What to Do When Your Hair is Basically Screaming for Help

Victoria Moorhouse

There are a slew of reasons that bad damage can happen to good hair: too much sun and salt, one too many passes with hot tools, a few too many double-processing appointments. No matter what causes it, major hair damage has happened to even the most conscious of conditioners. The good news is that you don’t have to chop it all off to start fresh. When your hair seems like it’s screaming for help, all that you need is this roundup of the best products for damaged hair—tried-and-true products with superior powers to help reverse the harm.

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Pureology Strength CureCo-washers, rejoice! There’s a cleansing conditioner out there that works overtime to help repair super damaged hair. While cleansing conditioners cut out the often drying step of shampooing, this product from Pureology helps restore moisture and is also formulated with an antioxidant complex to repair over-stressed and porus hair cuticles. We think of it this way—it basically puts your shampooing, conditioning, and hair treatment all in one. (Pureology Strength Cure Cleansing Conditioner, $34, visit pureology.com for salon locations)

Kerastase Résistance ThérapisteThe Kérastase Résistance Thérapiste Collection is a game-changer for those experiencing intense hair damage. The collection—including this conditioner that’s meant to be used before shampooing to begin to heal hair and protect it before the cleansing process—is made with a sap from what is known as the Resurrection Plant. This plant can come back to life (blooms and all) after being dead and dried up for 10 years. This ingredient helps restore Keratin Associated Proteins that surround the hair fiber. These KAPs protect the structure of the internal fiber of the hair from coming in contact with aggressors, thus stopping your strands from falling apart. (Kérastase Résistance Soin Premier Thérapiste, $42, kerastase-usa.com)

Living Proof Restore ShampooWhile it’s a step you’re going to want to take part in to cleanse your hair of dirt, debris, and excess oils, too much shampooing can lead to excess drying, further damaging hair that’s suffering in the first place. If you have hair that’s dry or damaged, you need to curate your shampoo picks really carefully. This product’s “restoring” power comes into play with a moisture molecule that repairs the protective layer of your hair, making it less porous and locking in the essential hydration. Less porosity means less breakage, less dryness, and overall healthier-looking locks. Win. (Living Proof Restore Shampoo, $28, nordstrom.com)

Phyto Damaged Ends Serum

Damaged hair doesn’t necessarily mean that your follicles are falling apart from root to tip; sometimes it’s just the ends that need help. This serum from Phyto is meant to target that specific area, using what they describe as a silk peptide to “mend” the ends of your hair. (Phyto Reparative Serum for Damaged Ends, $30, nordstrom.com)

Davines NouNou Hair MaskAn antioxidant-rich formula (it includes vitamin E, tomato, and olive butter) means that hair repair is on its way. Because it’s meant for super damaged hair (the brand specifically calls out those who have bleached hair, as we all know the damage that inevitably follows with that ‘do), it also brings back needed moisture to the hair. It’s suggested that this mask is left on for about 10 minutes, combed through, and then rinsed out. (Davines Nounou Hair Mask, $32, davines.com)

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Alterna Haircare Caviar Repair RX Instant Recovery Shampoo

Getting hair back to a healthy state might be as simple as a wash with this shampoo. Made with what’s called “strand-building proteins,” this formula is said to help repair the protective layer of the hair, the cuticle, and the internal cortex of the hair strand, boosting the overall strength of your hair as a whole. It’s also sulfate-free, so you won’t have to worry about drying agents setting your hair back even more. (Alterna Haircare Caviar Repair RX Instant Recovery Shampoo, $32, sephora.com)

Silk Bloom Restorative Treatment Masque For Damaged Hair

Looking for a mask that really gets down to business on bringing moisture back to your dry, damaged hair? This mask has insanely swift results, bringing nourishment and stability back into your strands after the first use. It’s made with argan oil (a known superstar in moisturizing products) and vitamin E to bring tresses to total stability, really focusing on the actual structure of the hair shaft. (Silk Bloom Restorative Treatment Masque For Damaged Hair, $68, shuuemuraartofhair-usa.com)