How To Fix Fried Hair

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If there’s anything that can give you a bad hair day, fried hair has got to be one of the worst. But, you’re not alone. Fried hair is a common problem that can be caused by various factors, including over-processing, heat damage, and even environmental factors.

So what to do when you’ve gone and overdone your latest ‘do once and for all? We’ve got some tips to help you get your locks back to their healthy state.

What Is Fried Hair?

Your hair can become fried from the overuse of hot tools, chemical treatments, and even being out in harsh weather conditions. When your hair’s natural moisture is stripped away, it becomes dry, brittle, and more susceptible to damage.

Fried hair looks dull, feels rough, and is often difficult to style. If you’re dealing with this hair woe, don’t worry—there are ways to fix it! Keep reading to learn how to repair fried hair and get your locks looking healthy and shiny again.

Causes of Fried Hair

As they say, you can’t fix a problem if you haven’t identified the root cause (pun intended). So what are the main causes of fried hair?

Overuse of Heat-Styling Tools

How To Fix Fried Hair (1)

One of the biggest culprits for damaged, dry, brittle hair is overusing heat styling tools. If you’re constantly blow-drying, flat-ironing, or curling your hair, you’re likely causing irreversible damage. Particularly if you don’t use a heat protectant before styling.

This is because high heat opens up the cuticle layer of each strand, which can lead to moisture loss and make your hair more susceptible to breakage. In addition, using hot tools too often can strip away the natural oils that protect and nourish your hair.

Chemical Treatments

Chemically altering your hair in any way – from changing its color to its texture – is probably the worst offender when it comes to fried hair.

This is because many chemical treatments contain harsh ingredients that strip away your hair’s natural moisture, leaving it dry and damaged. Chemicals also break apart the protein bonds that make up your hair structure, which can lead to frizz, split ends, and breakage.

Bleaching, relaxing, and perming are all examples of chemical treatments that can cause fried hair.

Other Causes

curly-haired woman looking back with hair blown by wind

Besides heat and chemical treatments, there are other things that can contribute to fried hair, including:

  • Too much sun exposure
  • Chlorine from swimming pools
  • Windy weather conditions
  • Dry indoor heat
  • Washing your hair too often
  • Using products with alcohol
  • Brushing wet hair

All of these factors can strip away your hair’s natural moisture, making it more dry, brittle, and susceptible to damage.

How To Fix Fried Hair

There are plenty of things you can do to help resuscitate damaged hair from the brink. Here are my top tips:

Deep Conditioning Treatments

You probably already use a regular conditioner in the shower after you shampoo. When you’ve got fried hair though, your strands need all the moisture and conditioning they can get.

That’s where deep conditioners come in. These treatments (along with the rather similar hair mask) are designed to penetrate the hair shaft and deliver a much-needed dose of hydration.

Look for a deep conditioner that contains natural ingredients like shea butter, avocado oil, or coconut oil. These nourishing ingredients will help restore your hair’s natural moisture balance and make it softer, shinier, and more manageable.

You’ll also want a product that contains keratin and is specifically formulated to treat dry, damaged hair. Run the solution through your hair several times, letting it absorb the conditioner and help soften and moisturize your strands.

Use a plastic cap to enhance the treatment by letting the steam revitalize your tresses even more.

Apply a deep conditioner to your hair once or twice a week, depending on how damaged it is. For best results, apply the conditioner to wet hair and leave it on for at least 5 minutes before rinsing.

Hot Oil Treatments

Hot oil treatments are widely-used to help repair dry, damaged hair. If you have seriously fried locks, consider having it done by a professional in a salon.

But if your hair isn’t too bad, you can do it at home using a quality oil like jojoba, coconut, or argan oil. These natural oils are packed with nutrients that help nourish and revitalize dry, damaged hair.

To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Heat a container of oil in hot water.
  2. Start off by applying one or two drops only as you might end up with greasy hair if you use too much. The amount of oil you apply to your hair depends on how much damage your hair has, how long it is, and how thick it is.
  3. Put a shower cap on and let it sit for at least 20 minutes – ideally half an hour.
  4. Rinse the oil out and shampoo your hair with cold water and a mild sulfate-free shampoo.
  5. Carefully towel-dry and let your hair dry naturally.

