If you suffer from straw-like, brittle hair, it might not be dryness that’s the issue. Dehydration is one of the most common pitfalls when it comes to hair health. But keep your glass half full. From hitting your water intake goals to nourishing your locks with hydrating masks, there are plenty of ways to fight hair thirst. Read this guide for all the facts.
About the author
Mathilde Heather is a hair stylist and salon owner operating in Bath, UK. She specialises in short hair styling and regularly shares tutorials about how to achieve healthy, great-looking hair. Follow Mathilde on Instagram.
Today’s Task: Deep Hydration Treatment
1. Apply a hair mask with natural oils like argan or coconut oil.
2. Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave the mask on for an extended period, or even overnight.
3. Shampoo and condition your hair as usual, enjoying the renewed moisture. Make sure you consume a healthy amount of water every day (an eco-friendly water bottle could be your new best friend).
What you'll learn:
- How does hydration impact hair?
- What are the benefits of hair hydration?
- What are the signs of dehydrated hair?
- What factors can contribute to hair dehydration?
- Hydration tips and techniques
How does hydration impact hair?
We all know keeping topped up on H₂O is key for keeping our skin, brain function, and overall energy levels in check. But adequate hydration is also key for helping healthy hair growth.
With over 8,000 individual strands of hair on the head, it makes sense that they need regular hydration to flourish. Think of it a bit like your favourite house plant – it can only grow if you keep watering it – so keep hydrated.
That’s because water helps to transmit vital nutrients to the hair follicles, minimising pesky split ends and maximising shine.
So, if you’re guilty of not drinking the recommended two litres of water a day, here’s your sign to refill that tumbler.
But water isn’t our only hair hydration hero. Let’s not forget the role hair care plays.
It’s not exactly groundbreaking news that regular washing plays a role in keeping your hair supple. But what might surprise you is that simply throwing water on your head won’t cut it. Your chosen products, water temperatures and frequency of washes all contribute to healthy hair hydration too.
When you give your locks the love they deserve, their essential moisture allows for strong, bouncy tresses that you can feel truly confident in.
(Sorry, dandruff… do we know you?)
What are the benefits of hair hydration?
Stimulate hair growth
Drinking water and moisturising your hair properly ensures a healthy scalp, essential for making hair growth happen. This limits uncomfortable skin irritation caused by dead skin cells, residue and redness and allows the hair follicles to flourish in a clean and moisturised environment - meaning your strands can keep on growing.
Flush out toxins
Drinking plenty of water is pretty standard life advice. But when it comes to a hair detox, this is not a factor you’ll want to dilute. Water is key for flushing toxins from your body. When your liver, kidneys and skin go through a detox, your scalp can reap the benefits, too.
The bottom line? Looking after your hair from the inside is just as important as it is from the outside.
Boost collagen production
Collagen has taken the beauty world by storm over recent years. Considering the incredible scalp-loving benefits this wonder-protein has to offer, it’s no wonder.
Adequate hydration aids the production of collagen around the hair follicles. This acts as a protective shield so that hair can healthily grow without breakages. It also helps to minimise hair loss and support the scalp structure – all of which result in unstoppable hair.
Increase blood flow
While scalp massages are one handy technique to improve blood circulation, thehair follicles also need water to carry oxygen and essential nutrients to the roots. This creates stronger, healthier and shinier locks. So, instead of choosing another iced coffee to quench your thirst – reach for the H₂O. Just think of the follicles!
What are the signs of dehydrated hair?
Now we’ve covered the science part, let’s get to know what dehydrated hair looks like. We’ll start by understanding the difference between hair that’s really thirsty, and hair that’s just on the drier side.
Dehydrated hair is suffering from a lack of nutrients supplied to the hair follicles.
Dry hair, on the other hand, is a result of chemical exposure, environmental damage and the overuse of heat styling. Because it’s stripped of its natural oils, it needs more water to retain its moisture.
Feel your hair. Notice any of these signs?
- It looks dull and lacklustre
- It doesn’t feel moisturised even after conditioning
- It feels like straw to the touch
- It’s not cooperating when styled
- It feels oilier at the root
- It’s prone to split ends
These are all down to dehydrated hair, a result of damaged hair shafts and cuticles. If left untreated, the hair can become weak, rough, and even prone to breakage. That’s because your strands will keep asking for more moisture, sending the sebaceous glands into overdrive. Hello, greasy scalp and straggly tips.
If you can relate to any of the above, you might want to top up your water intake and level up your wash routine.
