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How can I Treat Dry Hair?

Paulla Estes
By
Updated Feb 03, 2024
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Healthy, silky hair is something we all want, but in our fast paced, fast food world, dry hair is what many of us have. The long, luxurious locks on models in fashion magazines and the flowing curls of the girls on shampoo bottles may seem out of reach for the rest of us, but take heart. Not only is it inexpensive to treat your hair that is dry, you don't even have to visit a salon. All the products necessary to treat dry or damaged hair can be found in your local discount store or supermarket; in fact, you may already have many of the products at home in your medicine cabinet or kitchen.

The first step to combating dry hair is proper grooming. A good hair cut can remove split or damaged ends, and put a new bounce in an otherwise drab look. Shampoo your hair regularly, as needed, but keep in mind that hair that is very dry may need to be shampooed less, or simply shampoo the roots.

All hair needs to be conditioned, but dry hair often requires deep conditioning. Condition it each time you shampoo, and consider using a weekly oil treatment. Olive oil is a good choice. Many salons and fancy brands of conditioner advertise deep conditioning, but you can deep condition simply by putting your favorite conditioner on your hair, covering it with a plastic cap, and leaving it in for at least 30 minutes.

Dry hair is often caused by too much time in the sun, chlorine, salt water, over-shampooing, permanents, heat styling, or neglect. Protection from the elements is the next step in treating hair. Consider using a conditioner with an SPF of at least 15, or even better, wear a hat when out in the sun. Use a swimming cap while in pools or salt water, and always rinse your hair thoroughly after swimming.

Heat styling such as hair dryers, curling irons, and hot curlers all cause dry hair. Perms, bleaching and color treatments cause it as well. Although we like our curls and colors, going natural is one of the best ways to avoid drying out the hair.

Lastly, consider what goes on with the rest of your body. Many times, problems with the hair indicates a poor diet or even mild dehydration. Always drink plenty of water, eat a balanced diet of good proteins, fats and carbohydrates, and consider vitamin and mineral supplements. Vitamins A, C, E, and calcium are all good for improving the condition of your hair.

Exercise and a good night's rest are good for the rest of your body, but they also help treat dry hair. Exercise contributes to proper blood flow, and sleep will give you better health overall. Just like anything else that is important to you and requires care, give your hair the care it needs.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Paulla Estes
By Paulla Estes
Based in Maine, Paulla Estes is a freelance writer and website editor with a B.A. in English Literature from George Mason University. With over 15 years of experience in the field, Paulla appreciates the flexibility and consistency that comes with contributing to WiseGeek. She relishes the opportunity to continuously learn new things while crafting informative and engaging articles for readers.
Discussion Comments
By anon948173 — On Apr 29, 2014

My hair is growing fast and hairdressers comment on how good condition it is in. Always use heat defense, hair mask and try using an oil. Use the hair mask in the shower and keep it on for at the least a few minutes then rinse it out. Always use heat defense and apply it after you shower (apply to damp hair) and also apply an oil on damp hair. Good luck. Also try dry shampoo if you have trouble with oily hair.

Products I use: Schwarzkopf hair mask-ultimate repair anti damage mask Tres Semme heat defense-heat tamer spray; Moroccan oil dry shampoo: Batiste dry shampoo (any); shampoo: Loreal color shampoo

A little about me: hair type: oily; I do dye my hair, once every two months. I wash my hair every three or four days and use dry shampoo to get by. Since I'm washing my hair less, I use a hair mask in the place of a usual conditioner. I do straighten my hair; it's naturally curly.

My goal is to grow my hair long so I get cuts every three months (1 cm off). This gets rid of split ends so they don't go up my hair and damage it more.

My name is Rebecca and if you would like any more advice, leave a comment on this site addressed to me. Thank you and good luck.

By anon332264 — On Apr 28, 2013

Almond drop oil is very good for dry hair. Apply to dry hair over night or for about and hour and then wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner. Your hair will be nice and silky.

By anon272876 — On Jun 04, 2012

I have started going for hair spas every month. I am now using fewer styling tools and I can tell the difference. My hair is softer and manageable!

By anon269042 — On May 16, 2012

Excellent article! So far I've preferred Pro Naturals Moroccan Argan Oil Conditioner because it deeply hydrates and heals my hair, which is no longer dry. Instead it's healthy and shiny.

By anon245278 — On Feb 04, 2012

I used to have a really long and smooth straight hair. Then I got a layered haircut. The very next day, my hair became wavy.

I waited for about a year to get it back to the shape it used to have, but it didn't. I rebonded my hair, and obviously, it's going to be straight. I expected that the natural hair that will grow will be straight just like before, but it didn't; it became worse. How do I fix this?

By anon228375 — On Nov 08, 2011

I think sunsilk smooth and manageable for dry hair might work.

By anon221022 — On Oct 10, 2011

I used sunsilk shampoo and conditioner on my super dry hair and I'm glad to say that after finishing one bottle, I really did notice improvement in my hair. I plan to use this regularly and observe.

