Lather. Rinse. Repeat. That’s what the shampoo bottle says, but is that what’s really best for your hair type? The Scoop takes a closer look at the what, where and when of hair care to make you the best tressed this summer.
Give Tangles the Brush Off
No matter your hair type, it’s best to start tangle free, so before you shampoo, while hair is still dry, gently use a natural bristle brush to separate your strands. To lessen tugging and possible breakage, start at the bottom and work your way up.
Wispy, fine hair can be oilier than thicker hair because your natural oils are coating a smaller surface, making it doubly important to choose oil-free products that won’t weigh your fine hair down. Washing your hair every two or three days is perfect for fine tresses. Be sure to really work the shampoo through your hair to remove the previous days’ product buildup. To keep hair more buoyant, apply conditioner just to the ends. Thoroughly rinse your hair to make sure all traces of shampoo are removed. For bouncy, beautiful volume, try one of the innovative new styling creams that boost hair with invisible thickening fibers. Or spritz a volumizer at the roots and pull mousse through wet strands with a wide-toothed comb to evenly distribute. Blowdrying hair upside down can even add a little oomph. A light-hold hairspray can help you maintain the volume all through your day. You may not realize, but coloring fine hair can actually add volume and texture. Adding lowlights and highlights creates dimension, which gives the illusion of fullness. And naturally, the right cut is essential. Finer hair does better with a shorter cut. Less length equals less weight to pull hair down.
Thin hair can also be fine, but thin and fine are not one in the same. Fine hair means the individual hair strands are slight, but thin hair actually means something altogether different. With thin hair, there is more space between each hair strand, meaning there is less overall hair. So volumizing solutions for fine hair can help plump up thinning hair for better scalp coverage. Look for shampoos and serums with Collagen, Chinese Botanical Herbs or Copper Peptides that restore your scalp health and have been shown to reduce shedding and increase follicular cell growth for fuller, more glorious hair.
Thick Hair is often dry, so don’t wash it every day. Using a moisturizing shampoo two to three times a week is ideal. Silk Proteins can calm dry, frizzy hair. A moisture-rich conditioner is a must. A periodic dose of leave-in conditioner or a deep conditioning treatment can add control to unruly tresses. When you do rinse, be sure to use cool water, which helps seal the cuticle, creating a smoother finish. Pat hair dry with a towel, never rub. If possible, allow hair to air dry until it is at least 40% dry. High heat from blowdryers can really damage wet hair, leading to more frizz. To get the best result, blowdry your hair in sections. Clip top layers on top of your head so you can adequately dry the underneath layers. Avoid styling products that contain alcohol, which can further strip much-needed moisture from already-parched thick locks. A quality finishing oil can banish flyaways and transform dull, dry hair into a sublimely glossy mane. Products with Silicone can impart shine while smoothing and straightening hair.
Hormonal changes can cause an increase in oil production, resulting in too-oily hair. And believe it or not, a dry scalp can actually cause oily hair. A dry, itchy scalp sends oil production into overdrive to compensate. So while it’s important to not use a moisturizing shampoo on oily hair, it’s equally important to not use one that’s too harsh and stringent or you can make your dry scalp worse. Plus, an oil-control shampoo could be too drying for your ends on a daily basis. For best results, shampoo daily with a mild or clarifying shampoo. Really massage the shampoo into your scalp for a good two minutes. Be sure to fully rinse your hair with cool water to remove all oil-attracting residue, like soap buildup and hair products. Unlike your roots, the bottom on your mane has already endured as many as two summers of heat, humidity and chlorine, so condition just the ends once or twice a week. On those days when you just really don’t have time to wash and style, why not try a dry shampoo spray? It will refresh your tresses and soak up excess oil. Always remember to keep your hands out of your hair. Oils from your hands can make hair greasy.
Curly hair is often drier, so extra care must be taken to maintain your lively locks and fight the frizz. Choosing the right shampoo is essential. Steer clear of sulfates which can be extremely drying and damaging to curly hair. Nourishing botanicals and a low-lather or no-lather mild shampoo are recommended two to three times a week. When washing, put the focus on your scalp, not your strands. The goal is to gently wash away the dirt and oil from the scalp, without damaging the hair shaft and your fabulous curls. Thick, creamy conditioners are ideal for moisture-starved curls. As with all hair, a final cool water rinse really does help hair shine by sealing the cuticle. Gently remove the excess water from your hair by patting it with an absorbent towel. Be mindful that you don’t crush your curls. A good styling gel or serum specifically formulated for curly girls can shape and define curls without weighing them down. Gently massage through hair, scrunching as you go. Let hair air dry or dry with a diffuser, if you must. Once hair is dry, “crack” the gel cast to release your luscious curls.
Intense hydration is the key to transforming dull, dry hair to shiny and lustrous. Dry hair is very fragile and prone to breakage, so it’s important to handle it with care. Gray hair and processed or color-treated hair usually fall into the dry hair category because they are often rougher in texture and more porous. Twice-weekly shampoos should be plenty for dry hair. Products with humectants are the best. Humectants attract water and seal in moisture, a perfect fix for thirsty tresses. Avoid sulfates in shampoo, which can strip hair of its natural moisture. A little Tea Tree Oil is a great natural remedy for a dry, itchy scalp. Gently massage Tea Tree Oil shampoo into the scalp for soothing itch relief and to get rid of pesky flakes. This light massage will also help stimulate your scalp’s own natural oil production. Work a deeply hydrating conditioner through your wet hair with a wide-toothed comb. Let it soak in your strands while you lather up the rest of your body. Just before you get out of the shower, do a cool rinse to seal the cuticle. This protects your hair and smoothes the hair shaft, leaving you with shinier, more youthful-looking hair. Periodic hot oil treatments are the icing on the cake, providing deep nourishment for dry hair.
Protect Your Tresses
Whatever your hair type, it’s always important to protect your hair from the elements, both natural and not so. Sun can fade color and dry your locks while wind can tangle your tresses and lead to breakage. A fashionable sunhat or scarf can be very chic, while saving your mane. When swimming, a cool water rinse before and after you take a dip can keep the chlorine from soaking into your strands and doing damage. Sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase can actually help prevent tangles and breakage. Frequent haircuts will help your hair grow by removing split ends. Give your blowdryer and flat iron the day off and let your hair dry naturally. Try to space your chemical processes to give your hair a chance to recover. You’ll reduce the risk of breakage and keep your hair looking shiny. There are easy-to-use quick-fix products you can use to mask root regrowth, until it’s time to get your color redone.