How to treat dry hair

1. Dry Your Hear With a Towel

How to treat dry hair

In order to get your hair dried as quickly as possible you need to start the drying part as soon as you’re done with the washing part. A towel helps a lot here.

Don’t just wrap your wet hair in a towel and get out of the bathroom. Squeeze the excess water from the hair first, and then dry it up a bit with the towel. Basically, you’ll be wiping your hair and letting the towel soak the water from your hair.

Still, don’t be too harsh while doing this, because your hair is weakest when it’s wet and you’ll damage it if you wipe like a maniac with the towel. Press the towel couple of times against your head and your hair – it can absorb only so much water anyway.

2. To Blow-dry on Maximum Heat or Not?

How to treat dry hair

Whenever you’re in a hurry, you’re probably thinking about blow-drying your hair on maximum heat in order to speed the whole process up. The decision about doing this is really only yours, but here are some pros and cons.

Of course, you’ll dry your hair faster on maximum heat, but you also risk burning both your hair and maybe even your skin if you accidently touch it with the blow dryer. This really causes a lot of damage to your hair so make sure you avoid doing it except in really urgent situations. If you do decide to do this, make sure you apply heat resistance spray before you start blow-drying your hair, in order to protect your hair a bit from all that heat.

3. How to Blow-dry Properly?

How to treat dry hair

Blow-drying your hair is not really rocket science, but there are some tricks when it comes to drying your hair fast. Learn them and shorten the time you need to dry your hair.

First of all, don’t do anything else while blow-drying your hair. Don’t watch TV, because you’ll tend to drift off and blow in only one place that’s been dry for a couple of minutes already. Take the TV and your computer off, and just dedicate the time to drying your hair.

The fastest way to dry your hair is to lower your head and let all the hair fall over your face. Keep your head this way and just blow-dry. Your hair will disperse this way and it will be easier to dry it. Furthermore, drying your hair like this will pump up the volume of your hair, so, you’re in for a double win.

Whatever you choose to do have in mind that blow-drying damages your hair, and you shouldn’t do this often. Don’t hold the blow-dryer too close to your hair or your skin, because you risk burning it. Always apply conditioner and heat resistance spray before you start blow-drying your hair.

Go ahead. Try a fun new hairdo. Take a dip in the pool or a vacation at the beach. But just as you’d slather on sunscreen to shield your skin, take steps to protect your hair.

Sun exposure, chlorine, and salt water can dry hair out. Heat-styling and chemical processing can lead to a string of bad hair days. But there are a lot of things you can do to keep your hair smooth and silky. Even if you’ve already got split ends and breaks, you can use damage-control tricks to make it look healthier.

Protect Your Hair

“Prevention is key,” says Eugene Toye, senior stylist at Rita Hazan Salon in New York. His clients include Sofia Vergara and Neil Patrick Harris.

These simple tips can go a long way toward staving off damage:

  • Shampoo. Choose a shampoo formulated for your hair type. Many shampoos have detergent-like ingredients called sulfates to remove excess dirt and oil, but these can damage hair. Look for formulas that say “sulfate free” and list dimethicone as an ingredient. It increases shine and manageability.
  • Moisturize. After every shampoo, use a conditioner designed for dry or damaged hair. Toye suggests also using regular at-home treatments like deep conditioners (also called protein packs). For mildly dry hair, you may need only one treatment a month. If your hair is very dry, use a deep conditioner once or even twice a week. Your stylist can tell you how often to use it.
  • Comb carefully. Dry, damaged hair is prone to breaking because it’s so fragile. “Excessive pulling caused by using the wrong comb or brush is a main cause,” says Debra Jaliman, MD, a dermatologist and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist. Toye suggests using a wide-toothed comb or a brush that’s labeled specifically for detangling hair before getting in the shower. It’s more difficult to detangle wet hair without pulling, he says.
  • Dry gently. Go easy on towel drying to prevent your dry hair from breaking. Instead of rubbing vigorously, Toye suggests squeezing out water softly — as you would with a cashmere sweater.
  • Spare the heat. Limit heat styling to once a week, and use the lowest setting on blow dryers, flat irons, and curling irons. To buy extra time between heat stylings, Toye suggests using a dry shampoo. After applying styling products like gel or mousse and before using heat, put a thermal-protection spray or serum on your hair. “These act like a buffer that prevents heat damage,” Toye says.

