Hair How-To: Tips and Tricks to Keeping Tresses Fresh and Fab Between Shampoos
A good hair day could mean the difference between world catastrophe (kidding) and serious life-changing awesomeness. Yes, really. But, sudsing-up strands daily can wreak havoc on hair and scalp, not to mention totally zapping your valuable time. Hair’s how to spend less time at the sink, while saving your strands.
Forget spending hours upon hours in front of the mirror with strand-scorching hot tools in hand every morning or sudsing up every day, which have been proven to be damaging to scalp and hair health. Check out these timeless tips and tricks to keeping locks lustrous, manageable, bouncy, and beautiful between shampoos, as well as boosting that pricey, but perfect, salon blow-out:
Brush Up on Washing the Right Way
Starting strands off with a fresh, clean slate means spending less time at the sink (or in the shower). Ever wonder how when you get your hair done at the salon, it just seems to stay clean longer? That’s because the washing step is all in the technique. First, using a boar-haired brush, brush through hair from scalp to ends to help free follicles of flakes, while detangling any snarls. This will make the sudsing step much more effective and totally worth the time. Now, apply a clarifying, sulfate-free shampoo from scalp to mid-shaft ONLY. Using pads of fingertips (never nails!) gently, yet efficiently massage ‘poo into scalp to dislodge of grease, gunk, product build-up, and Lord know whatever else is in there. Unless your hair is bob-style length or shorter (think pixie), the hair from mid-shaft down tends to be rather dry since it’s “old” hair. Therefore, this part of the hair shaft really doesn’t require lathering up, but rather a good rinsing. Also, unless your hair is particularly “dirty,” there should not be a need to repeat this step as is often suggested on backs of ‘poo bottles.
Once you’ve thoroughly rinsed hair of remaining shampoo, saturate mid-shaft to ends with a light, oil-free conditioner. As mentioned earlier, this part of the hair’s shaft has been around for awhile, and is generally drier and more parched. So, quench its thirst with a salon-quality conditioner that will gently lubricate locks, leaving them shiny and flexible without weighing them down. This will ensure you won’t be back at the sink tomorrow trying to revive lifeless, limp locks. If you’re prone to dry, itchy scalp, try lathering up with a dandruff-control shampoo instead of massaging conditioner into scalp to counteract the issue, as this will help mitigate your flaky foes, while not leaving hair an oil-slicked mess by midday.
Stop Sudsing Up and Step Away From the Sink – For Once
In an effort to put the brakes on greasiness, it’s been a long-held mane myth that one needs to wash their hair and scalp daily. When, in actuality, this is exacerbating the problem, because the less frequent you suds up, the less sebum your scalp needs to produce. So, save time AND save your strands by limiting washing to once or twice weekly. Skipping the suds will allow the natural oils of your scalp to coat follicles and lubricate locks, leaving hair resilient, shiny, and beautifully healthy. Just give it a go. Washing hair on the daily leaves locks dry, brittle, prone to breakage, frizzy – and too greasy! Believe us peeps here in the beauty biz, it’s counterintuitive.
Use Styling Products Sparingly
When the instructions on the back of the bottle says “use a pea-sized amount,” that doesn’t incidentally translate to “using a quarter-sized amount” means I will have a bad-ass hair day. As with all beauty products, less is always more. And, if you’re trying to prolong a blow-out or shampoo, skip oil-based serums, straightening balms, and volumizing mousses altogether, and opt for water-based, silicone-formulated products instead. If, however, you cannot depart with your prettifying products, just stay clear of the scalp area where sebum is just waiting to seep out onto strands. Applying products too close to this area ensures strands will be an oil-slicked mess in no time.
Keep Your Hands to Yourself!
Keep hands and finger off hair. The more you touch your hair, or the more you run your fingers through it (or his), the greasier it will get. Your fingers are coated with oil naturally, so, naturally, it transfers onto your locks.
Sleep on Satin
Come bedtime, be sure to gently pull hair into a loose ponytail or bun on top of head, while sleeping on a satin pillowcase. Alternatively, you can wear a satin slumber cap. Both are available at your local beauty supply store. Sleeping on satin sheets or wearing a satin slumber cap prevents hair breakage and “pulling.” Your hair and skin effortlessly glide across satiny fabrics without the tough tugging they usually endure with cotton-made pillowcases. Plus, you’ll feel like a princess – at least until your dreaded alarm clock unceremoniously usurps beauty sleep.
You’ll probably want to revisit the sink in about 3 days to a week to shampoo again. See how your hair handles it. At first, you may be “itching” to lather up, but after awhile, you’ll find your hair will become acclimated to the new, less-suds routine. Just don’t get too carried away, as over-zealous dry shampoo-ing is not an infinite replacement for traditional cleansing. It really only tides your tresses over just a few extra days, while imparting texture, volume, and sexy style. If you find you’re “scratching” a little more than usual, or finding dubious, white flakes flying from your head when nodding, it’s time to ‘poo up.
Invest in a Quality Shower Cap
…because the freebies from the hotel room don’t cut it. Not only will a high-end, beauty supply store shower cap keep strands dry while in the bath or shower on no ‘poo days, it will prevent moisture from getting trapped, causing greasy, gross-smelling strands.
Get a Head-start with a Dry Shampoo
Arguably the most innovative beauty invention of this century and a total strand savior, dry shampoo is the Holy Grail for keeping tresses bouncy, beautiful, and fresh-smelling between shampoos, plus they’re an effective blow-out booster. It deserves mention that dry shampoo has saved on-the-go gals countless hours of needless hair washing, mirror time, and over-styling, translating to more much-needed shut-eye and healthier hair, in general. Currently, the beauty market is flooded with this follicle-friendly, mane must-have, as there are 100s of brands available, from drug-store gems to department store splurges. Choose from powdered formulas that you dust your roots with, or sprays that add instant, airy volume to revitalize a second-day blow-out. With the main ingredient being cornstarch, dry shampoos are applied directly to scalp and root areas to quickly and effectively absorb greasiness between traditional washings, while neutralizing odors. Many formulas also texturize tresses for limitless styling and control, most notably in a modest attempt to achieve the “effortless beachy-beautiful, tousled tresses” trend that graces the glossy covers of magazines and red carpet coiffure. Re-boot a blow-out by spritzing scalp with dry shampoo, then blasting roots with cool air from your blow dryer. This trick also works well post-workout. Just remember to keep strands sequestered to pony-tail status during your sweat sesh.