Can You Repair Damaged Hair?

There are so many products that promise to repair damaged hair. The hair is technically dead and has no nervous system, blood, or cell regeneration. Because hair is not a living tissue with regenerative ability, it cannot heal and repair. You can use oils, conditioners, hydrolyzed proteins or other ingredients to disguise the issues temporarily but it’s akin to using makeup on the face. These products or ingredients improve the appearance and help slow the damage of hair but they wash out. 

Well formulated, natural conditioners, oil treatments, and masks can definitely improve texture and appearance of hair and offset damage with protective ingredients but these products that make the hair soft and shiny must be reapplied regularly to maintain the results.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a “dry” hair type. This is not the same as “dry scalp,” which is a real scalp condition, “dry” hair is actually lightly damaged hair - hair that is beginning to break down and can only be made to appear healthy, temporarily. 

There are different hair types like straight, wavy to curly, and different hair textures like fine, medium or coarse, but dry hair is not a hair type. Dry hair is lightly damaged hair. 

Most hair is made of three layers –  the inner fiber called the medulla, the middle layer called the cortex, and an outer layer called the cuticle. Extra fine hair textures sometimes do not contain a Medulla.  When the hair appears damaged, the cuticle raises, chips, becomes fragile, easily tangled, and loses the moisture, luster, and shine created when flat, smooth, and healthy. 

Hair can become dry and damaged for many reasons.  Over processed, color-treated hair can lose oil and protein and eventually grow brittle and break if it's not conditioned continually, which can offset or stall more damage. But the damage that has already been created, is ultimately permanent and irreversible.  

Damaged hair has less elasticity which makes it more prone to breakage and eventually splitting. Split ends are absolutely not repairable and are very challenging to conceal, especially when there are many. Split ends must be cut off. If ends of the hair are split and not removed, the strands will split unevenly and faster than the hair that is growing from the follicle. Split ends infect healthy hair. If you want healthy, shiny hair, trim your hair regularly. If you're holding onto your split ends because you don’t want to “lose your length,” you are actually contributing to your hair appearing shorter. The hair will appear as though it’s not growing - it is growing, in this case, it's just breaking off faster than it grows. Cut it.

Lack of nutrients internally can make hair more susceptible to breakage. Hair is formed by the nutrients in the bloodstream. Split ends can also be caused by build-up, chemical color processing, mechanical damage from harsh brushing and heated styling instruments, and sun overexposure

You can temporarily add strength to weak, mushy, chemically damaged hair via hydrolyzed protein and rehydrate brittle, crunchy, damaged hair with moisture. Most people need moisture and they do not know it. Too much protein can cause breakage. Read this blog: Does Your Hair Need Moisture Or Protein Conditioning?


My very best friend started going to another hairdreser when I spent 7 months off, for treatment for an illness 2 1/2 years ago. With isolation Ive not seen her till today. She showed me her short broken hair from chemical damage. I questioned her about what was happening when she had what she thought was just semi permanent colour.It was obvious that she has been having permanent tint through her long hair every visit. Little wonder she has this very sad mess. Now its up to me to fix. I told her that once the hair is out of your head its dead. All I can do is hopefully strengthen it and prevent more breakage. Hairdressers need to realise the damage that can be caused from using chemicals on,the hair. Ultimately as hairdressers we must accept the responsibility.

Sue Fernandez June 30, 2020

As a cosmetology instructor, it is so important to me to be able to explain everything you’ve stated here in a way that encourages my future professionals to learn what products actually do and how to use them properly. That way they’ll be able to educate their guests, which builds loyalty.
It disturbs me that stylists will send guests home with high dollar products just for the commission when they could be educating their guests & building that trust, which will keep that guest coming back for years.
Great information! Stated plainly and simply. Thank you!

Jennifer Baumann April 05, 2020

Hi Josh…it is SO hard to find good info on hair damage. As in REAL SCIENCE. (Where do you get your info? This is a great article!) I know hair can’t be repaired but where is the science? And why are products even allowed to be sold as “repairs”? Talk about fraud. I got a keratin treatment nearly 5 years ago. It was a disaster. My whole head of hair got fried. I was absolutely devastated. It took me many years to grow it to the length it was at that time (30"). My goal was to make it more manageable. I refused to cut it off…you know how hard that is to do! So here I am in 2020 still growing it out, almost there. 30" is about 6 years of outgrowth time for Caucasian hair. I see mixed reviews about keratin. Some ladies have good experiences and other disasters like mine. I filed an insurance claim with the salon’s carrier…we failed to reach a settlement so I sued them. Not that I wanted it to go that way but…I refuse to be ripped off and made to suffer. I wish more ladies would stand up for themselves by not allowing these crooks off the hook. (The salon is a HUGE chain…and that was my first big mistake! But the price was way more affordable and I guess I got what I paid for.)

Teresa Edelglass February 28, 2020

I have experienced the problem of hair damage for a long time. I have tried many oils and shampoos but have not found any of them to be effective. And I will try these tips for sure!

hrelate January 13, 2020

Thank you for your open explanation about hair. I always knew what you say is true but it is so hard to explain it to someone who has been brainwashed by so much media, especially the young and impressionable, who are looking to attract attention and don’t care how they achieve that attention. Those who want long straight hair at any cost because it is “better” than any curly short or hair that “isn’t as good”. Kids need lots of education about advertising and marketing and how it speaks to the public and sets the lies about products and our bodies, sometimes for life. Kids need encouragement about ways they can see themselves in a favorable light for who they are and love that person, not want to look different or be something different from who and what they are. God made us all to be our most beautiful and most perfect selves in his eyes. Those are the eyes we should attempt to look through, not the ones of the big world of competition, external beauty and trying to be like everyone someone thinks is better than everyone else. Who is better, anyone, really?

Jody September 30, 2019

The truth about healthy hair has been on my conscious and heart for the last few days because I am so over the lies in majority of the beauty industry! I am ready to stop masking damaged hair!

Coco Bovain September 18, 2019

Amazingly brilliant article , my hair is so fine to the point of being microscope now, I used to dye it black years ago and it was okay ,well more than okay actually as adding the dye and conditioning it made it look healthy and thick etc.
But I’m older now and I only suit light blondish , I started bleaching it about 6 years ago and its past my shoulders and obviously had a hard time I’m clinging in to it as I really can’t have short hair, so I as you say am nursing it by giving it protein sometimes then moisture when it needs, cutting split end’s and really carefully bleaching ONLY the roots by putting all my beloved aged hair safely inside little plastic bag’s done up with rubber band’s. All this I constantly do ,oh and brushing it that’s another story ! I hold the middle whilst carefully brushing the bottom bit’s as it tangles if you look at it ! and always some comes out or breaks off, but I am 60 so there we need of protein today and am trying to find something as its weakening fast… …..

Robbie August 10, 2019

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