The common misconception about damaged hair is that you can just use the right products to heal it and bring it back to life. Unfortunately, this isn't true, but there is good news in store for you. There is a fine line between damaged hair, and beyond repair. Hair that is damaged can be treated in a way that will allow it to still look and feel acceptable, and will allow you to own your confidence in your hair. Hair that is beyond repair will often looked frayed or crimped when nothing has been done to it, it will be frizzy, and it will tangle incredibly easily. When you run your fingers through your hair, you will be able to tell exactly where the damaged hair is vs the beyond repair hair.
When making damaged hair manageable you want to use something strong at first. Get yourself some travel size products that will add protein while hydrating the hair. The goal during this time is to help your hair get strong enough to hold moisture again. You see moisture molecules in the hair strand connect to protein, so if you don't have enough protein, you can't retain moisture. We always recommend doing your research or speaking with a professional regarding this product because you don't want products that are strictly protein - or too strong of protein because if you aren't choosing the right product you CAN add too much protein, and actually end up doing more harm than good. During this time we recommend using heat as little as possible, preferably not at all, but if you do, use very low heat settings, and use a good heat protector!
Once you have added some protein and began the hydration process you then want to step up your hydration game!!!! At this point you don't want travel sizes. You want full size products because these will be around a while. The only goal here is moisture so use products good for dry hair, and that will not only add shine (Shine does not = moisture), but will add loads and loads of moisture. Alternate your shampoo/conditioner with your protein + moisture and your moisture only products until you run out of the protein + moisture products. Remember during this time you still want treatment products, not cosmetic products. This means that this is not the time to go cheap because you want to heal your hair as much as you are possible from the inside out, and not just mask the issue externally. We still recommend limiting the amount of heat you are using on your hair, but definitely recommend using a heat protector daily even if you aren't using heat on your hair. Good heat protectors will also protect the hair from things such as mechanical, and natural damage that happen on a regular basis.
At the end of the day we recommend getting a trim above all else. Cut off as much of the damage old hair as you are able to before starting these regimens to really give your hair a fighting chance, and understand that this is a process. The hair can't be magically healed, and it will never return to it's previous glory, but you can improve upon it, make it manageable, and make it so that you are trimming off the dead ends over time, instead of all in one shot without being miserable in the mean time.