Hair is often straightened with a flat iron -- which applies direct dry heat to the hair -- or with chemicals in a salon. Although these processes can make hair look smooth and shiny temporarily, over time they strip hair of lipids and oils, removing proteins and drying out the cuticle, the outer layer of the hair. The result is damaged hair, which appears dry and frizzy and is difficult to style.
Wash your hair daily or every other day with a gentle shampoo that is designed for dry and damaged hair. After rinsing out the shampoo, rub a conditioner through your hair and leave it in for three minutes before rinsing it out.
Apply a leave-in conditioner to your hair before styling. This will provide moisture and make your hair more manageable. Look for a product that has silicone, coconut oil, silk or vitamin E.
Use a deep-conditioning treatment, such as hair mayonnaise, once a week. Find such treatments at beauty supply stores, or make a moisturizing hair mask by mashing an avocado and adding olive oil until the mixture becomes a thick paste. Warm the mask in the microwave and apply it to your hair. Rinse it out after 30 minutes.
Trim off at least the bottom inch of your hair. Damaged ends are split and fried, and removing them can promote healthy hair growth.
Eat foods rich in protein to strengthen your hair, which is made of proteins. Chicken, nuts and fish are all good sources of protein.
Before straightening your hair, make sure it is dry and has been brushed thoroughly. Wet hair is more prone to damage. Apply a thermal protector product, such as a conditioner or cream, before beginning to straighten your hair. This will protect your hair from heat damage.
Use the lowest heat setting possible when straightening your hair. This will reduce the amount of damage.
Do not straighten your hair every day. This is too much stress and damage for your hair.
Rose Welton is a journalism major and a freelance writer. Her education is focused on nutrition and early childhood studies, making her an expert when it comes to writing about health and children's growth and development. She has written numerous articles and blog posts on various topics for online publications and has also worked on an Internet news team.