First off: What causes dull hair?
Like many things, there isn’t a simple, straightforward answer to this question. A few things can actually cause dull hair. This includes using hot styling tools on very high heat and overprocessing the hair with too many chemicals—both of which can damage the hair.
“Using the wrong product or too much of a product can cause issues as well, especially if you fail to clarify the hair periodically to remove buildup,” adds Rivera.
Rivera also highlights fine hair as the hair type that’s most susceptible to becoming dull and fragile. Unlike other hair types—which boasts hair shafts that consist of the cortex, the cuticle, and the medulla—fine hair has thinner hair strands than most due to the absence of the medulla in its hair shafts.
How can you tell if you have dull hair?
Dull hair is easy to spot. When you notice your hair has lost its luster and shine, it’s officially time to beautify your hair routine.
“The hair’s color can also look brassy for blondes and those with highlights, or mousey and flat for those with darker hair tones,” shares Rivera, adding that poor diet and certain medications can also contribute to lifeless locks.
The good news? Dull hair is reversible.
How do you fix dull hair?
Simply put, you can fix dull hair with the help of clarifying treatments.
Clarifying treatments, courtesy of specialty shampoos, help to unclog the hair follicles, which have likely been exposed to hard water residue, sun exposure, pollution, and product buildup.
Prefer an at-home remedy? Rivera recommends using a paste consisting of baking soda and water. How to use: Combine these two ingredients and massage the paste from the scalp to the ends. Let it sit for five minutes before rinsing off. Use this makeshift hair mask regularly for optimal results.
Which haircare ingredients should you be avoiding?
The next time you need to stock up on shampoo, refer back to Rivera’s nugget of haircare wisdom: “Avoid anything that is harsh on the scalp.” This includes ingredients like sulfates, parabens, and other preservatives that work to increase the product’s longevity. These ingredients work to keep its product lively makeup—not your hair.
Shampoo aside, hair products that are heavy in sodium chloride (“it’s basically salt,” according to Rivera) and sodium lauryl sulfate, a thickening agent, should also be avoided whenever possible due to their harsh effect on hair.
Why you should be using a sulfate-free shampoo
How can I get healthy, soft hair?
“As I always say, healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp,” says Rivera. “The hair strands should be consistent in dimension and strength from root to ends.”
- Use styling tools with infrared technology. “Because they lock the moisture into the hair, almost like a spa treatment,” she says.
- Leave professional treatments to the experts. While complex, at-home treatments may be tempting, enlisting the help of a professional when you’re looking to incorporate potent chemicals is highly encouraged. In this case, choosing the more convenient option (i.e. dyeing your hair at home) may unintentionally wreak havoc on your hair.
- Treat yourself to regular scalp massages. As previously mentioned, having a healthy scalp is the root of shiny, healthy hair. So, why not give it the attention it deserves via a five-minute daily scalp massage? “This will increase blood flow which contributes to scalp health,” shares Rivera.
- Limit hair’s exposure to the elements. “Wear a hat or scarf when outside,” says Rivera, while also emphasizing the importance of prioritizing a well-rounded health regimen: “Always eat a well-balanced diet rich in vitamins and nutrients.”
ONLY GOOD HAIR DAYS
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