Continued

Repair and Damage Control

“Dry hair worsens with time because of accumulated abuse,” Toye says. The only real way to get rid of the damage is to cut off damaged hair.

If a dramatic chop isn’t an option, use the prevention and protection techniques described above. They can improve the look and feel of damaged hair. There are a few other ways to make dreary hair look lively:

  • At home. In addition to conditioning after you shampoo, use deep conditioning treatments that contain ingredients like wheat proteins, amino acids, or panthenol. These will help make your hair softer, smoother, and shinier for a few days. Jaliman also suggests using a leave-in conditioner to add more moisture, if necessary.
  • At the salon. Keratin treatments are Toye’s preferred method of smoothing dry hair. They coat hair with keratin protein, usually with the help of heat. This helps smooth the hair cuticle, making your hair smooth and shiny for about four weeks. Don’t expect miracles, though. “If your hair is slightly dry and frizzy, you’ll see a dramatic difference,” Toye says. “But if it’s completely butchered, you won’t.”

It’s important to know that the safety of keratin treatments has been questioned. Some may contain or release unsafe levels of formaldehyde, a chemical that has been linked to health problems, including cancer.

When to See a Doctor

Thyroid conditions, eating disorders, and other health problems can cause severely dry hair. “See a dermatologist if you notice any sudden or dramatic changes,” Jaliman says.

Sources

American Academy of Dermatology: “How to stop damaging your hair,” “Hair care on a budget,” “Handle with care: African-American hair needs special care to avoid damage,” “Going to great lengths for beautiful hair: Dermatologist shares hair care tips for healthy and damaged hair.”

Debra Jaliman, MD, spokeswoman, American Academy of Dermatology.

Pierce, J. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, Oct. 28, 2011.

Eugene Toye, senior stylist, Rita Hazan Salon, New York.

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How to treat dry hair

A single hair is composed of three layers: the innermost medulla, the middle cortex and the outer cuticle. Damage to any one or all of these layers causes hair damage. Obvious signs of hair damage are brittle, dry and dull-looking hair. Split ends, tangles and hair loss are common in damaged hair.

So is it possible to repair damaged hair? In truth, damaged hair cannot be repaired. It can be treated with various haircare products or home-made remedies to improve its look, but these measures are only a temporary fix and must be frequently repeated for the effects to last. The only real way to repair damaged hair is by cutting off the damaged parts and letting new growth take place.

However, whether the hair is cut off or any temporary treatments attempted, it is necessary to know what are the causes or reasons of the damage, or else the problem will just persist. Hair damage can occur from too many chemical treatments, excessive use of hot hair-styling equipment, over-grooming and constant use of hair accessories. Other reasons can include poor diet, medications, drug abuse, and the effects of pollution, dry weather, sun and saltwater.

Once the cause is identified, necessary steps to repair damaged hair can be taken. Trim off split ends and use a moisturizing shampoo or any other specially formulated shampoo for dry hair. Hair moisturizing and deep conditioning are essential for dealing with frizzy hair.

Buy a quality conditioner or use homemade conditioners. There are different recipes using a mix of different ingredients like eggs, mayonnaise, Vitamin E, lemons, ground fenugreek, henna, honey, avocado, banana, hibiscus petals, camphor, cider vinegar, glycerin and oils of olive, coconut, almond, castor, jojoba, lavender, rosemary, sage, and cranberry. Usually, the conditioner is applied to the hair, left on for 15-30 minutes and then rinsed off.

