What Are The Main Causes of Damaged Hair?

And quick tips on how to deal with damaged hair

Man with damaged hair
Words by Fiona McDaniel
Nov 15, 2022 

No matter your hair type, cut, or colour, damaged hair feels and looks unpleasant. There is no hiding from it unfortunately! If you like to look after your body, hair should also be a part of that. Damaged hair is when the cuticle (the outer layer of each strand) of the hair is broken down and cracked. The cuticle can lift up and the hair is then prone to becoming dry and brittle, and eventually break. Broken hair can make hair appear frizzy and difficult to tame/manage. It can look lifeless and dull. That all sounds very doom and gloom, but the majority of hair damage is done in your daily hair routine and so can be easily fixed.

Let’s look at some of the main causes of hair damage.

Overwashing / Underwashing

This may sound slightly confusing, but hear us out. So, it is actually possible to overwash your hair. Washing your hair is key to maintaining its health but overwashing it can completely strip the hair of the natural oils that our bodies produce. They help to nourish and moisturise the hair. Overwashing your hair, doesn’t necessarily mean washing your hair everyday. Everyone’s hair is different, so it is really up to you to discover when is the right time to wash your hair. It’s about finding a balance. We all need to wash our hair to remove daily grime, but we also don’t want to remove all those ‘good’ oils. We would recommend avoiding washing it daily, but if you have naturally extremely oily hair, you might want to. If you have dry hair, we would say washing your hair twice a week would suffice. 

We also have to discuss underwashing. If you leave your hair too long between washes, you are at risk of a large build up of dirt, oil, dead skin and product. The hair becomes coated and prevents moisture from absorbing into the shaft which causes the hair to dry out and break. 

Lack of Conditioning

A lot of us forget the importance of conditioning our hair after shampooing. Shampoo cleanses our hair, and by doing this it can remove natural oil from the hair. We need to replace this moisture by using a conditioner. Not using a conditioner can make your hair feel very dry and more prone to breaking. 

Hairbrushing

Yes, unfortunately the simple task of brushing your hair can cause damage. This normally occurs with long hair though, and if you aggressively brush the ends of your hair it can cause breaking at the tips. A hairbrush which tugs at your hair doesn’t do many favours for your hair follicles either. 

Heat

Direct heat to hair is asking for immediate damage. It’s slightly unavoidable for those who like to use a hairdryer, or any other heated styling tools.

Holding these tools right against the hair will not only dehydrate the hair, but it can actually burn it. If you know the smell of burnt hair - you don’t want to get to that stage! (The general rule is hold the hair dryer at least an inch away from the hair.)

The sun can also burn the hair. Constant exposure can cause serious damage to the cuticles of the hair and again, can cause it to dehydrate and break. 

Overprocessing

This is for those of you who like to dye your hair - perhaps to cover a few greys? Dying your hair is a chemical process and if not done correcting can erode the cuticle of the hair and expose the cortex. This can lead to severe breakage and normally occurs when strong bleach is used. Speak to your barber about this before considering your next procedure. 

Friction

Aggressively drying your hair with a towel can increase the change of breaking dry hair. As can repeatedly wearing a tight-fitting hat. Hats can also cause the hair to sweat.

Chlorine / Salt water

Swimming in high chlorinated water can irritate your scalp (especially if you have sensitive skin) and as it strips the hair of sebum, it can cause the hair to crack and split. Salt water can have the same effect by dehydrating the hair. 

Elastic Bands

For those of you with long flowing locks, and enjoy a ‘man bun’, you probably use some sort of band (hopefully not one off your desk!) to tie your hair up. It looks great, and actually keeps your hair clean, but a tight elasticated band can really damage your hair and cause a lot of breakage. Make sure you use proper hair elastics and ones which doesn’t tear your hair. And give the man bun a bit of a break every now and then.

Top tips for avoiding Damaged Hair

  • Try to let your hair dry naturally - avoid using heated styling tools when possible.
  • Use hair products with natural plant oils and no sulphates.
  • Use a conditioner after you shampoo and use other deeply hydrating hair treatments once or twice a week (depending on how damaged your hair is).
  • Buy a good hairbrush or comb which won’t tug on your hair.
  • Depending on your hairtype, wash your hair a maximum of 3 to 4 times a week.
  • If you are in a hot country, wear a hat to avoid sun damage.
  • Avoid using permanent hair colour - a semi-permanent dye will be a lot kinder on the hair.
  • Use a soft towel when drying your hair. 
  • Rinse your hair thoroughly straight after swimming - the same goes for chlorinated and salted water.
  • Drink plenty of water, on a daily basis - moisturising the hair from inside out. 

You can also explore our curated collection of men's hair care products specifically formulated to deal with damaged hair here.

PATRICKS CD2 | Moisturizing Conditioner
PATRICKS CD2 | Moisturizing Conditioner
PATRICKS CD2 | Moisturizing Conditioner
PATRICKS CD2 | Moisturizing Conditioner
PATRICKS CD2 | Moisturizing Conditioner
PATRICKS CD2 | Moisturizing Conditioner

PATRICKS CD2 Moisturising Conditioner

Restorative, Nourishing Formula Designed to Soothe Hair & Scalp
£30.00
Augustinus Bader The Conditioner
Augustinus Bader The Conditioner
Augustinus Bader The Conditioner
Augustinus Bader The Conditioner

Augustinus Bader The Conditioner

Replenishing, Anti-Breakage Hair Conditioner
£40.00
Augustinus Bader The Leave-In Hair Treatment
Augustinus Bader The Leave-In Hair Treatment
Augustinus Bader The Leave-In Hair Treatment
Augustinus Bader The Leave-In Hair Treatment

Augustinus Bader The Leave-In Hair Treatment

Strengthening, Anti-Breakage Hair Treatment for Natural Growth
£38.00
ADAM Grooming Atelier Routine Haircare-Humanery
ADAM Grooming Atelier Routine Haircare-Humanery

ADAM Grooming Atelier Routine Haircare Set

£32.00

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