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As women, we tend to want to express our personal style and feelings with our hair. Different lengths, colors, and styles make it easy for us to take creative reign and be who we want to be. The problem is that some of our hair choices aren’t always necessarily best for our head of scalp, and we’re left to suffer the consequences of damaged, dry, brittle hair. Fortunately, here are 5 natural ways to restore our hair to its former glory.

1. Use sulfate-free products and always look at the ingredients list

Many drugstore brands and products from big-box retailers geared towards restoring your hair can actually have an adverse effect. Typically, these products contain common ingredients that further harm hair strands, including:

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate, or sodium laureth sulfate. These are found in many cleansing agents and detergents, and can severely dry out your hair. This ingredient also has several other damaging affects to the body.
  • Isopropyl alcohol. Found in hair spray and volumizers, along with many other hair products, this ingredient can dissolve your hair of moisture and literally break it apart.
  • Proplyene glycol is found in many shampoos and conditioners and can break down healthy hair to give it a “shiny” appearance that often fools people into thinking it’s good for them.

Do your research when you purchase your products. Many natural and eco-friendly products can be found in hair stores like Ulta or Sally’s, and even Whole Foods. If you opt for a hair store, an employee will be able to help you find sulfate-free products that are healthiest for your hair.

2. Indulge in a coconut oil hair treatment

Organic coconut oil has a laundry list of benefits, and hair health is one of the top on the list. Coconut oil prevents breakage, moisturizes dry hair, is rich in nutrients, and boosts blood circulation. The oil can penetrate hair follicles and moisturize it from the outside in, even preventing it from further heat damage with extended use. Increased scalp circulation means that additional nutrients and oxygen go to the hair follicles and promote growth.

To use:

  • Purchase extra virgin, raw, or organic oil.
  • When the oil is at room temperature, take a few dime-sized amounts and massage into separated sections of your hair from the root to the tips.
  • Afterwards, spend 3-5 minutes massaging your scalp.
  • Finally, cover your entire head with a shower cap or plastic bag. For a deeper conditioning, leave overnight.
  • When you wake up, rinse it out with sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner.

3. Drink plenty of water

This tip is often ignored, but we can’t emphasize the importance of water to your hair (and overall health) enough. Hair is comprised of 25% water, and by replacing juices and sodas with water, you’ll give energy to your hair cells and promote new growth. Dehydration often leads to hair breakage and hair loss, and drinking at least eight cups of water per day (the recommended amount) can help.

4. Use olive oil

Like coconut oil, olive oil has several hair, health, and beauty benefits.

  • Take a few drops and run it through your hair after styling to help repair and prevent split ends. You can also replace your regular conditioner with this oil or use it as a supplement to bring your hair back its natural moisture. Olive oil is chock full of vitamin E, A, and antioxidants, which naturally helps protect the keratin in hair and add additional strength and shine.
  • Lastly, mix it with a little bit of lemon juice to get rid of dandruff. Use equal parts of path ingredients, and massage through your scalp.
  • After 20 minutes, wash it out.
  • Refrain from doing this more than once bi-weekly.

5. Get an Olaplex treatment if you must use dyes

Some salon treatments truly are hair-changing, and Olaplex is one of them. Olaplex is a treatment that is used to reconnect broken bonds in hair, and if reviews are any testament to the effectiveness of this product, it does a great job of achieving this. This is especially useful when dying hair a lighter color and many top-notch salons will provide the treatment in addition to coloring. Olaplex was created by chemists and scientists to repair damaged hair, and is one of the only salon treatments that doesn’t incorporate harsh ingredients to get the job done.

EXTRA CREDIT: Try an FDA Cleared Laser Hair Cap

Laser caps are proven (through vigorous FDA clearance) safe and effective for stopping hair loss and even regrowing some lost hair. Most laser caps can be used only 30 mins every other day, are portable and can be used in the privacy and comfort of your own home. Checkout our post on the best laser caps to buy here.