Searches for hair dye on Google have doubled since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, as we’re all having to dye our own hair. Coincidentally, so have searches for hair masks.
So, you can just imagine all the thirsty, damaged hair out there in need of some TLC after a catastrophic DIY at-home dye job. But there’s hope — and some ingredients to look out for that will help to rescue even the most fried, color-treated hair.
Being a lifelong blonde, I have serious horror stories to tell. From white roots, chewing gum ends, and burned orange lengths, I’ve been through it all — and tried most of the rescue remedies for damaged hair on the market over the past decade. But with the many years of trial and (endless) error, I’ve learned some length-saving, scalp-soothing tips and tricks along the way to ensure that even the most over-processed, damaged hair can be resurrected and nursed back to its former glory.
Step 1 – Cleansing
Just like your skin, starting off with a fully cleansed base is arguably the most important step in keeping the hair and scalp healthy. A good shampoo will help to ensure your hair looks free-flowing and full of body.
Most styling products and conditioning agents have silicones in them, which are great for creating shine and smoothing out frizz or flyaways. However, when they’re layered or combined with our hair’s natural oils, they can leave the tresses looking dull and limp because of product build-up. Which is why a deep cleanse is needed at every wash.
There are some hair product ingredients you should avoid, as they can damage fragile, color-treated hair.
But not all shampoos are created equally. There are some additives in hair products you’ll need to avoid, as they can end up further damaging fragile, color-treated hair. Sulfates are one such ingredient. Sulfates are the foaming agents in our shampoos which can often be quite harsh and stripping, particularly if you already have dry hair. Making the switch to a sulfate-free shampoo ensures a far gentler cleanse, while still ensuring the breakdown of excess product and dirt.
One of the most nourishing and gentle shampoos, perfect for restoring life back into dyed, damaged hair, is the Bumble & Bumble Invisible Oil Shampoo which is free of sulfate cleansers and full of lightweight natural oils to help keep the hair looking silky and shiny.
Pro Tip: Focus your shampoo onto your roots and don’t scrub the lengths of your hair with product, as it can lead to split ends. Simply rinse the shampoo from the scalp and squeeze the suds down the hair shaft for a gentle and thorough cleanse.
Step 2 – Deep Conditioning
When we use dye or bleach, it can cause the cortex of our hair, made up of a protein called keratin, to become weakened and damaged. We know when these natural proteins are harmed the hair will start to develop split ends and become brittle, leading to breakage and a loss of our precious length. Which is why it’s important to use protein-rich formulations to help strengthen and repair the hair.
To check if your hair mask has enough protein in it, flip it over and take a look at the ingredients. If you see names like Keratin, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, or Hydrolyzed Quinoa, you can be sure you’re getting a protein-rich formula.
Look for products rich in protein and healthy oil to strengthen and moisturize your hair.
Also, keep an eye out for natural oils like sunflower, coconut, and jojoba to help nourish the hair and lock in moisture.
One such protein and oil blended product is the Bleach London Reincarnation Mask. This bleach blonde rescue remedy contains hydrolyzed wheat protein and vegetable proteins blended with sunflower oil, known for its soothing, anti-breakage properties. Simply smooth over freshly washed hair, and let it sink in for 15 minutes to achieve silky smooth ends after just one wash.
Pro Tip: Ingredients lists, or INCI lists as they’re known in the industry, are ordered by how much of each ingredient is in the product. The lower down on the list the active ingredient is, the less you’re getting for your money.
Step 3 – Heat Protection and Moisture Retention
Using heat tools like curling irons and straighteners can steal precious moisture from our hair, so protecting it before styling is a must. It might feel a little confusing to use an oil as a heat protectant because when we think of hot oil, we often think of how it fries our food. But choosing the correct oil, with a high smoke point, will help to protect your tresses while still nourishing the hair strand with all the reparative antioxidants and vitamins it needs to stay looking healthy and full of moisture.
Choosing the correct oil will help to protect your tresses while still nourishing the hair strand.
Olaplex’s revolutionary hair repair system has now launched a Bonding Oil, made with a blend of moringa, sunflower, corn, and pomegranate seed oils that offer heat protection up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. This oil can be used on dry hair as well, to help smooth frizz and static, giving a polished and glossy look to even the most damaged hair.
While the Olaplex Bonding Oil is perfect for finer and bleached hair types, we can’t forget girls with coarse strands or tight coils and curls who may need something a little heavier. The Charlotte Mensah Manketti Hair Oil deeply nourishes and protects from heat styling too, but it’s formulated with curly girls and their specific needs in mind. This award-winning hair oil truly is a must for anyone with thirsty curls or a coarser texture in need of hydration.
Rescuing dry and dyed hair really is as simple as 1-2-3 when you know what ingredients you need to exclude or include. Cutting out sulfates, and adding protein and a quality oil is all you need. So get shopping and treat your hair to some much needed self-care!