A hot oil treatment may also work. Apply warm oil to hair before bed and wash with mild shampoo the following morning. Clean hair gently, massage scalp and allow to air-dry. Avoid cleaning hair too often, as this strips hair of natural, essential oils and makes it dry and brittle. To avoid hair breakage, don’t brush wet hair and don’t over-brush.

Go with hair styles that suit the natural hair growth and require little manipulation. Avoid using hair extensions or any hair accessories that can stress the damaged hair. Forgo chemical treatments entirely or at least reduce their frequency. Rather than trying to repair damaged hair at a later stage, it is possible, with adequate hair care, to prevent damage before it happens.

By Jenn Sinrich · January 28, 2021

How to treat dry hair

By Jenn Sinrich · January 28, 2021

Dealing with dry, dull and unmanageable hair that easily breaks? You’re not alone. Lucky for us, the newest breed of hair masks and treatments are not only designed to bring much-needed moisture back to dull and dry strands. They also feed your hair and scalp with much-needed nutrients to repair damage, soften strands, boost hair color and increase shine. But before we dive into the best treatments for your hair, let’s get to the root of the problem: what causes dryness and damage, and what can you do to avoid it in the first place?

What Causes Hair to Become Damaged?

As it turns out, there are many factors that can contribute to hair becoming dry and damaged. One is over-processing, which can happen to those who color or chemically straighten or curl their hair. That’s why Sharon Dorram, master colorist at Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger Salon, says her main rule of thumb is never to do more than two processes to your hair in the same visit.

Another potential cause? Blow-drying and using hot tools too often. “When your strands heat up too quickly or too much, it zaps the moisture right out, which causes breakage and damage,” says celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons. To prevent this, he recommends avoiding using hot tools as much as possible, and when you do, turning the heat setting down so you’re not frying your hair. Protective sprays, such as Oribe’s Royal Blowout Heat Styling Spray, can also come in handy to cut down on the damage.

Other potential causes of dry hair that Dorram points out include frequent and over-shampooing, using too many styling products, overexposure to environmental elements and certain medications.

The Best Hair Treatments to Salvage Dry Hair

To remedy dry hair, hairstylists recommend using a good intensive hair treatment that will replenish your hair’s moisture, seal the cuticle to prevent further moisture loss and damage and increase shine and manageability. “There are so many fantastic options now available to really help give hair its shine back, with treatments at every price point.” says Tina Malhotra, master stylist at Mia Wagner Salon in New York City. For best results, she recommends using a hair treatment at least once per week.

When shopping for hair treatments that address dryness, it’s important to keep an eye out for key ingredients. Dorram recommends looking for emollient botanical oils, such as baobab-seed oil and other natural oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which, unlike other oils, absorb completely into the hair without feeling heavy or greasy. Additionally, she likes to add vitamin E, which hydrates and locks in moisture.

To help you get started, here are some of the top-rated and recommended hair treatments that remedy dry, damaged strands.

Item Brand

Item Title

If your hair is over-processed or damaged, whether you dye it or frequently run a straightener through it, this treatment can help repair and quite literally bring dull strands back to life. It’s made with Olaplex’s patented technology that works at the molecular level to rebuild hair’s bonds, reducing damage, breakage and frizz. It can be used on every hair type, from fine and oily to dry and coarse, and it works best when left on for a minimum of 10 minutes before you shampoo and condition.

(For even better results, use it after prepping your hair with the brand’s No. 0 Intense Bond Building Hair Treatment.)

Item Brand

Item Title

Looking for a quick-working hair mask that doesn’t require more than 5 minutes of leave-in time during your shower? You’ve met your match. This just-launched mask by R+Co is created using a protein-rich formula that renews damaged hair fibers and enhances your hair’s elasticity. Key ingredients include baobab oil-protein, vitamins E and C, plant protein and mango butter.

