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Choosing the Best Shampoo for Damaged Hair

Maffew is a hairdresser, marketer, and dabbler in many things who enjoys sharing knowledge about the science of hair coloring and hair care.

If you have damaged hair, you know what a hassle it can be to care for it and keep it looking its best. Repairing the damage is a whole other ordeal entirely, and requires commitment and specialized treatments.

This process doesn't have to break the bank, however, and one of the cheapest and easiest ways to help improve the condition of your hair is to replace your regular shampoo with a repair shampoo. The best shampoos for damaged hair don't dry your hair out and contain ingredients to restore damaged hair to better condition every time you wash it.

What Causes Damaged Hair?

Whenever you dye or bleach your hair, damage occurs to both the inside and outside of the hair shaft. Over time this damage accrues to a point where the hair structure begins to weaken and the damage becomes noticeable to sight and touch. Split ends, rough hair, and constant breakages are the first symptoms of this damage.

It's not just dye and bleach that damage your hair however, and some of the main causes of damaged hair include:

  • Permanent hair dyes
  • Bleach
  • Relaxers and perming solutions
  • Sunlight
  • Heat styling
  • Handling hair whilst wet
  • Humidity

Sunlight and heat styling are the two biggest factors contributing to damage after dyes and bleach. Just as the sun damages your skin and eyes, the ultraviolet radiation generated by the sun is also damaging to your hair.

Styling with heated tools like hair straighteners and curling rods without the use of a heat protecting product like a hair serum is one of most easily prevented form of damage, yet too many people don't use a heat protector when they straighten their hair. These products not only protect the hair, but improve the appearance and texture of the hair as well, making them an important product in any styling regime.

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What Makes Repair Shampoos Better?

If you're like most people, you're probably wondering how a shampoo can actually repair damage to your hair. With the amount of products that claim to do this yet fail to actually deliver, this is a good question to ask.

The simple truth about shampoo for damaged hair is that the products you find in the supermarket or pharmacy are often useless. Those shampoos contain conditioning ingredients to make your hair feel softer and dry it out less as you wash your hair, but they contain nothing to actually repair your hair and strengthen it.

If you want the best shampoo for damaged hair, you need a shampoo that is designed for salons rather than the supermarket shelves. These products have to be dependable and able to stand up to criticism and use by hairdressers all over the world in order to survive, and this is why these shampoos are the best, because they actually work.


Wella SP Repair Shampoo

Wella is a brand known for reliability and their shampoo range demonstrates this. Wella SP Repair Shampoo is a delicate shampoo for damaged hair, designed to care for and nourish your hair, restoring it to better condition with every wash.

This shampoo is particularly good for those with dry hair as it moisturizes your hair while it cleanses, reducing the need for leave-in conditioners and other moisturizing products. The cleansing action itself is delicate and mild so it won't stress out fine hair.

How it works: Wella's shampoo for damaged hair works to repair damage because it contains protein in the form of hydrolyzed keratin. Keratin is the protein that your hair is made of, and it is this protein that is destroyed when damage occurs.

By replacing this lost keratin and filling in the structural weakness of the hair shaft, Wella SP Repair strengthens your hair against breakage and reduces the appearance of damage.

Matrix Total Results Repair Shampoo

Matrix is known for their great hair dye colors and diverse salon products to treat anything from dry to brassy hair. Their Total Results Repair Shampoo is another great product that lives up to expectations and puts its supermarket relatives to shame.

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How it works: Matrix Total Results can be used on fine or dry hair without concern because it is not a harsh shampoo. It is quite the contrary in fact, and this shampoo actively moisturizes dry hair, reducing the need for conditioning treatments and leave-in products.

Total Results shampoo is particularly beneficial for those with porous hair. If your hair soaks up dye yet fades quickly, and is unusually prone to dryness, it's likely you have porous hair. This occurs because damage sustained to the hair cuticles prevents them from sealing the hair and maintaining proper moisture levels. Matrix's Cuticle Re-bond technology helps seal damaged cuticles and restore a moisture balance.

As well as the benefit for those with porous hair, the Total Results Repair shampoo also contains protein and ceramide that strengthen the hair. While the protein ingredients penetrate into the hair and act like a patch over weak areas of keratin, ceramide seals the hair shaft and fortifies the repair process.

Redken Extreme shampoo

Redken is another well known and highly dependable brand like Wella. Redken's range of shampoos, conditioners, and other products are completely unrivaled in both their diversity and effectiveness. This applies particularly to their Redken Extreme line, which consists of products that are designed to care for even the most heavily damaged hair.

Redken's Extreme Hair Strengthening Shampoo is the absolute best shampoo for damaged hair on the market.

How it works: Redken Extreme Shampoo is designed for very damaged hair, but it can be used to treat mild damage as well. It can also be used on hair that is fine or prone to dryness because it doesn't dry out the hair. In fact, the shampoo incorporates nourishing ingredients that actually increase shine and push moisture back into the hair where it's needed.

Like other hair repair shampoos, Redken Extreme contains protein to help repair the damaged protein in your hair. What sets it apart is the other ingredients that work in unison.

The protein penetrates into the hair shaft where it benefits from Redken's Interlock technology, forming a strengthening web over damaged areas of the internal structure of your hair. Ceramide completes the process by sealing the protein inside the hair shaft and smoothing the hair so that your it is strong, soft, and beautiful.

Protein Treatments

Any of these shampoos for damaged hair will help care for and nourish your hair, gradually taking it back to a much better condition. Very damaged hair needs more specialized treatment than shampoo alone however, and this is where protein treatments enter the equation.

If your hair is too far gone to be restored by a damaged hair shampoo, you don't need to cut it off and give up. Cutting off your hair should be an absolute last resort and 99 percent of the time, you can save even extremely damaged hair with regular protein treatments and conditioning products.

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When you use a shampoo for damaged hair, the restoration doesn't come overnight unfortunately, but you will see a noticeable difference after just a few washes as the benefits build up. You can give these shampoos a boost by using complementary products like hair repair conditioners, hair serums, and protein treatments to send damage packing and promote smoother, softer, and stronger hair.

Do you have a question about shampoo for damaged hair or need specific help for your own damaged hair? Leave a comment for tailored advice and share your insight with other readers.

© 2014 Maffew James


Maffew James (author) on September 07, 2020:

Hi Peach,

Could be many different things like the shampoo you use or allergies. If you have dandruff that could be causing the itchiness, or a skin condition like eczema/psoriasis can lead to itchiness and increased shedding.

Any of those conditions are pretty easy to treat with a medicated or just milder shampoo but it'd depend on whether something like that is causing your problem. Some salons can do a scalp assessment for you, or a dermatologist visit could help you work out exactly what it is if it's bothering you.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on September 07, 2020:

Great advices, i just have itchy scalp, my hair drop a lot since i am in 40s. Is shampoo the cause?

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