Has your hair lost its bounce? Shine? Thickness? Tackle the problem with some serious hair repair treatments that work fast. Here’s what you need to know about the anatomy of your hair and what to do when things go awry.
It’s all about follicles and cuticles
Hair grows from hair follicles in our scalp, and the hair shaft is made up almost completely of a protein called keratin. Each shaft is comprised of three layers: the inner most medulla, which determines the thickness of the hair, the middle cortex, which gives hair its color, and the outer cuticle, which forms a protective barrier. By keeping our scalp healthy, our follicles can produce hair that’s stronger, and by nourishing the exposed cuticle (it’s semi-permeable so products can penetrate), we protect the hair shaft from damage.
Help for: Processed or color-treated hair
Chemicals like hydrogen peroxide used in permanent coloring and highlighting products, glycolic acid in straightening products and even formaldehyde by-products that are present in certain salon Brazilian straighteners, open the cuticle and allow color or a relaxing agent to be deposited into your hair’s cortex.
These chemicals also make your hair strands weaker, drier and lackluster. That’s where a serious conditioning treatment comes in, like Earth Science Olive & Avocado Deep Conditioning Hair Mask. It penetrates and smooths hair cuticles with moisturizing coconut, avocado and olive oils, while silk proteins form a protective barrier on strands to improve elasticity and shine. Plus it works on both fine and thick hair. Another one to try: Alba Botanica Hawaiian Coconut Milk Conditioner, which restores hair with super nourishing argan oil and cocoa butter, and smooths with plant-sourced keratin.
Help for: Sun and wind damaged hair
Outdoor enthusiasts know that the elements can take a toll on our hair, leaving it dry and brittle. That’s because the sun’s UVA and UVB rays break down the keratin proteins and pigment in our hair, and wind can cause tangles and split ends. Treat your hair to Peter Lamas Youth Revival 5 Oil Hair Treatment Mask, a blend of five botanical oils that remoisturize hair, smooth cuticles, increase elasticity and protect the hair shaft from UV rays.
Help for: Thin or slow-growing hair
Thinning hair is often the result of heredity, hormonal changes like pregnancy or menopause, or even certain hairstyles that pull hair too tight. A healthy scalp can keep your follicles functioning optimally and help encourage hair growth. Peter Lamas Energizing Scalp Serum massaged in to the scalp twice daily invigorates hair follicles and detoxifies the scalp with herbal swertia extract and apple stem cells.
You can work on thinning hair from the inside out, too: Try incorporating supplements rich in the B vitamin biotin—like Pharmaca Biotin Capsules—to strengthen hair and help it grow faster.
Help for: Flaky, itchy scalp
Itchy scalp and dandruff can be caused by several factors; the most common are dry skin, seborrheic dermatitis or a yeast-like fungus. But embarrassing flakes and itchiness can be treated with products that restore your scalp to health. John Masters Lavender & Avocado Intensive Conditioner blends organic arnica and white tea to detoxify your scalp, while lavender oil hydrates and calms skin to relieve symptoms of eczema or dermatitis. Badger Organic Argan Hair Oil is another effective treatment, quelling itchiness and dandruff with nourishing plant oils, scalp-stimulating rosemary and peppermint essential oils, and antibacterial and anti-fungal tea tree oil.