Brittle Hair: Causes, Symptoms and How To Help

Brittle hair is more than just dry or even very dry hair…and yet it manifests in a lot of the same symptoms: dullness, frizz, splits and snaps and breaks galore. A tell-tale sign of brittle hair is that it feels spongy when wet and has a tendency to tangle to a rough, dry feel. But just how and WHY did you get there and what can you do to help?

Inside Out

Since your body makes your hair, your hair can be a reflection of the state of your body. Sounds obvious, right? It’s the age-old truism, ‘you are what you eat’. So what should you be eating to avoid brittle hair?Hair Food

  • Protein: Hair is made up of protein, so eating plenty is important.
  • Fruit & Veg: Eating a rainbow of veg and fruit helps to ensure you have all the vitamins and minerals required for healthy hair. Iron-rich veg like spinach are especially important, as a lack of iron has been linked to hair loss.
  • Vitamin A: This vitamin is important for healthy sebum production, so eat plenty of beta carotene rich veg like beets and carrots and your body will do the rest.


    Changes in your hormone levels can affect your hair, causing it to become brittle. Fluctuations can be due to natural changes like pregnancy or menopause, or influenced by birth control, HRT or medicines. If you think this might be the case, your GP is a good first port of call. It’s always wise to check out any change like this if for no other reason than your own peace of mind.

    Whatever The Weather

    Both summer’s sun and winter’s cold can suck the moisture from hair. And that’s before you add air conditioning, heating, oh AND the impact of swapping from one extreme of temperature to the other. The result just leaves you and your hair fragile. Step up your levels of hydration with a leave in conditioner, such as Thirst Aid Conditioning and Detangling Spray or Intensive Care Leave In Conditioner if you think this could be a cause for your brittle issues .

    Serial Styler

    No matter your weapon of choice, heat styling is an attack on your hair. The cuticle, a series of overlapping scales, is your hair’s armour. Heat causes the surface of the cuticle to degrade, as water heated by styling escapes the strand. This creates cracks, fissures and even holes to appear in the cuticle, letting even more precious water as well as colour pigment to escape. Where there is thermal damage like this, hair becomes brittle as structural damage to the proteins that make up hair’s integrity and strength takes place. When styling with heat, always ensure your working with fully dry and use a protective serum, like To The Rescue Anti Frizz to help banish the brittle.

    Right Shampoo

    How can you tell if you’re using the right shampoo? Sulphate free is always a good first step, as sulphates can over clean, stripping brittle hair of the little moisture and condition it has left. Then pick a shampoo that targets brittle hair like Tough Cookie Strengthening Shampoo. Once the condition of your hair has improved, look for a moisturising shampoo like To The Rescue Moisture Boost Shampoo and keep a close eye out for symptoms that the brittle could be back. If it is, you’re not ready for that swap. Also try washing less frequently – good for your bank balance and your mane.

    There are lots of other factors that can push hair over the edge from dry into brittle. From over doing it on smoothing treatments, to UV exposure, modern life is out to get our locks. So tweak your habits, check your health and reach for Tough Cookie Strengthening range to put some muscle into that mane.

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