Olaplex Bond Repair Treatment

One of the closest things to a miracle hair repairer comes from the Olaplex line of bond repair products. The line of hair restoring treatments includes several numbered formulas (of which No. 1 and No. 2 must be done in a salon).

For best results, get No. 1 Bond Multiplier and No. 2 Bond Perfector done by your hair care professional.

Then use No. 3 Hair Perfector on your own at home. This product is a leave-in treatment that you apply to damp hair and let sit for at least 10 minutes (and even up to 90 minutes) before rinsing.

The longer you leave it on, the more you’ll see a difference, though once your hair has dried, any additional benefit is mostly moot.

Use it once a week for best results, or more often if your hair is severely damaged.

The No. 3 Hair Perfector works by re-linking the disulfide bonds that have been broken down by chemical treatments like coloring, bleaching, or heat-styling.

This helps to repair the damage and make your hair stronger, silkier, and shinier. And if you can’t afford to do the first two treatments in the salon, Olaplex No. 3 by itself will do wonders for fried hair.

Get A Haircut

getting a haircut with damp hair

Yeah, this last one’s the most extreme, but sometimes the only way to get your hair back to a healthy state.

If your hair is too damaged, you might have to cut it all off and start from scratch. It’ll be painful if your look is quite tied to how your hair looks, but it’s worth it in the long run.

Not only will you get rid of all the dead, damaged ends, you’ll also give your hair a chance to grow back healthy and strong. You may even save yourself some time and money too, especially if you forgo trying to revive your hair with expensive products and just get rid of the problem altogether.

Preventing Fried Hair In The Future

Now that you know how to fix fried hair, I’ll bet you’re motivated to make sure it never happens again! Here are some suggestions for preventing this problem in the first place:

Use A Heat Protectant

One of the simplest ways to protect your hair from high heat is to use a heat protectant. Applying heat protectant creates a barrier between your hair and the heat source – whether it’s a curling iron, hair straightener, or your blow dryer – from drying out and frying your strands.

There are many different types of heat protectants available, so you should have no problem finding one that works for you. Just make sure you apply evenly throughout your hair before using any heat-styling tools.

Limit Heat Styling and Blow Drying

This is easier said than done, but try to limit how often you use heat on your hair. If you can let your hair air dry instead of using a blow dryer, that’s ideal.

And if you must use heat, make sure you’re using the lowest setting possible that will still get the job done. When it comes to blow drying, let your hair air dry a bit and use a diffuser to avoid frizz.

Wash Your Hair Less Frequently

There’s no hard and fast rule for how often you should wash your hair, but the general rule of thumb is to wash it every 2-3 days.

Washing your hair too often can strip it of its natural oils, leaving it dry and more susceptible to damage. So if you’re trying to prevent fried hair, cut back on how often you shampoo.

Be Gentle When Washing and Brushing

When you do wash your hair, be gentle. Avoid using hot water, and use your fingertips to massage your scalp instead of scrubbing it.

And when you brush your hair, take care not to pull or tug too hard. Start at the bottom and work your way up, gently detangling each section as you go.

Avoid Chemical Treatments and Environmental Pollutants

Changing your hair color or texture is so fun, but it’s really not great for your hair health. If you must use chemical treatments, make sure to follow up with a deep conditioning treatment to help repair any damage that’s been done.

And try to avoid exposing your hair to environmental pollutants like smoke or smog as much as possible. If you live in an urban area, you may want to wash your hair more frequently (with a mild shampoo).

The sun’s UV rays are also quite damaging to hair, so if you’re a sun-worshipper, wear a hat or scarf, or use a leave-in conditioner with UV protection.

Final Thoughts

Fried hair is an all-too-common problem, especially if you’re a little overly enthusiastic about changing your color or style. But it’s possible to help your hair regain it’s vitality if you haven’t completely fried it to a crisp.

Of course, if your hair is severely damaged, you may need to cut it and let it regrow. Either way, you’ll definitely be more cognizant of preventing future episodes with proper prevention and care.

Emma Lee
As long as she can remember, Emma has been obsessed with beautiful hair. Her favorite look is pin-straight, sleek glass hair. She's had multiple styles from short and permed to long and natural throughout her life, and knows full well that how your hair looks can make or break your day.

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