Tips for a Shiny, Healthy Hair

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Tips for a Shiny, Healthy Hair



The computer-generated iridescence seen in hair commercials is hard to match in the real world, but even the most lackluster locks can get a shine boost with the right treatments for healthy hair.
"Just as nails have a protective cuticle barrier, so does your hair, and the key to a healthy sheen is keeping the cuticle smooth," says London-based scalp-and-hair specialist Philip Kingsley, author of The Hair Bible.
Under a microscope, a smooth cuticle looks like a roof with all the shingles lying flat, but day-to-day styling, heat processing, and coloring cause those shingles to lift. "Light reflects best off a smooth surface, so a roughed-up cuticle means dull hair," says Robert Hallowell, who styles celebrities' hair in South Pasadena, CA. Here are a few beauty tips to really get your hair to glimmer.
1. Eat right. Hair is made of keratin, a form of protein, so don't skimp on protein-packed lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, and low-fat dairy products, says Kingsley. He also recommends getting plenty of healthy omega-3 fats, which are found in salmon, soybeans, flaxseed oil, and walnuts. "Eating these can increase hair's sheen over time," he says. Nutrition interventions take time—expect to show off new shine in about 6 months.

2. Come clean. If you're a styling-product junkie who wants shiny hair, you'll need to banish the buildup, which is a guaranteed shine squelcher. Once a week, use a clarifying shampoo such as Alba Botanica Clarifying Shampoo ($10;, or try this tip from Hallowell: Once a month, add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 2 tablespoons of your shampoo. "The sodium bicarbonate will remove any stubborn, sticky residue," he says.
3. Condition hair often. In fact, do it every time you shampoo. Choose nutrient-rich formulas with ingredients such as avocado oil, olive oil, or shea butter, which moisturize and fill in tiny cracks in the hair shaft. One to try: Garnier Fructis Haircare Triple Nutrition Fortifying Cream Conditioner ($4.50; drugstores).

4. Skip the cold-water rinse. There's no need to undergo the big chill. "Cold water may help close your pores, but it doesn't affect the hair cuticle in the same way," says Kingsley.
Tip: Gently squeeze and blot—don't rub—hair when you towel dry. "Wet hair is fragile, and any friction will rough up the cuticle," says Kingsley.
5. Practice damage control. Always use a heat-resistant product on your hair before blow drying. New formulations seal in shine and prevent damage from superhigh temperatures. Try Pantene Heat Protection & Shine Sprays ($6; drugstores). To further protect hair, use a blow dryer with features that match your hair type and style.

Tip: Occasionally use your blow-dryer's cool setting to dry your hair.

6. Get glossy. Make sure that your shine serum is water soluble—look for dimethiconol on the label, not dimethicone. "Dimethicone, the silicone polymer known for creating a glassy effect, doesn't rinse off easily if it's not in a water-soluble form. And if it builds up, it eventually dries out hair," says Kingsley. Try Redken Glass 01 Smoothing Serum ($15; for salons).
Tip: Sleep on satin pillowcases for equally satiny hair. At night, the average head is 9 pounds of deadweight, and friction from tossing and turning equals fuzz.
7. Brush with the best. Boar-bristle brushes (or boar bristle with nylon) are superior for smoothing hair and distributing natural oils. Plastics don't have as much give and can snag and break hair, so consider pricier options a shiny hair investment. Try Umberto Beverly Hills Boar Bristle Brush ($11; Target).
Tip: Skip those 100 brush strokes before bed. It's a myth that you can condition your hair by repeatedly stroking scalp oils down the shaft. "Your scalp would have to be very oily for this to really work, and all that brushing will tax your hair," says Hallowell.

8. Recipe for shiny hair: Hallowell's Vodka Mask
In a small glass bowl, using a fork, mash half of a peeled and pitted avocado, 2 Tbsp vodka, 2 Tbsp honey, and 1 egg to form a creamy mixture. Apply to freshly shampooed, towel-blotted hair. Leave on for 30 minutes. Rinse well with warm water, then shampoo and style as usual.

resources: Wed, 2011-06-15 | By By Wendy Schmid

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