Best hair repair products for dry, dull and damaged hair

Ellie Davis
·11-min read
 (IMAXTREE)
(IMAXTREE)

Covid directives are changing left, right and centre but it looks like it will be a while until we are finally able to frequent our favourite salons.

Yes, we may not be seeing many people and a handy bun or plait can hide the worst of the damage on a Zoom call, but when we emerge from our lockdown cocoons, who doesn’t want healthy, shiny and luscious hair?

Getting a trim can work wonders at transforming our tresses from straw-like to Saturday night-ready but as this is not currently on the cards, we can make small changes to our product line-up to breathe new life into our locks.

How does hair get damaged?

Adam Reed, UK Editorial Ambassador for L’Oréal Professionnel explains, “Our hair has three important parts, the follicle, shaft and cuticles. Hair cuticles are mostly formed of keratin. When healthy, they overlap to form a protective layer around the hair. When hair is badly damaged, the outer cuticle lifts and becomes worn, meaning the overlapping cells no longer lie flat. This can cause the hair shaft to become fragile and prone to splitting and breaking.”

Excessive heat from tools like straighteners or tongs, colouring, UV rays, washing it too often and thus removing the natural oils that nourish it, and infrequent cuts can all wreak havoc on our hair.

The lotions and potions that you apply are key to minimising their impact, preventing further breakage and will keep you in good stead for your next appointment.

What can products do to repair hair?

Pack your hair with hydration, strengthening oils and vitamins through your shampoo, conditioner, mask or serums that can repair the broken bonds and tackle common complaints like dryness, dullness, lifelessness, split ends and frizz.

Reed adds, “My first piece of advice when it comes to products is to use them as preventative: protect, strengthen and nourish hair on an on-going basis to maintain its health. Products like L’Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Absolut Repair Masque, which contains Golden Quinoa for added protein, is ideal for restoring hair health and preventing damage.

"If you’re a bit shorter for time, L’Oréal Professionnel Mythic Original Oil (or as I like to call it, liquid gold!) is enriched with Moroccan Argan Oil and Vitamin E to nourish and repair. I like to rub this between hands and apply to ends after blow-drying to protect it. My final piece of advice is to always use a styling product with a heat protector spray like L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Pli to help to maintain the health of the hair.”

The golden haircare rules

  1. Hair is fragile when wet so avoid brushing or towel drying as this can be rough on it.

  2. Don’t wash your hair everyday to retain the natural oils.

  3. Ditch the heat.

Reed stresses the last point. For heat addicts he recommends,"Plaiting the hair before bed, partially wet, is a great way to wake up with waves and a little texture in the hair so you still feel like your hair has style. Play around with the way you do it. The thicker the plait section, the looser the waves or similarly letting the hair dry in a tight, low ponytail will help to achieve flatter roots with a natural texture through the ends."

If you’re not ready to let go of your tools just yet, he suggests opting for one “that controls heat and prevents from damage. L’Oréal Professionnel Steampod 3.0 uses steam and is specifically designed to smooth, style or add wave to hair with up to 78 per cent less damage.”

We’ve gathered products for all hair lengths, colours, types and textures to stop damage in its tracks.

Aveda Botanical Repair Range

Aveda launched its Botanical Repair range at the end of 2020 to help us transform our locks from the inside out with a scientifically-backed, bond-building treatment.

Each of the products - the Shampoo, Conditioner, Leave-in Treatment and Mask - work in tandem to strengthen and repair each strand.

Hair is made up of three key layers; the F-Layer, Cuticle and Cortex - and this collection is designed to strengthen them all. The molecules get absorbed all the way into the cortex and multiply bonds to fortify them and leave locks feeling thicker and healthier. There’s a detangling and smoothing effect at the cuticle level to prevent breakage and a unique plant-based complex that surrounds the F-layer for additional support from the elements.

There are two of the Intensive Strengthening Masques available - rich for medium to thicker and light for thinner and fine hair types. The former has twice the level of plant lipids and butters.

