InTruBeauty: How to Restore Seriously Damaged Hair

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to Restore Seriously Damaged Hair

Is your hair seriously damaged? Are you in desperate need of product tips to repair your damaged hair? This is never a topic I thought I would have to become an expert on. I am lucky to have naturally curly healthy hair. However, I used a product last year that completely devastated my hair and thus I became a reluctant expert on how to repair seriously damaged, splitting, thinning, fine hair. Other than coloring my hair every couple months close to my natural brown color, I don't do much to my hair chemical wise.

The grass is always greener on the other side and growing up I always wanted straight hair. I have learned to love my curls, but sometimes as a professional woman, it is easier to wake up in the morning and comb through straight hair than deal with a tangled mess of curls, especially if you don't have time to shower in the morning.

So, I discovered a product that sounded like the perfect solution I was waiting for. It was Garnier Blow Dry Perfecter which is suppose to make your hair straighter, smoother, less frizzy and cut down blow drying time and last through SEVEN washes.  It is around $11-12 at pretty much any store that carries drug store items. This also won an Allure Best of Beauty Award in 2010 which makes me SERIOUSLY question their neutrality and actual product testing. I have done a lot of research into this product and have many horrible reviews on many different websites including Amazon.
My split ends were not just on the ends, they went far up the strands of hair, creating a very frizzy fly away damaged look 
This product is still out on the shelves. I can not believe that a product that is so harmful is still out there. Beware of this product! I actually only used 1/2 of the bottle as well. The chemical smell is awful. Well, it definitely made my hair straighter, in fact, I lost my natural curl for at least 6 months. Part of my hair was straight, part was curly, and part was wavy. It was a disaster. I also noticed significant bald spots, especially when I pulled my hair back. My hair has grown back in, but it still thinner than it use to be.

To be fair, there are some reviews of people that love this product and many of them claim that those of us that had bad results didn't follow the instructions or had damaged hair to begin with. That was not the case for me. It seems this may work for some people, but not everyone and can even have serious consequences for many of us. This is suppose to be a non-permanent solution lasting only 7 washes. Instead, I have learned that the chemical in this product actually breaks down the structure of your hair. There is no way that is non-permanent. The chemical in this is called cysteine. My salon even indicated to me that most of the chemicals in this product are not even chemicals that they dare mess with. It baffles me how this can be sold for $12 on the shelves and marketed as a non-permanent 7 wash product. There are a ton of alcohol based products in this as well.
It stripped my color of hair, but only in certain parts, thus I had a greenish strand to add to this disaster

 Basically, this chemical took my curly hair structure and broke it down to be straight. There is no real going back from that. This product claims to be okay for color treated hair as long as you wait 2 weeks after coloring it and your hair is not damaged, over processed, fragile, or relaxed and claims it is okay on wavy, curly, or slightly curly hair. Garnier contradicts itself in its warnings later claiming that they don't recommend using this on bleached, highlighted, or relaxed hair since these processes are already damaging. I mean, c'mon, that is the majority of women. I normally just dye my hair a solid color a few times a year and this still destroyed my otherwise healthy hair. You probably won't find a consumer that doesn't dye or highlight their hair, but will reach for a product which chemically straightens it.

I will note that once I finally found a person with some authority at Garnier, I did get reimbursed for the product and they paid for my salon visits. I spent countless hours, wrote letters, and made numerous phone calls. I had my hair cut many times after this and ended up with chin length hair which is the shortest I have ever had my hair since being an infant. I also did some deep conditioning treatments at my salon. After the cuts, my hair would look healthier, but then I noticed my ends would re-split. I had split "ends" that went half way up the hair strand. My stylists were shocked at the damage this did to my hair and didn't think my hair would ever be mended.

Here is what I did to get my hair back to its normal healthy state.

A. Best Repair/Reconstructive Shampoos and Conditioners for Damaged Hair

#1 Product:
S-Factor Serious Conditioner

This product smells absolutely amazing and you get a tingly feeling as you are rubbing it into your scalp. I recommend using it twice a week. It is expensive and seems to go fast as it is my favorite product. You can even leave this in, sleep with it in, and wash it out the next morning for even more intensive repair work. This is around the $28 range.

