Turns out, the starlet has some seriously damaged hair. Here's how you can save your strands.
Sure, it's common for Hollywood starlets to don extensions and wigs when they want to change up their look, but when Keira Knightley revealed that she's been wearing wigs for years because her hair is so damaged, we couldn't help but be a little shocked. If you too are dealing with tress stress, don't worry—there are easy ways that you can save your strands (without going the wig route). Ahead, Adam Bogucki, owner of Lumination Salon in Chicago and educator for Living Proof shares the best ways to reverse—and ward off—hair damage. (Psst...Here's How to Dye Your Hair the Healthy Way.)
Make the most of masks
Just like masking can work wonders on your complexion, a hair mask is a must whether you need to repair existing damage or keep your hair healthy. If your hair is in bad shape, Bogucki suggests choosing one labeled as reparative or restorative; many of these formulas contain proteins to help strengthen and fortify your hair, he explains. Try: It's a 10 Potion 10 Miracle Repair Hair Mask ($37; ulta.com). However, if the goal is to ward off future damage, pick one without proteins (on healthy hair, they can build up and leave it feeling dry and brittle). A moisturizing option, like Tresemmé Botanique Nourish and Replenish Hydration Mask ($4.99; target.com), is a better bet. Either way, make a hair mask a non-negotiable part of your weekly beauty routine. Bogucki recommends shampooing and towel-drying before working the treatment in from mid-lengths to ends (the parts of the hair most susceptible to damage). Leave in for about half an hour before rinsing...Netflix and hair mask, anyone?
You've likely heard that daily sudsing is not the best idea, and this holds especially true if your hair is already less than healthy. "Aim to shampoo no more than every other day so that you're not stripping the hair of its natural oils," advises Bogucki. When you do wash, be sure to use a shampoo and conditioner made for damaged hair, since these formulas tend to be gentler and more moisturizing, respectively. Can't deal with greasy roots? Skip the shampoo. "Simply rinsing your hair and conditioning the ends is a good alternative if you want your hair to feel a little cleaner," he says. A pre-shampoo treatment is a smart choice, too. Fairly new to the haircare scene, these are meant to be applied a few minutes before you wash. They create a hydrophobic (read: water repellent) layer on the hair so that excess amounts of H2O don't penetrate into the hair shaft and wash away nutrients (or your color, for that matter). One to try: Living Proof Timeless Pre-Shampoo Treatment ($26; ulta.com). Another option? Coconut oil. Studies have shown that when applied to the hair before washing it also inhibits water penetration, keeping the cuticle intact and reducing the loss of protein. Plus, unlike other oils, it can actually get into the hair (thanks to a low molecular weight), making it look and feel softer and smoother. We like VMV Hypoallergenics Know-It-Oil ($32; vmvhypoallergenics.com).
Turn down the heat
It should come as no shock that hot tools are a major cause of damage, with straighteners and curling irons the worst culprits of the bunch (since the heat is applied directly to the hair). Those with stressed tresses should try to avoid heat at all costs; if you absolutely can't break up with your tools, keep your blow dryer on the low setting and irons at no more than 280 to 300 degrees, recommends Bogucki. If your hair is in good condition, you can go up to 400 degrees, but, either way, always start with a heat protectant. If you're just blow-drying, any kind of styler—mousse, smoothing cream, serum—will do the trick, since these all create a barrier around the shaft, Bogucki says. But for any other tool, a specific heat protectant, like Keratin Complex Thermo-Shine ($20; ulta.com), is best.
Reconsider how you brush and style
If you regularly run a brush through your hair as soon as you get out of the shower, please don't! "Hair is the most elastic and the most prone to snapping when it's wet," explains Bogucki. Using the wrong brush ups the likelihood of breakage, so stick with a wide-tooth comb or a brush specifically made for wet hair, like The Wet Brush ($10; thewetbrush.com). This is important for both prevention and repair. Ponytails can also be problematic for anyone with damaged hair. "The excess tension can cause breakage. Often times my clients have a distinct line of damage, right where the ponytail sits," he says. If you do need to sport a pony, keep it loose and use snag-free elastics.
Head to the salon
...For both cut and color. You've likely heard that regular trims (every six weeks or so) can prevent split ends, but this is even more essential if you're trying to grow out damaged hair, since it prevents the splits from traveling further up the shaft and causing more breakage, notes Bogucki. Now's the time for pro color, too. "In-salon color is much more conditioning than at-home options. Plus, there are also a variety of treatments that your colorist can use," he says. But even then, it's best not to lighten damaged hair (in other words, go with lowlights instead of highlights).