Does your hair feel like something you might find in a horse’s stable? If you said yes to straw-like hair, then it’s time for a deep conditioner that will turn those dehydrated locks into lustrous strands suitable for a Pantene ad. Like skin care, your hair also needs special treatment aside from simply shampooing and conditioning. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend a lot to bring your hair back to life. There are plenty of recommended products on the market that you can buy at your local drug store or online. But medical experts insist that hair products only go so far to actually creating healthy hair that grows out of your follicles.

We are what we eat and hair strands are made up of protein keratin, so adding lean protein rich in omega-3s, like salmon, to your diet will help grow thicker, shinier hair. Protein is also found in eggs ,chicken and soy products. Beans are proteins too, so combine them with starchy food proteins such as wheat, rice, or corn to ensure a wide range of dietary amino acids essential for keratin production.  Don’t fear the carbs, ladies because they are actually good for your hair.  Marilyn Sherlock, chairman of the Institute of Trichologists, told WebMD that “Carbohydrates are important nutrients for your hair. People who run a lot and deplete their carbohydrate stores can experience hair loss. No-carb or very-low-carb diets can affect the hair. You may see the shedding effects around 3 months after a diet of this kind as that’s the length of the growth cycle of hair.” The lowdown? If you have a restricted diet of any sort, it can make your hair look dull and lifeless. Now that you’ve taken care of your hair from the inside, here’s how you can use a deep conditioner to repair from the outside.

1. Switch to Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Conditioners
Sulfate, or Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is an anionic detergent found in most personal care products. Using shampoos and conditioners with sulfate only weakens the hair over time. By avoiding the oil-stripping properties of sulfate products you can begin to restore your hair’s natural radiance.

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2. Weekly Hot Oil or Mask Treatments
With so much styling, drying, dying, etc., if you want to see change, a weekly deep conditioning mask or oil treatment is essential. Argan Oil can help to smooth the cuticle down, as can well-known products such as Schwarzkopf BC Miracle Oil, Bumble & Bumble’s Hairdressers’ Oil, Moroccan Oil, Aussie Three Minute Miracle or Tresemmé Keratin Smooth.

3. Use a Humidifier
Hair tends to suffer from dehydration due to dry climates, central heating and over use of heat styling methods. Sleeping with a humidifier on can help you make the most of your beauty sleep by adding hydration to the air that will also be absorbed by your hair and skin.


4. Go Coconuts
Instead of using chemical conditioners, opt for all natural coconut oil. It can penetrate hair better than other oils, it prevents protein loss and, it smells delicious.  Apply a quarter-size dollop to your hair, comb it, and then pile it into a loose bun. Leave it in for an hour (or overnight) with a shower cap and then shampoo twice with a gentle cleanser.

5. Condition Before you Shower
Pre-shampoo conditioning treatments push more moisture into your locks than after you shampoo. For deep conditioning, simply wet or dampen the hair to open the cuticle, apply conditioner to the mid lengths and ends, and wait 30 minutes to an hour. Although most conditioners will do the trick, if you want to splurge, try Philip Kingsley’s Elasticizer, a pre-shampoo treatment that is said to turn straw into silk.