You’ve no doubt had a client with damaged hair sit in your chair. Heat tools and chemical treatments are the main culprits of damage, but other factors can be involved, too, including environmental exposure and even hair type. 

How can you help fix your client’s damaged hair?

Addressing the Cause of Damaged Hair

First, you’ll need to decipher what type of damage the hair is displaying, and what the source of the damage is. 

If the hair is extremely dry and brittle with no shine, it needs moisture. If the hair breaks easily in addition to being dry, it also needs protein. 

Then, ask about what may have caused this damage: Was the hair overprocessed from chemical services? Were the hot tools used with too high of heat? Is exposure to the sun or other elements a factor?

After you can pin down the type of damage and its cause, you can then begin to repair the hair with a targeted plan. 

Products to Fix Damaged Hair

Less heat styling and fewer color services are two ways to give the hair a break, but that’s not quite enough to fix damaged hair. 

There are lots of products available on the marketplace–and even recipes for home treatments–claiming to repair damaged hair, and they fall into three general types: moisturizing treatments, protein treatments and bond builders.

What is a moisturizing hair treatment? 

A moisturizing hair treatment does to hair what lotion does to the skin—it penetrates the hair cuticle to hydrate and soften. Moisturized hair will look and feel healthier, and will be less prone to damage overall.  

According to Briogeo’s blog, effective moisturizing ingredients include:

  • Avocado oil
  • Almond oil
  • Rosehip oil
  • Aloe vera
  • Argan oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Sunflower seed oil

Moisturizing treatments can be used weekly, or more frequently if the hair is severely damaged.

What is a protein hair treatment?

According to Redken’s blog, protein treatments “boost the hair with a variety of nutrients and proteins to help reconstruct and strengthen hair strands.” Basically, protein treatments fill gaps in the outermost layer of the hair—the cuticle—to harden it, which in turn improves the elasticity, strength and overall appearance of the hair.

Protein treatments should be used more sparingly than moisturizing treatments. It depends on the hair type and type of damage, but in general, in-salon treatments could be used quarterly or even annually, while at-home treatments can be used monthly.

What is a bond-building treatment?

A bond-builder works similarly to a protein treatment, but it penetrates deeper than the cuticle, reaching the hair’s core to repair.

According to Davines’ blog, bond builders work by “linking broken protein bonds in the hair both during and after chemical services to make your hair stronger.” 

Olaplex launched the bond-builder category, and its No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 treatments are cult favorites. 

“In my salon, I have consistently used the Olaplex No.1 + No.2 as a standalone treatment to help get down to the cellular level of restructuring the broken disulfide bonds,” says Christin Brown (@curlfactor), celebrity stylist and curl specialist. “Couple that with using a protein treatment in your hair at least once a month and you’ll be able to truly see some repair taking place.”

K18 is another favorite bond-building treatment, and Amber Maynard, celebrity stylist, calls it her “holy grail” product.

“I love to use K18 to heal the architecture of the hair — it reconnects both disulfide bonds on the surface level and polypeptide chains deep in the hair cortex,” she says. “Whenever I’m doing a service or talking to a client, I know that K18 is covering all the bases for setting up a near-virgin hair canvas.”

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.