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The best hair treatment products for damaged hair in 2024

Achieve shiny and healthier-looking locks with the best hair treatment for damaged hair

If excessive heat styling, bleach or chemical treatments have damaged your hair, you may find it dry and dull, more prone to snagging and tangling when brushing, and more likely to split and break. The good news is that the best products for damaged hair will not only put moisture back into your thirsty locks to restore bounce and lustre, but they can also help rebuild strength at the cellular level.

Shampoos, conditioners and treatment products designed specifically for damaged hair contain deeply moisturising ingredients to nourish and hydrate. They also contain bond-building chemicals that, when used correctly, can repair damage from heat and harsh chemicals.

Here, you will find our guide to choosing the best products for damaged hair and our favourite shampoos, conditioners and treatments to help your damaged hair start its journey back to strength and health.

How to choose the best hair treatment products for damaged hair

How does hair become damaged?

Various things can cause hair damage. Chemical treatments such as bleach and permanent dyes; heat styling such as blow-drying, straightening and curling with tongs; and exposure to environmental factors such as hot sun, central heating and swimming in the sea can all remove the hair’s natural moisture, leaving it more prone to snapping and splitting. If you’ve noticed your hair feels dry and brittle, frizzes and tangles, or simply looks dull and flat, it may be showing the first signs of damage; and if your hair is breaking at the ends or mid-lengths, that’s a likely indicator of damage to the hair’s structure.

READ NEXT: The best shampoos and conditioners to buy

How can I repair damaged hair?

The first and most important thing damaged hair needs is moisture – and lots of it. Cleansing, conditioning and styling products enriched with natural oils will help introduce moisture back into hair and help it regain softness and suppleness to resist further breakage. Start your routine with a gentle, colour-safe shampoo and a richly hydrating conditioner.

To fix brittle, breakage-prone hair, you need a hair treatment with bond-restoring ingredients that work on the hair at the cellular level, repairing the disulfide bonds holding individual cells together. Some bond-repair treatments are available only in salons for use by licensed professionals. However, there are bond-repairing treatments you can use at home, which use the same key ingredients in a milder formulation safe for home use.

Hot oils, treatment masks and leave-in conditioning products will also soften and nourish damaged hair and help it regain suppleness and strength – but only a bond-restoring treatment can reverse chemical damage.

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How else can I care for damaged hair?

Dry, weak and damaged hair will always benefit from a regular trim. While bond-restoring treatments can do a lot to bring strength back to hair damaged by heat or chemical processing, there’s no solution other than a good trim for ends that have already split, so take yourself to the hairdresser to snip off any split and broken ends. Even if you’re growing out damaged hair, it’s a good idea to book in with your hairdresser every few weeks to trim off dry ends and keep your hair in good shape.

Damaged hair will benefit from gentle washing every few days rather than every day to retain the hair’s natural oils. Avoid drying ingredients such as sulphates that can strip moisture from already-damaged hair and avoid rubbing hair roughly as you wash and dry. You could also try co-washing with a conditioner or use the “no-poo” method to gently cleanse hair without removing moisture.

Heat styling can also be drying to damaged hair, so air dry or dry using a plopping towel or t-shirt wherever possible. If you need to blow dry or heat-style, use a cooler heat setting to preserve as much moisture in the hair as possible and a good heat protective spray or serum to avoid causing further damage. Finish with a lightweight serum to add shine and hold your style while keeping moisture in the hair.

How we test products for damaged hair

To test the hair products we review, we use them on our hair, noting how well each formula helps to strengthen and add softness to the hair and, where applicable, how each product reduces breakage over time.

We put various products through their paces, including shampoos, conditioners, masks and targeted treatments, to note their impact on damaged hair. We review the overall quality of the products, how easy and pleasant they are to use and the benefits of regular use. Finally, we confirm the amount of the product in the pack and the recommended usage.

