How to Repair Damaged Hair – Expert Tips

Welcome to my guide on how to repair damaged hair. I’ve been working with hair for over 35 years. I share salon expertise on the causes of dry, damaged hair, plus how you can tell if your hair is damaged.

I’m passionate about this subject. You can fix hair damage, but prevention is always the best option. 

I’ll kick off by dealing with some frequently asked questions about repairing damaged hair.

Following that, I’ll talk about some of the causes of damaged hair, and I’ll share some tips on preventing damage.

How can you repair damaged hair fast?

It’s not a quick fix. You need to build moisture into the hair over time. Regular shampooing and conditioning supported by a weekly deep conditioner for damaged, dry hair is the most effective way of tackling the damage. Hair needs regular moisture to smooth and strengthen the cuticle. If you take good care of your skin, apply the same principles to your hair, and you’ll find the condition improves over time.

Follow my hair damage prevention tips below to prevent further damage.

Can you repair damaged hair at home?

Yes, you can repair damaged hair at home. Start by building an intensive weekly deep conditioning treatment into your hair care your routine. Giving your hair a weekly deep treatment is a real treat for you and your hair. Why not make an event of it? Take some time out for yourself and treat yourself to a home spa. Restore and Shine Hair Masque is fragranced with uplifting essential oils, so it’s perfect for a spa treatment. Relax, take some deep breaths and let our hair mask work its magic on your hair.

Discover tips for preventing further damage below.

How do you fix over-processed hair?

If the hair is over-processed, the first thing to say is that having another colour will not fix it. It’s time to step back and make a plan. I recommend booking a consultation with your hairdresser and discussing the best options for you. If your hair is very damaged, consider a shorter haircut. That will help the look and feel of the hair as you take the time to build moisture. If you don’t want to go for a shorter cut, you need regular trims to reduce further damage from split ends.

Invest in a good quality deep conditioning hair mask. Treat your hair every week and avoid further processing until your hairdresser is happy that the hair is strong enough to take another colour.

Always consult a professional.

What is the best hair product for damaged hair?

I recommend Restore and Shine Hair Masque. I spent over 4 years developing it in my salon. I’ve worked with it on many different hair types, and I haven’t found anything better. It’s the best deep conditioning hair mask I’ve worked with in over 35 years of hairdressing. It contains pro-vitamin b5 getting moisture deep into the hair’s core.

Plus, my hair mask contains soothing emollients such as avocado oil to smooth the cuticle and restore shine. It’s my go-to product for damaged hair.

Restore and Shine Hair Masque


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How do you fix brittle hair?

When hair loses moisture, it becomes brittle. Hair should feel stretchy and elastic. If hair becomes too brittle, it can start to break. Reducing the amount of heat that you apply to hair is essential. If you can’t give up heated styling tools completely, make sure you use heat protection and turn the hairdryer to a cool setting. It’s best to avoid flat irons and curling irons.

Get into the habit of applying a deep conditioning treatment every week and visit your stylist for regular trims.

It’s essential to keep split ends in check so that they don’t create further damage. Leave the hair to air-dry at least once a week. It’s a good way of giving your hair some time to recover.

How can you tell if the hair is damaged?

Six signs that hair is damaged.

  1. Hair has lost its shine. Hair shines when the cuticle is laying flat and reflecting light. If the cuticle lifts, the hair will look dull.
  2. The lifted cuticle gives the hair a rough, dry texture.
  3. Hair is difficult to style. No matter what you do, your hair doesn’t sit properly.
  4. Damaged hair is brittle and breaks easily.
  5. It looks lifeless and flat. No matter how you try, you can’t get body in your hair.
  6. Try doing the stretch test. If the hair has lost elasticity, it’s damaged.

Look at our blog Hair Elasticity: Do the Stretch Test to find out how you can test the elasticity of your hair.

Is your hair damaged?

If you have spotted any of the six signs of hair damage, it’s time to take action.

Let me reassure you. There’s plenty you can do to get your hair looking and feeling great. But it’s going to take time and patience. There are no quick fixes.

When we talk about repairing damaged hair, what do we mean? A good place to start is to think about the causes of damaged hair.

What are the causes of damaged hair?

A helpful starting point in understanding how to repair damaged hair is to look at the structure of the hair.
Each strand of hair has multiple layers. I’ll focus on the outer layer, the cuticle and the cortex, the inner layer.

The cuticle is the outer layer of the hair. It has protective scales wrapped around the inner layers of the hair. The job of the cuticle is to protect the cortex, the inner layer. When the cuticle becomes damaged, the scales lift.

When the scales of the cuticle lift, the cortex loses moisture. The lifted cuticle has a rough texture and loses moisture so that the cortex becomes dehydrated.

That is what we call dry, damaged hair. You can see the difference in the diagram below. The cuticle on the left is sealed, protecting the hair from environmental damage and holding on to moisture. Hair like this would have a smooth, slippery texture. The roughed-up cuticle on the right allows moisture to escape; this is damaged hair.