Product Description:

    TIGI S-Factor Serious Conditioner is an intensive hair remedy that you leave in your hair for 3 to 5 minutes. Hydrolyzed Silk minimizes split ends, while Amodimethicone, present in TIGI S Factor Serious Conditioner, smoothes and shines your hair. Conditions your hair to health. Available in 5.07 oz size
    Aqua (Water), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Esters, Behentrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Amodimethicone, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Sodium PCA, Hydrolyzed Silk, Cetrimonium Chloride, Tricedeth-12, Parfum, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, CI 17200 (red 33), CI 14700 (red 4).

    Apply a small amount of conditioner and distribute evenly through your hair, leave in 3-5 minutes. Rinse.
2. In this same line, I also used the S Factor Moisture Serum, $15 range and Papaya Leave in Moisture Spray, $20 range 
3. Bed Head Resurrection 
The conditioner I would alternate with The S Factor Serious Conditioner was TIGI Bed Head Ubran Antidotes Resurrection Shampoo and Conditioner, $13 range. This comes in level 1, 2, and 3 with 3 being for the most damaged hair which is the one I used.

Product Description:
Perfect for: Weak, brittle hair that needs an intervention

Urban Antidote #3: Admitting is the first step! Bring dead-end hair back to life once and for all. Formula targets areas in the most need of repair, giving your whacked out hair the revival it has been waiting for!
  • Revives lifeless hair
  • Thermal protection from harsh conditions
  • Zeros in on dry, damaged hair
Bonus Conditioner: Catwalk Reconstructive Intense Conditioner (this is also one I picked up just recently and am loving it!)
Product Description:
Get silky, shiny, picture-perfect hair!  This intense recontstructor targets areas in most need of moisture and repair.  The blend of rose hips and ginseng extracts, wheat protein, amino acids & aloe keeps hair looking healthy and feeling fabulous! 

Aqua/Water/Eau (Water), Cetearyl Alcohol, Dicetyldimonium Chloride, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Parfum (Fragrance), Dimethicone, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Glycerin, PEG 45M, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Serine, Threonine, Arginine HCl, Lysine, Glutamic Acid, Citric Acid, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Juice, Benzyl Benzoate, Panthenol, Limonene, Butylene Glycol, Hexylcinnamal, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Spirulina Maxima Extract, Retinyl Acetate (Vitamin A), Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Fruit Extract, Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) Root Extract, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) Extract, Propylene Glycol, Butylphenyl Methlyproprional, Linalool, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone

**Drug Store Alternative**
With damaged hair, you want to avoid alcohol based products and products with sulfate. A great line to try is L'oreal Ever Sleek line. Click here for more information. They have more Sulfate Free products called EverStrong and EverPure. I have used all of these and highly recommend them. This is in the $5 range.

Product Description:

Sulfate-free smoothing system reparative smoothing - Natural botanicals & oils; sunflower - 100% vegan--formula not tested on animals - For chemically straightened or damaged hair - Silicone-free; 48-hour frizz control

5. For a mask, I used Moroccan Oil Restorative Hair Mask, $15-40 depending on size.

Product Description: 
Moroccanoil Restorative Hair Mask penetrates deep into the hair to restore elasticity and rebuild strength while repairing the damage caused by chemicals and other environmental stresses. This unique formula is rich in proteins and will help bring back your hair natural health leaving it moisturized, and shining brilliantly.No heat required/finish with conditioner Restructures and fortifies Nourishes with protein rich formula Improves texture

As you can see, these products get expensive, so I turned to Sally's Beauty for some cheaper alternatives. 

