes, or you can sit under a dryer for thirty minutes to strengthen it.
- Another five-minute option, customers love Arvazallia Professional Series Hydrating Argan Oil Mask.
Best Leave-in Conditioner for Dry or Damaged Hair
You use sulfate-free shampoo, and you condition regularly. But you’re hair still dries out and breaks. For thick or kinky hair, there’s another option: leave-in conditioner.
Like regular and deep conditioners, it smooths and detangles. It doesn’t get washed out until your next wash, which strengthens its ability to lock in moisture. Because it stays in, it controls frizz and fly aways longer than normal conditioner.
Apply it after your typical wash and condition routine. These conditioners come in a few different forms: liquids, creams, and sprays. Try to use them on clean damp hair not dirty dry hair.
Recommended Leave-In Conditioners
- It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin protects the natural keratin in your hair, strengthening hair structure.
- Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen and Restore Leave-In Conditioner uses the Omega-9 fatty acid to moisturize your scalp in addition to conditioning your hair.
- People rave about ENJOY’s Conditioning Spray. It’s a convenient, sulfate-free spray.
Best Moisturizer for Dry or Damaged Hair
Depending on your hair routine, you can opt to use a moisturizer in place of or in addition to a leave-in conditioner. Many people don’t need the extra moisture, but those with thick, wavy, curly, or kinky hair love the additional hydration.
Shampoos and conditioners have specific instructions. “Apply from tips to roots.” “Towel dry hair first.” “Leave in for five to ten minutes.” Moisturizers, like those you use for your skin, can be used pretty much anytime.
Massage the cream through wet, damp, or dry hair. Apply it to clean or dirty hair. For busy mornings, rubbing a reliable moisturizer through your hair in the car is a wonderful convenience.
- You can use Hawaiian Silky Miracle Worker 14 in 1 daily. It softens and strengthens your hair and won’t affect your current hairstyle.
- Organic ROOT Stimulator Incredibly Rich Oil Moisturizing Hair Lotion adds hydration and protects from heating instruments. It also naturally straightens hair.
Best Hair Treatment for Dry or Damaged Hair
If you have long hair and have suffered from dry hair regularly, you’ve probably broken or damaged a good portion of your hair. A trim only helps the tips. Conditioners and masks prevent further damage. Treatments fix damage.
Treatments help with color and reconstruction. Similar to masks, they penetrate the hair and scalp. Moisturizing treatments concentrate on restoring loss from the sun, wind, or chemicals.
Unlike masks, treatments restructure your hair from the inside. Masks rejuvenate the interior strand and smooth the exterior. True treatments bond with the cuticle—that is, they restore from the inside out. While they’re not required, treatments make some of the best dry or damaged hair products.
Recommended Hair Treatments
- Use Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 to relink broken bonds. Leave in for ten minutes for minor repair and up to 90 minutes for major repair.
- Apply Kérastase Initialiste directly to your scalp then massage through your hair. No need to rinse it out.
- JOICO K-PAK Revitaluxe Bio-Advanced Restorative Treatment doubles your hair’s resistance and corrects years of damage. And you can rinse it out after five minutes.
Best Supplements for Dry or Damaged Hair
So far, we’ve discussed the best dry or damaged hair products that coat and penetrate your hair and scalp. But how do you grow stronger and softer hair? Supplements can help with that.
Any drug store can leave you inundated with vitamin options. Each vitamin supplements a handful of bodily functions. Let’s do a quick rundown for those that help with dry hair:
- Biotin increases metabolism, which distributes nutrients.
- Iron affects oxygen transport through our blood.
- Magnesium makes keratin proteins.
- Niacin promotes circulation, increasing nutrient distribution.
- Vitamin A supports keratin proteins.
- Vitamin D helps follicle growth.
- Vitamin E increases blood flow, distributing nutrients faster.
- Zinc repairs damaged cells and supports oil glands.
- The ingredients in Foligen supplements include biotin, Vitamin E, and zinc. It also has fo-ti, a Chinese root that’s used to boost the immune system.
- If you know you don’t consume enough vitamins in your regular diet to support hair growth, take Brock Beauty Hairfinity Advanced Haircare vitamins. The formula concentrates on supplements for healthy hair: biotin, niacin, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D.
- Sports Research Biotin keeps it simple with high-potency biotin capsules.
Best Oil for Dry or Damaged Hair
Beauty products love their oils. Different oils promote different skin and hair health, while some simply mask damage. To select the best dry or damaged hair products, you have to understand what each oil does.
