When I first started noticing grey hairs on my head, I panicked. I was never allowed to dye my strawberry-blonde hair when I was growing up, and while I’ve always known my mother’s claims that no hairdresser in the entire world will ever be able to match my natural hair color were ridiculous, I am much too conservative to do anything drastic to my locks.

But when the grey started growing at a rate that my tweezers simply could not keep up with, I knew I had to do something. So I made an appointment with my hairdresser to discuss different options, and when he suggested we ease into the world of hair dye with a few highlights, I swallowed the bile in my throat and agreed.

I remember feeling so silly when I left the salon that day. My hairdresser matched the color of the highlights to my hair perfectly, and I was amazed at how much younger I looked without all of that grey staring back at me in the mirror.

I ended up getting highlights 2 more times after that first visit, and even opted for a few low-lights at my hairdresser’s insistence, and while I initially loved that my hair finally had a bit of life back, I slowly started to notice changes.

If your hair has fallen victim to the damaging effects of highlights and permanent hair color, this is a fabulous collection of tips to teach you how to repair damaged hair so you can restore that natural, healthy shine we all know and love. All of these hair tips have been helpful to me, but the hair product recommendations as well as the guide for controlling the heat settings on my hot tools have made the biggest difference. Good luck!

It didn’t shine like it used to.

The ends were dry and brittle.

It looked limp and lifeless no matter how many volumizing products I used.

And after my third (and final!) appointment for highlights, my hair started actually breaking.

I cried pretty much every single day after my last appointment with my hairdresser, and while he acknowledges that my hair does not look as healthy as it once did, he refuses to place any blame on the highlights and insists I’m 100% at fault.

If your hair has fallen victim to the damaging effects of highlights and permanent hair color, this is a fabulous collection of tips to teach you how to repair damaged hair so you can restore that natural, healthy shine we all know and love. All of these hair tips have been helpful to me, but the hair product recommendations as well as the guide for controlling the heat settings on my hot tools have made the biggest difference. Good luck!

Now, I’m fully aware that I wash my hair too frequently, and I take full accountability for using too many hot tools, but as my routine has not changed in over 20 years, I know the highlights are at least partially to blame.

Regardless, I fired my hairdresser and found a more experienced stylist who took the time to assess the damage to my hair and put together a game plan for me to bring it back to life, and after seeing an improvement in only TWO WEEKS, I had to share some of her tips with all of you.

If your hair has fallen victim to the damaging effects of highlights and permanent hair color, this is a fabulous collection of tips to teach you how to repair damaged hair so you can restore that natural, healthy shine we all know and love. All of these hair tips have been helpful to me, but the hair product recommendations as well as the guide for controlling the heat settings on my hot tools have made the biggest difference. Good luck!

Here are her best tips to teach you how to repair damaged hair!

1. GET A TRIM
During my first visit with my new hairdresser, she was very upfront with me and said that if I want to completely remove all of the damage to my hair, I need to cut a minimum of 2 inches off. This made my lip wobble and my eye tear up as I’m trying so desperately to grow my hair out so I can sport sexy beach waves next summer, and when she saw how unhappy I was, she made a deal with me: she would cut off one inch that day as long as I promised to follow her instructions to keep my hair healthy in between hair cuts, and that I return in no more than 2 months’ time for another trim. Those 2 inches are going to come off regardless, but by doing it gradually while simultaneously avoiding further damage, it doesn’t have to be as drastic.

2. STOP WASHING YOUR HAIR EVERYDAY
For whatever reason, I really struggle with skipping the shampoo in the morning. I just don’t feel as clean if I haven’t submerged my entire body in a hot, steamy shower, and I find my hair looks like a greasy, scary mess if I go more than 24 hours without a wash. But when my new stylist confirmed that washing your hair every day strips if of it’s nutrients and natural oils, and can also lead to hair breakage, brittle strands, dullness, and dry scalp, I realized I needed to make a change. So I invested in a sexy shower cap, read these helpful tips for prolonging a hair wash, and vowed I would only shampoo every OTHER day.

3. INVEST IN A GOOD SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER
While I have no problem investing in salon-quality mousses and serums and heat protectors for my hair, I am very frugal when it comes to the products I use in the shower. I have just never been able to justify spending more than $5 on a shampoos and conditioners, but after my stylist explained that a lot of drugstore brands can dry out your hair, strip it of color, and/or cause dandruff, I paid attention. And guess what? She chose 2 products that weren’t nearly as expensive as I thought they were going to be – the Revlon Professional Interactives Shine Up Shampoo and the Style Masters Smooth Conditioner – and I find I have to use a fraction of the product to get the same results I did with my beloved drugstore brands. Also? My hair looks cleaner than it has in years. I’m serious!

4. USE THE RIGHT STYLING PRODUCTS
I could talk to you about hair styling products for hours. I’ve tried so many different sprays, serums, and mousses over the years, each with varying results, and while what works for me won’t necessarily work for you, I cannot stress how important it is to invest in the RIGHT products for YOUR hair type. I start with applying a dime-sized amount of Revlon Professional Style Masters Smooth Iron Guard on my hair when it’s damp, and after I’ve finished blow-drying my hair, I applying a generous spritz of CHI 44 Iron Guard before using my hair flat iron or curling wand. And when I’m satisfied with my look, I smooth fly aways with a bit of Moroccanoil Treatment, which also adds a bit of shine.

Regardless of what you use, I highly suggest asking your stylist what he or she recommends for your individual hair type, and to re-evaluate every 2+ months to assess if the products are doing their job, or if you need to upgrade to something better.

5. TURN THE HEAT DOWN ON YOUR HOT TOOLS
I have always been careful about keeping my styling tools turned down to a lower temperature, but when I told my stylist I typically opt for a temperature of about 350 degrees on my flat iron, she almost slapped me. Even though this is a full 100 degrees lower than the highest heat setting, it is WAY too high for my hair, so I am now banned from going above 280 degrees. Period. I find it takes a bit longer to style my hair at the lower setting, but I can definitely notice a difference. I can usually see the signs of heat damage within a week of a hair trim, but after almost 3 weeks, I hardly see a difference!

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If your hair has fallen victim to the damaging effects of highlights and permanent hair color, this is a fabulous collection of tips to teach you how to repair damaged hair so you can restore that natural, healthy shine we all know and love. All of these hair tips have been helpful to me, but the hair product recommendations as well as the guide for controlling the heat settings on my hot tools have made the biggest difference. Good luck!

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Dani
Founder and Editor at Meraki Lane
Dani is a 30-something freelance writer and social media consultant who has an unhealthy love for makeup, hair, and fashion. She lives with her husband and 4-year-old daughter in Toronto, Canada and hopes to move to a warmer climate someday. Preferably tomorrow.

This is an excerpt from the article How to repair damaged hair: 5 tips that work! which originally appeared on http://www.cloudywithachanceofwine.com/.