B. Best Leave in Repair Products for Damaged Hair

Here is the Sally's lineup I used for leave in sprays or oils:
1. Hairtrition bodifying booster, $6.99 with Sally's Card
2. ApHogie Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer, $6.79 with Sally's Card
3. Miracle 7 Leave in Mist, $11.69 with Sally's Card
4. Argan Oil Treatment, $8.49 with Sally's Card
5. Hair Rescue Split End Repair Treatment, $2.69 with Sally's Card

1. Hairtrition bodifying Booster  (4+ stars out of 5 on Sally's Website, 4 of 5 would recommend)
claims to increase volume by over 40%, includes silk amino acids to strengthen from inside out, raspberry extract which protects with antioxidants, flaxseed oil which adds healthy sheen, moringa protein which reduces breakage, soybean extract which repairs and moisturizes, and Vitamins B5, C, and E to replenish and condtion. Also has Pomegranate Extract and Creatine.

Product Details:
  • Fortified with Creatine and Pomegranate Extract
  • Hair looks and feels noticeably thicker
  • Ideal for fine, lifeless hair

You may eat right and exercise daily, but just how healthy is your hair? It might be lacking essential nutrients it needs to look its best. Hairtrition delivers vital nutrients your hair requires to be unbelievably manageable, silky, shiny and radiant.

Hairtrition Boost Bodifying Spray's Bodifying System, fortified with Pomegranate Extract and Creatine, amplifies hair's thickness and makes it over 40% more voluminous.*

*Bodifying Shampoo and Conditioner and Booster vs. untreated hair

Water/Aqua/Eau, Polyquaternium-46, PEG-12 Dimethicone, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, VP/Methacrylamide/Vinyl Imidazole Copolymer, Panthenol, Silk Amino Acids, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Extract, Punica Granatum Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Creatine, Glycerin, Ascorbic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Aminomethyl Propanol, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, DMDM Hydantoin, Fragrance/Parfum.

2. ApHogie Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer (5 of 5 stars on Sally's website, 35 of 37 would recommend to a friend)

Product Description:
  • Use between shampoos during touch up styling
  • Adds body for easier styling
  • Protects hair color
  • Alcohol-free formula

ApHOGEE Keratin and Green Tea Restructurizer is the ultimate one-step strengthening treatment. This one step formula combines the strengthening properties of keratin protein with the antioxidant benefits of green tea.

It helps reduce breakage and split ends and adds body to limp, lifeless hair. Active ingredients bond into the hair shaft with natural body heat or heat from styling tools.

ApHogee Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer is especially recommended for at home care of relaxed or permed hair and may be used between shampoos during touch up styling. It also protects hair color.

Product Ingredients:
Water, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Hydrolyzed Silk, Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis)Extract, Glycine Alanine, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Cetrimonium Chloride,PVP, Citric Acid, Fragrance, FD&C Red #40, D&C Green #5, FD&C Yellow#6.

3. Miracle 7 Leave in Mist, $11.69 with Sally's Card (4-4.5 stars out of 5, 95 of 105 would recommend to a friend on Sally's website)
Product Description
  • Repairs dry damaged hair
  • Seals & protects color
  • Stops hair breakage
  • Prevents split ends
  • Controls frizz
  • Adds shine
  • Detangles

Miracle 7 Leave-in Conditioner detangles and adds shine while enhancing your hair's natural body. Stops hair breakage and prevents split ends. Controls frizz and creates heavenly silky hair.

Water/Aqua/Eau, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Propylene Glycol, Cyclomethicone, Fragrance/ Parfum, Panthenol, Silk Amino Acids, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Oil, Camellia Sinensis Leaf, xtract, Quaternium-80, Ascorbic Acid, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinon

4. Argan Oil Treatment, (4.5 to 5 of 5 stars on Sally's website, 209 of 222 would recommend)
This is a great line as an alternative to the very expensive Moroccan Oil line. Argan oil is derived from Moroccan Argan trees. 

Product Description:
  • Creates brilliant shine and eliminates frizz
  • Protects against damage
  • For all hair types

One of the world's rarest oils, argan oil is derived from the Moroccan Argan Tree. Rich in essential fatty acids, Omega 6 and Vitamin E, it is valued for its ability to regenerate and nourish dry and damaged hair.

