I’ve been coloring my hair since I was 14 and blowing it dry since I was 9, so you can imagine how damaged my hair got after a while. Sometimes I would wait a whole five days before washing it because it felt so dry and brittle.
While it was definitely dirty by that point, I noticed the natural oils that returned began making it feel more like hair again, and less like fluffy hay. Of course, when I was in my teens, I didn’t mind spending a week with greasy hair. Today the dirty hair week is totally not a viable solution for me, nor do I think it would be for most women.
Then I discovered that most salons have these wonderful hair masques and treatments that help rejuvenate every strand of your processed hair in as little as 10 minutes. Vernelle Murphy, owner of Salon V, one of the best salons in New York City for color treatments, swears by them.
“Once your hair has been chemically altered, the cuticle expands and gets rougher making the hair texture feel different than when uncolored. Salon treatments are wonderful because they restructure the hair’s inner cuticle, rebuilding the hair from the inside out, thus making the hair feel smooth again,” she says.
I like to think of it as your hair sweating out the toxins, you know, if it could sweat.
Don’t have time or money to hit the salon? Many similar treatments and masques can be purchased at your local hair and beauty store. Here are some of Vernelle’s favorite styling products:
1. Gelee Riche by L’Oréal Professionnel
This product is part antioxidant and will restore hair’s natural smoothness and luster after just one use. For best results, put on after you towel dry but before styling. Lightly blow dry but don’t straighten frizz to cut out some of the heat exposure (Amazon, $17).
2. Rebalancing shampoo by Davines
3. Nou Nou shampoo by Davines
4. Curl Corset by L’Oréal Professionnel
Curls falling flat? This ingenious mousse brings a spring back into their step. Infused with vitamin E and pearl protein, it strengthens curls and replenishes them with moisture all the while eliminating the need to recurl with heat (Amazon, $20).
5. L’Oréal Paris 5 Damage-Erasing Balm
This is my own personal addition to the processed hair cures list. I swear by this stuff — it is totally amazing, especially if you’re like me and run the gamut of damage on your hair (color, flat iron, blow dry, highlight). It says it repairs up to a year’s worth of damage. After you use it once, you’ll believe it (Ulta, $7).
I like to leave it on five to 10 minutes longer than it says because my hair is super thick, but whatever works for you. Afterwards, you’ll feel like your hair went through a stint in rehab. And while you may fall off the wagon for some awesome ombre highlights in a month or so, at least for now you’ll get to enjoy unspoiled, gorgeous locks.