Search “dry hair” on Google, and you’ll be met with over 1 billion results. Talk about overwhelming. And when your hair is showing signs of distress, that’s the last thing you need. Learning how to care for your dry hair should be simple and straightforward. That’s where we come in. We’ve curated an easy-to-follow, four-step haircare routine for dry hair, featuring all the best dry hair products from Kiehl’s. Plus, we’ll answer a few common questions, like what causes dryness in the first place and what you can expect dehydrated hair to look like. Read on for your Kiehl’s guide to managing dry hair.
What Is Dry Hair a Sign Of?
Your hair and your skin have more in common than you might think. A lot of what can cause dry skin can also make your hair dry out. For example, just as having dry skin can be a sign you shower in overly hot water, steaming H2O can lead to parched strands too.
Other causes of dry hair that can have similar effects on your skin are overwashing, stripping products (instead of harsh face cleansers, it’s drying shampoos that are to blame), and sun exposure. As for where the causes of dryness diverge, heat styling is something that uniquely impacts your mane. If you overdo it with flat irons, blow dryers, and curling wands—especially without using a heat protectant—your hair can become dry and damaged.
What Does Dry Hair Look Like?
You can use two of your senses, sight and touch, to easily identify dry hair. While hydrated strands tend to have a healthy-looking shine, dry hair looks dull and flat. It also may appear rougher and be accompanied by visible damage, like split ends. In terms of touch, dry hair will have a different texture. Rather than being soft and smooth, it will feel brittle.
How Can I Hydrate My Hair?
Now, let’s get to what you really want to know: how to fix dry hair. When your strands are parched, follow this four-step routine, filled with our best dry hair products and treatments.
1. Start With a Pre-Shampoo Dry Hair Treatment
Magic Elixir Scalp and Hair Oil Treatment
You’re certainly familiar with shampoo, but what about pre-shampoo? It’s an extra step that can make a big difference, especially in a dry hair routine. Magic Elixir Scalp and Hair Oil Treatment helps promote a well-conditioned scalp for more manageable, healthy-looking hair. Immediately, your hair and scalp are left feeling moisturized. It also helps soften strands and provide natural-looking shine. The dry hair treatment, which is formulated with avocado oil and rosemary leaf oil and without sulfates and synthetic fragrances, is suitable for all hair and scalp types, including fine hair.
How to use it: Shake the bottle well, and apply a small amount of the oil to your fingertips or directly to your dry scalp and hair before shampooing. (Don’t use it on wet hair—dry application allows the formula to have direct contact with your scalp and hair.) Massage the treatment onto your scalp in circular motions, then wait up to 10 minutes before rinsing or moving on to shampoo.
2. Use a Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner
Shampoo and conditioner are the core of every haircare routine, and it’s important that you pick the right ones. Choose overly harsh formulas, and they can strip your hair of moisture. Instead, seek out products packed with moisturizing ingredients.
We recommend Damage Repairing & Rehydrating Shampoo and Conditioner for dry and/or damaged hair. Our best shampoo for dry hair gently cleanses while helping care for weak, brittle, and damaged locks. The complementary hydrating conditioner instantly detangles and conditions hair to enhance manageability. Both contain hyaluronic acid and ceramides and leave hair looking shiny, lustrous, and healthy.
How to use them: On wet hair, apply your shampoo. Massage to build up a lather, then rinse and follow with conditioner. Focus it on the lengths of your hair rather than your roots to avoid weighing it down. Leave it on for one to two minutes and rinse again. If your hair is extremely dry, let the conditioner sit for up to five minutes.
Kiehl’s Tip: As we mentioned earlier, overwashing can contribute to dryness. To make sure you aren’t overdoing it with the shampoo, read our article on how often you should wash your hair.
3. Supplement With a Hair or Scalp Mask
Amino Acid Scalp-Restoring Treatment Mask
Sometimes your hair needs something more, and that’s where a hair mask for dry hair comes in. Once or twice per week, swap your conditioner for a nourishing hair or scalp mask.
For a dry scalp, try Amino Acid Scalp-Restoring Treatment Mask. Formulated with a triple amino acid blend and coconut triglycerides, it provides long-lasting moisture and leaves your scalp feeling comfortable. It also helps strengthen the scalp’s natural moisture barrier to help protect against future damage.
How to use it: After cleansing, apply the mask to your scalp and hair. Leave it on for three to five minutes, then rinse. Or, to use it as a deep treatment, wait 15 minutes before rinsing.
If you have frizzy, undernourished hair, reach for Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Repairative Hair Mask instead. It moisturizes and helps strengthen hair and works to help prevent future damage. The mask with olive fruit, avocado, and lemon oils also helps restore shine and a healthy appearance (even to severely dry hair).
How to use it: Post-shampoo, towel-dry your hair until damp, then apply a liberal amount of the mask. Concentrate the formula on your ends and wait for at least three minutes before rinsing.
4. Don’t Forget a Leave-In Treatment
Dry hair products don’t solely exist in the shower. Leave-ins are great for continuing to deliver much-needed moisture to your mane. There are two options we recommend. First up is Damage Repairing & Rehydrating Leave-In Treatment. The formula with hyaluronic acid and ceramides instantly helps reinforce and smooth damaged hair. It smooths, hydrates, and replenishes, leaving hair looking healthy.
How to use it: On towel-dried hair, apply the dry hair treatment. Use a comb or your fingers to distribute it evenly, then style your hair as per usual. (Since it’s a leave-in, there’s no need to rinse!)
Strengthening & Hydrating Hair Oil-In-Cream is also great for dry, damaged hair. The creamy leave-in treatment contains olive fruit oil and avocado oil. It helps strengthen very dry strands and restores a healthy balance for shinier-looking hair.
How to use it: Apply a small amount to clean, wet or damp hair. Start at your ends and work upward throughout the length of your hair. From there, style as usual.
Next: While you’re in the shower, don’t forget to pamper your skin, too. Here’s The Ultimate Kiehl’s Shower Routine: A Step-By-Step Guide.