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Rough, crunchy and brittle are words that should describe fallen autumn leaves, not your hair. If a fistful of your locks feels like a bundle of straw, you need to adjust your hairstyling strategy before you do any more damage -- otherwise, the only solution left is going to involve a pair of sharp scissors. A few simple changes to your daily styling routine can save your 'do, so don't hesitate -- take care of your hair.
Check out your skin -- it can help you figure out what's wrong with your hair. If your skin is dry, it can dry out your hair. The solution? Moisturize your skin and wash your hair less often -- every two or three days is enough to let the oil soak into your hair and keep it from drying out.
Stick to moisturizing shampoos and conditioners. They should be marketed with words like "hydrating" -- this means your hair can soak up plenty of moisture whenever you do wash it.
When the temperature drops, dry your hair thoroughly before going outside -- even the slightest wetness in your hair will freeze in the cold air, leaving it as crunchy and brittle as a freeze-pop.
If you use styling products, only use moisturizing hair products like gels and creams when you style your hair. Some hair treatments contain chemicals like bleaches and peroxides that dry out hair, so stick to moisture-rich products. They'll be marked with words like "moisturizing" and "hydrating."
Avoid heat and light. Your flat iron, your curlers and even your hairdryer are your hair's frenemies -- they may make styling a cinch, but they can scorch and dry out your hair. Use them in moderation, and when you do, don't blast your hair at the highest temperature. It takes longer, but it's better for your hair. In the summer time, keep your hair out of the sun's harsh rays whenever you can.
If you swim in chlorinated waters, wear a swimming cap and wash your hair immediately when you're done in the pool.
Don't use hair color formulas that damage your hair, like bleach and peroxide. Instead, try something that adds moisture while it colors -- "Cosmopolitan" recommends Clairol Perfect 10 with added moisturizers.