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Your Shower To-Dos
Moisture is the name of the game when it comes to parched, bristly tresses, so opt for products laden with nourishing proteins and ceramides designed to deliver deep hydration. Skip piping-hot showers, which will only expand the hair shaft, allowing moisture to escape, and don't wash when you don't need to -- your natural scalp oils will help slake your hair's thirst.
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How to Fix Breakage and Split Ends
Moisture Daily heat styling with a flatiron, curling iron, or blow-dryer takes its toll on tresses, sapping moisture and weakening strands, which can lead to dullness, brittleness, and dreaded split ends. According to New York trichologist Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, healthy hair should stretch about 30 percent of its length before it breaks, but "If it's in bad condition, it may only stretch 10 to 15 percent." Instead of giving hot tools the cold shoulder, protect your mane with a thermal styling spray containing hydrolyzed wheat protein to repair gaps along the hair shaft, and jojoba oil, which smoothes the cuticle and helps ward off UV rays. Simply spritz it on damp hair, then style as usual.
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Add Even More Moisture
Slathering on a traditional rinse-off conditioner may not offer enough moisture for extra-dry locks. To heighten hydration, add a leave-in treatment to your daily lineup. Look for a product packed with protein -- which is the building block of hair -- and comb a quarter-size amount through damp tresses from root to tip. An added bonus, according to Clyde Elezei, cofounder of the Drawing Room Salon in New York City, is that creamy leave-in conditioners can help tame an unruly mane so you won't need to rely on a surplus of alcohol-based styling products.
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Soften Strawlike Locks
To soften scorched strands, wet your hair with warm water, massage in a deep-conditioning treatment loaded with olive oil or hydrolyzed elastin, and tuck tresses into a shower cap. Step on the treadmill or treat your feet to an at-home pedicure, but budget for 20 to 30 minutes of contact time. Why wear the shower cap? It keeps body heat trapped inside, enabling the conditioner to penetrate more deeply. After 20 minutes, rinse your hair with lukewarm water and marvel at its newfound touchability.
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Best Salon Treatments
If a love affair with your flatiron has torched your tresses to the point of no return, it's time for a more intensive in-salon option, which uses a higher concentration of active ingredients to help correct damage. One such treatment is L'Oreal Professionnel FiberCeutic, which lasts for up to 10 to 12 days. Ron King, a celebrity hairstylist in Austin, Texas, uses FiberCeutic to repair stress from excessive heat styling and "to smooth potholes in the cuticle by infusing the hair with fiber." According to King, the regimen, which also includes an after-care mask, "immediately takes pitted, damaged hair back to its natural state."
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How to Treat and Prevent Dandruff
Spurred on by a yeastlike fungus that's a normal part of our scalp-scape, dandruff ebbs and flows based on "changes in the skin's secretions that allow this microorganism to flourish," explains Cunnane Phillips. She adds, "Changes like an increase in oil production, hormonal fluctuations, elevated stress, poor nutritional habits, and not cleansing the scalp properly" can all create a fertile breeding ground for fungi. To keep flakes at bay, single out a shampoo and weekly scalp mask formulated with piroctone olamine, which relieves itching, and benzalkonium chloride, which helps to control and prevent future outbreaks.
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Best Cut for Thick Hair
To keep a coarse mane in check, you may want to mull over a chin-length bob that's longer in front than in back. Wendy Iles, a celebrity hairstylist in New York City, says, "The bob is a versatile, weighty cut so hair falls easily into place." Plus, a shorter style helps eliminate a damaged, brittle fringe. Instead of having your stylist snip blunt ends -- meaning all layers are one length, which can look like a "thatched roof" when hair is superthick -- ask her to taper inward around your neck for a softer silhouette.
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Five-Minute Styling Solution for Work
Ensuring strands stay out of your face and camouflaging hard-to-color grays, a flexible headband instantly refines a style that might otherwise be considered slapdash. To prep your tresses, slick a smoothing cream through damp hair to flatten flyaways, then gather strands into a low ponytail right above the nape of the neck and secure with an elastic. Wrap the ponytail around the elastic and fix it in place with U-pins, making certain all loose ends are accounted for. Slip on a neutral-colored headband to keep front pieces in place -- tortoiseshell is one boss-friendly option - and finish with a shot of extra-hold hairspray.
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Five-Minute Styling Solution for Play
While a tidy chignon is perfect for the office, take this head-banded 'do from day to night by undoing the bun and creating a beachy braid. Spritz on a dry shampoo to add hold, then gather hair near the nape of the neck and start loosely braiding to one side. Secure with an elastic. Swap out your prim and proper headband for a wide, colorful scarf, knotting it underneath the braid so it's out of sight. Pin the knot in place using crisscrossed bobby pins for extra security.