The Way You Do the Things You Do continued...
Heated rollers, and curling and flat irons can do equal damage. If you find your hair is taking longer to curl, or won't hold your style for very long, then it's a clear sign you are using too much heat.
If you must set your style, Lamas says mesh rollers are best, and "always use end papers to protect the hair." Rollers to avoid, he says, are the self-stick loop-and-tape variety, which increase the risk of breakage.
What can be great for hair -- damaged or not -- is vigorous brushing, particularly with a natural bristle brush. While any kind of hairbrush will help distribute oils from the scalp to the ends where it's most needed, those with natural bristles can grab the oils more effectively and distribute them faster and easier.
"A lot of women avoid vigorous brushing because they fear hair loss, but actually brushing can be good as it helps stimulate the scalp," says Baker. If your scalp is also dry, she says, you can still brush, just do it more gently and use a brush with soft bristles.
While there's no question that you can make even the most damaged hair look and feel a whole lot better, our experts also say that for many women the real answer is a great haircut -- particularly if your hair has suffered heavy summer wear and tear.
"There is nothing you can really do to repair damaged hair -- it's all about masking the damage; and sometimes, if that damage is severe enough, you are better off going into the fall/winter season with a terrific new haircut, which can help you achieve a healthy, sexy head of hair a lot sooner," says Juan.
Once you've achieved that, experts say make yourself a promise to go into the next summer season with hair protection: Rinse hair as soon as it's exposed to salt water or chlorine, avoid direct sunlight on your hair, and use leave-in conditioners, shampoos, and styling aids with sun protection whenever you are outdoors.
SOURCES: Melissa Baker, national training manager; and spokesperson, Renee Furterer hair care products, Paris, and Los Angeles. Peter Lamas, celebrity hairdresser, http://www.lamasbeauty.com/magazine/; and creator, Lamas Beauty and Hair Care Products, Los Angeles. Juan Juan, owner, J Beverly Hills salon, http://www.jbeverlyhills.com/, and J Beverly Hills hair care products, Beverly Hills, Calif.