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Tell-tale signs your hair is damaged

Written by: Mimi Kone



Time to read 4 min

Ah, our hair! It's our crowning glory, our statement piece, and sometimes, our most unpredictable accessory. We style it, dye it, curl it, straighten it, and sometimes, unintentionally, damage it. But how do we know when our tresses are crying out for help? And more importantly, how can we nurse them back to health? Dive into this comprehensive guide on the telltale signs of damaged hair and how to breathe life back into those locks. And remember, your hair is a reflection of your health and care, so let's ensure it's always shining!

The Missing Shine and Bounce

Healthy hair is like that one friend who always lights up the room - shiny, vibrant, and full of life. If your hair has lost its sheen and doesn't dance in the wind like it used to, it's probably sending you an SOS. Dull hair that absorbs light rather than reflecting it is a classic sign of damage. Often, the culprits behind this are excessive chemical treatments and frequent heat styling. Expert stylist Tim Lehman suggests giving your hair ample recovery time between treatments. Think of it as a spa day for your hair; it deserves some pampering too!

Recovery Shampoos and Conditioners: 

Look for products that are free from sulfates and parabens, which can further dry out and damage hair. Ingredients like keratin, argan oil, and coconut oil can help restore shine and bounce.

Heat Protectant Sprays: These can create a protective barrier on your hair, preventing damage from heat styling tools.

woman combing afro hair Photo by Anna Shvets:

The Breakage Blues

Finding tiny hair fragments on your brush, clothes, or even your fingers? This isn't just a sign of shedding; it's a red flag for hair breakage. Taylor Blades, a renowned hairstylist, points out that color processing, prolonged sun exposure, and dry conditions can rob your hair of essential moisture. The result? Fragile hair that breaks easily. The solution? Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Invest in protective products that lock in moisture and prevent further damage.

Hydrating Hair Masks: Products with hydrating ingredients such as shea butter and aloe vera  can help restore moisture.

HoliRoots™ Hair Mask

Leave-in Conditioners: These can provide ongoing moisture protection throughout the day.

CURL CONDITIONING OIL-IN-CREAM from Curlsmith:  Rich leave-in conditioner perfect for protective styles or to add moisture to coarse, very thirsty hair.

Thinning Ends: The Silent Indicator

Hair breakage is sneaky. Sometimes, you won't notice it until you see its aftermath weeks or even months later. If the ends of your hair are thinner than the roots, it's a sign of damage. Lehman attributes this to frequent use of blow dryers and hot iron tools. The remedy? Use heat tools sparingly, and when you do, keep them on low settings. And don't forget, a timely trim can work wonders!

Regular Trims: While not a product, regular trims can help get rid of split ends and promote healthier hair. We strongly recommend booking a regular trim with Mimi et Mina.

Low Heat Styling Tools: Invest in tools that have adjustable temperature settings to prevent excessive heat damage.

The Tangle Trouble

If your hair tangles more than a pair of earphones in your pocket, it's time to take notice. While tangling can be a common issue, especially for those with fine hair, excessive tangling indicates damaged hair. Celebrity stylist David von Cannon explains that damaged hair cuticles create friction, leading to more tangles. The fix? Nourishing products that smooth out the cuticle and reduce friction.

Detangling Sprays: Look for sprays with nourishing ingredients that can help smooth out the cuticle.

the wizard detangling primer:
a lightweight hair-priming spray that detangles and provides ultra-hydration and 450°f heat protection—all while cutting down on blow-dry time from Amika.

woman under the shower with water running through her hair

Wide-tooth Combs: These can help detangle hair without causing further damage.

Curl Detangling Shower Comb from Curldo

The Growth Plateau

Is your hair growth stuck in a rut? If your hair length seems stagnant, it's likely breaking off at the ends. Blades emphasizes the importance of moisturizing the mid-lengths and ends of your hair. Depending on your climate, you might need to moisturize your hair even twice a day. Remember, hydration is the key to breaking the growth plateau!

Moisturizing Serums: Apply serums that focus on hydrating the mid-lengths and ends of your hair.

Scalp Treatments: Stimulating the scalp can promote healthier hair growth.

The Crunchy Feeling

If your hair feels like autumn leaves when wet, it's a clear sign of damage. Overexposure to the sun, salt water, and chlorine can make your hair feel crunchy. Lehman's advice? A good trim and a nourishing hair mask can bring back the softness.

Nourishing Hair Masks: Masks with nourishing oils can help restore softness.

soulfood nourishing mask from Amika
an ultra-rich, hydrating hair mask that is packed with vitamins and nutrients to moisturize, soften, and smooth.

Chlorine-removing Shampoos: These can help remove build-up from swimming in chlorinated water.

TRISWIM Chlorine Removal Shampoo 

The Brittle Battle

Brittle hair is like a dry twig, ready to snap at the slightest pressure. While chemical, sun, and heat damage are common causes, Blades warns against overusing products labelled 'fortifying' or 'strengthening'. These products are rich in proteins, and while proteins are great for hair, too much can make your hair dry and brittle. Balance is the key!

Balanced Protein Treatments: Look for products that have a balanced formulation of proteins and moisture to prevent brittleness.

ApHogee Two Step Protein Treatment 

Oil Treatments: Regular oil treatments with oils like coconut oil or argan oil can help maintain a good moisture-protein balance.

Uhuru Chebe Hair Oil

The Management Maze

If every day feels like a bad hair day, your hair might be damaged. Healthy hair is easy to manage, soft, and has a natural bounce. If you're struggling with your hair, give it a break from chemical treatments and heat styling. Opt for high-quality hair care treatments that nourish and rejuvenate.

Gentle Shampoos and Conditioners: Look for products with gentle, nourishing ingredients that won’t strip your hair.

High-quality Hair Care Treatments: Invest in treatments that focus on nourishing and rejuvenating your hair, like deep conditioning treatments or hair masks with natural ingredients


Our hair is a testament to our overall well-being and the care we provide it. By recognizing the signs of damage early on and taking proactive steps, we can ensure our locks remain lustrous and healthy. After all, our hair is not just an accessory; it's an extension of ourselves. So, let's pledge to give it the love and care it truly deserves! And remember, when in doubt, always prioritize hydration and gentle care for your precious strands. Happy hair care!


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