I’ve been getting my hair highlighted since well, forever. And I’ve been asking myself (and every stylist who will listen) how to moisturize dry hair for just about as long. I remember the exact day I first loaded my roots up with baby powder. It was the beginning of a long, complicated relationship with hair products that—in addition to chemical coloring treatments—left my locks bright, blonde, and easily molded to whatever style was popular at the moment. Of course, it also left my hair far rougher to the touch than it might have appeared to the naked eye.

Thankfully, I’ve transitioned from the platinum blonde of the early 2010s to a more natural golden hue, a process that included a personal mission (and the answer to my question): learning exactly how to moisturize dry hair.

I’ve picked up a thing or two about creating an effortless shine or locks that are naturally beautiful from the inside out. But when it comes to bringing brittle hair back from the brink, I needed an expert’s advice. Thankfully, celebrity stylist and colorist Mark DeBolt, co-owner of Mark Ryan Salon in New York’s Flatiron District, heeded my call. A trusted talent to well-foiled stars like Naomi Watts, DeBolt knows a thing or two about hair that’s been put to the test.

Simply put, hair needs moisture to be healthy, but that shouldn’t mean giving up your beloved balayage to help locks thrive. Ahead, discover a few of the top products for locking in hydration as well as pro-approved tricks to keep hair happy.

But before we get into exactly how to moisturize dry hair, let’s get to the root of the issue.

Feature image by Belathée Photography.

Mark DeBolt

Mark Debolt opened Mark Ryan Salon alongside fellow celebrity colorist Ryan Trygstad in New York’s Flatiron District in June 2020. The high-end hair hub has become a trusted destination for names like Naomi Watts, Kelly Ripa, Laura Dern, and beyond.

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Image by Belathée Photography

What Causes Dry Hair?

Dry hair origins can be traced back to a number of factors and stressors. Some culprits are in your control, while others are simply summed up by good old Mother Nature. A few of the most prominent perpetrators include:

Chemical processing treatments, including highlights or balayage.Too much heat styling. Seasonal changes—when the air becomes drier. Genetics—the natural texture of hair can also contribute to it feeling dry. Washing your hair too much. (One to two sulfate-free shampoos a week is really all you need.)

We obviously can’t eradicate every bullet on the list above (I, personally, have no plans to stop getting my hair colored), but DeBolt came armed with options that can help get your hair back on its healthiest track.

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Image by Emma Bassill

What Brushes Are Best for Avoiding Dry Hair?

In our daily lives, it might seem like any old brush will do, but the right bristles can—on occasion—make or break your hair’s day. If dryness is what you’re dealing with, DeBolt recommends avoiding brushes with metal bristles, which are typically used to tackle tangles.

“These can get very hot,” he adds. “Boar’s hair is much gentler and will polish the hair, too.”

Denman Boar Bristle/Nylon Mix Brush

Stylist Kathleen Riley highly recommended this brush when we spoke last year. “I love using it to brush out curls and form them into waves,” she shared. “It smooths hair while leaving it super sleek and shiny.”

Denman Boar Bristle/Nylon Mix Brush, $23.65


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Image by Michelle Nash

What Ingredients Are Most Nourishing for Hair?

When hunting down the masks and leave-in conditioners designed specifically to treat dry, brittle hair, DeBolt suggests keeping an eye out for nourishing oils. Some of his favorite hair-friendly oil options include:

Jojoba oilPrickly pear oil Avocado oilAlmond oil

DeBolt is also a fan of a good moisturizing balm. (Find a few of our most-loved hair balms here.)

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Image by Michelle Nash

How to Moisturize Dry Hair? These Products Get the Job Done.

When your hair care routine needs a little boost, these are the following primers, serums, and leave-in masks you can feel good about investing in (both your money and your time).

Ahead, discover the products that DeBolt (and Camille Styles editors) recommend the most when it comes to the age-old question: how to moisturize dry hair. Your strands will thank you.

R+Co Twister Curl Primer

DeBolt loves this lightweight styling product for reviving and adding shine to curly hair.

R+Co Twister Curl Primer, $28


Shu Uemura Ashita Supreme Strengthening Mask for Damaged Hair

DeBolt is a big fan of Shu Uemura’s new hair mask. “The fragrance is so nice for summer,” he adds. “It’s incredibly hydrating and adds shine and prevents breakage.”

Shu Uemura Ashita Supreme Strengthening Mask for Damaged Hair, $69


Shu Uemura Ultimate Reset Serum

Another DeBolt favorite from the beloved Japanese brand. “It gives intense hydration but does not weigh the hair down,” the celebrity colorist says.

Shu Uemura Ultimate Reset Serum, $42


La Tierra Sagrada Repair Masque

“This must-buy repair masque from La Tierra Sagrada moisturizes my hair from root-to-tip, while also leaving the most luxurious scents of palo santo and bergamot that lingers for hours,” Camille Styles contributing editor Anne Campbell shared.

La Tierra Sagrada Repair Masque, $54


Sisley Paris Hair Rituel Regenerating Hair Care Mask

A personal favorite, this cult-love mask is infused with essential oils (it smells amazing) as well as plant-based proteins, extracts, and vitamins. It’s on the pricier side, but lasts forever. I use it once a week during the summer to keep my blonde, brittle ends in check.

Sisley Paris Hair Rituel Regenerating Hair Care Mask, $100


Act + Acre Restorative Hair Mask

“I have really fine hair and a mask and deep conditioning can really weigh my hair down—the Act + Acre Restorative Hair Mask does not,” shared CS contributing editor Brandy Joy Smith. “It’s extremely hydrating and synthetic fragrance-free.”

Act + Acre Cold Processed Restorative Hair Mask, $36


Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Hair Mask

An at-home treatment loved by stylists and editors alike, this moisturizing mask from the internet-breaking hair care brand repairs strands from the inside out.

Olaplex No. 8 Bond Intense Moisture Hair Mask, $28


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