READ NEXT: The best hair masks to buy

The best hair treatment for damaged hair in 2024

1. Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector pre-wash treatment: Best first step for repairing very damaged hair

Price when reviewed: £21 | Check price at LookFantasticbest products for damaged hair Olaplex No.3

If your hair is damaged by chemical treatments, such as bleaching, colouring or frequent hair styling, this pre-shampoo will help repair broken bonds in the hair to rebuild strength and reduce dryness and breakage.

The formula uses Olaplex’s patent bond repair technology to strengthen hair from the inside and restore the integrity of your strands. Suitable for all hair types, it is vegan, cruelty free and colour safe. Dry, brittle hair feels much more manageable and becomes soft and glossy with regular use. To nourish very damaged hair, follow with the weekly treatment mask from the same range (see below).

Key details – Size: 100ml; Key ingredients: Olaplex Bond Building Technology, bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, glycerin, wheat protein

2. Scandinavian Biolabs Hair Strength Shampoo: Best shampoo for regrowing damaged hair

Price when reviewed: £21 | Check price at Amazonbest products for damaged hair Scandinavian Biolabs

If your damaged hair is struggling to grow owing to breakage, try this vitamin rich formula from Scandinavian Biolabs to help strengthen tresses and stimulate the hair follicles. The shampoo, which has a pleasant, clean fragrance, contains natural extracts of aloe, turmeric, eucalyptus and amaranthus, together with growth-boosting vitamin B3 to stimulate and strengthen the roots of the hair. Massage into the hair and scalp once or twice weekly – you’ll feel a tingling sensation on your scalp as you lather, which is warming and not unpleasant.

The formula is free from sulphates and parabens, which can dry the hair, and it’s 100% vegan. The version linked here is designed for women, and a separate version for men also retails at £21. Optionally, finish with the conditioner and treatment serum available in the same range.

Key details – Size: 100ml; Key ingredients: Capilia Longa, Niacinamide (vitamin B3), caffeine, eucalyptus and amaranthus oils

3. Aveda Damage Remedy Trio: Best treatment set for damaged hair

Price when reviewed: £74 | Check price at LookFantasticbest products for damaged hair Aveda

If you’re looking for an all-in-one treatment set to moisturise, soften and strengthen dry or damaged hair, look no further than botanical beauty specialist Aveda’s trio of hair care products with plant powered molecules. The shampoo contains hydrating coconut and babassu nut oils, while the conditioner contains rich emollient squalane and sunflower seed oils. The leave-in daily treatment is made with quinoa and wheat protein to help strengthen damaged hair fibres.

Used together, the set leaves hair soft and shiny with noticeably less frizz and is much easier to manage. Hair looks thicker and feels stronger with regular use, and the light, citrusy smell is also pleasant. As an added benefit, Aveda’s botanical damage remedy trio is vegan, cruelty-free and sold in 100% recycled packaging.

Key details: Size: 100ml, 200ml, 250ml; Key ingredients: Glycerin, dimethicone, botanicals including olive oil, sunflower seed oil, squalane, quinoa and wheat protein

Check price at LookFantastic

4. Damage Undo Restructuring Masque: Best budget repair mask

Price when reviewed: £13 | Check price at Sally Beautybest products for damaged hair Damage Undo

Damage Undo is an affordable treatment system that uses the brand’s patent Keraboost Technology – a blend of effective natural ingredients that nourish the hair, rebalance the hair’s natural slightly acidic pH and rebuild bonds and broken fibres. This intensive treatment mask feels rich but non-greasy, leaving damaged hair feeling soft, shiny and healthy after just one use.

To use the product, simply massage a blob of the mask through wet hair after shampooing and leave for ten minutes, then rinse. The mask has a pleasant herbal scent and feels soft on the hair and scalp. The restructuring masque is part of Damage Undo’s six-step cleansing, conditioning and styling system. For best results, use the mask after the strengthening or blue-toning shampoo from the same range, and finish with the Multi-Benefits Styling Cream to add shine and hold. Damage Undo is vegan and cruelty-free.

