In our journey to have good hair days, we’re all a little guilty of doing unpleasant things to our mane from time to time. Whether you’re lightening your brunette hair to within an inch of its life or using a flat iron daily to achieve glass hair, the resulting damage is often hard to avoid.
The good news is that all hope is not lost—picking up a hair treatment for damaged hair is one of the easiest ways to rejuvenate and rehab your hair at home, no matter what type of damage you’ve incurred. Here’s what to know about preventing and managing damage and 20 of our best repairing treatments to stock your shower shelves with.
Can you make damaged hair healthy again?
Catching damage before it takes hold is the best way to flip the switch on damaged hair and turn the focus to protecting your future hair health. Unfortunately, hair can’t regenerate and repair itself as the skin can, but there are preventive steps you can take to ensure your locks look and feel healthier over time. These include getting frequent trims to reduce split ends and breakage, turning down the heat on your hot tools or limiting their use altogether, and adding an intensive hair treatment for damaged hair into your routine.
How do salons fix damaged hair?
As mentioned, damage prevention and haircuts are the only two real ways to fix damaged hair, so to speak, but there are a few in-salon services that can help improve the look and feel of your hair in the meantime. As expected, they’re often pricier than at-home treatments but are usually highly concentrated and yield more dramatic results.
We love the bespoke Kérastase Fusio-Dose treatment, which allows your salon pro to concoct a unique formula specific to your hair’s concerns for the ultimate pampering day. Find a Kérastase salon here.
Another service we swear by, especially for sensitized color-treated hair, is a Redken Shades EQ Bonder Inside Hair Gloss. This color-refreshing hair gloss features a built-in bonder, citric acid, and taurine to help strengthen hair’s bonds while reducing damage and alkalinity following lightening services. In addition, it evens out hair’s porosity and pH levels to optimize color results, condition hair, and boost shine.
Professional protein treatments are also a salon go-to for weak, damaged hair. Protein helps fill in gaps in the hair’s cuticle, reinforcing the strand's structure to prevent breakage and help it grow.
Last but not least, salons have access to professional-level formulas that help reduce damage in the first place, especially during coloring services. Bleaching and lightening your hair will always cause some harm to strands, but products like Redken’s Flash Lift Power 9 Bonder Inside helps promote the integrity of the hair without sacrificing a beautiful color payoff. The all-in-one bonder and lightening formula is made with glycine and citric acid to help minimize the hair bonds that can break during a color service to help keep locks healthy and protected. Find a Redken salon here.
Of course, there are so many other options available. Ask your salon for their damaged hair treatment menu to find one that will work best for you.
Which treatment is best for damaged hair?
The solution depends on your hair's specific needs when it comes to the best hair treatment for damaged hair. For hair plagued by breakage, keep an eye out for strengthening ingredients such as proteins and bond-repairing products to help fortify your strands. Dull and brittle hair? Look for oils, hyaluronic acid, or ceramides to keep dryness at bay, which defends against future split ends while boosting your mane’s brilliance. Last but not least, if heat damage is your hair’s enemy number one, a nourishing heat protectant will become its new BFF.
Unsure where to start? We’ve rounded up 20 of our best hair treatments for damaged hair to add to your arsenal.
Our 20 Best Hair Treatments for Damaged Hair
Our Best Leave-In Treatments
L’Oréal Professionnel Metal Detox Oil
If you’re like 85 percent of the U.S. population, chances are good you have hard water in your home. Hard water is when your H2O contains a higher concentration of minerals, which can accumulate on hair and cause dryness, dullness, faded color, breakage, and more. If you suspect hard water is the cause of your bad hair days, pick up L’Oréal Professionnel’s Metal Detox Oil. Part of the Metal Detox range, this lightweight, concentrated oil acts as a “protective shield” against metal particle deposits, heat, damage, and color fading while boosting shine.
L’Oréal Professionnel Absolut Repair 10 in 1 Oil
Featuring protein-rich wheat germ oil as the star of its show, L’Oréal Professionnel’s Absolut Repair 10 in 1 Oil helps resurface, restore, and soften damaged hair fibers, so hair is left nourished and shiny with a lightweight touch.
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Leave-In Conditioner
With a pH of 7, Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate Leave-In Conditioner is designed to help keep hair at its optimal pH to prevent future extensive damage. It also intensely conditions damaged hair, repairs strength, recreates weakened bonds, and protects hair from heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pureology Strength Cure Miracle Filler
A formula that works with heat? Sign us up! Pureology’s Strength Cure Miracle Filler is a reparative lotion that helps fill in gaps in hair’s cuticle to strengthen and repair it as you apply heat—plus, the brand’s Antifade Complex® helps prevent color fading.
Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ashita Supreme Intense Revitalization Hair Serum
Sometimes we need a break from wash day but still want to nourish our hair—that’s where Shu Uemura Art of Hair Ashita Supreme Intense Revitalization Hair Serum comes into play. This revitalizing leave-in treatment is the perfect quick refresh for dull hair that needs a boost. Just apply it to the mid-lengths to the ends of second-or-third-day hair and you’re good to go.
