Hair damage happens to the best of us. Sure, most people know that chemical treatments and hot tools can damage your hair, but the causes can also be as simple as wearing it up too often or sleeping on the wrong type of pillow. And though there are oils, creams, and serums that can all help repair damage, it's even more important to pay attention to the products you use in the shower. Ahead, a guide to the best shampoos and conditioners for damaged hair on the market.
But first, a few tips on how to help prevent damage in the first place. Telling you to never highlight or chemically-treat your hair is unrealistic — but, you can start by wearing your hair up less frequently, or using a soft scrunchie instead of a tight, elastic hair tie when you do pull it back. You can also try sleeping on a silk pillowcase, which helps reduce friction (thus limiting the chance of breakage, frizz, and tangles). Additionally, if your hair is already damaged, you almost exclusively want to be using a hair mask in place of conditioner, since they do the same job but are much more nourishing.
Now that you're armed with a few essential tips, scroll on to discover the best repairing shampoos and deep conditioners to buy now. After that, check out this list of the best products for damaged hair to use once you've air-dried.
1. Best High-End Shampoo & Conditioner Bundle
Not only is the packaging gorgeous, but NatureLab. Tokyo's Perfect Repair shampoo and conditioner aren't fooling around when it comes to results. The sulfate-free formula contains an impressive blend of ingredients — argan oil, keratin, bamboo stem cells, and prickly pear oil — that work together to strengthen hair, promote healthy growth, and restore shine. What's more, it also helps shield hair from future damage inflicted by environmental aggressors.
"I am the poster child for dry damaged hair," one reviewer writes. "This is the first thing I ever used that worked." Another fan says, "I'm so impressed with this product. It leaves my super damaged hair incredibly soft ... like I cant stop touching it soft. Also smells clean and fresh."
- Pair it with NatureLab. Tokyo's Perfect Repair Treatment Masque.
2. Best Drugstore Shampoo & Conditioner Bundle
For a shampoo and conditioner bundle that will leave your hair nourished and soft at a drugstore price, you can't go wrong with L'Oreal's EverCreme Sulfate Free Shampoo & Conditioner. Containing a blend of argan and apricot oils, it helps soften brittle hair and restore moisture without leaving behind any sort of residue. The sulfate-free formula also helps enhance shine, so hair looks healthier, feels healthier, and is generally easier to manage. As an added bonus, the scent smells delicious.
"Love this! I have been using it for 3 months continuously now. Apricot Kernels do wonders to restoring damaged dry hair and split ends. My hair looks very healthy, shiny and has great body," reports one customer.
3. Best Clarifying Shampoo For Damaged Hair
A healthy scalp is the key to healthy hair, which is why you should make sure you're using a clarifying shampoo once a week or so. A more nourishing alternative to most other clarifying formulas, Shea Moisture's shampoo removes product buildup and alleviates dry, itchy scalps using a blend of botanical ingredients, like tea tree and sacha inchi oil, that create a healthy environment for hair to thrive. Meanwhile, heavy-duty moisturizers like shea butter, aloe vera, glycerin, and cocoa butter help soften and repair hair that's been damaged by chemical treatments or heat styling. Just be sure to follow up with a deep conditioner, since its clarifying abilities can leave hair a bit dry.
Co-washers and reviewers with locs swear by this stuff, while other fans recommend using it before a hair mask or silk press treatment to provide a "squeaky clean slate." Other customers rave about how it "leaves hair silky and shiny."
4. Best Conditioner For Damaged Hair
From a brand professionals swear by, Olaplex's No.5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner mimics an in-salon treatment: think of it as a conditioner on steroids. It helps strengthen damaged hair by re-linking broken bonds, while also working to increase shine, tame frizz, and repair split ends. Though recommended for use on all hair types, it's practically a must-have for anyone who dyes or chemically-treats their hair.
Multiple reviewers credit it for "saving" and "transforming" their damaged hair. One writes, "Hair miracle. It has transformed my dry brittle hair into soft and silky. I can even let it air dry without my hair looking frizzy." Another fan says, "This stuff is magic. I can’t get enough. I would bathe in it if I could. Within one use my hair is incredibly soft and feels stronger and healthier."
- Pair it with the Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo.
5. Best K-Beauty Mask For Damaged Hair
If you love a good Korean beauty product, you've got to try Elizavecca's CER-100 Collagen Coating Hair Protein Treatment. The formula is loaded with ceramides and collagen that work to repair severely damaged, over-processed hair. With each use, you'll notice as your hair becomes stronger, silkier, shinier, and softer. Reviewers also say it helps reduce frizz and tangles, while others say it makes their curly, unruly hair much easier to manage. Apply it to wet or damp hair and let it sit for up to 20 minutes before rinsing — though be careful not to use it too often, because excess protein can cause hair to feel brittle.
"Caution: results in impossibly silky hair," one reviewer writes, while another calls it a "MUST HAVE if you damage your hair with heat and color."
Another fan raves, "This conditioner is amazing. It has done the most for my extremely damaged bleached blonde hair out of any rinse out product I’ve ever used."
6. Best Drugstore Hair Mask For Damaged Hair
One of the most impressive hair masks in its category, Garnier's Whole Blends honey hair treatment provides heavy-duty nourishment at a drugstore price. Enriched with decadent ingredients like honey, propolis, and royal jelly, it works to repair and strengthen weakened hair that's become dry and brittle. For just over $10, it comes with two jars; the rest of the line is just as good.
"My hair is chemically damaged but after using this conditioner it feels wonderfully healthy," writes one reviewer. Another says, "My stylist has commented multiple times on how healthy my hair is, and was surprised when I told her I use Garnier Whole Blends instead of a more expensive hair line."
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.