- Argan oil (or Morroccon oil) has Vitamin E and antioxidants, which protect hair and skin from ultraviolet rays.
- Coconut oil seems to do everything! It protects and repairs hair. It helps hair grow and prevents hair loss.
- Castor oil has Vitamin E and antioxidants.
- Jojoba oil has a chemical structure almost identical to the oil your scalp produces.
- Olive oil coats hair strands, taming frizz and locking in moisture.
Advertising on beauty products concentrates on carrier oils. Carrier oils are vegetable oils made from seeds and nuts. Recently, there’s been a movement to increase the use of essential oils.
Essential oils aren’t actually oils. They’re hydrophobic liquids, which is to say they’re concentrated and meant for evaporation or dilution. While you can put coconut oil directly on your hair and scalp, you would never do so with peppermint oil, for example.
When diluted, essential oils provide additional benefits to dry or damaged hair:
- Geranium oil and jasmine oil moisturize dry scalps and hair.
- Rose oil treats damaged hair by locking in moisture.
- Lavender oil increases your scalp’s oil production, seals in moisture, and thickens hair.
- Peppermint oil hydrates your scalp, stimulating oil production.
- Rosemary oil treats dandruff by stimulating hair follicles.
- Vetiver oil regenerates tissue.
- Ylang Ylang regulates oil production.
- PHILIP B Rejuvenating Oil mixes olive oil and jojoba oil with essential oils to keep the serum light on your scalp.
- Moroccanoil Treatment is the original formula that jumpstarted the argan oil craze. You can’t argue with time-tested results.
- Unlike Morrocconoil, PURA D’OR Organic Argan Oil contains 100% argan oil. No additional extracts or oils.
Best Heat Protectant for Dry or Damaged Hair
Heated styling tools damage your hair multiple ways. Yes, perfectly straight or curly hair looks good after you’ve applied product, but that doesn’t last. Heat forces moisture out, breaks down keratin proteins, and cracks the strand surface.
Heat protectants use different polymers, silicones, and proteins to coat your hair and protect it. While no serum, spray, or gel will prevent damage entirely, they do control the transfer of heat through the strands, minimizing damage. We recommend adding a protectant to your collection of the best dry or damaged hair products.
Recommended Heat Protectants
- CHI Silk Infusion reconstructs broken hair with silk, wheat, and soy proteins and protects against thermal heat.
- HSI Professional Argan Oil Thermal Protector doubles as a leave-in conditioner!
- Another argan oil, ArtNaturals Argan Oil Thermal Shield is mixed with plant extracts that coat your strands and control heat disappation.
Best Flat Iron for Dry or Damaged Hair
Let’s be honest. We love our thick, wavy, curly, and kinky hair, but sometimes we just want straight hair. That’s why we own straight irons.
Straight irons weaken the hydrogen bonds that form the shape of your hair. When weakened, they can be reshaped. The heat that weakens the bonds also damages the outside of the strand. So you want to use the lowest heat possible for your hair type.
Ceramic straight irons with temperature control yield the best results. You can experiment with the temperature without worrying about hot spots on the iron. Hair heated inconsistently needs to be heated again, which means more damage.
Recommended Flat Irons
- BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Straight Iron uses titanium plates, which allow smooth movement through your hair. 50 heat settings means better heat control.
- CHI’s Ceramic Hairstyling Iron adds infrared heating, which reduces frizz and static.
- The floating plates in HSI’s Professional Glider adapt to your hair thickness. It also has adjustable heat control.
Best Hair Dryer for Dry or Damaged Hair
Defending your hair from heat requires more than soaking your locks in the best dry or damaged hair products. You need the right hair dryer options and technique.
First, don’t dry your hair completely. If you can leave the house with it 90% dry, the natural air will do the rest of the work without over drying it. If you can’t, use your dryer’s cool setting to finish the job.
Ionic technology breaks down water molecules with negative ions, drying hair faster. Ceramic and tourmailine dryers use infrared heat, which is much nicer to your hair.
Hair Dryer Accessories
You can use a hair dryer to style your hair. Dryers work like straight irons: they break down hydrogen bonds to reform them into another shape. Using a shaped brush and an attachment, you can dry your hair into different styles.
A concentrator (the flat nozzle) directs the air flow to a concentrated area. Dry your hair without the nozzle for a minute then attach the concentrator. You can skip the straightener or curling iron if you use a straight or round brush.
The diffuser does the opposite: it spreads the air out over a large area. This minimizes damage, which minimizes frizz. For those with strong waves and curls, the diffuser should be your best friend. No brush or curling iron necessary!
