Very dry hair: how to moisturize?

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 11.04.2022

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The condition of the scalp on the head is mainly concerned with women, who often complain of very dry hair.

Excessive dryness of hair is a sign of damage. What are its causes and how to restore very dry hair, read on.

Causes of the very dry hair

As a rule, the most common causes of this common problem are attributed to:

  • washing your hair too often, especially with hot water;
  • using aggressive detergents containing alkalis, sulfates, cationic surfactants (surfactants), etc.;
  • with the constant use of a hair dryer and other devices for their thermal styling; [1]
  • with regular hair coloring.

In addition, increased dryness of hair is caused by:

  • a decrease in the production of sebaceous glands of the scalp by fatty secretions or sebum;
  • lack of nutrients, including proteins and omega-3 fatty acids; vitamins A, C, E, B7, B9, B12, as well as macronutrients (zinc, selenium, sulfur);
  • Iron-deficiency anemia;
  • hypothyroidism or hypoparathyroidism and associated lack of thyroid or parathyroid hormones;
  • high levels of stress and increased anxiety, in which the production of cortisol in the body increases, and blood flow to the scalp decreases, which worsens the trophism of hair follicles.

Risk factors

Known risk factors for excessively dry hair include:

  • living in a dry hot climate;
  • prolonged exposure to sunlight in summer and cold wind in winter;
  • chlorinated or salt water;
  • excessive heating in the premises;
  • malnutrition or anorexia;
  • period of menopause;
  • hormonal contraception.


Since the main purpose of sebum is to protect the scalp and hair from moisture loss and adverse external influences, the pathogenesis of increased dryness of hair is explained by the violation of this protection.

Sebaceous glands (sebaceous glands) are located near the hair follicles with access to the follicular duct; the lack of sebum secreted by them may be due to problems with the ovaries, testicles or adrenal glands and the associated imbalance of sex steroids - testosterone and estrogens that regulate the sebaceous glands.

Frequent washing, exposure to chemicals and high temperatures, and UV-induced photo-oxidation can deplete the hair's natural ceramides, which hold the scales of the cuticle surrounding the hair cortex together. It loses its homogeneity and seems to loosen up: its keratin horny scales no longer fit snugly against each other around the hair shaft. Because of this, the hair loses moisture, that is, it becomes very dry.

Also read -  Hair structure

Symptoms of the very dry hair

The first signs of excessive dryness of the hair are manifested by the loss of their normal shine (they become dull).

Also, the symptoms of overdried hair are manifested by changes in their texture, which makes them seem loose (“naughty”, poorly combed), and very dry dyed hair is discolored.

Bleached hair is very dry, which leads to the loss of their natural elasticity.

Complications and consequences

When hair is very dry, possible complications and consequences include  hair breakage ; the appearance of split ends; hair loss; dry scalp  with the formation of dry keratinized scales (desquamation) in the form of dandruff.

Diagnostics of the very dry hair

A trichologist  or dermatologist deals with hair problems . Diagnosis at presentation for increased dryness of the hair may consist of an examination of the skin of the scalp and examination of the hair shaft under a microscope.

Tests such as a biochemical blood test and an analysis for the level of hormones (sex and thyroid) and iron are required.

To find out the true cause of the problem, a differential diagnosis is carried out.

Who to contact?

Treatment of the very dry hair

What to do if the hair is very dry? Experts advise starting with a "reboot" - a fresh haircut for very dry hair, which will remove the split ends of the hair shafts.

If there are health problems, the condition of the hair may improve after the treatment of the underlying disease.

It is necessary to choose suitable  products for hair and scalp care , including shampoos, balms, conditioners, sprays for very dry hair,  [2]which should include:

  • fatty acids (oleic, palmitic, stearic, linoleic, linolenic, etc.);
  • alpha hydroxy acids (lactic, malic);
  • natural oils - coconut, olive, almond, castor (ricin), safflower; avocado and macadamia oil,  argan oil , grape seed oil;
  • essential oils - jojoba oil and sandalwood, thyme, lavender, rose, clary sage, ylang-ylang;
  • lanolin or glycerin (glycerol);
  • ceramides, hydrolyzed collagen, sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid);
  • vitamins A and E.

To wash your hair, it is recommended to use shampoos for very dry hair with collagen, ceramides, hyaluronic acid or hydrolyzed silk proteins (fibroin and sericin extracted from raw silk); with extracts of medicinal plants (burdock root, licorice and comfrey, hop cones, black elder flowers, nettle leaves, peppermint, sage, horsetail herb).

It is also recommended to use moisturizing fillers with ceramides, which help restore shine and elasticity to the hair.

How are oils for very dry hair used? In fact, these are nourishing masks for very dry hair based on vitamin E and antioxidant-rich olive, coconut, almond, ricin or corn oils, which help strengthen the outer layer of the cuticle layer.

The simplest and most affordable homemade masks for very dry hair are made from oil slightly warmed in a water bath (any of the previously mentioned), to which you can add a few drops of essential oil. Within a few minutes, the oil is gently rubbed into the hair. After that, the hair is covered with food polyethylene film, on top - with a terry towel and incubated for 30-45 minutes. Wash off the mask with shampoo, rinse your hair: you can use water with the addition of a small amount of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. This rinse “tightens” the cuticle and makes the hair smoother.

It is recommended to make such masks for very dry hair once or twice a week:

  • with olive or ricin oil and raw egg yolk;
  • with egg yolk and heavy cream;
  • sour cream hair mask ;
  • with almond oil and gelatin (which is first poured with warm water to swell);
  • masks with glycerin ;
  • moisturizing masks with coconut oil and parsley root decoction, with natural yogurt and honey, with fresh avocado pulp and jojoba oil.

More information in the material -  Dry hair care


To avoid the problem of increased dryness of the hair, you should:

  • refuse to wash your hair frequently and do not use too hot water;
  • dry and blow-dry your hair as little as possible;
  • protect hair from sunlight - wear a hat;
  • when visiting a pool with chlorinated water, wear a swimming cap;
  • do not pull your hair into a ponytail and do not use metal hair accessories;
  • use mild shampoos and suitable hair care products;
  • drink enough water and add omega-3 fatty acids (found in salmon, mackerel, sardines), as well as vitamin E (by eating spinach, broccoli, avocados, nuts and seeds) to your diet;
  • regularly massage the scalp to stimulate blood circulation.


Caring for and caring for very dry hair - with the right products - will in most cases help to minimize damage to the hair and restore it to a healthy state.

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