Key details: Size: 250ml (also available in 1l); Key ingredients: Coconut and sunflower seed oils; botanicals including calendula, aloe and pomegranate

Check price at Sally Beauty

5. Bumble and Bumble Bond-Building Repair Oil Serum: Best restoring styling serum

Price when reviewed: £35 | Check price at LookFantasticbest products for damaged hair Bumble and Bumble

A delicious styling serum from US hair care brand Bumble and Bumble, this bond restoring leave-in serum oil uses honey to rebuild bonds in the hair’s cortex for stronger and glossier locks. Use this yummy-smelling oil-rich serum to style hair after washing; dull, dry, damaged hair and crispy ends will feel softer, stronger and better able to resist further damage.

The formula is cruelty free and safe for use on coloured hair, and with naturally derived heat-protective polymers, the serum is also suitable for use with heat styling tools up to 232°C. A great way to finish your hair care routine, it reduces frizz and flyaways, adding soft hold and incredible shine.

Key details: Size: 48ml; Key ingredients: Glycerin, castor, sunflower seed and soybean oils, honey, panthenol (vitamin B5)

Check price at LookFantastic

6. Wella Professionals Ultimate Repair Miracle Hair Rescue Spray: Best leave-in treatment spray for damaged hair

Price when reviewed: £27 | Check price at LookFantasticbest products for damaged hair Wella Professionals

This repairing and protective spray mist from the Wella Professionals Ultimate Repair Range contains a nourishing blend of Omega 9 and alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) to strengthen hair from within and reduce frizz and breakage.

To use, simply spritz a few pumps onto damp hair and comb through. You can then allow the hair to air dry or blow dry with confidence, as the Miracle Rescue spray also contains protective silicone. Suitable for all hair types, especially dry hair needing a boost, it has a divine smell and leaves hair super soft and shiny.

Key details – Size: 30ml; Key ingredients: Omega 9, alpha-hydroxy acids, dimethicone

7. Kérastase Resistance Therapiste Masque: Best moisture-restoring weekly treatment mask

Price when reviewed: £42 | Check price at LookFantasticbest products for damaged hair KerastaseRegularly used and recommended by hairdressers, Kérastase’s rich, buttery Resistance Therapiste Masque is an absolute hero for dry and damaged hair. Bleached, heat-styled or environmentally damaged hair will all feel the benefits of Kérastase’s rich and soothing treatment mask, enriched with emollient oils and Kérastase’s own FIBRA-KAP complex of amino acids to replenish protein levels in the hair for strands that look stronger and healthier.

Hair feels immediately soft, smooth and shiny; over time, Kérastase’s nourishing formula will support the regrowth of healthy new hair. A pricey yet effective solution for dry hair that needs moisture and strength.

Key details – Size: 200ml; Key ingredients: FIBRA-KAP amino acids complex, glycerin, safflower oil, wheat protein

Check price at LookFantastic

8. Olaplex No. 8 Intense Moisture Mask: Best bond-repairing weekly treatment mask

Price when reviewed: £28 | Check price at LookFantasticbest products for damaged hair Olaplex No. 8

The final step in the Olaplex strengthening and bond-repairing treatment system, this deep moisturising weekly treatment mask can be used by itself or with other treatments in the Olaplex range to bring dry and damaged hair back to life. Like other products in the range, the Intense Moisture Mask contains a patent bond-repairing ingredient to strengthen weakened hair shafts alongside natural hemp seed oil to infuse the hair with much-needed moisture. The mask also contains strengthening rice bran protein to help rebuild the hair’s protective cuticle.

A potent treatment mask that can bring very damaged hair back to soft and shining health, Olaplex No. 8 isn’t cheap but is extremely effective – and after the first few uses, you’ll find a little goes a long way. To treat very damaged hair, combine the No. 8 mask with Olaplex’s No. 3 bond repairing pre-shampoo treatment (above).

Key details – Size: 100ml; Key ingredients: Olaplex Bond Building Technology, bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate, rice bran, hemp seed oil

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