Recommended Hair Dryers
- BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium 2000 Watts has an ion switch, cool shot button, and concentrator nozzle, which makes it great for anyone looking for straight hair.
- A ceramic and tourmaline dryer, RUSK’s Engineering W8less 2000 Watts works well with nearly any hair type and styling.
- Another ceramic option, the Conair Infiniti Pro 1875 Watts has all of the options of BaByLissPRO with safer, infrared heat.
5 Dry or Damaged Hair Myths
With all the information out there, misinformation spreads. Many old wives’ tales still persist, particularly when it comes to keeping your hair healthy and hydrated. In addition to using the best dry or damaged hair products, avoid these myths.
1. Wash Your Hair Every Day
As we discussed above, washing your hair removes dirt and oil from your scalp and locks. If you use a sulfate shampoo, it slowly strips away the exterior of the strands. Over washing removes moisture, and, for that reason, only people with thin, straight hair should wash every day.
2. Conditioner Makes Your Hair Greasy
This is an article about the best dry or damaged hair products, so we find this myth particularly funny. It’s not common, but you can have greasy and damaged hair. If your scalp produces too much oil (or you go too long between shampoos), your hair gets greasy.
Shampoo deals with the grease. Conditioner, on the other hand, nourishes, repairs, and moisturizes your hair. The oil that your produce naturally can keep in moisture—like conditioner—but it’s not the same thing. Nor is it caused by conditioning.
3. Don’t Dye Your Hair
You’ve heard this one: dying your hair will dry it out more. Surprise: dying your hair is fine. The process actually adds volume to strands.
Don’t bleach your hair. As we mentioned above, each strand of hair is covered in tiny flakes. Bleach raises those flakes to remove the pigment from the keratin protein. That’s the protective layer of your hair—what every conditioner is trying to repair and protect.
Bleaching your hair multiple times destroys the outer layer of hair. You can either spend money to get time-intensive reparative treatment or cut the hair off. If you have dry hair, it’s best to avoid bleaching altogether.
4. Brush Your Hair More
Your grandmother probably still believes you should brush 100 strokes every day, but we know better. People cite many reasons why you should brush your hair more. Some say it stimulates and distributes oil. Brush when it’s wet to strengthen it. And so on.
Just like over shampooing, over brushing will dry your hair out and damage it. So, good news, you don’t need to brush you hair often—or even every day!
For people with thick or course hair, avoid brushing as much as possible. Use a wide-toothed comb while conditioning and don’t touch it again until the next conditioning. If the wind gets it tangled, run a detangling brush through it.
5. Switch Shampoos Regularly
We’re not sure where this one came from. The idea is that switching shampoos regularly keeps your hair healthy and fresh. Like a kid at football practice: changes on the field keep him alert. But hair isn’t playing a team sport.
If your shampoo keeps your hair hydrated and strong, there’s no reason to change it. External factors could change your hair, which means the shampoo will work differently. If that happens, use this guide to add a conditioner or moisturizer to your routine of the best dry or damaged hair products. Don’t change something that’s worked for years.
6. Towel Dry Your Hair
This myth isn’t specific to damaged hair. Everyone’s taught to towel dry their hair when leaving the shower or bath. But rubbing a towel around your head may do more damage than you realize.
Hair is most fragile when it’s wet. Then you take a towel to it and tangle its fibers up with your hair strands. As result, you have to brush it to detangle it, which we’ve already established damages your hair.
Instead, wrap your hair in a towel and let it absorb the excess water. Unwrap it when you’re ready to dry and style your hair.
Find Your Hair Care Routine
We’ve covered many different options, and, depending on your hair type, you’ll choose a variety of the best dry or damaged hair products. For people with course, kinky hair, you may use something from every section. While someone with thick wavy hair may only use a few items.
If you’re overwhelmed, try a step-by-step approach:
- Determine your hair type.
- Work out your shampoo and conditioning schedule.
- Vary your drying and styling techniques.
- Assess if you need to add deep conditioning or leave-in conditioner to your regimen.
- Add the remainder of the options one at a time, dropping those that don’t make a difference.
Only you know what works best for your hair. And the only way you know that is to try different products. If you just started experiencing dry hair, start simple: wash your hair less and add a deep conditioner. If you’ve been battling damaged hair for years, start mixing it up.
In this guide we’ve reviewed the best dry or damaged hair products on the market. Your path to healthy, hydrated hair is here. Now you just need to find what works best for you to condition and moisturize those gorgeous locks.
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