Item Brand

Item Title

Kiss frizzed and frazzled hair goodbye with this smooth and softening hair oil that’s part of Oribe’s Gold Lust line. It is jam-packed with powerfully effective ingredients that help restore damaged hair and defend it against oxidative stress, photoaging, UV rays and other environmental pollutants. The nutrient-dense main ingredients include watermelon, lychee, sandalwood and edelweiss flower extracts, argan oil, jasmine oil, cassis seed oil and shea butter.

Item Brand

Item Title

This deep-conditioning mask restores intense hydration to lackluster strands. It contains a transformative blend of ingredients including essential B vitamins that strengthen hair from the inside out, rosehip and argan oils which soften hair and add more shine, along with algae which helps fight hair loss and reduces scalp inflammation. NYC-based master hair colorist Stephanie Brown recommends using this deep conditioner weekly if you have damaged or chemically treated hair.

Item Brand

Item Title

If you often find that you have to detangle your hair post-shower, a hydrating detangler would make a great addition to your hair-care routine. This one by UNITE Hair helps loosen up strands through the use of an ingredient called amodimethicone, which instantly detangles and also serves as a thermal and UV protector (which comes in handy if you’re planning on blow-drying). It also contains a hydrolyzed rice protein, which helps fortify and strengthen the hair.

Item Brand

Item Title

Just after getting out of the shower, once you’ve towel-dried your hair, is the best time to apply a strengthening hair serum like this one by miriam quevedo. It contains a black baccara rose youth concentrate, which provides protection against environmental stressors, as well as fresh rose stem cells to preserve the hair follicle’s stem cell function and boost vitality. Another key ingredient is vegan keratin, which is 100 percent natural and plant-based and leaves hair looking shinier and healthier.

Item Brand

Item Title

Adding an intensely hydrating hair mask into your hair care routine once or twice a week can make a world of a difference in its appearance, and one of the best out there is this one by VIRTUE®. It’s formulated with Alpha Keratin 60ku®, which immediately infuses hair with a hydrating and conditioning boost. It also contains an extract of a unique brown algae called cystoseira compressa, which is known to provide intensive repair as well as heat protection. Other active ingredients include amaranthus caudatus-seed extract, artichoke-leaf extract and baobab-seed oil.

Item Brand

Item Title

This hydrating mask by Christophe Robin helps build back hair that has lost its structure and its vibrancy. It contains a myriad of nourishing ingredients, including prickly pear-seed oil, which is antioxidant-rich, inula extract, which revives pigment in color-treated hair, as well as plant ceramides, which help bring back shine to lackluster strands. Apply it after you shampoo and leave it on for at least 10 minutes so that it can sink deep into your hair.

By Jenn Sinrich · January 28, 2021

How to treat dry hair

By Jenn Sinrich · January 28, 2021

Dealing with dry, dull and unmanageable hair that easily breaks? You’re not alone. Lucky for us, the newest breed of hair masks and treatments are not only designed to bring much-needed moisture back to dull and dry strands. They also feed your hair and scalp with much-needed nutrients to repair damage, soften strands, boost hair color and increase shine. But before we dive into the best treatments for your hair, let’s get to the root of the problem: what causes dryness and damage, and what can you do to avoid it in the first place?

What Causes Hair to Become Damaged?

As it turns out, there are many factors that can contribute to hair becoming dry and damaged. One is over-processing, which can happen to those who color or chemically straighten or curl their hair. That’s why Sharon Dorram, master colorist at Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger Salon, says her main rule of thumb is never to do more than two processes to your hair in the same visit.

Another potential cause? Blow-drying and using hot tools too often. “When your strands heat up too quickly or too much, it zaps the moisture right out, which causes breakage and damage,” says celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons. To prevent this, he recommends avoiding using hot tools as much as possible, and when you do, turning the heat setting down so you’re not frying your hair. Protective sprays, such as Oribe’s Royal Blowout Heat Styling Spray, can also come in handy to cut down on the damage.

