Raise your hand if you could stand to have shinier, healthier-looking hair. Everyone? Yeah, we thought so.
Everyday exposure to pollution, hair styling products, and heat tools can decrease your hair’s health, and therefore its shine. Our natural texture and color can have an effect on how shiny our locks can look, and for every one there is a haircare and hairstyling product that can take your strands to the next megawatt level.
We spoke to celebrity hairstylist Leonardo Rocco and hair colorist Stephanie Diaz and asked for their expert insights and tips on how to get the shiniest hair ever, both immediately and over time. Below, see their tips for getting your glossiest hair ever.
1Wash your hair the right way
The shampoo bottle may say, “lather, rinse, repeat,” but that recipe is definitely not for everyone (or even most people). For the healthiest-looking locks, make sure to shampoo your hair twice (yes, you read that right). Rocco says that the first shampoo is for cleansing the scalp and hair of build-up, and the second works as more of a treatment. Additionally, he says that when your applying your shampoo and conditioner, you should give yourself a gentle massage. The movement helps stimulate blood-flow to the scalp, which brings new blood cells to the area and helps rejuvenate the hair’s roots. Additionally, it’s important to be gentle since hair is at its most vulnerable when it’s wet and its cuticles are open.
Also, if you’ve heard that giving your hair a final rinse with cold water will leave it extra-shiny, ignore that: Studies show that the cold-water-rinse theory is a tall tale, so save yourself from arctic temperatures and maintain warm-to-lukewarm water instead.
2Look out for damaging ingredients
Your hair can easily get full of, well, crap, and that makes it look less shiny and way more dull. Between the products we apply (including dry shampoo), the oils we secrete, and the grime we pick up in our everyday lives, our hair could definitely use a little extra help in the cleansing department—but watch out. Rocco says that sulfates can strip your hair of its natural oils, which then leaves it looking dull, especially if you have dyed or chemically treated hair. He also recommends staying away from clarifying shampoos since they strip hair of everything, both the bad and the good stuff. Instead, Diaz recommends using an apple cider vinegar rinse to help balance the scalp’s natural pH level, causing hair to look shinier and healthier over time.
3Skip shimmering sprays and opt for oils instead
While you might think that spritzing on a little shimmering spray is a quick way to gloss up your locks, you could actually be doing more harm than good. Many hair sprays that promise to add a little sparkle to your mane include mica, a mineral that will indeed make you shimmer in the short-term, but can also rough up the hair shaft and work against your natural gleam over time. Instead, Rocco recommends using products that contain ingredients like argan oil, which will make your hair look shiny and also improve its texture over time. Just be sure you start with a small amount—fine hair can quickly start to look oily if too much is applied.
4Massage your scalp with vitamin E
Yes, we know that taking vitamins orally is good for our health, but applying them topically to our hair can also make it stronger and shinier over time. The next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up a bottle of vitamin E capsules. At home, snip off the ends of about a dozen capsules, squeeze the oil into a bowl then give yourself pre-shampoo massage with the (admittedly sticky) substance. Diaz says that this vitamin nourishes and hydrates hair strands, and studies show that ingesting vitamin E can increase hair growth. Massaging your locks with the oil can make hair feel stronger, and look both shinier and healthier.
5Use a boar brush
“Boar bristle brushes seal the cuticle, enabling maximum shine by creating a completely two-dimensional surface for maximum light reflection,” says Diaz. For best results, you’ll need a 100% wild boar-hair brush (sourced humanely, of course). These stiff, rough-feeling brushes will draw natural oils from your roots to the ends of your hair, promoting natural gloss and shine. Plus, they help to increase volume in fine hair—double score!
6Eat some omega-3 fatty acids
Studies show that Omega-3 fatty acids (found in foods such as eggs, salmon, and chia seeds) make your hair shine like whoa.
7Try a glossing hair treatment
In-shower glossing treatments work like hair masks—taking time to coat hair and make it shiny. “Glosses seal the cuticle like a top coat, creating a a high-shine finish with tonal value,” says Diaz. Get a clear one that works on all hair colors, or choose one that will help boost your specific hair color and give it more life.
You could also try a salon glossing treatment if you’re feeling extra fancy.
8Use a leave-in conditioner
Your scalp’s natural oils are what make hair naturally shiny, but if you have long and/or curly hair, it may have a hard time working its way to your ends, which can leave your locks looking dry and broken. Brushing your hair with your boar hair brush can help bring the oils down your strands, but another alternative is to use a leave-in conditioner with hydrating properties. This will not only soften hair immediately, but it will help to nurture your strands and make them healthier over time.
And make sure that you’re using an actual leave-in conditioner, not just leaving your shower conditioner in your hair instead. Rocco says that this is one of the main mistakes he sees people make because shower conditioners may contain ingredients (like proteins) that aren’t supposed to stay on the hair for excessive amounts of time. Leaving protein in your hair for too long, for example, can cause it to snap. Rocco urges his clients to instead use a product that was formulated specifically for staying on hair for long periods of time.
9Use a heat-protectant
If you constantly blow dry, flat iron, or curl your hair, it’s a good idea to protect it. Temperatures on heat tools can go all the way up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, which is really effing hot, and by applying a heat protectant, you’re essentially creating a protective barrier between the heat and your hair. If you use a hot tool without a heat protectant, your hair can lose its color and vibrancy, and it can damage your strands to the point where they break off. All heat tools remove moisture from the hair and can burn its proteins, so you must protect it,” insists Diaz.
10Get healthier hair while you sleep
Everything looks better after a good night’s rest, including your hair! Coating it with a nourishing overnight mask (and then sleeping with a towel over your pillowcase!) can get your hair looking shiny and healthy in no time. Just wash it out in the morning with your favorite shampoo (sulfate-free, please) and skip the conditioner.
An extra tip is to use a silk pillowcase on the nights you’re not using an overnight mask, as the friction on traditional pillowcases can break hair overtime.
See you on the glossy side, gals.