If you’re experiencing split ends, shedding and difficulty styling, you may have damage to your hair that needs treatment.

Hair damage can be either internal or external. Internal damage is caused by medication, underlying scalp and health conditions, stress, and poor eating habits…. we will get into that another day.  Today, let’s address external damage.

There are three types of external hair damage that need repair:

  1. Over-processed or chemically damaged
  2. Dehydrated or dry hair
  3. Heat damaged or singed hair

In this blog, we’ll look into the signs of chemically damaged hair, a common cause of hair damage. If you’re interested in learning about other types of damage, check out our blogs on Heat-Damaged Hair or Dehydrated Hair. 

About Chemical Hair Damage

Chemical damage to your hair can be attributed to hair coloring, perms, and hair relaxants.

The hair cuticle is the outermost part of the hair shaft, made up of dead cells. This layer protects your hair shaft. With damaged hair, the cuticle has begun to wear away, thus exposing the cortex.

Hair coloring penetrates the hair cuticle in order to access the cortex that changes the color of your hair. Perms and relaxants change the shape of your hair. To do this, the chemicals must break down the Disulphide bonds in your hair which keep the protein structures of your hair held together. By breaking this down, your hair can be manipulated into new shapes.

What does chemically damaged hair feel like?

Characteristics of Chemically Damaged Hair

  • If you left a salon feeling like you have less hair than when you came in- without getting a haircut- you were more than likely over-processed. (You may need a new stylist…)
  • Over-processed hair feels slimy and mushy when wet. When pulled on wet, it stretches but does not return to its shape.
  • Hair is brittle when dry and breaks off easily.

Treatment of Chemically Damaged Hair

If chemical damage is your problem- depending on the degree- you will need products to repair both the internal and the external structure to the hair.  Products containing hyaluronic acid (yep, the same stuff in facial fillers) are an excellent choice for filling in the interior structure, while products that mend the broken bonds of the hair (like Olaplex) will repair the damage done to the surface of the hair shaft.  

In extreme cases where the surface of the hair is extremely compromised, I recommend an in-salon keratin treatment.  This process actually creates an artificial cuticle, giving structure and strength back to the hair.

Protein ingredients are also needed, however- I cannot stress enough that a little goes a long way! Rigid proteins that rebuild and repair, if used too often or left on too long, will cause brittle, dull hair from a protein overload. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions!

So how do we go about correcting these issues?

The first thing you need to know is that the damage (most likely) did not occur overnight.  It will take some patience to get your hair health back, but don’t run and cut off your hair just yet! Try these tips to get quick results in our blog: Quick Hair Repair Tips

Take a deep breath, and know that the science and products are out there to give you your hair back. It just takes time and the correct product regimen.  

As Patrick Ales founder of PHYTO haircare says “There is no such thing as bad hair, only poorly treated hair”.


Make an appointment at our salon with one of our talented stylists to determine a treatment plan for your hair.

Check out our Stylist Matcher to get paired with a stylist who loves styling hair just like yours, and knows how to do it right.