Why Does My Hair Look So Dull? Causes & How To Fix


Glossy hair means healthy hair, right? Right. How shiny, or not so shiny your hair is looking is 100% an indicator of its overall health. Dullness is a sign that it’s lacking in moisture, damaged or too overloaded with product so it’s definitely something you need to be aware of. Most of the time it’s more to do with your bad hair habits than anything else but knowing why it happens will help you to avoid causing more damage in the future.

Dry Shampoo

The natural oils from your scalp are the best moisturiser for your hair and will work their way down your strands to nourish the lengths and ends. If you’re using dry shampoo regularly it will soak up all of those oils and will strip the moisture from your lengths and ends leaving your hair much drier than usual. Over time this can lead to brittle hair and even damage which is why it’s so important to limit how much dry shampoo you’re using. Despite it being called shampoo, dry shampoo is actually just a powder that soaks up all the oil and moisture from your scalp. It gives the appearance of fresher hair but it’s not actually removing anything. Using this 1-2 times a week is fine but if you’re reaching for it everyday it’ll definitely be the culprit of your dull strands.

Hard Water

Hard water has a high concentration of minerals including calcium and magnesium which can build up on your hair making it dry and brittle. It’s particularly frustrating for anyone who dyes their hair as the metals in the water will oxidise your strands, making your hair look brassy.

The best way to combat this is to install a water filter in your shower which will prevent the minerals from reaching your strands. Until then, be sure to use a clarifying shampoo once a week to remove the buildup from your hair.

Over Processed

If you’ve gone a little overboard with the bleach or at-home dye kits then your dull hair could be the result of over-processing. Both bleach and dye works by lifting the hair cuticles to deposit colour on your strands. This can leave your cuticles permanently raised if it causes damage, leaving them unable to hold in moisture. Raised cuticles won’t look shiny either as the surface of your hair will be rough and crunchy. The only way to revive your hair will be to get regular trims and to regularly use conditioning masks to replenish the moisture.

Product Build-Up

Styling products like hairspray or products that contain silicone can cause buildup on your strands if you’re not cleansing it properly. Over time this can weigh your hair down and prevent it from absorbing any moisture leaving it dry and brittle. The key signs to look out for are dull, weighed down hair that doesn’t hold a style and is prone to grease. To fix the problem you’ll need to use a clarifying shampoo once a week like the Oribe The Cleanse Clarifying Shampoo. This is a thick mousse that gently removes the product buildup from your hair and scalp without being too stripping.

Your Diet

What you eat can have a big impact on your hair as it’s one of the first things your body stops providing for if you have a deficiency. Hair can be a good indication of your overall health so it’s important to have a good diet if you want healthy hair. Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly good as they aid in hair growth and will help to nourish your strands from the inside out. Omega-3 rich foods include salmon, flaxseeds, walnuts and chia seeds. You also want to stock up on Vitamin A which is needed in sebum production to nourish your hair. This is found in spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli and red peppers.

Too Much Heat

Your addiction to the straighteners or your daily blow-dry routine could be the cause of your dull hair if you’re frying your strands. Sure, it gives you a shiny finish initially but over time heat damage will wear down your hair making it dry and brittle. If you notice that your hair is getting really brittle on the ends or that it no longer looks shiny after styling then we’d recommend skipping the heat until you can get your hair in better condition. We’ve got a playlist here with heatless hairstyles for all hair lengths, so there are no excuses.


Not only is it important to your overall health that you’re drinking enough water but it’s also really important for your hair. Being dehydrated can affect hair growth and will also dry out your skin, halting sebum production which is crucial for nourishing your strands. Each strand of your hair is around 25% water so it’s really important to stay hydrated if you want it to look healthy and shiny.


The Best Products For Dull Hair?

Don’t worry, if your hair is looking exhausted then there are some amazing products that will help to inject it with shine. Dull hair likely needs a little TLC so not only will you need to work on your hair routine but it’s worth investing in better products too. Keep scrolling for our favourites...


Redken Diamond Oil Glow Dry Shampoo


This is an oil-based, gel conditioner that provides lightweight shine with a blend of alma extract and coriander seed oil. It promises to leave your hair light, voluminous and impossibly shiny.


We Are Paradoxx Hangover Hair Elixir


You might think that the hip flask packaging is a little bit random but it’s actually because this hair oil is infused with Irish whisky. It’s a rich, high performance oil that you can use as a leave-in treatment to restore shine and prevent frizz. It also has a blend of argan, coconut and soya oils that work together to strengthen and restore weak tresses.


Bumble and Bumble Color Gloss


A hair gloss is a semi-permanent treatment which adds a layer of shine over your hair while boosting your colour. This gloss by Bumble and Bumble comes in 5 shades, including a clear version so that you can pick one to match your hair colour. You’ll need to apply this to dry hair before your regular shampoo and conditioner routine for a moisture and shine enhancing boost.


Philip Kingsley Elasticizer


Originally created by Philip Kingsley for Audrey Hepburn, this mask has been dubbed a saviour for its hair repairing powers. It’s a pre-shampoo, moisturising treatment which improves elasticity and restores shine. It’s also perfect for damaged hair that’s been overprocessed and we’d recommend using this once a week to keep your locks in the best condition.


Bumble and bumble Hairdresser's Invisible Oil


This lightweight styling oil is infused with six natural oils including argan, coconut and almond oil to replenish lacklustre hair. It works as a hair primer providing heat and UV protection to prevent damage from styling. This is perfect for anyone with dull, dry hair who can’t give up their straighteners.