Admit it—you put your hair through a lot on a daily basis. Blow drying, brushing, straightening, curling, colouring…your hair just can’t seem to catch a break. The term to use here is over processed hair—exhausted from too much harsh handling. We enlist the help of Melissa Greco, Professional Hairstylist at La Coupe Salon and Spa in Montreal, for her expert tips on turning your over processed hair into healthy hair once again.

The signs of over processed hair
You can blame damaged hair on a number of components in your daily hair care routine. “Over processed hair usually occurs when there is an abuse or incorrect use of bleach, hair relaxers, perming and heat styling tools,” says Greco. How do you know if your hair has had enough? “Your hair will look very frizzy and may have white tips on the ends of the hair shaft,” says Greco. “It will not have a beautiful shine or movement and the texture will feel harsh. Your hair will also tangle easily.”

Here are five tried and true methods of repairing over processed hair.

Hair care tip #1: Get a hair cut
If you have damaged hair, the best thing you can do is cut off the split ends, frizz and dead strands. “Immediately get a hair cut, followed by regular hair cuts every six weeks,” says Greco. How much should you chop? “One to two inches are the minimum. If you choose not to cut at least this amount, the ends will continue to break off and the recovery of the hair will not transpire,” adds Greco.

Hair care tip #2: Reduce styling time
In other words, leave your hair alone. “You don’t need to wash your hair everyday. You should only shampoo two to three times per week with a blow dry once a week on the lowest heat setting.” This means using dry shampoo on the days you don’t wash your hair and minimizing how often you bring the heat. Beachy waves and messy side braids will be your new BFFs.

Hair care tip #3: Invest in a professional treatment
Fix damaged hair with a professional in-salon treatment which has long term positive effects. These treatments should be done regularly every three to four months,” says Greco. Such treatments usually involve a conditioning spray that sinks into the hair follicle, repairing the hair at the root to stop it from breaking for fuller volume, more shine and healthier movement.

Hair care tip #4: Try an at-home masque
As opposed to a salon treatment that cleanses deep into the hair follicle, an at-home masque helps to soothe the outer layer of your damaged hair. “A masque for at-home hair care is necessary every three to four weeks to ease over processed hair,” says Greco. “It will condition the top layer of your hair to stop it from breaking, preventing frizz and future damage.”

Hair care tip #5: Use heat protectant spray
When you just can’t resist using your heat styling tools, a great way to manage over processed hair is to use a protecting spray to shield your tresses from damage, frizz and dryness. “When operating your blow dryer, flat iron or curling wand, use a product to protect your hair from the heat and always use the lowest—or coolest—heat setting,” says Greco. Once your hair is given a clean bill of health, a heat protectant spray will deter future harm.