What factors can contribute to hair dehydration?
As well as inadequate water intake and a lax hair care regime, environmental damage, air pollution, extreme weather changes and sun exposure are all culprits of dehydrated hair. Tackling dehydration from all areas will help to give your parched strands the attention they deserve.
Hydration tips and techniques
A must-have for sufferers of dry hair, hair oils can be just as effective if you struggle with dehydrated locks. Just a few drops provide your scalp and strands with a hit of moisture. But with so much choice available, it’s important to pick a product that suits your specific hair care needs.
For example, if your hair is thick and tightly coiled, you’ll be able to handle heavier oil. Olive, coconut, and sweet almond are all hailed for their antioxidant-rich, hair growth-supporting benefits. If you have finer hair, a lightweight formula like argan or avocado will help to protect your hair without weighing it down.
Embrace your savvy side. Assess your personal needs and do plenty of research before purchasing to ensure the best possible results. Before placing the oil all over your hair, take a strand test to see how the oil performs on your hair.
How to apply: Drop a few drops of oil into the scalp, section by section, until you’ve covered all your hair. Gently apply pressure using your fingertips to massage the oil into your scalp. Leave for an hour or overnight and rinse out using a detox-friendly hydrating shampoo.
There is no quick fix for addressing damaged hair. However, regular treatments can help speed up the rehydration process. As well as offering the perfect chance to slow down and enjoy some much-deserved self-care, hair masks come with a host of hair-hydrating benefits.
Better still, you can rustle one up using your favourite kitchen essentials. Many at-home hair treatments call for recipes that use minimal ingredients in their purest form. So, when we say the mayo for your sandwiches can be just as satisfying for your hair - we’re not kidding.
Get a taste of these hydrating hair masks for the ultimate DIY inspiration:
- Milk + honey
- Banana + olive oil
- Apple cider vinegar
- Baking soda
- Sugar + coconut oil
- Avocado + egg + honey
It sounds a little far fetched, but these ingredients are packed with amino acids, proteins and minerals to nourish your strands and scalp for optimum hair health.
How to apply: Mix your chosen ingredients in a small bowl, work through your hair and leave it to work its magic for 30-60 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.
We know that heat is one of the major factors to tackle when embarking on a hair health journey. When it comes to reversing the impact of dehydration, keeping your strands protected from high temperatures is key.
Heat protection sprays are a super effective way to prevent hair from further damage. Spritzing one of these products into your strands before using heat is a no-brainer. However, it’s also worth considering protectants specifically developed for exposure to sun or environmental pollutants. They work to aid cuticle health in the scalp and help retain hair moisture throughout the day.
Our CLOUD NINE MAGICAL POTION and MAGICAL REMEDY provide the ultimate shield for your tresses. This powerful pair are packed with heat protection, flyaway prevention and conditioning power – what more could you ask for? Purchase them as a pair with our MAGICAL DUO set.
To apply: After washing, apply liberally all over your hair and comb through before exposure to heat. Style as you like.
A few more hair habits to hold onto:
- Wash your hair with lukewarm water, never hot – this helps to prevent dryness.
- Switch to silicone and sulphate-free hair care products for your hair detox and beyond.
- Aim to drink eight glasses of water per day. Try adding fruit or fresh mint for a little extra flavour!
- Take care of your body with a balanced, varied diet that includes water-rich foods such as cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelons and strawberries – these are all great for internal hydration.
- Take regular note of how your hair looks and feels and listen to the signs it’s giving you. Regular maintenance makes daily management easy.
The importance of hair hydration: key takeaways
- Hair dehydration takes time to reverse - Constantly throwing water at your hair won’t help the process. Instead, focus on introducing hydrating products that suit your specific hair type and adapt your regime accordingly.
- Make H₂O your new favourite drink - We know nothing hits like that first sip of caffeine, but swapping out a steaming hot mug for a glass of water here and there will make all the difference. You’ve got this!
- Embrace the power of prevention -While we’re focusing on a nine-day detox, seasonal and lifestyle changes constantly impact the condition of our hair. If you spot any signs of dehydration, set aside some time to treat your locks (and yourself) with a moisturising mask – whether you’re detoxing or not.
Nine-day detox, long-term impact.
Embark on our guided plan to revitalise your hair's vibrancy with Mathilde Heather, our expert guide in hair wellness. Share your journey with us and a community committed to hair health with the CLOUD NINE 9-Day Detox.
Go back to Day 4: Scalp Care Rituals
Go forward to Day 6: The Best Hair Detox Products