Byrdie April 28, 2024



8 Ways to Strengthen Your Hair, According to Experts


Everyone wants strong, healthy hair. However, most of us deal with damage at some point in our lives. From color treatments to heat styling, a number of factors can lead to weakened, less-than-shiny hair. However, according to experts, there are many ways to address this dilemma. Ahead, a dermatologist and a hairstylist share eight ways to strengthen your hair at home. Read all of their tips below.


Dr. Aya Ahram is a medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatologist at Hudson Dermatology and Laser Surgery.
Raven Hurtado is a hairstylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago.


Use the Right Shampoo

Shampooing is the first step in any hair care routine, and it's an important one. "Having a good hair care routine is key to having strong hair," Hurtado says. "Using the proper shampoo for your hair type and texture is the first step to having healthy, luscious hair."

She recommends Kérastase's Genesis Strengthening Shampoo ($42) for anyone experiencing breakage, thinning, or damage to their hair. Hurtado also likes Seaweed Bath Co. Heat Shampoo ($11), which helps retain moisture and provides a protective barrier.

Condition Your Hair

Aside from shampoo, you'll also want to invest in a conditioner appropriate for your hair type and the condition it's in. Hurtado recommends the sister product to her go-to shampoo, Kérastase's Genesis Strengthening Conditioner ($42), noting that sufficient moisture added to the hair helps to strengthen it.

Once you've finished conditioning and rinsing, make sure to gently dry your hair. "You should never rub aggressively with a towel, as that can cause breakage and tangles," Hurtado says. "It's best to squeeze out excess water using a microfiber towel, which is gentle on the hair. It also helps reduce frizz and tangles."

Try a Treatment

You should incorporate an oil, serum, or other targeted hair treatment into your routine. "Consider using hair repair treatments like K18 Leave-in Molecular Repair Hair Mask ($75) to help restore keratin protein in hair, or Olaplex No. 3 Hair Repair Perfector ($30), which helps strengthen the bonds in the hair that often gets damaged with heat styling," Dr. Aya Ahram suggests.

Hurtado is also an advocate for pretreatments. "Use a pretreatment or oil on the scalp before shampooing and massage the product using a scalp massager to stimulate blood circulation, promoting hair growth and healthy hair," she says.

Protect Your Hair From Heat

Most of us expose our hair to heat styling in some way, from diffusers to curling irons. Knowing this, it's important to use a heat protectant. "After shampooing and conditioning, apply a heat protector on damp hair," Hurtado says. "It reinforces a protective barrier to prevent breakage and breakage."

"High heat causes damage to the hair and the hair cuticle; however, realistically, it is not always practical to completely cut out heat styling," Ahram explains. "Since heat protectors do not block heat completely, try to keep hair styling tools at the lowest possible setting and try to avoid holding the heat in one spot for too long to minimize damage."

Avoid Tight Hairstyles

Sleek buns and protective styles (like braids or faux locs) are gorgeous, but you should exercise caution about how tight your hairstyle is. "Avoid tight hairstyles to decrease breakage and tension on the hair follicles," Ahram recommends. "This will help prevent a type of hair loss called traction alopecia, which can happen from repetitive tight hairstyles."

Never Sleep on Wet Hair

It can be tempting to take a steamy hot shower or a luxurious bath and then hit the sheets, but you should avoid doing that if your hair is wet. "Try not to sleep on wet hair since it is more fragile and prone to breakage," Ahram points out.

If you do get your hair wet, she recommends drying it with a microfiber towel. "It reduces the drying time, and since it is lightweight, it does not pull on the hair like a full-size body towel typically would," she says.

Once you have thoroughly dried your hair, Ahram recommends sleeping on a silk pillowcase. "Use silk pillowcases to decrease friction on the hair while sleeping to protect the hair strands as well," she says.

Eat a Balanced Diet

Both experts stress the importance of a healthful, balanced diet. Proper nutrients are needed for your hair and the rest of your body to thrive. "It's important to incorporate a healthy diet to gain nutrients and vitamins to support the health of your hair," Hurtado says.

Ahram notes that "a healthy balanced diet with fats and proteins helps promote hair growth." She says the most essential nutrients for hair growth and strength are vitamin B, Vitamin D, zinc, biotin, and iron.

Consider Hair Supplements

There are supplements available specifically tailored to help your hair grow faster and fuller. "If you want to try something over the counter, you can consider using Viviscal or Nutrafol," Ahram says. "These supplements can help; however, if you do not see results after five or six months, you will most likely not benefit from them."

Ahram also advises being cautious about some buzzy hair care supplements. "I do not recommend biotin as it has not been shown to help with hair growth and can alter your lab results, such as thyroid labs, leading to false diagnoses."

The Final Takeaway

Many people deal with weak, damaged hair. However, with the proper products and techniques, this concern can be addressed. Revamping your wash day routine with targeted shampoos, conditioners, and treatments can help restore strength and shine to your hair. Implementing hair care practices like gently drying with microfiber towels and applying heat protectants before using hot tools can also make a world of difference. By implementing these changes, you'll notice progressively stronger, healthier hair over time.