Biolage Professional Strength Recovery Repairing Spray
In order for hair to live its best life, it needs strength and protection to thrive. Biolage Professional Strength Recovery Repairing Spray offers protection against heat styling (a major factor in hair damage) and strengthening capabilities, all in one easy leave-in.
Kérastase Resistance Sérum Extentioniste Scalp & Hair Serum
Remember how we said preventing damage before it begins is the best way to support your hair’s health? Look to Kérastase Resistance Sérum Extentioniste Scalp & Hair Serum to help promote strong hair at the root. Ingredients like ceramide and creatine R help enhance shine, retain moisture, and reinforce hair structure.
Matrix Total Results Instacure Anti-Breakage Porosity Spray
Whether you’re dealing with heat styling, static, frizz, or plain old cuticle damage, Matrix Total Results Instacure Anti-Breakage Porosity Spray can help. Mighty yet lightweight, it has vitamin B5 and liquid proteins to help rebalance hair’s cuticle, restore elasticity, and strengthen hair against future breakage.
Matrix Total Results Unbreak My Blonde Reviving Leave-in Treatment
Blondies are all too familiar with the havoc that bleaching and lightening can have on their tresses. If you’re a bottle blonde, consider investing in Matrix’s Total Results Unbreak My Blonde Reviving Leave-in Treatment to reinforce weakened bonds and revive sensitized hair from the coloring process.
Mizani 25 Miracle Milk Leave-in Conditioner
Looking to streamline your post-shower hair care routine? Mizani 25 Miracle Milk Leave-in Conditioner fits the bill. The nourishing, non-greasy formula blends fennel seed oil to strengthen hair and help prevent future breakage with coconut oil, a natural moisturizer that provides lightweight shine and softness. Plus, as its name suggests, it's packed with 25 hair-loving benefits.
Our Best Rinse-Off Treatments
L’Oreal Professionnel Absolut Repair Instant Resurfacing Masque
Like exfoliator buffs away dry, flaky skin, a resurfacing mask like L’Oreal Professionnel’s Absolut Repair Instant Resurfacing Masque works wonders to smooth the damaged hair cuticle. This lightweight repairing formula deeply nourishes weakened hair, leaving shinier, softer strands behind. It’s no wonder our editors are obsessed with it.
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Treatment
We adore a multi-functional product. Used as a pre-treatment before shampooing or a pick-me-up mask, Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Intensive Treatment does it all. The highly reparative rinse-off formula works within your hair to strengthen hair bonds weakened by stressors like hair color, lightening, aggressive brushing, daily heat-styling, and more.
Redken Extreme Bleach Recovery Lamellar Water Treatment
We all have a love-hate relationship with damaging bleach, but there’s no need to let the bleaching process stop you from reaching your oh-so-light hair goals. Redken Extreme Bleach Recovery Lamellar Water Treatment contains lamellar water which acts like a liquid bandage over porous bleach-damaged hair, filling the gaps in strands to help them recover more quickly.
Redken Extreme CAT Anti-Damage Protein Reconstructing Rinse-Off Hair Treatment
Protein is the name of the game as far as caring for distressed strands goes. Repair hair in the shower—in five minutes or less—using Redken’s protein-infused Extreme CAT Anti-Damage Protein Reconstructing Rinse-Off Hair Treatment. Your reconstructed and reconditioned hair will thank you later.
Pureology Strength Cure Superfood Treatment Mask
It was only a matter of time before the hair care industry discovered that superfoods could be just as beneficial inside the body as out. Pureology Strength Cure Superfood Treatment Mask is made with nutrient-rich ingredients such as olive oil and goji berry to repair and strengthen damaged, color-treated hair.
Shu Uemura Art of Hair Silk Bloom Strengthening Hair Mask
A mask like Shu Uemura Art of Hair’s Silk Bloom Strengthening Hair Mask makes a big impact on hair in a short amount of time. This repairing hair mask for damaged hair infuses moisture, and restorative ingredients so damaged hair is left firm, smooth, and shiny without any unwanted weight.
Biolage Professional Strength Recovery Deep Treatment Mask
Creamy and luxurious, Biolage Professional’s Strength Recovery Deep Treatment Mask relies on vegan squalene to provide intensive repair and increased strength in severely damaged strands.
Kérastase Resistance Masque Thérapiste Hair Mask
If there were a superhero trifecta of ingredients, Kérastase Resistance Masque Extentioniste Hair Mask would be the shining star. It contains creatine to help strengthen strands, maleic acid to reinforce and seal the cuticle, and ceramides to smooth and soften hair.
Matrix Total Results Miracle Creator Nourishing Strengthening Mask
This strengthening mask lives up to its name. One of the fastest rinse-offs in our portfolio (60 seconds, to be exact), Matrix Total Results Miracle Creator Nourishing Strengthening Mask is just what you need to intensely nourish and strengthen hair without affecting color.
Mizani Strength Fusion Recover Mask
Mizani Strength Fusion Recover Mask gives new meaning to beauty sleep. Used overnight, this gel-like mask helps fight frizz and breakage and helps reverse the damage caused by chemical treatments such as relaxers, texturizers, and color. We recommend covering hair with a plastic cap before turning in for the night to avoid getting any product on your pillowcase.
Find more damaged hair care tips and professional repairing products on Hair.com.