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Weakened hair can be caused by a number of factors, including frequent dying, bleaching and even regular heat treatments like permanents or daily straightening or curling. Whatever the cause, it can make your otherwise beautiful mane look just plain bad. Luckily, there are some ingredients that can commonly be found in conditioners that can strengthen your hair and restore its natural beauty.
Jojoba might sound like a made-up, hard-to-pronounce word, but it's real and it really works. According to Barbara Close, author of "Pure Skin: Organic Beauty Basics," a conditioner that contains jojoba oil can help strengthen weakened hair while adding a bit of extra natural shine and body. Jojoba oil won't clog your pores, either – it has a similar texture and weight to the oil produced by your scalp and skin, according to Close. A conditioner with jojoba oil can also help prevent tangles and snags by keeping your hair hydrated, which can reduce damage.
Conditioners enriched with vitamin B5 are ideal for weakened hair because this formula bonds with hair strands to make them stronger and healthier, according to Close. Vitamin B5 is also good for banishing those pesky split ends that make your hair look stressed out and out of control. Conditioners with vitamin B5 added should say so right on the package – it's a big selling point for most manufacturers that use it.
Comfrey is another weird-sounding ingredient that's good for your hair. Although comfrey is more commonly used in gardening than hair care, it is also used in natural health and beauty care circles for skin and hair care according to Josephine Fairley, author of "The Ultimate Natural Beauty Book." Comfrey extract is a strong liquid, distilled from the herb of the same name. It helps give damaged hair extra body, thickness and a natural luster that is often lost after heat or color treatments. Conditioners that contain this extract are more likely to be found in a health food or natural-product store, but you can make your own by adding 15 to 20 drops of comfrey extract per 2 ounces of natural conditioner base, according to Fairley.
You've probably heard about keratin in shampoo ads on TV. But it's not just a marketing gimmick thought up by slick ad men to sell you something you don't need at a high price. Keratin is a protein, and your hair is actually already made up predominately of keratin protein. So are your teeth, nails and skin, for that matter. Conditioners made with keratin protein are widely available, and often aimed at those with thin, weak or color-treated hair. Keratin protein can also help smooth frizzy hair and add moisture to hair that feels dry, without adding unnecessary oils that can clog your pores.