Other potential causes of dry hair that Dorram points out include frequent and over-shampooing, using too many styling products, overexposure to environmental elements and certain medications.

The Best Hair Treatments to Salvage Dry Hair

To remedy dry hair, hairstylists recommend using a good intensive hair treatment that will replenish your hair’s moisture, seal the cuticle to prevent further moisture loss and damage and increase shine and manageability. “There are so many fantastic options now available to really help give hair its shine back, with treatments at every price point.” says Tina Malhotra, master stylist at Mia Wagner Salon in New York City. For best results, she recommends using a hair treatment at least once per week.

When shopping for hair treatments that address dryness, it’s important to keep an eye out for key ingredients. Dorram recommends looking for emollient botanical oils, such as baobab-seed oil and other natural oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which, unlike other oils, absorb completely into the hair without feeling heavy or greasy. Additionally, she likes to add vitamin E, which hydrates and locks in moisture.

To help you get started, here are some of the top-rated and recommended hair treatments that remedy dry, damaged strands.

Item Brand

Item Title

If your hair is over-processed or damaged, whether you dye it or frequently run a straightener through it, this treatment can help repair and quite literally bring dull strands back to life. It’s made with Olaplex’s patented technology that works at the molecular level to rebuild hair’s bonds, reducing damage, breakage and frizz. It can be used on every hair type, from fine and oily to dry and coarse, and it works best when left on for a minimum of 10 minutes before you shampoo and condition.

(For even better results, use it after prepping your hair with the brand’s No. 0 Intense Bond Building Hair Treatment.)

Item Brand

Item Title

Looking for a quick-working hair mask that doesn’t require more than 5 minutes of leave-in time during your shower? You’ve met your match. This just-launched mask by R+Co is created using a protein-rich formula that renews damaged hair fibers and enhances your hair’s elasticity. Key ingredients include baobab oil-protein, vitamins E and C, plant protein and mango butter.

Item Brand

Item Title

Kiss frizzed and frazzled hair goodbye with this smooth and softening hair oil that’s part of Oribe’s Gold Lust line. It is jam-packed with powerfully effective ingredients that help restore damaged hair and defend it against oxidative stress, photoaging, UV rays and other environmental pollutants. The nutrient-dense main ingredients include watermelon, lychee, sandalwood and edelweiss flower extracts, argan oil, jasmine oil, cassis seed oil and shea butter.

Item Brand

Item Title

This deep-conditioning mask restores intense hydration to lackluster strands. It contains a transformative blend of ingredients including essential B vitamins that strengthen hair from the inside out, rosehip and argan oils which soften hair and add more shine, along with algae which helps fight hair loss and reduces scalp inflammation. NYC-based master hair colorist Stephanie Brown recommends using this deep conditioner weekly if you have damaged or chemically treated hair.

Item Brand

Item Title

If you often find that you have to detangle your hair post-shower, a hydrating detangler would make a great addition to your hair-care routine. This one by UNITE Hair helps loosen up strands through the use of an ingredient called amodimethicone, which instantly detangles and also serves as a thermal and UV protector (which comes in handy if you’re planning on blow-drying). It also contains a hydrolyzed rice protein, which helps fortify and strengthen the hair.

Item Brand

Item Title

Just after getting out of the shower, once you’ve towel-dried your hair, is the best time to apply a strengthening hair serum like this one by miriam quevedo. It contains a black baccara rose youth concentrate, which provides protection against environmental stressors, as well as fresh rose stem cells to preserve the hair follicle’s stem cell function and boost vitality. Another key ingredient is vegan keratin, which is 100 percent natural and plant-based and leaves hair looking shinier and healthier.

Item Brand

Item Title

Adding an intensely hydrating hair mask into your hair care routine once or twice a week can make a world of a difference in its appearance, and one of the best out there is this one by VIRTUE®. It’s formulated with Alpha Keratin 60ku®, which immediately infuses hair with a hydrating and conditioning boost. It also contains an extract of a unique brown algae called cystoseira compressa, which is known to provide intensive repair as well as heat protection. Other active ingredients include amaranthus caudatus-seed extract, artichoke-leaf extract and baobab-seed oil.

