How to Craft the Perfect Hair 2

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How to Craft the Perfect Hair 2

If your hair care routine hasn’t changed since high school — or it’s limited to lather, rinse, repeat — it may be time to pay more attention to your mane. Whether you sport a low-key ponytail most days or live for blowouts, your hair deserves a little TLC

Not every product will work for every hair type, so read on to find out what it will take to keep your unique locks in tip-top shape

Step 1: Determine your hair type

Don’t overcomplicate typecasting your hair, says Megan Viton, a hair stylist in Boulder, Colorado. You can tell at a glance whether your hair is curly or straight. “Then ask yourself, ‘is my hair big and frizzy or flat and lacking fullness

From there, you can get an idea of your hair type. You’ll see these letters and numbers on hair products sometimes, to help you figure out whether something would be too heavy or not moisturizing enough for you, for example

1 Straight2 Wavy3 Curly4 Coiled
Afine, thin, prone to oilfine (has S shape)fine or loose curlstight, springy coils
Bmedium (some volume)medium (has S shape with some frizz)medium or tight curlsZ coils
Ccoarse, thick, won’t hold curlcoarse (has S shape, prone to frizz)tight, thick curlsvery tight, coarse coils

Step 2: Determine your hair needs

Here’s a quick rundown of some common hair concerns and needs

Damage: Too much heat or coloring, friction (from yanking hair into tight ponytails or buns) and environmental exposure (sun, wind, salt, or chlorine in water) can damage hair, leaving it feeling dry and kinda gross

Definition: Well-defined hair moves and hangs the way you want it to. When hair isn’t defined, it might look “heavy” or overgrown. With curls, lack of definition turns them into one big clump

Frizz: When your hair is dry or lacks moisture (due to humidity, genetics or damage), it may be prone to “going rogue.” Frizzy hair stands up, sticks out, and resists being tamed

Shine: Hair that’s coarse, frizzy, or damaged may appear dull, and products that are too heavy can leave behind a residue, too. Shiny hair is clean, moisturized, and healthy. The outer layer of hair lays flat, so it can reflect light.GREATIST NEWSLETTERBe your Greatist, every day

Volume: While you can’t control the thickness of your hair, you can control volume to some extent. Volume refers to your hair’s apparent fullness, which you can boost with certain haircuts, styling techniques, and even products

Create your routine

hair vitamins

OK, so now that you know your hair type and your goals, it’s time to nail down your perfect daily hair care routine. Keep in mind that a hair care routine for dry hair is not going to look the same as a hair care routine for curly hair. Sometimes you might mix and match what’s suggested here

Washing

Viton says for most people, washing once or twice a week is best. But, if you work out daily or sweat a lot and are prone to scalp breakouts, it’s fine to lather up more often. Just choose a gentle shampoo — and never skip the leave-in conditioner

“Leave-in conditioners are the best for every hair type,” says Viton. “If you want to cut back on breakage and moisturize your hair as much as possible.

Straight and wavy

hair care routine

If your hair is fine or oily, feel free to wash more often

Curly

Wash once or twice a week with a gentle, moisturizing shampoo. “Moisture is your best friend for curly hair,” says Viton
Try: Pacifica Beauty Pineapple Curls Curl Defining Shampoo

Use a conditioner that’s rich but not heavy, so you get those perfectly defined curls you want. If yours tend to get weighed down, skip the roots and concentrate on the length and ends
Try: SheaMoisture Curl & Shine Conditioner

Coiled

Moisturize with coconut oil or a hair mask before washing once a week — choose a super gentle shampoo designed for natural coils.
Try: Pattern Beauty Hydration Shampoo

Always follow up with deep conditioner
Try: Aveda Nutriplenish Deep Conditioner

Drying and styling

kinds of hair

Just like you give your skin a break from makeup now and then, do the same with your hair, says Viton, especially if “you’re a heat styling, blonde-obsessed person like myself.” Do a deep conditioner once a week

She suggests taking a couple of days “off” a week — and “loosen up the rubber bands in those ponytails!”

Or, try: phone-cord hair bands like Kitsch Spiral Hair Ties

And no matter your hair type, use a heat protectant. “A spray or a cream to coat your hair is what protects your hair from heat,” says Viton. “That is a must for us styling junkies

Try: CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection Spray

Straight and wavy

Towel-dry hair slightly, then apply light products that won’t weigh hair down

Stick with mousses and gels, which allow hair to move and retain its volume
Try: OGX Renewing + Argan Oil of Morocco Voluminous Mousse

Curly

Apply mousse or a light curl cream in the shower while hair is wet. Try: Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer

Air dry or diffuse as desired

Between washes, refresh curls by spritzing with water and giving them a good squish

Coiled

Apply curl cream to hair in the shower, while it’s still dripping wet, for the best definition and picture-perfect coils
Try: DevaCurl Styling Cream

Then you can let hair air dry or diffuse it as desired

Cuts and trims

Viton specializes in blonde color treatments and curls, both of which require a little extra upkeep. But she says she prefers to see all her clients every 6 to 8 weeks for a trim or dusting. A “dusting” is like the tiniest of trims to keep your hair happy, she explains

If you don’t use heat on your hair, you can stretch that out a few more weeks. And those with short hair or who color their hair may need trims or touch-ups more often

Straight and wavy

Find a good stylist whose communication style matches yours, says Viton, to avoid surprises at the end of a haircut

And make time for show-and-tell: “A few pictures of what you’re envisioning helps us get a better understanding of what you want to see,” so it’s a win-win, she says

Curly

Dry cuts allow curls to look their best, since hair shrinks as it dries

If you like to straighten your hair sometimes, talk to your stylist — layers that help define curls may look chunky and awkward when your hair is straight

Coiled

Coils can actually go a bit longer — a couple of months — between trims, as long as you’re not using much heat on your hair

As with curls, always go with dry cuts, so you and your stylist can see what the final shape will look like

hair care routine

Bonus treatments for luxurious locks

Beyond shampoo and conditioner, there are dozens of types of hair care products out there for specific hair types, concerns, etc. “These aren’t gimmicks to get you to spend more money on hair care,” says Viton. They’re designed to keep your hair looking and feeling its best

Here’s a look at some you might want to try

Dandruff treatments: Dandruff happens to the best of us — and it’s not a sign your hair is dirty. When it comes to dealing with an itchy, flaky scalp, Viton swears by Tonik by Cult + King. “It balances out the PH levels on your scalp while moisturizing it and has menthol crystals to soothe any discomfort,” she says

Hair masks: If you color your hair or it’s prone to dryness, do a hair mask once a week as part of your self-care routine.
Try: Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask Moisturizer

Hair vitamins: Yes, this should be part of your hair care routine for hair growth, says Viton, since healthy hair starts on the inside. While these vitamins aren’t going to turn you into Rapunzel, they provide essential nutrients your body needs for healthy hair, skin, and nails
Try: Nature’s Bounty Vitamin Biotin Optimal Solutions Hair, Skin and Nails Gummies

Texturizing sprays: These add volume and, well, texture to hair. Spritz them on for updos or those perfect “beachy waves” or “bedhead” look
Try: Garnier Fructis De-Constructed Texture Tease

OK, we covered a lot here. Just remember that an ideal hair routine is completely dependent on you — your hair type, your hair goals, and how much time you’ve got. Perfect your routine now, and enjoy healthy hair for days to come

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