Reviving Damaged Hair
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Reviving Damaged Hair

5 ways to bring hair back to life.

Perms and Heat Styling

It's ironic that the very things we do to style and beautify hair can leave it damaged and distressed. Blow-dryers, flat irons, color, perms -- even styling products can be downright ugly to hair when overused and abused.

The good news is that it's never too late for a little damage control. Revitalizing damaged hair and restoring it to a more healthy state, better able to withstand all we do to it, is possible. What's needed? Professional intervention and a big dose of TLCC -- tender loving care and conditioning.

Here, common hair mishaps and how to address them:

Problem: Perm Perils Your perm didn't take -- or it took too well. It's either too tight, too lax, or just not all what you wanted.

Solution First S.O.S. stop: a good salon. Ask for a "reverse perm" to counteract the effect of the perming solution. If you want to try the antidote at home, protect hands and clothes. Then, over a sink, comb perming solution over hair until you can visibly tell it's relaxed. Rinse hair completely and condition hair well; try Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask ($6.99).

Problem: Overheating The damage has been done. Your hair is brittle and has too many split ends due to excessive heat styling with blow-dryers, flat irons, curling irons, or a combination of all three.

Solution The first step to recovery is a good haircut. Your stylist will remove split ends and damaged hair. Follow up with a deep conditioning salon treatment -- ask your stylist which one is best for you. It will fortify hair and give your new style a super healthy foundation. Now that hair looks better, treat it better. Towel dry and/or air dry hair before heat styling. Pretreat hair with a conditioning and protective styling product before you blow, iron, or curl it (look for products specifically for heat styling like Aveda Brilliant Damage Control, $5.50). Shampoo and condition hair with products formulated for dry hair. Lastly, schedule regular trims to keep damage at a minimum.

Color and Buildup

Problem: The Wrong Color The art of color is best left to professionals -- but that doesn't mean mistakes don't happen. Whether it's a run-in with an inexperienced colorist or a bad dye job at home, color can spell catastrophe. Solution The most painless solution: get yourself to an experienced colorist for color guidance and correction. Ask for a tone down of too obvious highlights with some low-lights. A color wash, toner, or a single process will help take you back to a more suitable overall shade. Make sure you and your colorist are on the same page by showing them photos of the look you're after.

The Problem: Too Much Color Another color culprit you can't blame on anyone but yourself is overprocessing. While experimenting with color and highlights may be fun, the process of applying, taking out, and redepositing pigment is very damaging.

Solution Protect hair health -- and keep color looking great by conditioning hair frequently (try Dove Moisture Rich Color Conditioner, $3.99). Also, look for daily care products made for color-treated hair (like Garnier Fructis Fortifying Shampoo for Color-Treated Hair, Fortifying Cream Conditioner for Color-Treated Hair, both $3.89), get frequent trims and protect colored hair from sun and chlorine.

Problem: Buildup Blunders Gels, sprays, pomades, shine enhancers, and on and on. Overdoing your styling product repertoire can result in shine-dulling buildup. And cleansing too often and too vigorously will leave hair super clean, but vulnerable to damage.

Solution While it's true there are so many great products out there now, it doesn't mean you have to try them all! Ask your stylist to help you select just those products you need to get the look you want. Don't wash hair too often or too vigorously; twice a week is fine for most people.

Mark Garrison's salon is located in New York City. For more information, go to http://www.markgarrisonsalon.com.

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