You probably focus on your health — eating well and exercising — but one thing you might not realize is you should also pay attention to your hair health, too. After all, who doesn't want healthy, shiny locks? (There wouldn't be much traffic in the beauty aisles of your favorite stores without #hairgoals). But you might not realize a little TLC in your hair routine can go a long way.
While good genes and high quality (read: expensive) products certainly can help, there's something else that's equally — if not more — important: consistency. The best way to achieve your dream locks is by amping up your hair routine.
Ready to break through your hair rut? These are the golden rules of a hair routine, straight from the pros. Spoiler: these tips go beyond the classic wash, rinse and repeat.
What is a good hair care routine?
Any good hair care routine starts with the basics: shampoo and conditioner. Nick Stenson, an Ambassador and Celebrity Stylist for L’ORÉAL/ Matrix and Ulta Beauty's Senior Vice President for Store & Service Operations, recommends usingprofessional-gradeshampoo and conditioner to maintain healthy hair.
Look for ones packed with hair-healthy ingredients, such as biotin, collagen and B vitamins, adds Gina Rivera, Founder of By Gina Products, Colours by Gina & Phenix Salon Suites. Follow this up with a small amount of a leave-in treatment (Stenson's favorite is Matrix Total Results Miracle Creator).
Depending on your hair type and concerns, it may need additional TLC. For example, if you're plagued with dry hair, Rivera recommends a weekly deep conditioning treatment. “This is especially important in dry climates or when a lot of time is spent inside during the cold months with indoor heat, which can be very drying," Rivera says.
How can I care for my hair daily?
Joining the healthy hair club requires adopting new styling habits. Number one: cutting out (or at least down on) heat styling. The less heat you use, the better, says Marshall Lin, a celebrity hairstylist based in New York City. He points out that with more people working from home, you don't have to blow dry or use heat tools to style your hair daily. If you can't skip the heat (who doesn't love a good blow-out?), Rivera says to get choosy with your tools.
"I recommend tools with infrared technology because they style from the inside out, locking the moisture into the hair," she explains. "It's also important to never use your styling tools on the highest heat [setting], as this can damage and burn the hair."
One hair routine that’s not necessary to do daily — washing. "Try skipping shampoo days and cleanse only when you feel that buildup on your scalp or if your hair is too oily," says Lin.
What order do you use hair products?
Just like you wouldn't slap multiple heavy creams on your face, you shouldn't go wild lathering on different hair products. Instead, follow the lead of the hair pros.
After your traditional in-shower shampoo and conditioner, Rivera says that products including styling gel, root boost products, thickening products and mousse work best when applied to damp hair. Meanwhile, serums can be applied to either damp or dry hair.
"Hairsprays can be applied to the hair following styling to hold the hair in place. However, you may also spritz them lightly on the hair prior to curling for extra hold," Rivera tells Lively. And, finishing spray can be used as a final touch: "These are great for using once you have completed styling hair because they allow for movement."
How many times should you wash your hair in a week?
This all depends on your hair type, says Stenson. "For fine to medium texture hair, I would suggest every three days to ensure you’re not stripping the hair from natural oils," he says.
For medium to coarse hair, Stenson suggests washing every other day, but if your hair is not oily, you can go up to one week without lathering up. Stenson doesn't recommend going longer than one week between washes, since you’ll need to remove buildup and replenish moisture the hair is missing. At the end of the day, healthy hair all comes down to the root: scalp care.
"There are many natural oils that your scalp produces that help your hair stay healthy, protected, and grow," says Lin. "But there's also a lot of buildup from the environment and styling products that need to be cleaned."
This is where a regular clarifying treatment comes in. Rivera says that it can be applied either weekly or bi-weekly, depending on hair type. "This will serve to remove buildup from styling products, environmental factors and any medicines that you may be on which can also cause buildup," she tells Lively.
If you want to go the DIY route for this, she says to add a mixture of baking soda and water paste from the scalp to the ends of wet hair. "This should be followed with rinsing and conditioning. It’s inexpensive, yet effective."
How do you start a hair care routine?
It's best to consult with your stylist. "They can determine the best routine for you based on your hair type, hair health and lifestyle," Rivera says.
And, you'll want to find a stylist you trust and that knows how to work with your hair type.
"They'll help to guide you with what your hair needs to achieve the results you're looking for," Lin says.
There are some things you can do yourself, though, starting with adopting a healthy hair routine (such as avoiding heat, using quality products for your hair type and cutting down on shampooing depending on hair type). Stenson also recommends identifying the problem you are trying to solve. For example,is it lack of volume, color protection or to addmoisture? Answering these questions first will help guide your hair routine.
How can I thicken my hair?
Thin-haired ladies, don't fret. Thicker hair is possible — it just requires a little extra work.
A healthy diet and additional supplements may work wonders, too, adds Lin. He recommends seeing a doctor for a full blood panel to see what nutrients you're deficient in or if other pre-existing conditions may be causing the problem.
Of course, there are quicker ways to transform those strands from thin to full and lush. “Layering on volumizing products will give your hair more volume and body which will give the illusion the hair is thicker than it is," says Stenson.
The right haircut is extremely important if you’re attempting to create the appearance of volume and thickness, says Rivera. "Consult with your stylist when it comes to selecting a cut as they are professionally trained to make the best recommendation based on your hair type."