What is Frizzy Hair?

There are many factors that cause hair to become damaged. Before we discuss how to repair damaged hair, we should look at some of the main culprits. Here they are in no particular order.

  • Environmental damage to the hair – whatever the weather, it will have an impact on your hair. Much as we love a sunny day, it’s damaging for the hair as heat causes the cuticle to lift. Think about it. We slap on the SPF to protect our skin but our hair often gets forgotten. A windy day can have equally damaging effects. The wind blows the hair around, roughing up the cuticle and causing tangles.
  • Heated Styling – as we’ve just said heat causes the cuticle to lift so it makes sense that heated styling has a damaging effect. Don’t panic, we’re not going to ask you to put your hairdryer in the bin. It’s simply a question of taking some sensible precautions. More of which below!
  • Over-processing the hair – in order for hair to absorb colour, colour treatments are designed to open the cuticle. Opening the cuticle is hair damage. Layering colour on top of colour will simply damage the hair more.
  • Over-brushing hair – It’s possible to over brush the hair. Too much brushing, not being gentle, tugging hair at the roots and brushing hair when it’s wet can all lift the cuticle and damage the hair.
  • Split ends – when hair loses hydration, the ends bear the brunt of the damage. Why? Because our scalp produces sebum, a natural oil. Sebum has a purpose. To keep hair hydrated. But the hair at the ends is older and more prone to dryness and damage, resulting in split ends.

Our aim, when repairing damaged hair is to rehydrate the cortex and smooth the cuticle so that it sits flat. With the cortex and cuticle hydrated, the hair will feel more silky, less brittle and it will regain its shine.

How do you add moisture to damaged hair?

Getting the hair rehydrated is very simple, but it takes time.

It’s important to understand that getting hair hydrated is not a temporary fix. To maintain hydration, your hair needs a routine of cleansing and conditioning. It’s the same approach that you take to your skin. Regular cleansing and moisturising with a good quality hydrating shampoo and conditioner will help build moisture and put you on the path to fixing damaged hair.

Use our best hair mask for damaged hair once a week every week. An intensive treatment weekly will help inject extra moisture into badly damaged hair. If the hair is badly damaged, we recommend treating the hair with a deep conditioning hair mask twice in the first two weeks and then once a week after that.

Discover more about deep conditioning hair treatments in our blog Salon Know-How: Why use a Deep Conditioning Hair Mask.

Once you’ve got your routine of regular conditioning, what’s next? 

It’s time to think about preventing further damage.

Prevent Damage to Hair

Hair damage prevention tips.

  1. Be gentle when brushing. Start at the ends and work up. As you brush or comb, gently hold the mid-lengths of the hair to avoid pulling at the roots.
  2. Wash hair in warm water. Avoid hot temperatures. They exacerbate dryness and damage.
  3. After washing, gently pat your hair dry. Rubbing hair causes breakage and increases tangles. Try using a microfibre towel.
  4. Use a wide-tooth comb when hair is wet. Start from the ends and work your way up, taking care not to put tension on the roots.
  5. Let your hair down. A ponytail is a great way of styling hair. But wearing it too tight can put tension on the roots. Find a style that’s easy to wear down and suits your lifestyle.
  6. Turn the heat down. Hairdryers, straighteners and curling irons are high up on the list of culprits. Choose the cool setting to reduce damage.
  7. Reduce drying time. Most of us dry our hair for too long. Reduce drying time by just 1 minute to limit the damage.
  8. Heat protection. Use a good quality hair styling product that conditions the hair as your style. The additional conditioning will help limit the damage of heated styling tools.
  9. Give your hair a break. Air dry hair once a week.
  10. Get your hat on! Are you heading to sunnier climes? Wear a fabulous sun hat to protect your hair from the midday sun.
  11. Wear a swimming cap to protect hair from chlorine damage. Multi-task and apply a deep conditioning hair mask and pop on your swimming cap.
  12. Avoid over-processing the hair. If hair is colour-treated, get some advice from your hairdresser about the best options for you.
  13. Get regular trims. The ends of the hair are prone to breakage. Split ends, left untreated, can ride up the hair and cause breakage.

If you’ve got a specific question about how to repair damaged hair, please get in touch at

About the Author

Norris Ogario is founder and Creative Director of Ogario London. Developed in his London salon, the Ogario London haircare products reflect his belief that hydration is the key to fixing most hair problems. You can style hydrated hair with ease. Plus, hydration leaves hair shiny and healthy. Norris has over 35 years of hair know-how. With expertise in all hair types; from dry hair to fine or grey hair, from frizzy to damaged or bleached hair, curly hair and afro hair, Norris offers his expert advice.

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Ogario London is a salon developed, natural hair care range. As a niche brand, we are passionate about our products and delivering the best results is at the heart of what we do.  If you have any questions about our products, would like advice on the best products for your hair type, or have another question about how to moisturise dry hair, please get in touch at

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