Banishing Bad Hair Days since 1997!™

Brightening Up Dull Drab Hair


Tina Turner

DC Media All Rights Reserved

With every hair problem or challenge there's is always an underlying cause. While it might be tempting to attack dull, dry hair with an arsenal of products, ultimately the challenge could remain if the primary causes are not addressed.

Why Does Hair Become Dull?

Sometimes the key reason for dull, drab hair is seasonal. Other causes may be related to over processing, excessive styling, general neglect or even nutritional.

Hair also will change with age and those shiny shimmering strands of your 20s may not be the same as you approach your 40s.

Listed below are some of the key reasons for dull, drab, lifeless hair:

1. Daily Cleansing With Full Strength Shampoo

If you cleanse your hair every day with full strength shampoo, your natural oils may become striped. This results in dry hair without smooth cuticles and no shine.

Solution: Re-evaluate your shampoo regime. Consider switching formulas, cleansing less often, doing a water only, conditioner only or diluted shampoo wash in between shampoo sessions.

Many people will discover their hair is softer, shinier and has more shimmer when shampoo is applied less frequently.

2. Overuse of Conditioners

Kris Jenner 2011

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The advantage to rinse-out conditioners is that they only remain on your strands long enough to soften and help with instant detangling. They also lightly smooth the cuticles.

Deep conditioners or leave-in conditioners can actually be used too often and may actually build up on tresses. This is especially true if the ingredients are heavily laced with silicone or similar.

Solution: If you suspect over-conditioning, switch to a lighter formula, dilute it or conditioner less often. Always make sure to apply conditioners only to the areas of your hair that need it most.

3. Improper Water Temps

During the winter months its tempting to take hot showers. Unfortunately hot water can be damaging for delicate strands. Only lukewarm, cool or cold water should ever be used on strands.

Solution: Consider filling clean empty jugs with warm water and using them in addition to the shower water.

This method allows you to control the heat of the water and also guarantees you get your hair wet enough before applying shampoo, diluted shampoo or conditioner only. One of the key problems with shampoo

Is that it is apply to hair before it is wet enough and may leave a film. Fill extra jugs with cool water for final rinsing. Try it, you might like it.

4. Climate Abuses

Jane Fonda December 2010

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Exposing hair to bitter cold winds, snow, sleet or rain can do as much damage as laying out on a sunny beach without proper SPF. Environmental damage is just as damning as product overuse or other hair dulling habits.

Solution: Time any chemical treatments for the more temperate times of the years. Keep hair covered at all times and use products with SPF to protect against the elements.

5. Styling Product Build-up

Daily use of some styling products will build-up on top of the strands leaving them lank, limp or dry.

Solution:If your hair feels sticky or your stylist warns you of product build-up, apply a diluted clarifying formula. Mix 1 teaspoon of clarifying shampoo to 1 gallon of lukewarm water. Shake to form a suds.

Get hair very wet. Drizzle the clarifying suds onto of your scalp and allow them to slowly float down the length of your strands. pat gently, do not rub, into your hair.

Full strength clarifying formulas may remove build-up but they will also remove necessary oils. If you must clarify, do it with a diluted formula and only do it 1-2x a month.

Kris Jenner 2011

DC Media All Rights Reserved

6. Overuse Of Chemical Treatments

Whether you have your hair chemically treated by a pro or not, any type of chemical based treatments can cause hair to become dry, damaged and shine challenged.

Worse case scenario it will look fried, frizzy and damaged.

Solution: If you feel the need to use chemical relaxers, texturizers, straighteners or perms, make sure you hair is in great shape first.

Commit to a conditioning program to get hair in shape. When possible, go to a pro for the best possible results. After chemical treatments amp up all your moisture enhancement techniques.

7. Daily Or Frequent Use Of Hot Styling Tools

Applying heat to delicate strands can fry the shine right out of them. If can leave hair feeling strawlike.

Solution: Experiment with air drying, rolling hair on a variety of rollers and sitting under a less drying hood or bonnet or allowing hair to dry slowly overnight. If you commit to washing your hair less often this will automatically cut down on hot styling tool use.

Tina Turner

DC Media All Rights Reserved

8. Faded Hair Color

Whether its due to aging, the appearance of random gray or fading hues, this can be a primary cause of dullness.

Even without the appearance of gray strands, your natural hair color can lose its natural luster, brightness and shine. As we age natural hair hues often fades or darkens. When hair is striped of warmth it appears dull.

Solution: Go for the gold. Add highlights and lowlights which work in harmony to add an array of warm hues putting life into dull, drab hair.

The colors to use are; any shade of auburn, golden blonde, golden brown or beige.

9. Improper Styling Techniques

Utilizing a hair damaging brush or comb which can snag delicate tresses will cause hair to split, rip or tear. When hair becomes damaged it will lose its ability to reflect light.

Solution: Splurge on a 100% boar bristle brush and a smooth faux tortoise style wide-tooth comb. Learn to finger pick since fingers are less likely to snag strands.

10. Poor Nutrition, Lack Of Sleep, Stress And Dehydration

Kris Jenner 2011

DC Media All Rights Reserved

Dull hair does not develop in a vacuum. The hair is the window to the body's overall health. If you live a life without proper sleep, daily fluids a nutritional rich diet your hair will be the barometer of your neglect.

Solution: Drink plenty of healthy fluids. Minimize caffeine and alcohol which can be drying to hair and skin. If you can't eat a balanced diet than take vitamins and minerals. If you prefer, invest in good vitamins for your hair, nails and skin.

Other Hair Dulling Patterns

Other hair dulling culprits include, but are not limited to the following behavior patterns:

  • Nicotine - Studies have shown that in some cases regular use of nicotine products can accelerate the development of gray hair or dull, drab tresses
  • Neglect - Hair needs to be cared for tender loving care. Make sure ends are keep trimmed to avoid split ends or rips.
  • Sleep Tangling - Always detangle hair before bed and when possible, sleep on a silk, satin of similar pillow case to keep hair smooth and tangle free.
  • Swimming - If you enjoy swimming for fun or exercise always use a chemical blocking cap.
  • Medications - Some prescription or recreations drugs can cause hair color to become dull, drab or faded.
  • Use of hair accessories such as regular rubber bands or bobby pins with sharp edges can damage strands over time making them lackluster.

For more information refer to: Fried Hair Truths

Kris Jenner

DC Media All Rights Reserved

Just as dull, drab hair doesn't happen overnight, it may take time to discover the underlying case and reverse it.

Don't get frustrated if you don't achieve an instant fix. While it's easy to sprits on some shine serum, overtime even adding instant shine products won't perk up dull, drab tresses.


If you believe your drab, dull strands need serious attention, schedule a visit with your professional hairstylist and ask for their advice on how to reverse the current damage.

They may be able to suggest a great program to revitalize your hair or provide color refreshment such as highlights or lowlights to restore faded hues.

With some time, patience and commitment to your strands you'll have them dazzling in no time.

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Thank you for visiting us at The HairBoutique Blog and for leaving your comments. They are very much appreciated. We apologize in advance but must remove any direct advertisements or solicitations.

- Revised Publication Date: 10/04/11

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