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The Best Hair Treatments For Damaged Hair, According To Experts

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By Marissa DeSantis
Elite Daily/Amazon

The causes of damaged hair can be as diverse as the symptoms themselves, which include dryness, breakage, split ends, frizz, and dullness or a lack of shine. If you're noticing any of these changes in your hair, it's time to identify the cause and turn to a restorative treatment, such as a deep conditioner or a hair mask. According to the pros, the best hair treatments for damaged hair include a range of products made with protein-based and/or moisturizing ingredients to strengthen and condition your hair. Jonathan Colombini,, celebrity hairstylist and creative director of style and color for L'Oréal Paris, also notes that you'll want to avoid treatments with sulfates, silicones, and parabens whenever possible.

For a quick refresh on what exactly is causing your damaged hair, AJ Lordet, a colorist at the Fekkai SoHo salon in New York City, shares the most common causes. "Bleached hair, which includes highlights or double-process platinum blonde, is delicate," she explains, adding, "Over-heating with styling tools can lead to damage, too." While these are the biggest offenders, factors like sun exposure and even chlorine from swimming can also take a toll on your hair's health.

To protect your hair from becoming even more damaged, both Lordet and Colombini agree that you'll want to avoid over-processing your hair and and overdoing it with hot styling tools whenever possible. They also suggest using a heat protectant on your hair when you do style it with heat, and recommend adding a hair mask into your routine. "A protein mask is good because the hair is made up of proteins, so it will help strengthen and restore the hair," says Colombini, who explains that keratin is the best protein to look for, as it’s the basic component of our hair, skin, and nails. "Always read the instructions on how often the brand requires you to use it," he cautions, explaining, "If used too often, protein masks may damage the hair more." Lordet adds that a moisturizing mask with ingredients like shea butter or coconut oil is also a good option to use in place of your usual conditioner once or twice weekly. When in doubt, Lordet says it's best to turn to your stylist or colorist for advice on what type of treatment your hair can most benefit from, and how often you should be using it.

To get you started on your hair-repairing journey, scroll on to shop the best treatments for damaged hair, including two picks from the professionals.

01
The Cult Favorite

As far as at-home treatments go, you'd be hard-pressed to find something as beloved as the Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector. With over 70,000 five-star ratings on Amazon and a devoted following among hair care experts, this treatment works to repair damage caused by heat styling, coloring, environmental exposure, and even brushing with a patented system that restores your hair's broken bonds from the inside, at the cortex of your hair. Suitable for all hair types, this treatment can be used just once weekly for 10 minutes (after you shampoo and before you condition) to give you hair that's noticeably softer and shinier. Over time, your hair should start feeling stronger and healthier, too.

02
Jonathan Colombini’s Pick

Colombini says that the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Total Repair 5 Protein Recharge is one of his favorite hair treatments. "It's a leave-in that helps repair breakage and split ends," he says of the multitasking product that also serves as a heat protectant against temperatures as high as 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The lightweight treatment gets applied to your hair while it's still wet, and it uses ingredients like hydrolyzed wheat protein and sweet almond oil to strengthen and moisturize your hair, leaving it smoother and silkier with each use.

03
AJ Lordet’s Pick

For her color-treated clients, Lordet recommends replacing your conditioner with this Fekkai Technician Color Treatment Powerful Flash Mask a few times each week. "It doesn't need to stay in long, just one to two minutes, so it's easy to add into your routine," she says. "Plus, it smells great and has no nasty ingredients," she adds of the peachy scent and formula that's free from sulfates, silicones, parabens, and phthalates. The mask uses ingredients like vitamin B5, rice protein, and edelweiss flower extract to condition hair and protect it against environmental damage, while plum seed oil promote shines and helps your color stay vibrant for longer.

04
Best Treatment Spray For Damaged Hair

Both Colombini and Lordet agree that using a heat protectant before you style your hair with heat is essential when it comes to maintaining your hair's health and preventing future damage. Pureology’s Strength Cure Miracle Filler Treatment, which uses xylose to create a protective barrier that protects your hair against hot tools, can be misted through your hair while it's still damp for easy application. The gentle formula includes the brand’s patented AntiFade Complex to keep your color looking fresh between salon visits, while ingredients like coconut oil, coriander oil, and chamomile extract add plenty of moisture.

05
Best Keratin Mask For Damaged Hair

There are keratin masks, and then there's Virtue Labs Restorative Treatment Mask, which contains a unique type of keratin, Alpha Keratin 60ku. Discovered by scientists, the patented ingredient mimics the keratin that makes up our hair, skin, and nails, so it’s better able to help weave broken keratin strands back together. Additionally, the mask contains ingredients like brown algae, baobab seed oil, and artichoke leaf extract to restore moisture to dried-out hair and protect against heat and environmental damage. All of the brand's products are cruelty-free and made without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic colors, and dyes.

06
Best Hair Oil For Damaged Hair

For curly hair that's prone to breakage, Carol's Daughter created this 7 Oil Blend Hair & Scalp Oil, which is a part of the brand's Goddess Strength collection. The leave-in treatment can be used on dry or damp hair to restore moisture, starting at the scalp, courtesy of oils like castor, coconut, olive, jojoba, and black cumin seed. The silicone-free oil is gentle enough to be used daily, and it comes backed by more than 10,000 five-star ratings on Amazon.

07
Best Hair Treatment For Swimmers

Once you've put in the work to get your hair back to a healthy state, it's important not to forget about protecting your hair when you're headed for the beach or pool. Chlorine and saltwater can be drying (and even stripping to your color), which is why a product like the AquaGuard Pre-Swim Hair Defense is a must-have. The leave-in product gets worked into your hair before you go in the water, and it uses ingredients like shea butter, sweet almond oil, and argan oil to seal in moisture and lock out damaging salt, minerals, and chemicals while you swim.

Experts:

Jonathan Colombini, L'Oréal Paris creative director of style and color and celebrity hairstylist

AJ Lordet, colorist at Fekkai SoHo