There's no secret why you’re jealous of shiny hair, whether it's that of Blake Lively or the girl you sit behind in organic chemistry. It's not because it's gleaming or reminds you of the sleek manes at Anna Sui's fall show—it's because it looks healthy. And being healthy is attractive, as science tells us time and again.
But the journey to this luminosity isn't easy—glosses that promise sheen but yield mediocre results are tiring. So instead of sacrificing your spending money on the same old selection, invest in habits that guarantee shine and wellness. And when you do fork over the cash, choose expert-approved products. Here's your guide to the best routines and items for shiny, healthy hair that's bound to reflect some envy.
1. Put down the shampoo!
Shampoo every other day instead of daily. Thekey to shine lies in our hair’s natural oils, which reach from scalp to ends without frequent washing. But when it is time to lather, make sure you condition thoroughly. Stephanie Weber, a student at Michigan State University, swears by this method: she only washes every other day and leaves conditioner on her hair for five minutes before rinsing. She noticed the longer she left it on, the shinier her hair became. Though at first afraid it would make her hair greasy, she noticed less breakage and more silkiness—a result well worth the extra shower time.
2. Detangle wet hair with a comb.
Assume your split-ends are from avoiding a haircut? Think again. Maggie MacDonald, a hairstylist at V-Salon, suggests using a comb to detangle your hair after showering—not a brush. Brushing your hair too often or for too long, especially post-shower, causes friction that leads to serious breakage and lackluster locks. Instead, gently comb your wet hair to detangle and when you do brush, spread your natural oils from roots to ends by using fewer strokes.
3. Master your blowout.
Even if you're cramped for time, avoid drying soaking wet hair. According to Stephanie, towel drying and even air-drying hair is the best way to reduce damage—the goal is to get it damp, not dripping. “I usually dry my roots and bangs and let the rest dry naturally,” she said. Make your time under the drier a maximum of 20 minutes to avoid heat damage, or set your blow dryer to a cool temperature setting. The longer you expose your hair to any intense heat, the less moisture it retains and the duller it becomes.
4. Oil up!
Use oil-based treatments and sprays. Jamie Harmon, a hairstylist at ColorWorks Hair Company says the vitamins in oils help fortify hair. Her favorite is Redken All Soft Argan-6 Oil ($22.39). “If you start [the oil] at your ends and work up, it helps soften the hair, smooth it out and add a nice sheen,” she said. According to Harmon, oil treatments can work on all hair types, but women should choose ones that don’t feel too heavy or synthetic. MacDonald recommends Moroccan Oil Treatment ($15), which also contains Argan oil and is rich in fatty acids and vitamin E. Other favorites include Couture Color Pequi Oil Treatment ($34) and Organics Extra Virgin Olive Oil Shine Hair Polish ($4.99), a cheap thrill that adds a kick of shine to any hair texture.
5. Buy the right brush.
The wrong brush can snag your strands and dull your hair. “Breakage and shine work hand in hand,” MacDonald said. “Damaged hair is dull and more likely to break off.” She recommends investing in an “ionic” brush. Super lightweight, they produce ions that reduce static hair and control flyaway strands. Try Ion Titanium Ionic Paddle Brush ($5.99) or Vidal Sassoon Titanium Ionic Technology Round Brush ($7.99).