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We all dream of having long, lustrous, beautiful hair. Unfortunately, these dreams don’t always work out, and hair gets damaged or even destroyed. Here are some early warning signs of damage. Catching them early can be the difference between a beautiful mane and a tangled mess.

1. Heat damage – One of the most common ways to damage hair is to overdo it with heat. Symptoms of heat damage include brittleness, dry-feeling hair, and tons of split ends. Your hair will tend to break easily, and will lay unevenly. The most common cause of heat damage to hair is simply using a too-hot blow dryer, or blow drying your hair too often.

Solution – There are many products that claim to heal heat-damaged hair, from oils to moisturizers. Unfortunately, most of them don’t work terribly well. The best solution is to simply let the hair grow out and be replaced with healthy hair. Getting a haircut to remove the heat-damaged sections can go a long way towards speeding up healing.

2. Dryness and Lack of Moisture – Blow-drying is not the only way to dry out hair. Excessive washing without using a conditioner can leave your locks feeling dull and dry to the touch. Dry hair will not only be more susceptible to breakage, it will also be far more susceptible to static electricity. That means more tangles and difficult to control hair, not to mention random flyaways whenever you walk across a carpet.

Solution – Fixing dry hair is relatively easy. First, make sure you aren’t washing it obsessively. Shampoo cleans your hair of gross buildup, but it also removes oils that are essential to a healthy ‘do. Add a good moisturizing conditioner to your shower routine, and leave it in for a little bit before washing it out. You can also try using no-shower and leave-in conditioner to speed up the healing process.

3. Dullness – A lack of luster or dullness in your hair’s natural shine is a sure sign of damage. The most common cause is a buildup of hair products that’s covering up your naturally glowing mane. That’s far from the only cause, however. Dull hair can be a symptom of far worse problems at the cuticle that are causing the shafts of your hairs to grow rough, instead of smooth.

Solution – The first solution is to cut back on hairsprays, gels, pomades, and the like. If you don’t use these kinds of products, or you’ve cut back your use, and your hair is still dull, you might need to work a little harder. Vitamins, like niacin and biotin, can help your hair grow thicker and healthier.

4. Chemical Damage – Chemical damage can come in many forms. It can lead to dry hair, to frizzy hair, to split ends, and even to hair loss. Chemical damage is usually, but not exclusively, caused by excessive treatments like hair coloring, perms, or chemical straighteners.

Solution – Treating chemical damage to hair is as simple as stopping all treatment and letting the hair grow back in. As with heat damage, a haircut that cuts out the damaged parts of the hair can greatly speed up the process.

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