How do I treat my dry hair?
July 13, 2016 7:42 PM   Subscribe

My shoulder length hair is very very dry. What success have you had in treating your hair if it is also dry? I put on coconut oil almost nightly and leave it on but it doesn't seem to have made a big difference. My initial problem was my hair was falling out and it was dry. The falling out has improved but the dryness has not. I'm looking for methods you use to combat successfully the dryness and or products that you rate highly.
posted by Tziv to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Honestly, washing it at night and sleeping with two braids in. Or cutting it off.

Also, Alterna Caviar conditioner, but it's expensive.

Maybe you could get a straightening treatment? I don't know if those are bad for dry hair... could be that your hair is not just dry but wavy in such a way that it looks frizzy/dry when combed.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:48 PM on July 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

What is the natural texture of your hair?

Do you process it in any way? Chemical straightening/curling, color?

Do you heat-style it? Blow dry, flat/curling iron? How often?

The answers to these questions will help people give you useful advice.
posted by padraigin at 8:01 PM on July 13, 2016

Best answer: you posted about this in 2013, what have you tried since then?

also, this question isn't really answerable as asked. how long is your hair? how often do you get it trimmed? what type of products do you use, and how frequently? what is your hair's texture (straight, wavy, curly, kinky) and are the strands fine or coarse? have you already tried the basics (getting regular trims, deep conditioning regularly, shampooing less often or using sulfate-free shampoo)?

if you want to use coconut oil btw i recommend using a leave-in conditioner first and sealing it with a small amount of coconut oil. if you skip the conditioner and add coconut oil to dry, un-moisturized hair, your hair will be simultaneously be dry and greasy.
posted by sea change at 8:02 PM on July 13, 2016 [6 favorites]

How often do you shampoo your hair? Hopefully, not daily. Try mildly shampooing no more than twice a week (just rinsing the rest of the week) and see if that helps.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:28 PM on July 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Coconut oil prevents moisture loss but doesn't contribute anything to the porosity, cuticles, or protein content in your hair. I'd recommend going to Sally or similar beauty supply and talking to someone there who can actually look at it and make a recommendation.

And, of course, if you haven't had a physical with bloodwork lately, do that. There's no hair product that'll correct a misbehaving thyroid or systemic vitamin deficiency.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:04 PM on July 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

You might think about switching from Coconut Oil to Darshana Oil. Less greasy, more moisturizing. If your hair is falling out it sounds like you also need a protein treatment. The APhogee 2-step is a great choice for this (you can get it at Sally Beauty), but you might want to get it in a packet and test it out on a small section of hair first...and definitely don't overdo it. Healthy hair really only needs a full protein treatment once every few months.

Do you use deep conditioning masks? Those help.

Also, agreed with Lyn Never that this might be an underlying health problem.
posted by Miss T.Horn at 9:10 PM on July 13, 2016

Me ex used to take prenatal vitamins even when we were not ever going to have more kids. Claimed it did wonders for her hair.
posted by AugustWest at 9:28 PM on July 13, 2016

I solved my porous, dry hair issues with a few applications of Olaplex, followed by going completely no-poo. My hair has stopped falling out, has great volume, and the dryness is gone.
posted by Dragonness at 10:41 PM on July 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have Chinese "natural wave" hair which can feel pretty damn dry (each strand is thick), and the Dove Moisture Therapy shampoo / conditioner at my gym makes it feel a lot better. I have no idea why; it has Sodium Laureth Sulfate and all the things you're told not to use, but it works miracles on me.

The Kirkland Signature purple bottle shampoo / ivory bottle conditioner was better than like, Herbal Essences / Garnier Fructis, and it was the first thing that clued me into that shampoo can actually be really helpful, so it's worth a shot too.
posted by batter_my_heart at 10:54 PM on July 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you're still using shampoo or any products with sulfates in them, stop immediately. You will go through about a month in which your hair will be gross and greasy and awful and smell a little funky. Then, all of a sudden, it will be soft and wonderful. It's like magic. No shampoo, not ever. Use a little baking soda in a paste, or apple cider vinegar, if you need to. But really all you need is water and a good scrub, followed by a conditioner without too many weird chemicals in it (I like the Trader Joe's house brand). My hair has never looked or felt better.
posted by decathecting at 11:17 PM on July 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Don't be afraid of nopoo! I used to go weeks, months even, as a respectable member of society. I only used product for a few days after I washed with shampoo to calm things down.
posted by rhizome at 11:37 PM on July 13, 2016

Dry hair and hair loss can both be symptomatic of thyroid problems. Hair loss, in particular, can also be symptomatic of a low "normal" ferritin (iron) rate. The ferritin test which is a blood test that checks stores of iron has a (probably too wide) range, from something like 15 to 125. When I was suffering from hair loss it took three doctors to figure out that this was the cause. The third, a specialist in a women's health clinic, suggested that it was iron almost immediately. As a result, I supplemented for several months, and it very quickly stopped falling out.
posted by Puppetry for Privacy at 11:45 PM on July 13, 2016 [6 favorites]

Wen shampoo really helped my hair==eave it in for a few minutes.I have very long hair that is color treated . I have used coconut oil, yogurt, honey, a vinegar rince and all types of Aveda and that didn't get it nearly as soft and silky.
posted by waving at 4:53 AM on July 14, 2016

I really like the SheaMoisture line of hair products. I use this Raw Shea Butter conditioner from them, which can also be used as a leave in conditioner. You might want to try out a combination of leave in conditioner plus coconut oil. I also use the shampoo from that line.

