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Simple Steps to Repair Damaged Hair

One of the many great things about summer is that its casual vibe allows you to wash and go, giving your hair a much-needed break from abusive heat styling. But when winter returns, most women bust out the hair dryer and flattening iron. "You're more likely to load up on treatments such as hair coloring and chemical straightening in the winter months—especially around the holidays," says Los Angeles–based hairstylist Michael Shaun Corby. Following are the two most common types of damage and simple steps to repair them.

Repair Chemical Damage

Too many chemical treatments, like highlights and hair straightening, sap strands of natural moisture, leaving them dull and brittle. "Chemicals penetrate into the hair and eat away at the protective lipid layer, which is what keeps your locks nourished and glossy," says Emily Overton, a principal scientist for Procter & Gamble.

How to heal:  Do a steam treatment once a week to help open the cuticles and let your conditioner really seep in to rehab your hair, says New York City colorist Rita Hazan. Here's how: After shampooing, apply a deep conditioner with protein and essential fatty acids to wet hair. Try Living Proof Restore Mask Treatment ($42, at Sephora). Microwave a big bowl of water for three minutes, then put on rubber cleaning gloves to prevent your hands from getting burned. Quickly dunk a medium-size towel into the bowl, wring out excess water, let it cool for a few seconds, and then wrap it turban-style around your hair. After five minutes, rinse.

How Healthy Is Your Hair?

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