Brittle Hair Causes

Dry and brittle hair can be a bummer. While we may not be in full control of our hairstyle, there are things we can do to prevent and treat brittle hair. In this article, we will go over why your hair may be so dry and brittle, how you can strengthen it, and how you can treat dry and brittle hair. 

Why Is My Hair So Dry and Brittle?

Dry and brittle hair can be uncomfortable and a hassle to deal with. There are several different things that can lead to dry and brittle hair. Understanding the causes can help you determine ways to fix them. Here are some of the reasons why your hair may be dry and brittle:

  • Shampooing too often
  • Overexposing your hair to hot environments, dry climates, or the cold, dry air
  • Overexposing your hair to chemicals
  • Getting your hair dyed too often
  • Not using enough conditioner
  • Using your dryers, electrical rollers, or curling irons at too high of a heat
  • Not protecting your hair from the sun

If you want to prevent dry and brittle hair, you should try and avoid some of these causes. 

How to Treat Brittle Hair

We mentioned some of the causes of dry hair above, now how can we prevent this? Beyond that, how can we treat dry hair if we can’t prevent it? Here are some of the things you can try in order to treat brittle hair:

  • Carefully brush and detangle your hair - It’s important to be mindful of the way you brush your hair. Start at the ends of the hair and slowly work out the knots as you move up toward your roots
  • Moisturize your hair - If your hair is lacking natural oils, it can lead to dryness. If you hydrate your hair frequently, you may not have to worry about brittle hair
  • Use a shampoo formulated for dry hair - Unfortunately, many shampoos on the market use intense detergents that can prevent too much oil from being stripped. Finding a shampoo formulated for dry hair can help tremendously
  • Argan oil - This Moroccan oil is highly moisturizing and rich in vitamins A and E. It may also help prevent breakage if you do need to brush or style your hair right away
  • Eat a balanced diet - A diet loaded with whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains has a host of benefits, including healthy hair. Biotin, vitamins A and C, and iron are all important for strong, luscious hair

Can Brittle Hair Be A Symptom Of Something Else?

Brittle hair is one symptom of Cushing's syndrome, which is a rare condition caused by too much cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone. But, notes Mirmirani, there are many other more obvious symptoms of Cushing's syndrome, including high blood pressure, fatigue, and back pain.

Treatment for Cushing's syndrome may include changing the dose of medication that could be causing the condition, such as glucocorticoids, which are steroids used to treat inflammation caused by a variety of illnesses. Other people might need surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy to correct the adrenal gland's overproduction of cortisol.

How Can I Make My Brittle Hair Stronger?

Unfortunately, the state of our hair is mostly out of our control. Genetics and age play a huge role when it comes to our hair type, strength, and volume. However, this doesn’t mean you have no control over your hair. Here are some steps you can take to strengthen your hair to ensure it’s as strong, shiny, and as easy to manage as possible:

  • Don’t use too much heat - The more you use blow dryers, straightening irons, hot curlers, and other heated styling tools, the more fragile your health may be
  • Take more vitamins - Vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, iron, and zinc can all help promote healthy and strong hair
  • Massage your scalp - By massaging your scalp, you can increase circulation. This circulation can help increase hair thickness and strength over time
  • Consume more protein in your diet - Getting enough protein in your diet is important for hair growth, as hair follicles consist mostly of protein. Research shows that a lack of protein in the diet can result in hair thinning and hair loss
  • Cool rinse - If you use hot water when you shower you can damage your hair both at the root and on the cuticle. If you’re wanting to protect your hair, try lukewarm water rather than scorching hot
  • Use a t-shirt instead of a towel - This may seem off the wall, but hair experts recommend using a t-shirt or microfiber towel instead of a terry-cloth towel which can damage the scalp
  • Try a hot oil treatment - Hot oil treatments are a popular choice for helping to restore moisture to dry, frizzy, or damaged hair. A coconut and avocado oil treatment may be especially beneficial. According to a 2003 study, coconut oil has the ability to reduce protein loss in both damaged and undamaged hair. Like coconut oil, avocado oil also contains essential fatty acids as well as vitamins A, B-5, and E

Supplements Can Help

Taking care of your body with a proper diet, exercise routine, and supplement regimen can help you prevent dry and brittle hair. Supplements, such as a spermidine supplement, can help improve hair health through a process known as autophagy. Autophagy is the body’s process of replacing older, potentially damaged cell parts, with newer healthier ones. 

This process becomes increasingly important as you get older and your cells become more and more worn down. As we age, our body’s natural spermidine levels decline within our cells. While eating a spermidine-rich diet greatly helps in maintaining spermidine levels, it’s not always easy to get your recommended daily spermidine intake through diet alone. Spermidine supplementation can help ensure you get the recommended daily dose of spermidine.


  • Don Moxley - Director of Applied Science

    Don Moxley is the Director of Applied Science at Longevity Labs. Moxley draws upon his career as an athlete, a sports scientist, and an instructor to lead and educate on the science of autophagy and longevity.