One 'n Only Argan Oil is a premium finishing, smoothing and conditioning product. This non-greasy, alcohol-free formula instantly absorbed into the hair, creating brilliant shine without leaving an oily residue. Smoothes cuticle for the silky, conditioned and healthy looking hair.

This precious oil eliminates frizz and leaves hair more manageable while helping to protect against damage caused by the environment, chemicals or excessive heat from styling irons and dryers. Provides UV protection and long-term conditioning while reducing split ends and breakage.

Ideal for all hair types. One 'n Only Argan Oil reduces drying time and speeds up styling time producing consistently silky smooth results.

Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Fragrance (Parfum), Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Yellow 11 (CI 47000), Red 17 (CI 26100)

Note: Use a small amount of this or your hair will feel very greasy!!! Less is more with this product!

5. Hair Rescue Split End Repair Treatment (5 of 5 stars, 5 of 5 would recommend to a friend)
Product Description:
  • Instantly repairs split ends
  • Prevents new split ends

Hair Rescue Split End Repair Treatment is for dry, frayed ends that will instantly repair split ends and prevent new split ends from forming.

Water/Aqua/Eau, Polyquaternium-28, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Hydrolyzed Keratin PG-Propyl Methylsilanediol, Laureth-9, Dimethiconol, Amodimethicone, Hydroxypropyl Guar, C11-15 Pareth-7, PVM/MA Copolymer, Sodium Polyacrylate, Trideceth-12, Trideceth-6, Disodium EDTA, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Benzyl Salicylate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol, Hydroxycitronellal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Limonene, Linalool, Fragrance/Parfum.

The first thing I would recommend for damaged hair, or just for any  hair is having regular trims. This will leave your ends nice and smooth and healthy and looking great. I also get conditioning treatments at my hair salon every so often and try to minimize the chemicals I use on my hair. I am focusing right now on moisture rich products. I will soon be writing a blog on the best products and routine for curly hair. 

It has been months and months and months and my curl is back. I guess you don't know what you have until you are at risk of loosing it! This is why I did everything I could to get my hair back. I did extensive research and trials and had Justina's amazing help and expertise as well. So these are the products that gave me my hair back and I am forever grateful. I already loved Sally's and TIGI, but they made a lifetime customer out of me. 

Be patient and use these products and you will see dramatically healthier hair. I basically alternated these products. I don't know if there was any method to my madness. I usually alternated the sprays or leave ins and used a conditioner and then probably sprayed 2 products in my hair and alternated with another 2 spray or leave in products the next day. I didn't dye my hair as frequently and haven't done highlights, only a solid color. I stayed away from flat ironing my hair or blow drying it. I also always now use a heat protector whenever I am using a straightener or blow dryer. 

BEFORE treatment (or aka after Garnier's damage)

AFTER (curly) my repair treatment above

AFTER: Treatment above (straight)
Yours in Beauty, 



  1. Jessica I am so sorry you went through this. I almost bought that but my stylist said no and that others were having terrible trouble with it. Thanks for the research-I love that Aargon oil, its amazing. Before blow drying or useing irons, my stylish recommended a great product, Redeken Satinwear-put in on before you use heat.

  2. Thanks so much! It was a horrible ordeal. I am shocked that this is still out on the shelves. I've read a lot of reviews and many people had worse experience than I did. One woman said her hair fell out in clumps. I went to my salon for help and they were literally stunned at the ingredients in this product. I'm so glad you were lucky enough to avoid this!


  3. I had a very similar experience with this product and I still have no curl almost 9 months after trying this product. I am still so upset. Your post did offer some hope though. Is your hair curling naturally again?

  4. I am so sorry for you! I get so mad seeing this still out on store shelves. I always push it to the back so no one can see it! My hair is curling naturally again. It look a lot of money and a lot of effort. I would say it took probably 6 months for my hair to look like the natural curl was coming back in. I believe its been about a year and my hair is healthy looking and curling naturally. But, it is still thinner than before. What have you tried for repairing your hair? I posted this hoping it would help others!


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