The products are 93 per cent plant-based and are cruelty and silicone-free as well as vegan.

Aveda
Aveda

From £9 - £104 | Aveda

Olaplex

If you don’t already know the name Olaplex, then you have come to the right place. The brand is best-known and beloved for its in-salon range but offers an at-home variation that packs an impressive hair strengthening punch.

The product line may look minimalistic in appearance but features a patented active ingredient that works on a molecular level to repair broken bonds that may have been caused by colouring, heat or mechanical damage.

The range - all of which are numbered for foolproof application - consists of No.0 Intensive Bond Treatment, No.3 Hair Perfector, No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo, No.5 Conditioner. No. 6 Bond Smoother and No.7 Bonding Oil that work together or alone to rebuild wear and tear.

No.0 - the newest addition - primes your hair for an even more intensive restorative process with the highest dose of the Olaplex technology in the at-home range. Apply to dry hair and saturate. After 10 minutes apply No.3. The Hair Perfector, which should be left on for an additional 10 minutes and rebuilds damaged bonds. Follow this with the shampoo, conditioner and then leave-on No.6 Bond Smoother that tackles frizz, dehydration and offers further protection from colouring, styling and environmental aggressors. Last but not least, the Bonding Oil helps with the styling process. Apply to damp or dry hair for taming and defrizzing effects as well as a healthy sheen.

Given the seal of approval by stylists, celebrities and those in the know, these are products you can rely on to repair your hair to its crowning glory.

Olaplex
Olaplex

From £13 - £26 | Space NK

£130 for complete collection | lookfantastic

Charlotte Mensah Manketti Hair Oil

You can count on Charlotte Mensah and her inclusive range of luxe haircare essentials to give your locks the TLC that it’s crying out for. With her namesake products, the legendary hairdresser uses organic, ethical and sustainably sourced oils that work wonders on all hair types but particularly those with curly and afro textures.

The Manketti Hair Oil brings a much-needed dose of shine to dull, lacklustre and dehydrated locks thanks to the inclusion of Manketti Nut and Ximenia oils. Hair is left easier to manage and silky soft, while with continued use, it tackles damage caused by chemical, heat and the elements. Massage into the scalp or apply a pea-sized amount to the ends of wet or dry hair.

Charlotte Mensah
Charlotte Mensah

£15 | Cult Beauty

Redken Extreme +2 Repair Pack (3 Products)

Redken’s Extreme range is packed with products designed to give hair the support it needs to avoid breakage and further damage. There’s shampoos, conditioners, leave-in treatments, and sprays. Look out for the products designed specifically for bleached locks and those for long hair that stars the supercharged vitamin Biotin that plays a huge part in hair growth. This three-pack set contains the bare necessities needed for healthy hair from scalp to ends with a powerful, intensive mask to be applied after shampooing and left for three to five minutes.

Redken
Redken

£38.65 | lookfantastic

Living Proof Restore

For visibly healthier strands from root-to-tip, Living Proof has a powerhouse selection of products in its Restore collection that will see damage running for the hills. Pair the basics of the shampoo and conditioner with an added boost from the Perfecting Spray, Dry Scalp Treatment, Smooth Blowout Concentrate, Repair Leave-in and Repair Mask to smooth and protect and leave your locks stronger and silkier than ever.

Living Proof
Living Proof

From £24 | lookfantastic

Virtue Split End Serum

With the brand’s signature Alpha Keratin 60ku ingredient - a protein that mimics the one naturally found in your locks - this serum will improve the health and texture of your hair. It is blended with pea protein and hydrolysed quinoa to seal fraying ends and stop splits before they head up the hair shaft. It can be used on any length and has a fragrant coconut-yuzu aroma.

