Live your best hair life.
Anyone who's ever tried to take their hair game to the next level knows that it can seem quite daunting at first. You want it to look amazing, of course, but between dealing with the whole sweaty workout hair thing and finding the time to actually style it, it can often seem like more trouble than it's worth. Fortunately, there are actual ways to give your hair the TLC it deserves without going crazy about it—it's all about choosing and using the right products and tools, and adopting healthy hair habits that work for you. Follow these seven expert tips to get the longer, stronger, healthier hair you truly want.
- Use nutrient-rich moisturizing hair-care products.
First things first: Your shower routine can make or break your hair health, so be sure you go in with some expert-approved moves. Start by choosing nutrient-rich products, like Pantene's Daily Moisture Renewal Shampoo and Conditioner. Both the shampoo and conditioner help strengthen your hair, protecting it from heat and environmental damage. The pro-vitamin formula also contains a moisture-silk complex that helps keep hair manageable and provides all-day moisture—which keeps it bouncy and resilient.
- Get your washing technique down to a science.
Once you pick your products, be sure you're actually using them correctly, too. "Start by shampooing until you build up a lather, at which point your hair is clean," advises Paul Labrecque of New York City's Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa. Then, rinse well and condition—and then rinse again for a long time, Labrecque recommends. Finally, always end your shower with cool water to make sure you close your hair's cuticles.
- Before you dry, pre-dry.
You may be tempted to blowdry or diffuse your hair right when you get out of the shower—but don't. It's all about the pre-dry first. "After you get out of the shower, tip your head between your legs and shake it until you remove about 70 percent of the overall moisture," Labrecque advises. Then, if you have pretty straight hair, wrap your hair in a towel or an ultra-absorbing head wrap that removes all the moisture before you start the drying process—and if you have very curly or frizzy hair, comb a hydrating gel through it from root to tip before you allow it to dry on its own or you use a diffuser, he continues. Why? Because this is what gives it volume. "Pre-drying is the single most important thing you can do for volume," he says.
- Customize your hot styling tools to help avoid damage—and always use heat protectant spray.
You know that it's not great for your hair if you dry it and then flatiron it every single day—but that doesn't mean you should avoid hot tools at all costs. The key is to adjust the settings to something reasonable that works for your hair type. "Any tool that's a flatiron of any kind should have a heat setting that goes up to 400 degrees," explains Danielle Marzella, owner of Transitions Hair Solutions. "And so for finer hair, I would adjust that to something in the 200-degree range, and for coarser hair, go higher," she continues. But don't crank it all the way up: "Most people shouldn't be using heat at max temperature, especially if you use it every day," says Grillo. Her final advice? "No matter what your hair looks like, always use a heat protectant spray to create a barrier between your hair and the styling tool."
- If you color your hair often, avoid doing the same sections over and over again.
If you're going to get your hair highlighted every four or five weeks, you don't need to have your color pulled through from the roots to the ends every single time, advises Grillo. Instead, if you want your color refreshed, just ask your colorist to use a semi or demi-permanent color from the middle of your hair shaft to the ends. And, if you want to give even more specific instructions, "ask for something that doesn't have peroxide developer—it will have a more conditioning effect," Grillo says.
- Get regular trims so your ends stay healthy.
It seems pretty counterintuitive to cut your hair more often when your end goal is actually to grow it out longer. But trust us, it's the right plan of action. "The more you trim your hair, the more you heal its ends, which helps it stay healthy and, ultimately, grow even longer," says Labrecque. His advice: "Go for a trim as soon as you notice broken ends."
- And finally, make sure you're eating right.
Your diet has a direct impact on pretty much everything in life, including the overall health of your hair. "Generally speaking, eating a balanced diet full of lean proteins, nuts, seeds, fish, fruits, and eggs will be good for your hair, because you'll be getting a healthy dose of iron, selenium, and Vitamin D—which are all great for your hair," says Grillo. On the flip side, if you notice serious damage to your hair, check with your doctor—because it could indicate a more serious medical condition.
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