1. In a Lather: Shampooing too often or with the wrong products can weaken the hair,” says Rodney Cutler, of Cutler Salon in New York City. Look for gentle, sulfate-free shampoos that won’t strip moisture from strands, and always follow up with conditioner applied from ear level to ends, where it’s really needed. We like Phyto Phytokératine Extrême Shampoo and Extrême Exceptional Cream.
2. Timely Trims: Hair needs regular trims to keep it looking healthy and to prevent split ends from working their way up the hair shaft — causing even more breakage and leaving hair looking frizzy. Figure that hair grows about 1/2 inch per month, so trimming just 1/8 inch every 6 to 8 weeks keeps you ahead of the game, growth-wise. To keep ends healthy in between trims, try Oribe Split End Seal, a leave-in serum that helps mend splits and resist new ones.
3. Extra Help: Hair-strengthening biotin is the star ingredient in Redken Extreme Length Primer and Extreme Length Sealer. “For a powerful one-two punch, use the primer in the shower post-shampoo for 3-5 minutes, rinse and follow with the leave-in sealer. The products work in tandem to add protein enzymes, leading to stronger, longer hair,” Cutler explains.
4. Pony Up: If gathering your hair into an elastic band is your default daily style, be sure to vary your pony’s position from time to time to ensure that you’re not constantly pulling on the same section of hair — which can weaken the follicles and lead to loss and breakage. And instead of repeatedly pulling hair through a circular band, which can fray and split the hair, take a gentler approach by winding your ponytail with a Hair Bungee instead, hooking the ends to secure.
5. Rub It In: Scalp massage has dual benefits: It stimulates blood flow, bringing nutrients to the scalp, and it loosens product buildup and oils, which can clog the follicles and hinder hair growth. Get extra benefits by applying Kérastase Crème Chronologiste Revitalizing Conditioning Balm to your scalp before you shampoo, using your finger pads to massage it in for about a minute.
6. Handle With Care: Damp strands stretch and snap more readily than dry hair, so be gentle post-shower. Carefully towel-blot rather than rub and never, ever use a bristle brush on wet hair. (Bristles are not as smooth as synthetics and can tear, causing damage to wet hair.) Use fingers to detangle, followed by a wide-tooth comb or our pick, The Wet Brush.
7. Healthy Eating: Hair may be the second fastest-growing body tissue, but it’s last on the list when it comes to receiving nutrients from your food intake. Nutrition pro Alexandra Caspero, R.D., recommends incorporating healthy fats, omega-3 fatty acids and proteins found in nutrient-dense foods like salmon to amp up shine. Foods rich in vitamin B5 like avocados promote growth. To hedge your bets, Caspero recommends Hum Nutrition Red Carpet, a hair-healthy vitamin supplement.
8. Ease Up on the Heat: Heat is a major culprit when it comes to weakened, damaged hair. If you must blow-dry, use an advanced dryer like the T3 Featherweight 2, a tourmaline ionic dryer. Ion dryers are designed to do their work quickly and with less damage than traditional high-heat blowers. And of course, don’t pick up that blow-dryer without first applying a heat-protectant. Our pick: Bb.Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer by Bumble and Bumble. When possible, let your hair air-dry for healthier locks.
Short on time? Easy fixes for great hair...
Fake it with extensions. There’s a range of options and prices, from inexpensive clip-ons to to a full head’s worth. Book a hair trial, and have your stylist weigh in with ideas.
Strategic use of color — highlights or ombré looks — adds dimension, giving the illusion of longer, fuller hair.
Like a manicure for your hair, glossing or color-glazing adds a layer of shimmering, translucent color or clear all-out shine for fuller looking hair. At home try: L’Oréal Nutri-Gloss High Shine Glossy Mist.
Photo Credit: Terry Doyle