Beauty Breakdown: Fixing Fried Hair

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Hi Rachel! As you know, I recently returned from a trip to Paris. On my way back to the US, I got stranded in Iceland for 24 hours — not complaining! — and had the opportunity to visit the famous Blue Lagoon hot springs! Life dream status across the board … except for what the salty, mineral-y water did to my hair. It dried it out something fierce. Help me get my moisture back!!!! — Amelia

Yup, hot water and salt do have a way of zapping the moisture out of perfectly healthy hair. That hot spring does wonders for your skin — and, duh, your mental state — but it’s a guaranteed recipe for dehydration and tangles. But don’t freak out, and definitely don’t chop it off. There are a few steps you can take in the interest of restoring your hair to its former glory, and they don’t have to cost a fortune or come in the form of an expensive salon treatment. In fact, I know of a pretty good weapon against frazzled hair that you can find at just about any grocery store…

You’ll want to start with a good clarifying shampoo. As counter-intuitive (and, yes, drying) as it seems, there’s probably a lot of salty build-up on your hair that will prevent it from absorbing whatever you put on it next. I’d advise you to play it safe and use a natural sulfate-free shampoo like Aubrey Organics Clarifying Shampoo (which you can hunt down at most organic markets, including Whole Foods), just because it’ll be the least harmful to your already-compromised hair. But, you know, you might not want to go to Whole Foods, so you can make do with whatever clarifying shampoo you can find at the drugstore. Like, Suave, or something. Then, you can follow it up with either a deep conditioning mask or an oil treatment.

Coconut oil is seriously, like, the best thing ever, for all your woes. Sometimes I cry into the jar. No, but seriously, it’s cheap, it comes in huge tubs, and you can use it for just about anything. I personally enjoy melting it down and slathering it alllllll over the lengths and ends of my hair. With abandon. I put so much on! This one looks pretty good, but I suspect they’re all the same. Your other option is a deep conditioning treatment. I really like Davines Natural Tech Nourishing Vegetarian Miracle Conditioner. It sort of smells like men, but it works great, and it’s a vegetarian miracle! There’s another great conditioning mask for super-brittle hair, Pureology Precious Oil Softening Hair Masque, but it’s only sold at authorized salons. (I’m going to bring it to you tomorrow. If I remember. I hope I do.)

Now, hop on into the shower and work the clarifying shampoo into your scalp really well, then wash it out. You can condition it as usual, or you can skip straight to towel-drying, and then onto the heavy duty stuff. Oh, did I mention that you might not want to have any plans for the night whenever you decide to do this? Yeah, you’re going to want to condition for a loooooong time. Conditioner absorbs best on slightly damp (read: not wet) hair, but if you’re going for coconut oil, you’ll want your hair to be as dry as can be. And my Very Scientific Advice is as follows: just coat your hair in that shit. Put tons of it on — avoid the roots, where hair gets weighed down easily — and really work it into the driest areas, which are probably/definitely your ends. Put your hair up, put on a shower cap, and leave it on for as long as you can bear. I generally leave coconut oil on overnight; I tend to wash conditioner out after a few hours, because smells make me nauseous.

The final step: wash it out! Conditioner will come right out, whereas coconut oil might just not want to. It needs to be shampooed out pretty thoroughly, so keep that in mind when you go to wash it out. Try to shampoo less frequently for a while after — the best thing for your hair in the long run is to just let its natural oils replenish it, as gross and greasy as that is. Dry shampoo! It’s a friggin’ miracle. Your hair should definitely be feeling much better after just the first treatment, but you may want to continue doing a similar treatment, or a quicker deep-conditioning, once a week until it feels restored. I hope this helps!

Is there a celebrity beauty look you want to steal? A new product you want to learn how to use? Don’t know which foundation, moisturizer, volumizing spray, or novelty eye glitter to invest in? Want to see how many Momofuku birthday cake truffles I can fit in my mouth at once? If you’ve got a beauty question, concern, or demand, any at all, hit me up on my videophone. I mean, uh, my email. Or Twitter! rachel@thefrisky.com or @frigidbardot — make it ring, or rain, or something like that, babes!

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