Help for Dry Hair

February 11, 2014 | By | Comments (14)

hair-wash-intro_300Is anyone else’s hair as dry as mine is right about now? I recently chopped it all off and it was healthy for about a day until it started to look like straw again. Full disclosure: My hair has been colored and keratin-straightened. And while both treatments are infused with moisturizing ingredients (in fact, keratin is simply protein, which is good for hair), they can still stress your tresses. So I’ve gone back to some of the products and procedures I used after bleaching my hair platinum blonde for a story some years ago (boy did that dry it out!). Here, my favorite dry-hair helpers. (Feel free to suggest your  strand-saving strategies as I can use all the help I can get.)

• Shampoo every three days as opposed to every two. The bit of extra grease is good lube for your locks.

• Use a hair mask once weekly. My favorite is Fekkai PRX Reparatives Intensive Fortifying Masque. It’s about $25 but a little really does go a long way.

• During the day when I put moisturizer on my hands, I run the residue that didn’t sink into my skin through my hair.

• I switch to a silk pillowcase. Please don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just reporting what works for me. Yes, it’s excessive, but consider what I do for a living. I’m sure a high-thread-count cotton case would work equally well; the point is the material should not rough up your hair while you sleep.

• I use cream stylers instead of gels and mousses. Sure there are moisturizing gels and mousses, but the creams are hydrating to begin with—by definition. I happen to love PhytoSpecific Moisturizing Styling Cream (about $28; again, a pea-size drop will do ya).

• Maybe this is a bad idea, but I (gently) run my hands through my hair more when it’s dry. Someone once told me that if you have oily hair you should avoid touching it or risk spreading your skin oils through your tresses. Hence my belief that touching my dry hair will soften it.

Now, who else is waiting for the return of humidity?

Worried about your dry winter skin, too? Get more tips here.


  1. Brad E Wakeman

    I let my body take care of itself instead of worrying about that moisturizer stuff. Buying organic, whole-plant-based formulas help to keep damaging chemicals from causing undesired side-effects, too.

    >>> Also, seems this post should be on the “Simple Tips” blog, not the “Daily Thoughts.”

    February 11, 2014 at 1:15 pm
  2. Krissie

    Boar bristle brushes help to distribute natural oils. So instead of washing every other day, I actually can now wash every 4. On the day you’d normally wash in the middle of the stretch – run the boar bristle brush through your hair redistributing oils from your scalp/hairline throughout your hair. I then give my hair a good rinse/massage in the shower but don’t use shampoo that day. Also switching to a sulfate-free shampoo helps a ton. SLS just strips things, hair/skin. It was life changing for me (my skin mostly) when I cut out SLS!

    February 11, 2014 at 3:03 pm
  3. Anna

    Try co-washing your hair! I’ve started washing my hair with a plain, silicone-free conditioner years ago and started alternating first – one shampoo, one co-wash – and now I’m just using shampoo when I overdose on styling products, and that’s once in a blue moon. My hair is so much softer now. Give it a try!

    February 11, 2014 at 3:42 pm
  4. Joanie Crombie

    what is sls, Krissie?

    February 11, 2014 at 3:44 pm
    • Krissie

      Joanie, SLS is sodium laurel sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate. It’s the ingredient that makes things foam and is in almost every type of “soap” product. You can find sulfate-free products though if you try, and they are becoming more common and accessible. I’ve gone sulfate free on everything including laundry detergent and dish soap. I had horrible itchy skin and was on prescription meds for it. Just eliminating SLS has got me off meds and helped a ton. I will never go back to using products with SLS, I’ve even found a sulfate free toothpaste.

      February 11, 2014 at 4:06 pm
  5. dd

    paul mitchell has a mens line called sLs

    February 11, 2014 at 9:19 pm
  6. Terri

    I use Aveda beautifying oil on my hair as a mask, my skin morning and night. Wrap my hair in a plastic then a towel for 30 min before washing. Have also reduced washing my hair to EOD. Living in the high mountain desert of Wyoming any moisture is good. I also avoid SLS like the plague. Drink water and eating right also help.

    February 11, 2014 at 11:34 pm
  7. Julz Stone

    Coconut oil…just a couple of drops through hair after washing. Lots for a once a week hair mask. Just the best.

    February 12, 2014 at 9:07 am
  8. Wendy

    if you must shampoo, which i don’t recommend – i only conditioner – rub some coconut oil into your hair and leave it for a half hour or so before washing out. put some through your hair before you go to sleep too. but it can’t be said enough – ditch the shampoo. also if you have curly hair, use a tee shirt to dry instead of a towel. sounds strange but oh what a difference. all my curly headed friends are thanking me for passing on that advice.

    February 12, 2014 at 9:38 am
  9. Lea

    I like to use warm olive oil as a b deep conditioner. I saturate my hair in it, and leave it on for about 30-45 min. I’ll take my hair dryer on low heat with a diffuser and heat my hair a little to open up the hair shaft and let more oil in. Then jump in the shower and shampoo it out. May take two shampooing a to wash it all out but this works great on my curly hair. Makes it soft and shinny.

    February 19, 2014 at 12:25 pm
  10. Kathleen

    I wish I could avoid washing my hair everyday but it just looks terrible when I try. May e it’s because my hair is fine? It’s just dull, no body, and weirdly mashed so I have to wash it. The Fekkai product your recommending is actually $50. But I’d still try it.

    February 19, 2014 at 12:32 pm
  11. Carole

    I don’t over wash my hair, and although I do color, these days I only use curling irons and hair dryers when necessary.

    My shampoo is Dr. Bronner’s fragrance free liquid, and don’t laugh, but I use mayo as a deep conditioner. It really works great, saves money, and isn’t full of harsh chemicals (or fragrance). There are many people like myself who are allergic to all of the chemically laden shampoos/conditioners on the market, and there are so many alternatives, including basic products that have been around for eons.

    I actually read about the mayo trick years ago. It was something that Jaclyn Smith suggested, and at that time my hair was really a mess due to over processing. It worked great, it’s readily available, and it’s easy.

    Avocado will also work as a deep conditioning agent (or so I’ve heard).

    February 19, 2014 at 12:58 pm
  12. KAREN C

    You can also put BABY OIL on your hair for a deep conditioner. Put the baby oil in your hair. A LOT OF THE OIL. . Wrap your head in plastic wrap. Put a large towel in the dryer on high for about 15 minutes. Wrap the towel around your head on top of the plastic wrap. Leave the towel on for at least 30 minutes or more. Wash your hair. You will need to shampoo well twice. If your hair is really thick and long, maybe even wash 3 times. After your hair drys, it will really be soft and moisturized.

    February 19, 2014 at 9:00 pm
  13. beatriz maria

    Instead a silk pillow, I put in my head,)I sleep alone)a silk little scarf. The same result!

    February 27, 2014 at 7:14 am

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