I need to get something off my chest. For the best part of a year, I have been dealing with what can only be described as a halo of flyaways. My hair is very fine, so I was used to dealing with the odd tuft that had fallen victim to breakage. However, a few months ago, said wispy tufts became thick, blunt stumps. Up until then, my hair had always been surprisingly healthy. I very rarely use heat on it and had never had a major issue with split ends. But alas, it seemed that all too suddenly, hair breakage was out to get me.
And I was far from alone. In fact, it seems as though everyone is struggling with broken baby hairs and weak strands right now. And while I originally put my hair weakness down to lockdown neglect, even after I’d had my much-needed salon appointments, the weak tufts of hair remained. It was actually during my first post-lockdown colour appointment that I became aware of how serious the situation was.
As I watched the stylist glide the brush through my freshly bleached hair during the blow-dry, I couldn’t believe just how many flyaways were blowing free. In a bid to get some answers, I reached out to Dominic Roach, Creative Director of Colour at Butchers. “Weak, breaking hair is an ever-present problem for many heads amongst us. However, with guests now returning to us in the salon after such a long winter lockdown, the problem does seem to be more prevalent,” he says.
Since then, I have made it my mission to strengthen my strands and get them fighting fit once more. I reached out to just about every great hair stylist I know and squeezed every tip, trick and product recommendation out of them. Now, my hair is in the best condition it has been for nearly two years. Keep scrolling for everything I learned, as well as the 15 products that helped strengthen my hair.
Unsurprisingly, the sorts of products we’re using on our hair can make all the difference when it comes to strengthening strands. “Once the hair becomes brittle and the cuticles get damaged, it can’t be fixed,” says Smart. “However, there are things that temporarily strengthen the hair, including products containing protein. This allows an extra layer of protection by binding the cuticle and plugging any gaps to help strengthen. Secondly, you’ve got to infuse the hair with moisture,” she adds.
As for the products themselves, look for deep-conditioning treatments and masks to get as much moisture into lengths as possible. “Using the right products to help keep hair strong is key, with conditioners and treatments being essential. A treatment will penetrate deeper into the hair to help restore lost moisture, repair and strengthen. A conditioner will help smooth and seal the outer layer of the hair to give it ultimate protection,” advises Hill.
Want to know what worked for me? These are the 15 best strengthening hair treatments I swear by.