Use not only a moisturizing shampoo/conditioner combo but one that is made specifically to strengthen hair. Ingredients like keratin make strands stronger and healthier. Two newer lines that will work magic on your hair are Phyto's PhytoKeratine ($24-32), which thickens hair and reduces breakage using keratin and hyaluronic acid for moisture and strength, and Paul Mitchell's Awapuhi Wild Ginger line ($19-25) which also uses keratin in the form of their exclusive KeraTriplex formula. This line is extensive with several leave-in products and even an in-salon treatment.
Do a deep conditioning treatment. This used to be something you had to do in a salon. Not anymore. There are many great deep conditioning treatments that you can do at home. One of the best is Emergencee ($16) by Nexxus. According to Kevin Mancuso, creative director for Nexxus haircare, "EMERGENCEE attaches to hair, filling rough spots to make even the most damaged hair smoother and stronger. This is an amazing at home treatment that would cost big bucks as a salon service."
"The best way to use it is to first wash hair and comb out tangles. Then towel dry and apply from root to end." (Note: If hair is severely damaged, feels like gum or is breaking in hands, consult with a professional.) I like to dry it completely into the hair, so I use a diffuser to dry the product in hair until it's stiff. Do not comb or pull on hair while it's dry. Next, wet hair to soften and rinse well. You can do a light shampoo or just rinse. Since Emergencee is very concentrated, it makes the hair stronger, and by doing so, it can feel slightly harder. This is not bad, but I do recommend following with a quick moisture treatment. Use Emergencee once or twice monthly.
Prepare hair before chemical processes at the salon. Mancuso also says that it's very important to prep hair before and after salon visits. He recommends "protecting hair before chemical processes by doing a deep conditioning treatment days before the service and then repeat after service. Remember the key to preserving healthy hair, especially chemically treated hair (e.g. color, perm, straightening treatment) is to treat it before and after processes! Working with the best quality hair before the process makes all the difference. If you go for a chemical treatment with dehydrated, damaged hair, your hair is more susceptible to severe damage."
Leave-in conditioners are a vital step after washing your hair. Lavish your locks with a good leave-in that will not only continue to strengthen and hydrate but also protect from heat styling. One of the best is Aveda Damage Remedy Intensive Restructuring Treatment ($29). This not only conditions but is a restructurizer, meaning it works to repair hair from the inside out using oils and proteins which help seal ends and get deep into the hair shaft.
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