Item Brand

Item Title

This hydrating mask by Christophe Robin helps build back hair that has lost its structure and its vibrancy. It contains a myriad of nourishing ingredients, including prickly pear-seed oil, which is antioxidant-rich, inula extract, which revives pigment in color-treated hair, as well as plant ceramides, which help bring back shine to lackluster strands. Apply it after you shampoo and leave it on for at least 10 minutes so that it can sink deep into your hair.

How to treat dry hair

Just because dudes don’t typically subject their strands to extreme heat and styling tools, doesn’t mean they’re immune to dry hair. Excessive shampooing in hot water, alcohol-based styling products, and frequent sun exposure, for instance, are just a few factors that can lead to parched locks in men. Often times, though, the fix can be as simple as switching up your shampoo routine or cooling it on a certain product or hot tool. So guys, if your hair has been feeling dry, don’t fret because it’s 100% fixable. Follow the tips below for rehydrated hair in no time.

1. Shampoo less in cooler water.

For most guys, shampooing daily shouldn’t be an issue, but if your hair is dry or brittle—or both—you may want to try switching to an every other day schedule. Additionally, when you do shampoo, stick to lukewarm water only, as hot water can be too harsh and damaging for the hair. This also helps prevent scrubbing away too much of your hair’s natural oils, which are what makes your strands look shiny and moisturized. If you feel like your hair needs a daily wash, try rinsing with just water or an apple cider vinegar solution instead.

2. Try a new shampoo or conditioner.

It’s been said that using the same shampoo and conditioner for too long a time can sometimes make the hair immune to its benefits, so swapping in a new kind every three or four months is a good game plan if you want to avoid the aforementioned issue. You’ll also want to look for a shampoo and conditioners labeled as “moisturizing,” “hydrating,” and “nourishing,” as these will cater to your dry hair needs.

Don’t forget to deep condition, as these treatments can help save your thirsty strands—even if you just do it once a week. Simply leave the formula on while you wash your body and rinse for instantly softer, shinier hair.

3. Avoid alcohol-containing products.

One of the easiest ways to keep hair in good condition is to steer clear of products packed with alcohol. But, believe it or not, not all types of alcohol are actually bad for your hair. In fact, certain ones known as “fatty alcohols” can help to hold moisture in the hair. These include benzyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, lauryl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, behenyl alcohol, and myristyl alcohol.

On the other hand, these are the ones you should avoid at all costs: ethanol, SD alcohol, alcohol denat, SD alcohol 40, propanol, isopropyl alcohol, and propyl alcohol.

When in doubt, read labels and look for natural products with a variety of hair-nourishing oils.

4. Switch up your styling technique.

Another super simple way to get hair looking shinier is to style using a boar-bristle or nylon brush, both of which have bristles that are extremely close together. Doing this will help to distribute the oils evenly down the hair shaft, while also stimulating the scalp, too.

5. Change your drying routine.

If your hair has been feeling parched and lacks luster, you should always aim to let your hair air-dry rather than using a blow-dryer, as this will only dry the hair out even more. It’s also a good idea to blot the hair with a towel or old cotton shirt because rubbing with a towel can cause dry, brittle hair to break off. Once the hair is dry, you can add your favorite alcohol-free styling product and style as usual. And, if you must use a blow-dryer, make sure to apply a thermal styling spray first to help protect the hair and use a cool or low-heat setting on the dryer.

Following the tips above—especially those concerning shampoo, conditioner, and styling products—should help correct your dry hair dilemma, but if you’re still having problems, consult your barber or go-to hairstylist for more guidance.

