Dry hair is no fun, everybody knows that. Naturally, we all want strong, luxurious hair that doesn’t break off all the time and lacks shine, but how? The first thing you need to ask yourself is ‘why is my hair so dry and brittle?’ Do you use heat on your hair a lot, wash it frequently or expose your hair to lots of wind, dry air or sun?
Identifying the problem is the first step in finding a solution for your dry hair, and we’ve written this guide to help you do just that!
So, why is my hair so dry?
There are a few main reasons our hair can become dry:
1. Your scalp is not making enough oil needed to keep your hair moisturised
Your hair can’t moisturise itself, it relies on the oils made by your hair roots – which are under your skin. When your scalp doesn’t make enough oil for your hair, it becomes dry – the opposite dilemma to greasy hair. As you get older, your hair will naturally start to produce less oil. This is why dry hair is particularly prevalent in older men and women.
2. Your hair lets moisture escape
Another reason your hair may be dry is that it is letting moisture escape. Every healthy hair strand is surrounded by something called the ‘cuticle’ which acts as your hair’s protective layer. The cuticle is made of different layers which lie tight against each other and protect your hair from sun damage and heat. If a cuticle’s layers become damaged and peel away from the hair, it struggles to hold moisture and some oil will escape.
3. Your diet or hormones may have something to do with it
A diet lacking in vitamins and protein can cause hair to become dry and make it more prone to breakages. This is because your hair needs a variety of nutrients to grow and repair itself, including vitamins A, C, D, and E.
Hormonal changes in the body caused by things like pregnancy, the menopause and birth control can have undesirable effects on the hair. If your dry hair is caused by hormones, you may also feel fatigued, colder than usual, weaker and your hair may begin to fall out. This is something best talked about with a doctor if you feel like this might be causing your dry hair.
What makes hair feel brittle?
Brittle hair goes hand in hand with dry hair. This is because dry hair is weaker and more likely to snap off or split at the end when you brush or try to style it.
How to get rid of dry hair
So now you – hopefully – have a better idea about what dry hair is caused by, here are some tips on how to combat dry and brittle hair:
- Wash your hair less: over-washing your hair or using harsh shampoos that strip away your hair’s natural oils can damage your hair and make it feel dry. Try cutting down the amount you wash it week by week so your hair can gradually re-balance its oil. Top tip: Dry shampoo will be your new best friend! Learn how to make your own here.
- Stop or cut down on your heat styling: blow drying, straightening or using curling irons on your hair can damage the protective cuticle and cause it to become dry. Try letting it dry on its own and embracing the way your hair is naturally. And if you do decide to use heat to style your hair, make sure you use a good hair protection product to reduce the damage.
- Review your hair products: it goes without saying that bleaching, chemically straightening or putting your hair through other chemical treatments can cause damage. But how about your shampoo and conditioner? Try using mild shampoos made specifically for dry hair instead.
- Use a moisturising conditioner: choose a moisturising conditioner to use after your shampoo. Hair conditioners help keep cuticles lying flat and allows them to hold more natural oils.
Tried all this and still asking yourself: why is my hair so dry? Make sure your diet is rich in nutrients like protein and vitamins. Why not try a hair treatment for dry hair while you’re at it?
Last updated: 29 April 2020