By motherssite — On Mar 17, 2011

To make this conditioner for dry scalp and hair you will need 1 egg yolk, 1 cup papaya pulp, 1/2 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup coconut milk and 2 drops lavender oil. You can use 1/2 cup of aloe gel instead of 1 egg yolk. Mix these ingredients in a blender. Shampoo your hair and then apply this conditioner on your hair thoroughly .Work from scalp to tips. Wash off after 10-15 minutes. This is one of the best conditioners for dry hair that you can make at home.

By anon160275 — On Mar 15, 2011

I found that using protein strengthening product was fantastic initially for my dry frizzy hair but then it got bad again. Protein build up causes hair to tangle and break. My advice would be to anyone with dry hair to first use a clarifying shampoo before a deep conditioning treatment (the first time). After that, look for shampoo and conditioners that moisturize, not strengthen.

Avoid anything with protein if your hair has ends that mat and tangle and break as this is a symptom of protein overload. This can be listed as egg, milk, amino acid, panthenol. It's often in strengthening or hair repair products. My hair was dry, fine and frizzy and broke and snarled a lot. Now it's silky and healthy.

After the first clarifying wash and deep condition, i switched to using a homemade shampoo of one dessert spoon of baking soda mixed with one cup of warm water. It's very runny so i put it in a water bottle and made a hole in the top so i can squeeze it onto my scalp. Then i condition with a moisturizing conditioner or i use an apple cider vinegar rinse. This makes a huge difference. I make an oil based deep conditioning treatment once a week. Coconut oil, like honey is a humectant and not great on dry hair. Once the moisture is back in your hair then it's a great oil. Check out the long hair community for great advice.

By anon150057 — On Feb 06, 2011

I posted this before but seems there are more questions. Seriously,often your shampoo is causing your problem if your hair gets dried out fly away. A lot of shampoos contain SLS which can be a strong detergent and strip the hair of natural oils. Try getting shampoos without SLS. I like the products from Sensible Addictions (salon quality reasonably priced). They have great fragrances (for women and men).

For curly hair or very dry hair I would consider using a leave in conditioner to start then switch to a regular conditioner. Sensible Addictions products do not contain SLS (sodium laurel sulfate) or Parabens even of you don’t care about that kind of stuff if you could find products you like that smell good, feel good and reasonably priced with less chemical additives why would not use them. You can find them on the Web. Try their stuff. I think you will like them.

By anon145261 — On Jan 22, 2011

Often your shampoo is causing your problem if your hair gets dried out fly away. A lot of shampoos contain SLS which can be a strong detergent and strip the hair of natural oils. Try getting shampoos without SLS. I like the products from Sensible Addictions (salon quality reasonably priced). They have great fragrances (for women and men).

Also, I would consider using a leave in conditioner to start then switch to a regular conditioner. Sensible Addictions products do not contain SLS (sodium laurel sulfate) or Parabens even of you don’t care about that kind of stuff if you could find products you like that smell good, feel good and reasonably priced with less chemical additives why would not use them. You can find them on the Web. Try their stuff. I think you will like them.

By anon117174 — On Oct 09, 2010

A couple of years ago i had thick, soft and straight hair naturally. then a couple of years later, my hair completely changed all of a sudden, and it became dry, with no shine, frizzy, wavy/curly and I'm losing a lot of hair.

Anyway, i use sunsilk shampoo and conditioner (tames-frizz) and i deep condition my hair at least once a week. i do use lots of heat on my hair. It is so damaged. i do use a leave in conditioner by fructis and that really helped my hair become softer. the deep conditioner i use is the damage repair mask also by fructis. i just need some suggestions on a shampoo that will help and please, please, i need a homemade hot oil treatment that will work. thank you.

By anon102797 — On Aug 09, 2010

I'm 16 years old, and I've got dry hair. I hate myself with this hair. I want my hair to be straight, not wavy and thin. Please, please help me!

By anon86062 — On May 23, 2010

i am 16 years old and i have a major problem with dry hair and i am having hair loss already. my hair is thin and i am indian mixed. help me.

By anon76695 — On Apr 11, 2010

l am 46 years old and my hair has a lot of split ends and is dry and damaged. can you please help me.

By anon67807 — On Feb 26, 2010

i would like to know the damage of straightening hair.

By anon63286 — On Jan 31, 2010

what is the best way to dry your hair after shower?

By anon55039 — On Dec 04, 2009

Is it important to change the type of the shampoo after every six months? I heard that and I want to check!

By anon52262 — On Nov 12, 2009

A little conditioner brushed through your hair between shampoos will also help, and for longer hair, when going out in the sun, plaster your hair in conditioner and pin it up. Also, when you've moisturised your face, rub the residue off your hands over the ends of your hair!

The best treatment of all: comb coconut oil through dry hair, cover your head in plastic wrap and wrap a towel round it. Leave as long as you can -- at least an hour -- all day if possible. it makes hair lustrous again.

By anon51975 — On Nov 10, 2009

I prefer a good dry hair shampoo like emu oil shampoo.

By anon9058 — On Feb 27, 2008

also avacado oil is an intensive treatment...and cheap!

By malena — On Feb 01, 2008

I also find that not rinsing all the conditioner out after you wash your hair helps alleviate dry hair.

Paulla Estes
Paulla Estes
Based in Maine, Paulla Estes is a freelance writer and website editor with a B.A. in English Literature from George...
Learn more
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