How to treat dry hair

Getty Images / Aliaksandra Ivanova / EyeEm

Dry hair is frustrating, and it can lead to breakage. There are several reasons you might experience excessively dry hair. Black hair leans toward being dry due to its tight curl pattern that hinders natural oils from easily making their way down the hair shaft. If your hair seems drier than usual, you can work to get moisture levels back up by giving your hair some extra love. For dry (not​ damaged) hair, you can restore it by following some (or all) of the following methods. You won’t fix your dry hair overnight, but with time and with patience, you’ll notice your hair getting softer and easier to style.

Cut Back on Heat Styling

Blow dryers, flat irons, curling irons and hot combs can all cause dryness. Too much heat is damaging, so if you use any of these tools daily or almost daily, cut back to no more than once a week. Experiment with wet sets, wraps, and air-drying instead. If you can cut out all heat styling, your hair will recover much more quickly. Plus, you’ll get to explore gentler options in styling that you might not have tried before.

How to treat dry hair

Keep Your Natural Color

While hair color agrees with many people, sometimes it can dry your hair out, especially if you’re using bleaches to lighten your hair. Put that color or bleach on top of relaxers, and dry hair is sure to be the result. Either stick to rinses, which are gentler, or avoid color altogether until your hair is less dry. And when you do return to color, stick to shades that don’t vary much from your natural hair color. The more you stray from your natural shade, the harsher the process is on your hair.

How to treat dry hair

Wear Protective Styles

When you wear your hair out and it rubs against cotton clothing, wool hats, and wool sweaters, your ends take a beating. Because dry ends often split and break, you’ll experience hair loss. Wear protective styles like braids, cornrows, two-strand twists, flat twists, topknots, buns, chignons, and French rolls to keep your ends protected and less prone to dryness and breakage.

Protect Your Hair at Night

In addition to wearing protective styles during the day, it’s important to protect your hair at night while you sleep. Satin caps and silk or satin pillowcases are much gentler on hair than cotton pillowcases or scarves. Your hair glides against silky fabrics while it clings to cotton. Plus, cotton may suck moisture out of your hair, leading to, you guessed it, dryness.

How to treat dry hair

Skip the Shampoo

Black hair does better if not shampooed daily. However, if you work out regularly or swim during the summer, you need to rinse perspiration, saltwater, or chlorine out. After every dip in the pool or strenuous workout, rinse your hair thoroughly with water and follow with a conditioner. Conditioner washes are good in between shampoos for keeping your scalp and hair clean without over-drying your hair.

How to treat dry hair

Always Condition

It’s very hard to over-condition Black hair, especially if you wear yours natural. Regular deep conditioning can restore the moisture levels you need. For excessively dry hair, deep condition once or twice per week. You don’t need a hood dryer for this. Slather on a good deep conditioner, cover it with a plastic cap, and relax for a couple of hours. Wrap your head in a towel for additional heat to soften your hair. Any heat may help the conditioner penetrate your hair cuticles more effectively. Don’t forget to apply a rinse-out conditioner after each shampoo and a leave-in conditioner after that.

In this Article

  • Too Much Washing
  • Hair Products
  • Weather Changes
  • Dandruff vs. Dry Scalp
  • Eczema
  • Scalp Psoriasis

Itching, flaking, and irritation are signs that you have dry skin — too little of the oil that keeps your skin moisturized. Your scalp can also dry out and cause the same symptoms.

It can happen for many reasons. Here are some of the causes, and how to treat them.

Too Much Washing

Washing your hair every day can strip your scalp of the natural oils it needs to stay hydrated. Over time, you can dry out your hair to the point where it becomes brittle and breaks.

How often you should wash depends on your hair type. People with coarser hair may only need once-weekly washings. Those with fine hair may need to wash a few times a week. Ask your stylist or dermatologist how often to wash based on your hair type.

Hair Products

A scalp that turns red, itches, and flakes after you wash it could be contact dermatitis. This allergic reaction happens when you use certain shampoos, soaps, or other products in your hair. If you dye your hair black, dermatitis may be a reaction to the chemical PPD in the hair dye.