Virtue
Virtue

£38 | Selfridges

Pureology Strength Cure

We have long been fans of Pureology’s Strength Cure collection not only for the pleasant aroma and its vegan credentials but also for its damage-fighting effects. The products are packed with essential nutrients to repair the effects of colouring and external aggressors as well as prevent future harm. The range is made up of a shampoo, conditioner, a Superfood Deep Treatment Mask with a blend of Mandarin, Peony, and Jasmine to be used after shampooing for five minutes, and a Miracle Filler Treatment. The latter is a heat protecting daily-use spray that leaves hair soft, smooth and gives colour a pop. There’s also a collection specifically for blondes.

Pureology
Pureology

From £21.11 | Feel Unique

Leonor Greyl Masque Quintessence

Whenever your hair is looking lacklustre, dull or dry, a mask can work wonders and this iteration from hair care extraordinaire Leonor Greyl may just be one of the most nourishing and effective on the market for shiny, supple strands.

It combines Cupuaçu and Manketti Oils - renowned for their conditioning benefits - to counteract thermal, styling and environmental stressors. The product is a thick creamy formula that should be applied in the place of your conditioner onto damp lengths and ends for two to five minutes and rinsed or pre-shampooing for 20 minutes for a more intense treatment.

Leonor Greyl
Leonor Greyl

£88.50 | lookfantastic

Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Deep-Conditioning Treatment

There’s a reason why Philip Kingsley Elasticizer is a cult and award-winning product that regularly features in ‘Best’ roundups - it just works. The formula dramatically improves damaged hair after just one application. It provides a wave of moisture to the hair cuticle with UV protection. You will notice that your locks appear silkier, smoother with extra bounce. Before you jump into the shower, wet your hair and apply this treatment for 20-60 minutes then rinse off. Use once a week to maximise the results.

Philip Kingsley
Philip Kingsley

From £19 | lookfantastic

Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Oil

Christophe Robin’s hero product may be the Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt to cleanse and exfoliate the scalp - but it’s the Regenerating Mask that we reach for when our hair is looking worse for wear. After shampooing, massage the product from root-to-tip before rinsing gradually, letting the product lather. The fast-acting formula gets to work restoring, repairing and protecting your hair in mere minutes. It is made up of a combination of antioxidant rich prickly pear seed oil, plant ceramides for fortification and shine, and Inula flower that will revive natural or coloured hair pigments.

Christophe Robin
Christophe Robin

£54 | Christophe Robin

Davines Nourishing Keratin Sealer

This innovative formula from high-end Italian haircare label Davines is designed to fortify each strand and leave you ready to take on the day. Like the top coat of your mani, this product uses vegetal keratin with the brand’s proprietary Biacidic Bond Complex to shield hair, locking in moisture, giving a boost of hydration, counteracting breakage and reducing frizz.

Davines
Davines

£20.50 | Cult Beauty

Josh Wood Colour Everything Mask

We love a multitasker and this mask can solve a whole host of your hair-related concerns, knocking them away like pins at a bowling alley. It contains KeraVeg, Amazonian Butter and Hydrolysed Quinoa to provide a deep conditioning for your tresses. Use weekly to maximise the effects. After washing, leave on for five minutes and then rinse. You will notice your hair looks and feels healthier and stronger.

Josh Wood
Josh Wood

£19 | Josh Wood Colour

L'Oréal Professionnel Serié Expert Absolut Repair Gold Mask

As recommended by renowned hair stylist and UK Editorial Ambassador for L’Oréal Professionnel Adam Reed, this mask is gold dust. It offers a seriously nourishing step in your haircare routine to leave your locks looking their best. The product is made up of Gold Quinoa to offer long-lasting hydration and protection.

L'Oréal
L'Oréal

£20 | lookfantastic

Verdict

Due to their ability to protect hair at a molecular level, Aveda’s Botanical Repair range and Olaplex step-by-step essentials have won our best pick. But if we had to choose between the two, the Aveda gets a bonus point for the long-lasting aroma that we are treated to throughout the day after a hair washing session.

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