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How To Strengthen Your Hair



If you’ve noticed more strands in your shower drain or hairbrush than usual, you might have weak hair. Hormonal changes, aging, stress, heat styling, and color treatments can damage and weaken your hair, causing it to thin, and in extreme cases, fall out. But fear not, with a few hair care tips and simple lifestyle tweaks you can strengthen those strands and optimize your hair’s ability to grow stronger than ever. We’re breaking down everything you need to know about how to strengthen your hair.


Signs your hair is weak

So how do you know if you have weak hair? If you’re experiencing any of the following, you probably have weak hair.


  • Split ends: Take a small section of your hair, twist it towards you, and check the ends that stick out. Hair that splits in two is a telltale sign of weak hair.
  • Breakage: Do a quick finger-comb of your hair. Do you have a hard time running them through your locks? Do multiple strands snap? If the answer is yes, you have breakage.
  • Dullness: If your strands lack their usual shine and luster even after conditioning, your hair is dull.
  • Dryness: While dry hair doesn’t always mean it’s damaged, damaged hair is always dry. If your hair seems drier than usual, it may be weak.
  • Tangles: If your hair tangles easily, you probably have weak hair.
  • Frizziness: Weak hair turns frizzy when the cuticles are raised, allowing moisture to pass through the strands and make them swell.


What causes weak hair?

The following are some of the most common causes of weak hair.


  • Hormonal imbalances: Hormonal conditions like hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause significant hair weakening. Other conditions like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) can cause weakening hair to the point of baldness on the scalp.
  • Improper diet: What you eat directly affects the strength (or weakness) of your hair. A diet lacking vitamins A, D, E, iron, zinc, biotin, niacin, folic acid, selenium, and protein can cause weak hair.
  • Poor health: In a normal hair cycle, your hair grows, then rests and sheds, eventually getting replaced with new hair. But for people with certain health issues, the hair goes through the resting or stagnant phase for a much longer period, causing weak hair and hair loss. One such condition is hair miniaturization, in which the hair follicles shrink in size. Miniaturized hair follicles cannot grow healthy hair. Instead, they produce hair that is weaker and more brittle.
  • Overwashing: Overwashing your hair can actually cause it to lose essential natural oils that keep everything in balance, making it weaker and more prone to damage. Check out our recent blog post to find out how often you should wash your hair based on your hair type.
  • Improper hair care: Every hair type deserves a custom beauty routine — using the wrong hair care products can cause dryness, product build-up, or breakage, all leaving you with less healthy (and weaker) hair.
  • Over styling: Tight hairstyles and things like hair extensions cause stress on the hair shaft leading to weaker hair. Chemical treatments like bleaching or perming and excessive styling with hot tools cause damage to your strands, weakening them as well. 


Baderbeauty bob haircut Davines

photo and style by Mélanie Guille


Tips to strengthen your hair

Start with your scalp

Your scalp health is an important place to start on your quest to strengthen your strands. Strong hair needs a healthy environment to thrive. Replace your regular shampoo with a clarifying shampoo once a week to remove dead skin cells, sweat, environmental pollution, and oils that accumulate on your scalp. Any build-up (including dandruff) can lead to weaker hair. See our previous post on how to fix a dry scalp for more info on scalp care tips.


Adjust your diet

Protein and complex carbohydrates are the keys to maintaining strong hair. Load up on fish, eggs, and lean meats. Include a portion of complex carbohydrates, like brown rice, or oatmeal, with each meal. The vitamins in things like leafy greens, almonds and avocado also promote strong hair.


Add supplements

Your hair has especially high nutritional requirements. But hair is a non-essential tissue, which means meeting these requirements can be difficult through diet alone. So what are the best supplements for stronger hair? There are six key nutrients needed for stronger strands, including:

  • Iron
  • Biotin
  • Zinc and Vitamin B12
  • Essential Amino Acids
  • Vitamin D


Brush wisely

Ensure you choose a brush that doesn’t damage your hair’s outer cuticle, which will leave strands vulnerable to damage. Opt for a brush with rounded, plastic prongs and a cushioned base, to avoid damaging your hair’s outer cuticle. And never brush your hair starting at the roots as this causes friction on the hair shaft, resulting in damage. Start at the ends and gradually work your way up.


