There are good secrets and there are bad secrets. The best kind of secrets, though, are the kind that allow you to better yourself. Little “tricks” or “tips” of sorts that should be common knowledge, but aren’t. These are the kind of secrets that should be disseminated widely so they aren’t secrets anymore.
Today I’m dishing on hair secrets (naturally!) and I have some positively juicy tidbits that’ll make you say to yourself, “Ooh! I’ve never thought of doing that before!”
I’m not saying the below information will change your life or anything, but I can say with utmost certainty that you will walk away with more hair knowledge and know-how than you did before reading. And that’s a wonderful thing, hair lovers.
1. Try washing your hair and night before bed and then sleeping on slightly damp locks, suggests L’Oreal Professionnel hair artist Pepper Pastor. She says that no matter what hair texture you have, the air-dried, slightly slept in look is a winner.
2. Stuck in a hair plateau? It may be your products’ fault. “The hair is alive – a creature of habit,” says Raphael Reboh, Founder of Femme Coiffure Hair Spa in Miami Beach. “Once you find a cleansing and conditioning agent that works miracles on your strands, guess what — that feeling won’t last for long. Shock the strands by switching up cleansing and conditioning agents at least every 4 to 6 weeks.”
3. “Washing your hair every day can take away nutrients that help keep it manageable,” notes George Gonzalez of George the Salon in Chicago. “Instead, a few times a week, just wet your hair in the shower without shampooing. Apply a conditioner, rinse out and follow with a leave-in.”
4. Determine your washing regimen by checking the oil level of your hair. To do this, professional hair stylist Joey Oso says to “Run an open napkin through your hair after a day or two of not washing it and with hardly any product in your hair.” If the napkin looks oily, consider washing your hair four to five times a week and not using an leave-in conditioner. If there’s hardly any oil, then wash hair every three days and use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, he says.
5. Avoid extra hot — and extra long — showers. The hotter your shower is, and the longer it lasts, the more your hair is stripped of natural oils that keep frizz at bay and locks shiny and lush. Lukewarm water is your friend.
6. “Did you know you can help shampoo away split ends?,” asks Fernando Salas, creator of White Sands Hair Care. “Look for cleansing duos containing orchid extract, which restore the ‘cement’ between the cuticle cells to strengthen and protect hair.”
7. Another hair-washing tip from Salas: “Make sure to use a wide tooth bone comb, detangling your hair from the bottom and slowly working your way up since hair is in its most delicate state wet. This will prevent unnecessary breakage from occurring.”
8. Janelle Chapman, the creative director for O&M haircare line, says to “always shampoo your hair twice for a ‘hair facial.'” That’s right — twice! “First shampoo to remove grease and dirt, then shampoo again to cleanse the hair. Follow by conditioning to moisturize your hair.”
9. The more unmanageable your hair is, the more moisturizer or conditioner you need, says Pastor.
10. Always check the ingredients on your products, insists Reboh. He says that some ingredients may contribute to excess frizz, especially alcohol or water-based products.
11. Rub a protein-rich hair product on the ends of your hairs to help nix split ends caused by heating tools, hair dyes and standard wear and tear.
12. If you want to take on frizz, opt for a really rich conditioner and then style with a setting spray or hair oil. This will keep fly aways at bay, explains Pastor.
13. For bouncier or more voluminous hair, don’t use really thick or heavy conditioners or styling products, says Pastor. Instead, opt for lighter styling products and slightly tease your roots.
14. Use oil-based setting or shine spray if your hair is prone to frizz or if you live in a really humid environment, suggests Reboh. This will nourish the shaft and keep hair from swelling with the moisture in the air.
15. Have problems making bobby pins or barrettes stay in place? Klimas says to first lightly spray dry shampoo on the bobby pin/barrette before inserting into hair. “The dry shampoo will keep the bobby pin from slipping or sliding and your style will be secure all day long!”
16. If you have really limp or fine hair, use a hair crimper at the roots, advises Pastor. This will add subtle body. She says to use a mini crimper for two inches at the roots.
17. To get stubborn hair to hold a blow dry, apply a light mousse to your hair first, such as L’Oreal’s Professionnel Mousse Volupte, and then use a smaller round brush instead of a big one. Pastor says this will give you longer lasting curls and body.
18. “If you want a uniform curl pattern, you also need a uniform application of styling product,” says Gonzalez.
19. When blow-drying, dry your hair halfway and then use any styling products. “When you add styling agents to wet hair, you may over saturate the strands, which will leave a heavy residue on the hair and decrease the length of a healthy, bouncy blowout,” says Reboh.
20. Want that messy, grungy, scratchy hair texture? Chapman says apply a salt spray dry, day two hair. Then, tuck it all up under a cap. “Blast with a blow dry and leave to cool for five minutes, then take it out, shake it out and hit the disco!”
21. When blow drying or flat ironing, make sure you control the ends with a brush or try using your hands to press the dried hair smooth.
22. For limp, “day two” hair, Theresa Klimas, senior education manager for Kenra Prfessional, says to apply a roof lifting spray, such as Kenra Root Lifting Spray 13, directly onto dry hair at the root and then “over direct” hair with a blow dryer. Over directing essentially means sectioning hair further over the head and not following your natural part. Then go back to your natural part and you’ll have instant volume.
23. “To create a great base for styling, the best way to avoid frizz is to blow dry your hair from the top down,” says Gonzalez. “Direct the dryer towards the ends.”‘
24. Another blow drying tip: Always dry the roots about 70% first and then focus on the ends, advises Gonzalez.
25. Not everyone should use their blow dryer or flat iron on the highest setting. The highest settings are reserved for those with the thickest and coarsest hair. The thinnest/finest hair should use the lowest setting. Chances are, you’re somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, so set your tools accordingly. Too hot can severely damage your locks.
