Looking your best doesn’t have to be difficult—just start from the top with healthy, shiny, manageable hair. Here are some basic ways to help your crowning glory look its best.|
Washing Your Hair
Great-looking hair starts with a solid shampooing technique. Wet your hair thoroughly to minimize the damage that may occur when rubbing shampoo into the hair. Use only a nickel-sized dollop of shampoo—more isn’t better, as using too much shampoo can strip away valuable moisture from your hair. Concentrate on the scalp, and only use the pads of your fingers to massage the lather into your roots. If your nails need a trim, take care of them before you wash your hair, as sharp fingernails can rough up the outer hair cuticle, making it tangled and damaged. The lather will wash down the length of your hair as your rinse it out, so there is no need to lather your entire head of hair unless you typically use a lot of hard-to-remove styling products.
Use a shampoo formulated for your hair type (dry, oily, normal or color-treated) for best results. Each formulation contains a different balance of cleansers made for that specific hair type. For instance, a shampoo for oily hair will contain a stronger detergent that’s capable of cutting through the excess oil, while a shampoo for color-treated hair will be milder in order to avoid stripping out the hair-coloring molecules.
How often you need to shampoo will depend on your hair type. Unless you hair is oily, you can usually shampoo every other day—even less often if your hair is very dry or coarse. In between shampoo days, you can simply wet down your hair and restyle it.
Conditioning Your Hair
A good conditioner is needed after every shampoo to smooth down the hair’s outer layer and to protect it against damage. For best results, apply conditioner to the ends of the hair only, and comb it through with a wide-toothed comb. The ends of the hair are the oldest and need the most moisture. Rinse with cooler water to help seal the cuticle and maximize shine.
Handling Your Hair
The most expensive shampoo and conditioner in the world can’t help you if you don’t treat your hair gently at all times. Instead of rubbing your hair briskly with a towel to dry it, gently blot it to remove excess water. Then, start at the bottom, and work out any knots with a wide-toothed comb, gradually working your way up to the roots.
General Hair Care Tips
Blow-dry your hair as little as possible, and allow your hair to air-dry to minimize heat styling damage.
Never blow-dry your hair when it is dripping wet. Wrap your head in a towel to absorb the excess moisture or gently blot off the drips with a towel.
Never use plain elastic bands to tie back your hair, as these get easily tangled in the hair and damage it. A coated elastic band with no metal parts is the gentlest solution.
Avoid playing with your hair, as your hands can transfer oil and dirt to the strands, making your hair limp and greasy.
Avoid using a brush on wet hair to minimize breakage. Use a comb to remove tangles.
Cut down on static electricity in dry hair by dampening your hairbrush with water first.
Dampening your hair with a bit of water will reactivate styling products between shampoos.
If your hair is prone to product build-up, mix one tablespoon of baking soda into your regular shampoo once a week. Rinse and dry as usual.
No time to shampoo? Rub baby powder or corn starch into your hair and brush it out to remove excess oil.
Condition damaged hair by applying mayonnaise to dry hair before shampooing. Let sit for 30 minutes, then rinse and shampoo as usual.
Feeling creative? Try mixing up one of these homemade hair care products for a healthy, all-natural shine!
Follow these tips and you'll have healthy, silky-smooth hair in no time!