Powerful Products that Repair Hair Damage

A little TLC will get your frazzled strands smooth and shining again.

As with your complexion, the products you choose to cleanse and condition can make all the difference when it comes to good hair health. "Strands are just as sensitive as skin to the cumulative effects of UV rays, humidity, air conditioning systems and other external aggressors," says Melissa Harvey, a New York-based consulting trichologist (hair scientist) with hair growth company Bio Follicle.

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Skincare Ingredients Turned Hair Care
Hair care companies are infusing their shampoos, conditioners and masks with skin-worthy ingredients (from argan oil to sunscreen) to boost the overall appearance of your strands. The new L'Oréal Paris Advanced Haircare collection, for example, includes five shampoos and conditioners (ranging from moisturizing to color protecting) and seven treatments, each formulated with a patented amino acid-protein blend. The concentrated ingredients promise to strengthen hair follicles from root to tip and penetrate deep into the core to repair damage from within. Joico's new Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo contains what the company calls a Bio-Advanced Peptide Complex, a technology that mimics natural hair chains to purportedly reconstruct damaged areas of the cuticle. And both Nexxus and Pantene have tapped into the rejuvenating powers of some of skincare's most potent ingredients. The former has just introduced its Salon Hair Care Hydra-Light collection, a complete line of products formulated with deep sea minerals and antioxidants to help hydrate and nourish hair, while the latter claims its vitamin- and caffeine-rich formula will give your strands a youthful bounce that shave a decade off their appearance.

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Weekly Deep-Conditioning Treatments
In addition to using multi-tasking shampoos and conditioners, Kristy Dicus, a colorist at the Frédéric Fekkai salon in Los Angeles, recommends doing a weekly deep-conditioning treatment to boost hair strength. "If you have time to paint your nails, you have time for a hair mask," she says. Fekkai Technician Color Care 3-Minute Mask conditions strands with super-hydrating avocado oil and sun-protective oils to help color-treated hair maintain shine and extend time between salon touch-ups. Vidal Sassoon's new Pro Series 1 Minute Mask, Moisture Lock smoothes and strengthens hair to make it easier to comb and style with less breakage. And the decadent new White Sands Orchids Oil is formulated with orchid extract-a rejuvenating ingredient found in several skin products for its anti-aging benefits-to help repair split ends and restore shine.

Vitamins and Supplements for Healthy Hair
Adding supplements to your diet can also improve the quality of hair over time. "Vitamins won't repair the damage already done from chemicals like ammonia or intense heat exposure," says Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D., a Washington, D.C., dermatologist. "But biotin has been shown to help the growth of hair and nails."

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In addition to biotin, vitamin D may also benefit limp strands. Although there isn't extensive evidence, this vitamin's receptor helps regulate your hair cycle, so it definitely won't hurt. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that aid cell regeneration-but taking too much of this supplement can be dangerous for your health. The safest way to get this and other hair-strengthening nutrients such as B12, B6 and folate is through a nutritious and well-balanced diet. Other supplements, such as saw palmetto extract and Viviscal, have been shown to stimulate hair growth and encourage healthy, fuller hair.

- by Roopika Malhotra

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