Your Low-Maintenance Guide to Gorgeous Hair
With our busy work, family, and social schedules, who has the time (or the extra funds!) for a weekly blowout? Though most women aren't visiting the salon for regular styling services, this doesn't mean anyone wants to wear their hair in a ponytail everyday either—and they shouldn't have to. There has to be a middle ground for low-maintenance-yet-put-together hairdos, especially when you consider the fact that hair affects how we feel about ourselves, and having a good hair day plays a big part in having a good day period.
But before you start primping, take a closer look at your locks. If your hair has been lack-luster it might be due to hair loss, which could indicate a bigger hormonal or nutritional issue that should be checked out by a healthcare professional, or maybe it's a sign to finally make some lifestyle changes. Once you've ruled out any medical issues, it's time to take a holistic approach to hair care: This includes eating the right foods for healthy hair, indulging in a little self-care, getting enough sleep, and conditioning strands so they look their best.
Now for your new routine. We asked the experts to share their easiest at-home tips for great looking hair. Their response is refreshingly zen: Do less. We're not suggesting that you break up with your blow-dryer or say bye to the dye. Just streamline your routine and add a few easy steps to your routine to help maintain your style between shampoos. (You won't need to watch any YouTube tutorials to master their advice, we promise).
Sound too good to be true? We promise it's not. Read on for your maintenance guide to gorgeous hair in minutes.
Wash Hair Less Often
Shampooing is necessary, but it strips away natural oils that keep strands strong and healthy, says Pasadena, California, dermatologist Paul McAndrews. So skip the suds when you can. (Bonus: Your color will last longer.) New York City hairstylist Michael Angelo suggests cleaning and conditioning once or twice a week. To freshen in between, rinse in the shower, and apply conditioner to your ends. If you use styling products, rotate in a clarifying shampoo every few weeks to remove scalp-irritating buildup.
Style with Care
"Treat your hair like delicate fabric," says Angelo. Since it's most vulnerable to stretching and breaking when it's wet, gently loosen tangles before you shower instead of brushing through them afterward. High temps also cause brittleness, says McAndrews. Conditioner helps (our experts like Kerastase Densifique Fondant Density) prevent damage over time, but you should reach for your heat protectant, such as TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Protectant, religiously if you blow-dry.
Stay Sleek While You Sleep
To keep hair smooth and knot-free overnight, treat yourself to a friction-reducing silk or satin pillowcase, advises Los Angeles, stylist Justine Marjan. Nighttime is also the right time for dry shampoo, says Angelo. Rather than spraying it into already greasy roots, get ahead of the game. "Apply it to your scalp before bed," he advises, and comb it out in the morning. The combing distributes the product from your roots down.
Bring Back Bounce
Try these quick pick-me-ups for in-between days. When cleansing your face, work a few drops of shampoo into your hairline, then rinse and blow-dry the roots, says New York City hairstylist Joseph Maine. For an allover boost, gather hair into two loose buns high on your head, secure with snag-free silk or satin scrunchies, and wave a dryer around them, says Marjan. Let hair cool; release. For extra insurance, steer styling products (and fingers) away from roots, and pin back unruly pieces instead.
Use your ends as a gauge. "When they turn limp or tangle easily, it's time," says Boston hairstylist Eva Mustafai. Repeated blow-drying and heat styling damage them more quickly than if you air-dry, says New York City hairstylist Paul Labrecque, which means more frequent haircuts. To stave off future splits, stick with a natural-bristle brush (it's less likely to cause damage than a heat-retaining metal one), and do a deep-conditioning mask—such as Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair!—once a week, suggests New York City colorist Stephanie Brown.
There's no denying it: Dye can make hair parched and brittle. For fewer visits, "ask your colorist to feather lightener at the root to prevent a sharp line of contrast when your natural color comes in," says Angelo. Then shield your new shade with a hydrating heat protectant and products that block UVA and UVB rays, and wear a hat in the sun, say Brown and Labrecque.