How to Deal with Dry, Dull Hair

Are you exhausted on your quest to find the perfect remedy for your dry hair? If daily conditioning isn’t helping, there could be a myriad of underlying reasons for those lifeless locks. From chemical processes to too much heat exposure, the ways in which you treat (and don’t treat) your hair and your body can cause the hair blahs. But anyone can get silky, shiny tresses by trying a few healthy tips. The following are eight of the most common causes of dry, dull hair that are curable, and even preventable.
Cause #1: Inadequate Water Intake
Be honest: Are you getting your eight glasses of water every day? If not, what are you waiting for? Drinking water can work wonders on not just your body, but your hair, too. We all know that our bodies are made mostly of water, so if you’re still not taking in what you’re putting out through exercise and other daily activities, your hair isn’t quenching its thirst.
The Cure: Drink. More. Water. Plain and simple. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t like the taste of good old H20, you’re not alone! There are plenty of other, tasty ways you can get your eight a day. So, drink up and watch how much shinier and more hydrated your hair will become.
Cause #2: Not Shampooing Smartly
Do you wash your hair every day? You might want to rethink that routine. Knowing when to shampoo your hair, and what shampoo to use is an important aspect of keeping your hair hydrated and healthy. Allowing your hair’s natural oils to build up for a bit will protect your hair from becoming too dry.
The Cure: Shampoo your hair every other day with a gentle shampoo. If your hair gets oily between washes, try using a dry shampoo. This type of shampoo is super easy to use and works quite well to soak up excess oil. When looking for shampoo, don’t forget to check those ingredient lists. Some moisturizing shampoos contain harsh sulfates and sodium chloride, both will strip protective oils from your hair. And the next time you shower, keep the water cool when rinsing. Water that’s too hot will result in frizz and dryness.
Cause #3: Heavy Heat Styling
If you use a blow dryer, flat iron or other heat styling tools every day, you’re doing more harm than good when it comes to your dry hair. All of these beauty items can be convenient when it comes to styling, but taking a break every now and then will result in healthier tresses.
The Cure: Wait it out after washing. If you must use a flat iron or blow dryer, take some time before turning on heat styling tools. Allow your hair to air dry until it’s just a little bit damp, then spray your hair with a protective, UV filter spray before blow drying on the lowest heat setting possible. The same goes for using your flat iron--straightening damp hair is better than doing so on dry hair, and will result in shiny strands. Even better? Stop using heat styling tools all together if you can!
Cause #4: Catching Z’s on a Cotton Pillowcase
This is an obscure hair no-no, but it’s true! Friction from sleeping on a cotton pillowcase can cause hair to break, resulting in a frizzy look. And, because cotton naturally absorbs moisture, this type of pillowcase can suck out your hair’s moisturizing oils while you sleep.
The Cure: Switch out your cotton pillowcases for the silk or satin variety. These smooth fabrics will be much nicer to your hair. Not only will your hair retain more moisture, but your skin will be able to breathe, as well. There’s evidence from the American Academy of Dermatology that the same detrimental effects of sleeping with your face on your pillowcase will result in dry, wrinkled skin, too.
Cause #5: Skimping on Conditioner
So, you say you’re conditioning your hair every time you shampoo, but it’s still dull and dry? You should probably take a good look at your moisturizing regimen. Sure, using a daily conditioner can help protect your hair from dryness and tangles, but it isn’t enough for adding an extra kick of moisture when you need it most. That’s where deep conditioning treatments come in, which are great for sealing in moisture on chemically-treated hair and natural locks, too.
The Cure: Apply an at-home deep conditioning treatment on damp, towel-dried hair once every seven to 10 days. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes before rinsing with cool water. If you color your hair, always apply a deep conditioning treatment before and after you add those chemicals to your fragile locks.  
Cause #6: Swimming Without a Cap
If you swim to stay in shape, or even just for fun once in a while, chemicals from the pool and salt from ocean water could be wreaking havoc on your hair, causing it to become brittle and dry. But, you don’t have to say goodbye to your healthy swim sessions--you just need to use some hair-protecting swim smarts!
The Cure: When swimming in a chlorine-filled pool, and even the naturally beautiful ocean, always opt to cover your hair with a cap. Chlorine and salt are both known to strip away your hair’s natural, moisturizing capabilities, so keeping your head covered is essential to achieving gorgeous, gleaming locks.
Cause #7: Exposure to the Elements
Ah, the warmth of the bright, shiny sun! Though it feels nice to enjoy ample time outside when the weather is warm, too much exposure to Earth’s elements can result in dry hair. And this doesn’t go for just the sun, either. Windy weather, snow and more can give your hair a real beating.
The Cure: This one’s pretty easy! Wear a sunhat in the summertime. Cover your head with a hat or hood in the winter. You should also moisturize your hair more often than usual any time after you spend quite a few hours exposed to harsh, outdoor weather.
Cause #8: Coating Your Hair with Chemicals
Hair coloring, relaxers and perms can all play a part in overly-dry hair. The chemicals found in these processes can cause your strands to break, dry out and become much weaker than natural hair that hasn’t been exposed to harsh chemicals.
The Cure: If you must cover those grays, straighten those curls or curl those limp locks, try going as natural as possible in order to retain much needed moisture. If you find that natural products don’t work as well for you, make sure you follow some of the other dry hair cures mentioned above: deep condition every week, wash hair every other day, drink plenty of water and go easy on the heat styling.
Following just some of these simple cures will help your lackluster locks become shinier, livelier and healthier. Dry hair, no more!
WebMD, "Why is Your Hair so Dry?", accessed on May 16, 2013.
AgingSkinNet, "Causes of Aging Skin,", accessed on May 16, 2013.
American Academy of Dermatology, "Tips for Healthy Hair,", accessed on May 16, 2013.