Add a keratin spray

Your hair is made of keratin, so the more keratin you put back into your hair, the stronger it will be. Protein fills in the little gaps in weakened strands, and fortifies the hair while conditioning. Adding a keratin spray into your hair care routine will strengthen your hair and prevent split ends.


Try to chill out

Stress can do actual damage to your hair. Stress can lead to micro-inflammation of your hair follicles, making hair weaker as it grows out and even causes you to shed more than usual. Increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol also disrupt the hair cycle. Because of this, some women notice their strands seem thinner at the start of their period. Everything from yoga, to meditation, to a self-care routine can help you relax: check out these stress-management activities as a great way to start unwinding.


Baderbeauty bob haircut Davines

photo by @karlibobarley


Lay off the heat

Hot tools like flat irons and blow dryers are huge offenders when it comes to causing damage and weakening your strands. Cutting your hot-styling sessions down to twice a week can really cut down on the damage. And anytime you use heat you MUST use a heat shield for your hair. Or try going cold turkey for a couple of months to give your hair a chance to grow stronger. See our previous post on perfectly air-dried hair for tips while you go on your heat hiatus.


Prevent future breakage

If your goal is strong hair, avoid crash dieting or fad diets at all costs. This kind of eating deprives your hair of nutrients and energy, both of which can lead to hair loss. Be sure you’re shampooing with an anti-breakage shampoo and steer clear of tight ponytails. They can cause breakage and pull hairs from their follicle. Try to avoid any tight hair ties, like elastics, that could put extra stress on the hair. You’ll also want to limit your intake of high-mercury fish like tuna and swordfish as they can cause thinning hair.


Use a hair mask weekly

A hair mask is an important part of any healthy hair care routine. But if you’re looking for stronger strands, a repairing hair mask is essential and likely the answer to many other hair concerns. Whether you’re battling weak hair and breakage due to sun, hot tools, or chemical treatments, a hair mask can help make your hair stronger by improving hydration, texture, and more. Coconut oil makes an amazing conditioner and DIY hair mask. Try this one with egg for stronger hair:

Coconut Oil and Egg Hair Mask

  • Ingredients: 2 tbsp. organic coconut oil (melted), 1 egg (whisked)
  • Combine the melted coconut oil and whisked egg in a bowl. Mix until blended.
  • Use a spray bottle to wet your hair, and then apply the coconut oil and egg mixture evenly over your damp hair. Follow the directions for the standard recipe above. 
  • Let the mask sit for 15 to 20 minutes, and then rinse out with lukewarm water. Shampoo and condition as normal.

Sleep on a silk pillowcase or with a silk scarf

Silk does not absorb your hair oil as a cotton pillowcase will. Dry hair is weak hair. You’ll notice a huge difference in the strength of your hair once you start sleeping on silk.


And if all else fails, cover it up

If you plan to wear your hair down and your weakened damaged strands are all that you see, use a nourishing hair oil to disguise them. Lightly pat down the problem areas and flyaways with your fingers or comb them with a toothbrush. If you have curly hair, your breakage is probably less noticeable because your broken ends can hide in the coils (so lucky you!). But if you’re a curly-haired girl looking to cover up damage, lightly diffuse a brushable hairspray all over from an arm’s length away to set the breakage into your curl pattern. Changing up your usual part also covers breakage on the top.


Hormonal changes, aging, stress, heat styling, and color treatments can all weaken your hair, and in extreme cases, cause it to fall out. But with our hair care tips and simple lifestyle tweaks above you can strengthen those strands and have the healthy, strong hair of your dreams!


by Jaclyn LaBadia, featured contributor

cover photo by Michelle Dufflocq

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3 Comments

3 Responses

Sherri
Sherri

December 26, 2020

Hi, I have quite a few of your products but don’t know what to use because my hair has been damaged from another curlie girl line! It is severely dry, frizzy, weak and breaks easily. I feel there is a chance I have too much protein. Can you pls tell me which of your products have protein and which do not. I’d like to start there to see what I can possibly eliminate! Thank you!

ram kumar
ram kumar

December 13, 2020

Thanks for detailed guide about how to increase my hair strength :)

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ram kumar
ram kumar

December 13, 2020

Thanks for detailed guide about how to increase my hair strength :)

https://reliefseeker.com/conditions/best-hair-loss-treatment

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