I believe all of their products are sulfate free and silicone free. The Raw Shea Butter line definitely is. However, I have also transitioned from shampooing every day or every other day to at most, once a week. (In the winter it's more like once every couple weeks.) I still rinse my hair with water and a diluted apple cider vinegar solution every other day. Cutting down on the shampooing has made a huge difference.

I experimented with a lot of other products before this, include coconut oil. I know a lot of people swear by it, but personally, I found it just made my hair greasier. Either way, as already noted, you need to use it in combination with a moisturizing product. Personally, I preferred using Argan oil, although I no longer need it once I settled on my current routine.
posted by litera scripta manet at 5:08 AM on July 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

I have very dry, curly hair but it feels and looks better if I leave conditioner in it every day. I'm not talking about a leave-in conditioner but normal conditioner that I don't rinse out. I'm not sure which products you have access to in the U.S. but the one I use is available on amazon:

- L'Oreal SuperSleek

I wet my hair then put it on. After a few days, it becomes softer. I am very lazy to do this process on weekends which is why it becomes dry again and I have to wait a few days for it to take effect.

I don't know if your hair also feels rough to the touch but my hair is made more manageable by taking MSM crystals in juice (its effectiveness is boosted by Vitamin C). The benefits are listed all over the webosphere but obviously do your own research. It helps synthesize collagen and keratin. Caveat - it tastes like poison but if you put it in a thick smoothie or in juice, it's easy to consume and gives them a bit of a kick. It lasts 12 hours so I take it twice a day. It makes my hair and skin much softer and has somehow helped A LOT with my allergies/sinuses, which I was not expecting. I initially took it to try to make my boobs bigger (this is a lucky side effect for some people). My girls remain humble.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 5:18 AM on July 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

I have dry curly hair. I shampoo once a week, but every day I wash my hair with Davines conditioner. I switch between their "smoothing" and their "curly" conditioner every few months.

About once a week, or every-other week, I use a deep conditioner- I really like Fortune Cookie Soap's deep conditioner, it makes my hair so soft.

Next, I use a leave-in conditioner to detangle after washing, Beauty Protector smells amazing and works really well.

For curl scrunching, I use Curl Keeper and then put some kind of other curl definer on after. Curl Keeper alone won't hold curls, but if you just want to up the moisture in your hair, I think you could use it alone for that purpose (or put on whatever your other product of choice is). Wow, now that I've written it out, I realize I have a really expensive hair upkeep routine. I feel like it's worth the money to spend on somewhat pricier products, I spent years cheaping out with drugstore brands and was always unhappy with my hair.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 5:51 AM on July 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Olaplex is a new-ish product that can really help extremely-damaged hair. There is a salon version (which is more powerful), and a version you can use at home (okay, but not earth-shattering.) But if this is a long-term systemic thing, I'd make sure to get a thorough physical check-up. These kinds of random symptoms can be very helpful markers for health problems. Good luck!
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 6:41 AM on July 14, 2016

After trying a lot of different shampoos and conditioners, I settled on John Frieda Full Repair, which I can only find on Amazon these days. I use that when I wash my hair several times/week, and Aphogee 3 Minute protein treatment once every week or two. But now I'm REALY curious about Olaplex! Does it work for non-color-treated hair?
posted by instamatic at 9:53 AM on July 14, 2016

A year or two ago my state amped up the chlorine in the water. My family and I were left with dry, itchy skin and gross, straw-like hair. It took me a week to find out about the amping up and then figuring out that the amping up happened at the same time as our dryness. I installed a cullen water filter shower head and our lives changed. No more itchy skin and my hair never looked better.

I've also noticed that I'm sensitive to certain shampoos. Through trial and error I found that Paul Mitchell's daily moisturizing shampoo and conditioner works for me. I try to not shampoo every day. I usually will wash and then wrap it in a towel and go to bed, allowing it to dry overnight. This seems to help a lot.

I also wear it down most of the time. If you wear your hair in a tight braid or ponytail, it can stress your scalp and cause issues.
posted by myselfasme at 10:42 AM on July 14, 2016

Take biotin. Wash your hair once per week, condition it twice per week. Don't put product in it. Make sure your shampoo and conditioner don't have sulphates or silicones in them. Your hair will produce nice natural oils if you don't strip it by washing it often.

Basically, follow the curly girl method.

And consider a good-sized hair trim.
posted by vitabellosi at 12:32 PM on July 14, 2016

Have you tried protein? Here is a post on overall hair health. That blog also has a post on proteins, and a post on oils.

My hair gets dull and dry-feeling from our hard water, too. Hard water shampoo once every week or two helps.

I have to agree that if your hair is falling out, a trip to the doc would be a good idea.
posted by moira at 1:52 PM on July 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

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