From shampoos, to brushing, the experts tell us the tips that make every day hair care easier.
Regardless of texture, colour or style, there’s one thing nearly everyone wants: hair that looks like it’s been through the hands of a salon professional every week.
But if there simply isn’t time in your ever-increasing list of things to do, and if you’d rather prefer that extra 20 minutes in bed over waiting for the keratin-rich hair mask to work its magic, read on, because we’ve spoken to leading experts in the beauty industry for their seven, yes, just seven key hair rules to stick to for the happiest, healthiest hair of your life.
Bye, bad hair days.
1) Rethink the way you wash your hair
Mintel reports that 33% of women who have changed their washing habits in the last 12 months cite worrying about damage as the top reason, so how often should you be shampooing?
Well, industry experts argue that less is more.
“Over-washing can be damaging for your hair, especially if it is bleached, coloured, has been chemically treated or is naturally very dry or porous,” says Steve Rowbottom, co-director of Westrow. “When you wash your hair every day it strips away the natural oils and proteins that you need to keep your hair and scalp healthy, so try to limit hair washing to three times a week if you can.”
But it does depend on your hair type.
The best shampoo for thick, coarse, curly hair
“The curlier your hair is, the longer you can go between washes,” explains dermatologist Dr. Doris Day. If you have thick, coarse, curly hair, pick a shampoo that hydrates as it cleanses, like Percy & Reed’s Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Wash Shampoo, £18. It’s also sulfate free, so won’t strip your colour.
The best shampoo for fine hair
“The finer and straighter your hair is, the faster the oil wicks down,” says Steve, “so that can make it oilier faster. If you have super straight hair, you may not be able to go more than two days without washing.” If you have fine, straight hair, pick a gentle shampoo like Bumble and Bumble’s Gentle Shampoo, £20, which is super-kind on strands.
The best shampoo for coloured hair
If you colour your hair regularly then it’s best to avoid washing your hair every day to keep your colour from fading and your strands from becoming parched. The same applied for just-dyed lengths.
“Leave your hair for at least 72 hours after a colour appointment before washing it again,” says Kamila Pruszek, salon manager at award winning West London salon, Blue Tit. “It can take up to three days for the hair cuticle to fully close, trapping in the colour molecules. If you wash your hair before the cuticle has closed, you risk disrupting the freshly applied colour and your gorgeous new hue is likely to fade.”
When you do eventually wash your hair, avoid shampoos that contain sulphates and silicones. Sulphates can strip the colour, while silicones leave behind residue that can leave your new colour looking dull. Stylist recommends Pureology’s Hydrate Colour Care Shampoo, £18.50, which cleanses from root to tip without stripping your strands of colour and Moroccanoil’s Hydrating Shampoo, £19.95, to eradicate build up and nourish porous lengths.
The best shampoo for African or Caribbean hair
Afro and Caribbean hair can get very dry because of its unique texture, which also makes it incredibly fragile. Most hairdressers comment that the issues they see with this type of hair are from a build-up of debris on the scalp and damage caused by detangling. KeraCare Hydrating Detangling Shampoo, £5.40, is specifically designed to put moisture and bonds back in your hair.
Remember, dry shampoo is your friend
“If you’re prone to greasy hair, then use a little dry shampoo in between washes to soak up excess oil,” advises Steve. “But try and avoid becoming too reliant on dry shampoo as it can cause build-up on the scalp and clog hair follicles, which can impede hair growth. If you really struggle to avoid frequent washing then remember that certain styles work better – and look better – on hair that isn’t freshly washed. Braids, bedhead buns and twisted topknots are all great looks for those in-between wash days.”
Shop the next-generation dry shampoos doing so much more than banishing oily roots. Need extensions? Here are some great examples of How To Make A Drawstring Weave Ponytail Look Natural.
2) Always use protection
Hair can be damaged by both UV and heated tools, like straighters, tongs and even your trusty hairdryer, so it’s important to give your hair as much protection as possible.
“When you dry your hair at home always use a heat protector,” says hairstylist Mark Woolley of Electric Hairdressing. Try the ghd Heat Protect Spray With UV Protection, £12.95, to condition from the inside out and shield against damage from straighteners and colour-zapping rays.
And when drying, be sure not to hold the hair dryer too close to your lengths, to prevent split, fluffy ends. “As a test, blow the hairdryer onto your hand and see how fast you pull away when holding it close to your skin.”
3) Become a blow-dry pro
A good blow-dry should last at least a couple of days depending on your hair type, and there are several products that will help prolong the life of your style. You can also bypass hot tools by multitasking your hair style, as celebrity stylist Dan Sharp explains: “Styling doesn’t always have to involve a hot tool. If you give yourself a fierce blowout on Monday, rock it out on Tuesday and on Wednesday do a fab high ponytail. Making your style last a few days will really help prevent damage.”
The perfect at-home blow-out is not as tricky as it sounds and if you invest in a few good tools it’ll make it even easier.
“Start by flipping your head upside down, and shake your hair around while you blow-dry,” says hair care expert Harry Josh. “The more you move, the more volume you’ll get. Once it’s about 80 percent dry, flip back up and blow-dry hair in sections to smooth, focusing on polished ends. The last three inches are key: Move your brush and dryer right down to the very end of the strands and take your time. It will make all the difference. Most people come at their heads from the side, which makes hair frizzy and staticky by pushing it all over the place.”
4) Remember the good tools rule
Think of your hair like your skin – what you put on it will affect it. Investing in good quality products and tools will keep hair looking and feeling healthy and strong.
“People are cheap with what they use on hair but wouldn’t dream of treating their cashmere jumper in that way,” says hair stylist and Redken Ambassador Tracy Cunningham.
“At home, you should have a round brush for blow-drying, a Mason Pearson brush for styling and a tail comb to move hair around a little,” says hair legend and Redken Global Creative Director, Guido Palau.