26. “When blow drying or setting hair with a hot tool, make sure before you brush out the curls to let the hair become cold,” advises Chapman. She says it’s more important how the hair cools down as to how it is heated up.
27. For long lasting bangs, Reboh is adamant when he says, Don’t touch them! When women consistently touch and style their bangs during the day, “they accelerate the process of oil buildup,” he says. “Additionally, your fingers have residue/oil/dirt on them. Never use the fingers to touch or style the bangs. If you do, wash them first!”
28. If you need a quick refresher but don’t have time for a full wash, blow dry and style, just wash your bangs or the face-framing layers around your face before heading out the door.
29. “If you color or heat style hair regularly, then you know the hair encompasses variations of dryness and texture,” says Salas. Everyone wants flawless hair, but you must fix your porosity first to give tresses this healthy appearance.”
30. To save money and time, opt for subtle highlights. That means few highlights and in a color only slightly different from your base color. “This will make your color last longer because this will not show re-growth,” says Salas.
31. Ask your stylist to choose the tone of your highlights from the flex of your eyes, which will help bring them out no matter what clothes or makeup you’re wearing, recommends Salas.
32. It may be tempting, but don’t ever cut your bangs yourself. If you need just a quick trim, make an appointment at the salon explaining that you just want your bangs trimmed. They’ll pencil you in for a short appointment and won’t charge you the full price.
33. Not ready for a big haircut, but notice you have a lot of breakage, wispy ends or just need a quick trim? Opt for the newest trend in haircutting: dusting! Reboh says, “If you aren’t a fan of big bi-monthly snips, ask your stylist for a dusting. It is a light sweep of trimming the ends and will carry you through for at least 2 to 4 weeks between styling.”
34. “For those of you that aren’t interested in embracing your natural curl, talk to your stylist about a smoothing service to reduce curl and frizz,” advises Klimas. “You will still have the option to wear your hair curly and it will dissipate over time alleviating the un-natural looking grow out time associated with chemical straightening services.”
On-The-Go Hair Tips
35. “When hair is fully dirty and you don’t have a place to wash it, use a diffuser on a blowdryer around all your hair for about 10 minutes while rubbing your fingers through the lumps of hair strands,” advises Oso. “You’ll find your hair looking clean and fresh like it’s right out of the showe.”
36. Carry a new, travel-sized toothbrush in your purse as a mini fly away buster, advises Gonzalez. You can also carry a mini bottle of hairspray to spray the toothbrush first, which will “easily tame stubborn hairs.”
37. Stayed the night at a certain someone’s house and have no hair products? It’s A-OK to use his products, too. In fact, a lot of mens hair products are formulated for superior hold.
38. Chapman is a believer in what she calls “the t-shirt turban,” a makeshift shower cap that you can use anytime you need to shower, but don’t have a cap (like when you’re traveling). “Remove your t-shirt so the neck is around your hair line. Roll it all into a twist and then tuck under the front to secure. Then hit the shower and no moisture or water will destroy your hair style!”
40. “Try to stash a small brush and dry shampoo in your purse,” says Reboh. “Spray the brush with dry shampoo and brush the bangs from under (oil/residue from the face and forehead) and then on top to refresh the strands.”
41. “Make sure to have a humidifier in your home to help avoid the drier air from pulling moisture from your tresses and skin,” recommends Gonzalez.
42. Just as your skin is susceptible to the sun’s rays, so is your hair. Excess sun exposure can damage your hair. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, use a light hair spray with SPF protection. Alternatively, carry a sun umbrella, wear a hat or hang out in the shade when you can.
43. Chances are, you’re using bobby pins incorrectly. The longest part should be on top (not next to your scalp). Also, it’s best to use two pins and cross them. Thick or thin, this will hold the hair all day long.
44. If you’re a frequent pool swimmer, rinse your hair before you dive in the deep end. This keeps hair from absorbing the chlorine and other chemicals, which damage hair (and can even turn it green). Another tip: wear a cap!
45. “I love shopping for hair goods in a hardware store,” says Chapman. In other words: don’t be afraid to get creative! “My new favorite is using cable ties to secure pony tails.” She says it keeps them locked in really tight all day long.
46. Got dandruff? Contrarily to popular belief, dandruff is not caused by a dry scalp. Instead, it’s a minor skin disease that can be made worse when oily products are rubbed onto the scalp. Your best bet is medicinal shampoos that treat the skin disease.
47. What you eat matters. For example, consuming more salmon and nuts (or foods with essential fatty acids) will create a healthier scalp. Leafy greens and carrots also promote healthier hair. Contrarily, a poor diet can leave your hair limp and dull.
48. Many women with curly hair tend to use heavier products to weigh their hair down. Lighter products will help you get the look you want quicker and easier.
49. For women with very short, curly hair (or men), Klimas says to ask your stylist for a cut that accentuates the natural curl. “This will be an easy shampoo and go style for those with less time on their hands,” she says.
50. Klimas has advice for women with longer curly hair, too. “For a longer look to show off your natural curl, ask your stylist to add layers to your look. This will remove some of the bulk that may weigh down your curls.”
BONUS: Use a hair diffuser extension on your blow dryer and gently rest your hair on top. Use a medium to cool setting and dry hair slowly and gently. This also creates more curl definition and less frizz.