In this article I’ve elaborated on how to tell if your hair is dry or damaged or both! You can also learn how to fix damaged hair and dry hair easily.
Do you have dry hair, damaged hair or both? Yes, you read that right guys. Dry hair and damaged hair are two different hair issues, but are often thought of as the same.
Well, while we can consider dry hair to be damaged or one type of hair damage, we cannot say that all damaged hair is dry.
Why is knowing the difference between dry and damaged hair so important you may ask?
Well, when you buy hair care products, you get products to suit both these hair issues and it is important to use the right hair care product for your hair issue in order to solve it.
So if you were someone who thought of your hair as dry or damaged or both, then check out this article to find out what the differences are and the right ways to treat both these hair issues.
Related: What Causes Hair Damage
Related: How To Strengthen Hair
Dry Hair Vs Damaged Hair: The Difference
Dry hair often tends to feel dry and rough and this could be because your hair isn’t sufficiently moisturized.
Most people who have the issue of dry hair face two main problems as to why their hair gets so dry and it is either because their sebaceous glands do not produce sufficient sebum.
It can even be dry if the hair is too highly porous that all the moisture from the hair seeps out through the open cuticles on the hair shaft.
And on the contrary, it may have very low porosity so that it doesn’t let any moisturizers and conditioners enter easily into the hair shaft.
These are the two main internal issues leading to dry hair, in addition to external factors like heat treatments, exposure to sunlight, exposure to chlorinated water in pools, use of hard water on hair etc.
Talking about damaged hair, there are different types of “hair damage” that can occur to your hair strands.
You will find your hair become excessively prone to breakage because it becomes very brittle.
Your hair might also look dull and stand very limp, you find your hair getting super tangled in no time, your hair succumbs to split ends and your hair can also begin to look frizzy.
Well, similar to the internal and external factors leading to hair getting dry, those reasons can also be applicable to how and why your hair gets damaged, in addition to a few other reasons (mentioned below).
How To Tell If Your Hair Is Dry Or Damaged
Before choosing any products for your hair, it is important to know what exactly the problem with your hair is. Is your hair dry or damaged or both.
Here are a few methods you could use to get to know your hair problem:
Try the hair porosity test
The hair porosity test is often used in order to find out whether your hair is porous or not and this test is simple.
All you need to do is take a strand of your hair (make sure that it is free from oil, serum or moisturizer) once your hair has been washed and dried. Then, into a glass of water, drop in this hair strand and wait for around 3 to 4 minutes before you check for the results.
What you will notice is that either your hair strand has sunk to the bottom, indicating that your hair is very porous.
If your hair strand only sinks half way down to the middle of the glass, then your hair has normal porosity and if your hair strand floats, then it has very low porosity.
So to conclude, if your hair is dry, it could either be because your hair is too porous, that moisture seeps out easily or not very porous at all, to be able to take in any external hydration.
Try the touch test
This is relatively simple. Take a strand of your hair (when it is dry), hold it firmly at one end (you can also do this while the strand is on your head, if you are someone with long hair) and then gently run the strand in between two of your fingers.
Let your fingers gently glide along the length of the strand in both directions (once downwards and once upwards).
If you are someone with damaged hair, you will find that the hair strand feels very dry and rough.
For those with damaged hair, you will find the hair strand changing in textures as you glide along it. So maybe it is soft at the top, has bumps along the stand and it may become rough or split at the ends.
Check your hair’s elasticity
Well, I’d like to call this the “stretch” test because that’s basically what you’re going to be doing with your hair strand.
So you will have to take a strand of your hair and hold it at either end. Then gently, exerting very little force, pull it from both sides.
If you observe that your hair strand breaks in no time, then for sure your hair is dry and brittle. If you observe that the strand stretches quite a bit without breaking, it could mean that your hair is damaged.
If your hair strand stretches and when left, returns to its normal length (basically has a springy effect), then your hair is normal and healthy.
Ways to deal with dry hair
1. Ditch using heat styling tools
Heat is one of the worst things for dry hair. Using heat styling tools on a regular basis can dry out your hair to a considerable extent and make it prone to damage.
Therefore, take a step back from heat styling tools, and yes, it includes blow dryers too
If you really have to use one for an occasion, then remember to spritz some heat protectant spray all over your hair before you start the heat styling process.
This will help protect the hair and reduce the amount of heat damage caused.
2. Moisturize it regularly
Dry hair requires a lot of hydration and therefore make sure to keep your hair well moisturized at all times, be it by oiling your hair regularly, using a leave-in conditioner, using a deep conditioning hair mask or maybe even simply applying a good moisturizing cream all over your hair.
3. Wash your hair with cold water
Using cold or lukewarm water to wash your hair is always ideal. If you use hot water on your hair, it will open up the cuticles on the hair shaft and open cuticles will result in loss of moisture, thereby making the hair dry.
You could also use lukewarm water to wash your hair and use a cold water rinse just before you get out of the shower, to help seal the hair cuticles, locking in the moisture.
4. Keep your hair covered
Most often our hair is exposed to sunlight, which can make the hair dry because of the UV rays of the sun. So wearing a cap, using an umbrella or even covering your head with a scarf can do your dry hair good.
If you are a swimmer, make sure to wear a swim cap, to avoid the chlorinated water from drying your hair out further.
Ways to deal with damaged hair
1. Make sure to get frequent haircuts or hair trims
There are times when the hair ends become dry, rough, brittle and succumb to split ends. If split ends aren’t trimmed off, they can travel up the hair strand and damage it further.
One of the best ways to help get rid of these split ends, is by trimming your hair.
Having haircuts from time to time or at least trimming your hair once every two months will do your damaged hair good.
2. Avoid dyeing and bleaching your hair often
When the hair is bleached and dyed, there are harsh chemicals used in order to strip the hair color pigments and then color it with a new shade.
These chemicals can be very harsh on the hair and damage the hair extensively.
So if you are someone with already damaged hair, then you will need to reduce or stop dyeing and bleaching your hair until your hair health improves.
3. Brush your hair with a wide-tooth comb
A lot of people brush their hair too often and this is definitely not a good practice. Brushing your hair too often can damage it as it causes friction between the hair strands.
So brushing your hair a maximum of twice a day is sufficient.
Also, remember to always use a wide toothed comb to comb your hair and get rid of the tangles before brushing it, as wide toothed combs can help reduce friction between the hair strands and prevent it from getting damaged.
4. Condition your hair once it has been shampooed
Shampoos are cleansing agents and can strip the hair off its moisture and also make the hair more prone to damage.
Conditioning your hair (and not the scalp) will help coat each hair strand to prevent it from damage once it dries, while also rehydrating the hair at the same time.
5. Oil your hair on a regular basis
Oiling your hair and scalp on a regular basis can be one of the best remedies to treat damaged hair.
When the hair is oiled, it not only moisturizes the hair, it also provides the hair with nourishment and strength right from within.
Oiling the hair will help coat each hair strand and prevent it from getting further damaged. Well-nourished hair will be less susceptible to damage like hair breakage and frizz.
The final takeaway
I hope this article has helped you figure out what exactly your hair’s problems lie.
And while the three simple methods of testing whether your hair is dry or damaged, may not be 100% accurate.
However, they can definitely help give you an idea of what exactly your hair issue is and you can then find the right ways to fix it.
Sometimes dry hair is also damaged and vice versa, so you can combine the treatments for these two issues.