Dry Hair: Causes, Preventions And Easy Care Tips

All Your Hair Questions, Answered

Dry Hair: Causes, Treatments, Preventions And Easy Care Tips

27 April 2018
photo of woman with dry curly hair

Emily Arata

Senior Editor, Hair.com

As an employee of L’Oréal, Emily works with celebrity stylists to make finding the right cut, color, or style easier than ever before. She's previously written for Allure, Elite Daily, and First We Feast.

Of all the woes that can bring a great hair week to a standstill, few are as pervasive as dry hair. If your locks are feeling crunchy and parched, it’s basically impossible to make a silky blowout or even an emergency ponytail happen.

Dryness is a tricky subject because it can be caused by a wide variety of factors. Matthew Morris, Kérasase brand ambassador and expert stylist, is the dry hair guru you desperately need. If you’re suddenly noticing a change in hair texture, he recommends making sure the fix is within your styling capabilities. Prescription medication, graying strands, and an overload or lack of protein can all throw your texture out of whack.

Anyone can have dry hair. It does not discriminate. There are hair types that mimic dryness, like coarse hair and gray hair, but they are not generally dry...People label hair as ‘dry’ often without knowing what the real problem is.

Matthew Morris

If you haven’t experienced a major change in your hair care routine but your hair’s texture has clearly changed, it’s time to call in a professional. Read on to find out what might be contributing to dryness—and how to fix the problem.

photo of woman with dry curly hair

What causes dry hair?

Morris says a myriad of factors could play a role in the dryness of your hair, but only some of them are ultimately within your control. Side effects of medication, hard water, excess protein, and environmental factors could all be leaving your hair feeling rough and parched, but styling your hair to protect it as much as possible is really the only way around it.

Hot Water

On the other hand, there are some causes of dry hair you may be bringing on yourself. Morris starts with hot water temperatures in the shower, which most of us are guilty of indulging in.

“Excessively hot water is a big culprit [behind dry hair],” the pro stylist explains. “People are literally boiling the moisture out of their hair. When conditioning the hair, the hair should be warm and conditioner should be applied and rinsed with cooler water. This will close the cuticle down and trap conditioning agents and moisture with it.”

It’s not just texture and softness that are falling prey to that searing water, either. If you’re spending good money on the hair color of your dreams, you won’t be happy to know that you’re effectively washing it down the drain. A cool temperature can help you wash your color treated hair safely.

Heat Styling

Once you’re out of the shower, Morris says the hair dryer is another tool that can be to blame for your dry hair woes. Relying on hot temperatures every day and regularly forgetting a heat protectant can wreak havoc on your locks.

“Applying a thermal protectant to damp, towel-dried hair is key for helping to prevent damage and dryness from the blow dryer and hot tools. The thermal protectant—a great go-to is Nectar Thermique Hair Milk from Kérastase—is made with ingredients that are intended to coat and protect hair from the heat, and other ingredients that are intended to evaporate into the air instead of all that delicious moisture you just worked so hard to get in there.“

The next time you turn on a styling tool, be sure to set out a heat protectant product in plain site. If it’s right in front of you, you won’t be able to forget about applying it.

Over Processed Hair

Interestingly, it isn’t just at-home factors that could be sucking the moisture from your strands. Morris cites over-processed or overly lightened hair as the third most frequent cause of dryness he sees. If this is the case for you, consult a trusted professional. In order to help your hair feel better, you’ll need to know if it actually is dry or just seems that way.

“Find out from your stylist if your hair is, in fact, dry, or if it is the texture, product usage, color, and drying techniques that are making it ‘feel’ dry,” he says.

Once you have an understanding of what’s making your hair feel so brittle, it’s time to tackle the solution.

photo of woman with dry curly hair

How can you minimize the appearance of dry hair?

The best treatment for dry hair will always be one customized for your individual head of hair. That in mind, your stylist is the ultimate resource to turn to. If you’re waiting for the day of your appointment, however, there are a few general categories of fixes for dry hair.

Heat Protectant

If your dryness is a result of overstyling or heat, take a step back from the blow dryer. It’s crucial that every woman have a few air dried styles under her belt, for days when heat styling just won’t cut it. Don’t forget the heat protectant product on days you do bust out the curling iron, either. From the Kerastase portfolio of products, Aura Botanica Lait de Soie Blow-Dry Milk is a favorite of ours!

Shampoo And Conditioner

Making sure your hair is hydrated and protected shouldn’t just happen during styling, either. The truth is that a quality hair care routine starts in the shower.

“For generally dry hair, the new Aura Botanica Micellare Bain Riche Shampoo and Soin Fondimental Conditioner are intense, moisturizing care with an incredible and easy aroma,” Morris says.

Styling Spray

Having beautiful, healthy-looking hair is one thing, but you can also fake it with products that create shine and body. If you need to temporarily mask the look of dry hair, Morris stands by the brand’s Aura Botanica Eau de Vagues Wave Spray for a beachy, gorgeous mane.

“I find most beach sprays leave the hair looking matte and teased. That doesn’t happen on any beach I’ve been too. Eau de Vagues is a welcome new way to get the waves without the lack of shine,” he explains.

Armed with the advice of a professional and an arsenal of styling techniques—not to mention product picks—dry hair will soon be a thing of the past for you. Enjoy that bouncy blowout, knowing that it was hard-won.

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