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How to Restore Hair Elasticity

By M.H. Dyer ; Updated April 18, 2017
A low heat setting is best for dry, damaged hair.

Beating your hair up with extreme temperatures, mistreatment and overuse of chemicals or heated styling tools will result in a loss of hair elasticity -- and that leads to brittleness, breakage and dry, straw-like hair. Restoring soft, shiny, lustrous locks doesn't happen overnight, but with persistence and proper care you can boost your hair's moisture levels. If you want to speed up the rehabilitation process, go au natural as much as possible to give your hair a break.

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Shampoo and condition your hair with high-quality moisturizing products containing substances such as shea butter or olive oil. Rinse your hair with cool water. Avoid products containing petroleum and mineral oil, which prevent moisture from entering the hair shaft.

Massage shampoo and conditioner gently into your hair, using the balls of your fingertips, then rinse your hair with cool water.

Remove excess water by patting your hair dry one section at a time. Use a soft, absorbent towel or a microfiber cloth, and never rub, wring, or twist your hair.

Comb your damp hair with a wide-tooth, blunt-tipped comb after shampooing. Begin combing gently at the ends and work towards the scalp. Wet hair is fragile and breaks easily, so don't use a brush on it.

Check that your heated styling appliances are in good working order. Consider discarding appliances that you've had for more than five years; the temperature gauge is often worn out.

Use an appliance with a diffuser for blow-drying. If you use a flatiron, a model with ceramic plates is easier on your hair. Apply a heat-protective spray or serum while your hair is damp, then let your hair dry before styling. Set the heat on low, especially if your hair is fine.

Minimize use of dyes, perms and relaxers as much as possible -- harsh chemicals weaken the hair and sap the natural moisture. If you dye your hair, a color within three shades of your natural color requires less processing.

Apply a UV-protective spray to protect your hair from sunlight. Wear a hat to protect from sunlight, cold air and wind. If you swim, coat your hair with leave-in conditioner before you enter the water.

Treat your hair to a deep conditioning once per week. Use a commercial product or make a hair masque at home by combining equal parts honey and a rich oil such as olive, almond, coconut or jojoba oil. Warm the mixture of honey and oil in the microwave, then massage it into your hair. Wrap your head with plastic wrap and leave the warm mixture in your hair for 30 minutes, then shampoo and condition.

Visit your hairdresser for a professional trim every six to eight weeks to remove split ends, especially if you use heated styling tools.

Brush your hair before bed every night to distribute your hair's natural oils and remove tangles. Use a boar-bristle brush. Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase to prevent friction.

Incorporate healthy oils into your diet by eating foods such as avocados, walnuts, salmon olive oil. To keep your body hydrated, drink at least six to eight glass of water every day, or more if you perspire, if you are overweight, or if the weather is hot or dry.

Things You Will Need

  • Moisturizing shampoo and conditioner
  • Soft, absorbent towel or a microfiber cloth
  • Wide-tooth, blunt-tip comb
  • Heat-protective spray or serum
  • Blow-dryer with diffuser
  • Ceramic flatiron
  • Sun hat or UV-protective spray
  • Leave-in conditioner
  • Deep conditioner
  • Plastic wrap
  • Boar-bristle brush
  • Silk or satin pillowcase
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About the Author

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.

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