Continued

The first step to treating contact dermatitis is to figure out which product caused the reaction. Cut out one thing at a time to see if your symptoms clear up. After 2-4 weeks off the product, your dry scalp should improve.

While you figure out the cause, try not to scratch your scalp. Scratching irritates the skin and can make your symptoms worse. Place a cool, wet washcloth on your scalp for 15 to 30 minutes a few times a day to soothe the itch. You can also apply a cortisone anti-itch cream.

Weather Changes

During the winter months in cold climates, the humidity in the air drops. Cold weather dries out the skin all over your body, including on your scalp. Blasting the heat can also be drying.

Use warm water instead of hot water in your shower and bath to keep your skin and scalp moist. Don’t stay under the water for longer than 5 or 10 minutes at a time. Spending too much time under hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils.

Turn on a humidifier in your home to add moisture to the air. And use a gentle moisturizing shampoo to wash your hair.

Dandruff vs. Dry Scalp

Dandruff might seem like the result of dry scalp, but it can happen for many reasons, including a yeast-like fungus that feeds on the oils in your skin. Dandruff is a symptom of the skin condition seborrheic dermatitis, which is a type of eczema. It causes redness, itching, and flakes on areas of skin where there are lots of oil-producing glands, like around your nose and scalp.

To get rid of those little white flakes, use a dandruff shampoo once or twice a week. Look for ingredients like these:

  • Coal tar
  • Pyrithione zinc
  • Salicylic acid
  • Ketoconazole
  • Selenium sulfide

Follow the instructions on the bottle carefully. Some dandruff shampoos need to stay on your scalp for several minutes. Others rinse off right away.

If a dandruff shampoo doesn’t relieve your flakes, see a dermatologist. You might have a skin condition that needs treatment.

Eczema

Eczema is a common skin condition that leaves your scalp dry, red, itchy, and cracked.

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Atopic eczema is the type of eczema that affects people who have allergies. It often runs in families, so if one or both of your parents had eczema, you may get it too.

Soap, detergent, stress, and changes in the weather can cause dry eczema patches to form on your scalp. You may also have dryness on your hands, elbows, face, and on the backs of your knees.

Avoid harsh shampoos or other products that trigger your symptoms. Ask your doctor about using an emollient or cream to add moisture back into your skin.

Scalp Psoriasis

In psoriasis, your immune system misfires and makes your skin cells multiply much faster than usual. Those extra cells build up on the surface of your skin and create itchy, scaly patches called plaques.

Psoriasis can pop up on your face, inside your ears, hands and feet, back, and nails. It can also leave itchy patches on your scalp, forehead, and on the back of your neck.

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For mild scalp psoriasis, you can try a medicated shampoo that contains coal tar. It should help relieve the itch. Treatments for more severe scalp psoriasis include creams like these that you rub on your scalp:

  • Calcipotriene (Dovonex)
  • Calcipotriene and betamethasone dipropionate (Taclonex)
  • Calcitriol (Vectical)
  • Halobetasol and tazarotene ( Duobrii)
  • Tazarotene (Tazorac)

Psoriasis that’s on many parts of your body may need treatment with drugs that you take by mouth, like methotrexate or cyclosporine, or shots like adalimumab or ixekizumab.

Sources

American Academy of Dermatology: “10 Reasons Your Scalp Itches and How to Get Relief,” “How to Treat Dandruff.”

Cleveland Clinic: “The Dirty Truth About Washing Your Hair.”

Columbia University: “How often to wash hair?”

Harvard Medical School: “What to do about dry skin in winter.”

Mayo Clinic: “Contact dermatitis: Diagnosis & treatment,” “Contact dermatitis: Symptoms & causes,” “Seborrheic dermatitis: Symptoms & causes.”

National Eczema Association: “Seborrheic dermatitis.”

National Psoriasis Foundation: “About Psoriasis,” “Prescription topical non-steroid treatment,” “Scalp psoriasis.”