Our hair is known as our crowning glory. I certainly know myself if I’m having a good hair day, all else follows suit. So why not start the New Year with a fresh new hair care routine for the ultimate in restored and luscious locks? While I do have product suggestions for you to make shopping easy, I want to start first with a little lesson on why and what to look for in choosing your hair care.
How to Select Premium Hair Care
Have you ever walked into a beauty store and stood in front of the hair care section and been absolutely overwhelmed by all the choices? I have, and after 43 years with hair maybe I should feel comfortable with all those choices, but I am certainly not; it confuses and frustrates me, namely because it’s a known fact it is mostly marketing ploys that stock the shelves.
The best part of moving away from mass-market brands and choosing a niche, high-performance brand is a fast track to quality products that work. These brands are often privately owned, family-owned businesses where quality, integrity, and performance are key for their survival. This is a big driver for consumers and professional salons, alike, and is certainly the new trend in hair care.
What to Look For in a Shampoo
You want to read the bottle and find a shampoo that is sulfate-free, paraben-free, and silicone-free is a good start.
The downside of a sulfate-free shampoo is that there is little lather as sulfates are the magical ingredient that creates the lather, except some rare niche brands like Iles Formula that use a special vegetable extract to create the lather. The trick when using sulfate-free shampoos is to add more water, not more product, to build up your suds.
Another tip is to shampoo your hair only when it’s dirty- not just out of habit/routine. The more often you shampoo, the more natural skin oils your body will produce to balance out the stripping of these oils, so washing daily is not only wasting product, it’s not great for your hair either. There is no rule on how often you should shampoo, just monitor your hair and you will know when the time is right.
What to Look for in a Conditioner
Have you ever seen what hair looks like under a microscope? It’s not unlike the skin of a snake, coated with ‘cuticles’, like scales. In the case of ‘virgin’ (un-dyed/treated) hair, these cuticles lay flat, and the hair is smooth and knot-free. However, in any hair that has length, has endured chemical treatment like color, permanent wave, or chemical relaxing, each individual hair’s outer cuticle ‘shell’ will have rough, opened cuticles that weaken the hair, cause discoloration, and split ends, which eventually leads to breakage over time.
This is why it is so important to find a conditioner that smooths down these cuticles and delivers instant repair.
A tip here is to apply the conditioner from the middle of your length to the ends and use a wide-tooth comb (or a wet brush) to distribute the product. Hair never needs as much conditioner on the roots as it does the ends because the scalp’s natural sebum (those aforementioned natural skin oils) easily penetrates to lubricate the root area.
Opting for Styling Products that Nourish and Protect
Gone are the days of stiff and sticky hair. Embrace luscious, nurtured, silky soft hair. Opt for a styling product that delivers heat protection from hair tools, and UV protection. And by the way: the extreme cold can equally damage hair as much as extreme heat, so you’re not out of the woods in winter!
Make the effort to have your trims, cuts, and colors done by a professional. There is an old saying “It’s the Cut that Counts“. It’s best to start your home maintenance after visiting your salon. They’ll trim the rough ends, address color errors and any other concerns you may have.
Now that you understand the why and how, let’s take a look at a few products to get you started.
Embrace beautiful hair this year. If your hair is well conditioned it will not only look nurtured and sumptuous, it will feel luscious and look lustrous. What more does a woman need?