When it comes to our complexion, we don’t think twice about carving out the time for our daily skin care regimen to erase or stave off imperfections. Yet when it comes to our hair, which bears the brunt of constant heat styling and color treatments, we often expect stellar looks with minimal effort. Here, 10 simple strategies to work into your hair routine, plus what to look for on the label to make sure your product lives up to its promise. The result: natural, healthy-looking, and gorgeous hair.
1. Invest in the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair type.
“It’s crucial to find a regimen that’s not only going to keep hair healthy-looking and maintain a beautiful finish, but also makes styling easier,” says Kevin Mancuso, Global Creative Director at Nexxus New York Salon Care. Plus, when you “optimize your natural texture as a base for styling, you’ll get the most movement and shine from your hair before you even do anything to it,” he says. If you have damaged hair, look for a protein complex. If you have coarse or natural texture, opt for oils that won’t weigh hair down. And if you need volume, try panthenol-rich formulas. Looking for your perfect match? Check out the variety at Nexxus.com, where you can explore eight shampoo and conditioner ranges that are custom crafted for specific hair types.
2. Add a hair mask to your weekly routine.
It’s a necessary step to replenish lost moisture, add strength, and help prevent damage. Our top picks: Klorane Mask With Mango Butter and Nexxus New York Salon Care Emergencée Reconstructing Treatment.
3. And if your hair is super damaged, use a hair mask as a daily conditioner.
If your hair is double processed or bleached and heat styled regularly, or if you have naturally curly or coarse texture, skip regular conditioner and reach for a richer formula. “I apply a hair mask every time I wash my hair because it helps prevent it from breaking and keeps it soft and healthy-looking,” says Laura Polko, a celebrity stylist in New York City. Polko suggests applying an ample amount and combing it through to cover hair root to ends before rinsing.
4. Turn down the heat.
Never blow-dry your hair without the nozzle attachment. “With it, you are putting about two inches of separation between your hair and the hottest part of the dryer,” says Mancuso. Also, try not to blow your hair all around, because that can also cause damage by roughing up strands, says Polko. “Aim the nozzle downward so you are smoothing the cuticle,” she says. And never turn the temperature or air flow of your blow-dryer to the highest setting. Vigi suggests a targeted approach: “For clients with a lot of damage, I switch to the cool setting when heat styling the finer hairs around the face,” she says.
5. Be gentle with your hot tools.
Opt for those with a ceramic coating verses plain metal. The former creates a slippery surface that allows it to quickly glide through hair. Another tip: Use curling irons that are clamp free so that hair isn’t pressed too closely to the source of heat, suggests Mancuso. And your technique matters, too. “You don’t have to press down on hair as you glide down from root to ends with an iron,” says Mancuso. “You just have to skim over it to get a smoothing effect.”