The 10 Commandments of Sexy, Shiny Hair
1. Use moisturizing hair products.
When shopping for shampoo and conditioner, go for a moisturizing kind. You can also deep-condition your hair once or twice a week.
2. Condition with every wash.
Your conditioner is your most important tool for healthy, shiny hair: It prevents your hair from breaking, and it keeps your locks soft and sexy. To maximize the benefits, use the conditioner that’s right for your unique hair type.
3. Detangle your hair in the shower.
Before you rinse out your conditioner, use a wide-tooth plastic comb to gently work through snags and knots. “The contioner coats your hair and protects it, as well as makes it easier to manage,” says Nelson Chan, owner of the Nelson J Salon in Beverly Hills, Calif. To make sure every tangle has been vanquished, use a leave-in conditioner when you step out of the shower.
4. Blot, don’t rub, your hair with a towel.
Rubbing your hair vigorously then twisting it inside a towel turban is the perfect recipe for frizz, says Chan. For smooth hair, take two or three minutes to press your hair between a folded towel. That’s towel-dried, not towel-ruffled hair.
5. Use color strategically.
While your roots are just a few weeks old, the mid-shaft and ends of your locks may be years old. That means they’ve been subject to dozens of color processes and hours of heat styling. Give them a rest. Apply dye only to your re-growth, and coat the rest of your hair with conditioner, suggests Chan. To keep color looking fresh for weeks, be sure to use a shampoo and conditioner formulated for color-treated hair.
6. Make peace with your hair’s texture.
Chic hair doesn’t need to be straight and sleek. But your curly or wavy hair will look its most gleaming, gorgeous best if you keep the hot tools to a minimum and let it express its crowning glory. Opting for long layers, except for a few face-framing snips in the front, and a well-defined line at the end will let you manage your hair with minimal fuss. Be sure to choose products designed for curly hair -- their lightweight moisturizing ingredients hydrate dry strands without weighing them down. Try hot rollers for a polished look. “Your curls will look softer and more defined,” says Chan.
7. Sleep smart.
If you find yourself waking up with matted, messy hair, try a few easy tweaks to your sleeping regimen. Switching from a cotton pillowcase to a silk or satin one will cause less friction as you toss and turn. Skip the tight ponytail -- it can lead to breakage -- and pile your hair in a loose braid or bun instead.
8. Choose the right tools.
If you haven’t replaced your hair dryer in a while it might be time for an upgrade. Today’s ionic hair dryers do more than just blow hot air. They release electrically charged ions that speed the evaporation of water, cutting down drying time, boosting shine and reducing frizz. Keep in mind that daily use of a blow dryer, flatiron or curling iron can be damaging, so always use a heat-protectant product. Try to take a break from hot tools at least a couple of times a week.
The right brush is also key, says Chan, especially if you have fine or damaged hair. “Look for bristles that feel soft against your hand,” he says. These can either be natural, synthetic or a combination of both. What’s important is that the bristles glide, without tugging, through your delicate strands.
9. Protect your hair from sun damage.
Anyone who has ever spent time at the beach for a number of days can attest to the fact that hair, especially lighter hair colors, tends to get lighter and develop a “sun-lit” look. This is because UV light has been shown to degrade hair pigment by bleaching, which leads to lighter hair. But UV rays can also deplete hair from protein and dry it out. Try to wear a hat if you’re going to be in the sun for a prolonged period.
10. Eat Omega-3s.
Omega-3 oils are essential for brain and heart health but also necessary to keep your hair strong and shiny. Salmon, herring, cod, walnuts, almonds and flaxseed are all excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids.