The Ultimate Healthy Hair Handbook

Reader, heal your hair! You've written us by the boatload, asking for help in repairing dull, limp, frizzy, or damaged locks. Here, a guide to all the beauty know-how you'll need for gorgeous hair.
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"My hair feels dry and rough to the touch!"

The hair sins responsible: Your hair is crying out for help -- moisture help, that is. By far, the most common causes of dry hair are heat styling and lightening your hair color. (Unlike darkening your color, lightening uses damaging bleach.) While it's okay to indulge in both -- in fact, we recommend that you do, as they can really make your hair look better -- it's crucial to replenish the natural moisture that these procedures can take away. Philip Pelusi, salon owner and maker of his own hair-care line, explains the phenomenon: "Adding lighter color to your hair causes the cuticles to rise, which creates little potholes in your hair that makes it rougher and less able to retain moisture." Whenever you place intense heat on your strands, you're compromising this protective outer layer too; when this outer layer of the hair strand is standing up, you'll literally feel it.

Hair Healers

Techniques If your hair color is significantly lighter than what you were born with, consider darkening it a bit. Continue to use your beloved blow-dryers and curling irons, but, as hair-care expert Marc Anthony, a salon owner based in Toronto, Canada, and maker of his own line, recommends, "Keep the tool moving over your hair -- leaving it on one spot too long makes the hair more susceptible to breakage." As for the aforementioned "potholes," conditioner will help to fill them in, making your hair look immediately restored.

Products Conditioner, conditioner, conditioner! In addition to a daily product, treat your tired locks to a weekly mask with soy, wheat proteins, and silk amino acids -- 10 minutes in the shower is the magic amount of time. Also, coat your hair with a heat-protection spray before you style with heat. This will form a barrier between your hair and the heat source, and some formulas even work with the heat to infuse restorative ingredients into the hair.

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