Okay, we admit: the beautiful women in the shampoo commercials get that extra shine from light reflectors, computer graphics, and strategically positioned electric fans that add body and bounce to their hair.
However, even us ‘ordinary people’ can get beautiful hair with a few simple, and surprisingly affordable, beauty tricks. It may take a few weeks for you to see results, but trust us. Your hair will become smoother, more manageable, and softer to the touch. (And you didn’t even need light reflectors!)
1. Get rid of shampoo build-up.
Even the best shampoos leave a little residue that weighs down hair and reduces the shine. To prevent this, switch to special clarifying shampoos once every two weeks.
You can also add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 2 tablespoons of shampoo. This helps get rid of the residue that’s clinging to your scalp and roots.
2. Don’t skip the conditioner.
Shampoos dissolve grime and dirt that cling to your hair, but can also strip the strands of natural moisture. Conditioners restore hair to its natural balance, coating the strand to prevent breakage, and often penetrating the cracks in the hair-shaft to heal it from within.
3. Use the right shampoo for your hair type.
Is your hair dry, limp or oily? Do you have special hair issues, like dandruff or hair fall? Do you have color-treated hair?
Pick a shampoo that’s specially designed for your hair’s unique needs. Once you’ve found one that works, use it for at least 6 weeks. Frequent product switching can irritate your scalp.
4. Eat your protein.
Hair is made from keratin (a kind of protein). So, do load up on lean meat, eggs, and milk products. If you’re a vegetarian, you can get some of your recommended daily allowance of protein from beans and soy.
You can also eat fish that are rich in omega-3 fats (salmon’s a good example). But since it’s difficult to get your dietary requirements from food alone (unless you really, really love salmon) try taking a cod liver oil supplement. Again, the results take a while—you may have to wait 6 months—but the shine is worth it.
5. Handle wet hair with care.
After taking a bath, gently squeeze off your hair with a towel. Avoid applying vigorous friction (which can cause split ends) until it’s dried off a bit. Use a wide-toothed comb to remove tangles, and if you hit a stubborn clump, resist the temptation to pull. You’ll just jerk out strands or ‘shred’ whatever’s caught your comb. Sometimes, applying conditioner can help free tangles (or prevent any from forming).
6. Don’t ‘burn’ your hair.
Switch your blow dry to the cool setting. Ideally, protect your hair with a heat-resistant product (many give double protection by shielding the strand and sealing in the shine).
7. Invest in ionic hair styling tools.
Ionic hair straighteners and blowdryers dry your hair up to 50% faster (thus reducing its exposure to heat) and can even improve its shine. However, these tools can be expensive (you may have to shell out as much as $300!) so check product reviews before taking the big step.
8. Get a regular haircut.
Even if you plan to keep your hair long, regularly trim about half an inch from your hair to get rid of split ends (which worsen over time, eventually ‘climbing up’ to as far as your scalp!).
9. Get a weekly hair mask.
You can find many hair treatments that you can do at home. These are quite easy to use (wash hair with your regular shampoo, gently towel dry, then apply the hair mask). Choose one that’s suitable for your hair type. If you’re trying a new product or brand, spot-test for allergic reactions by applying a small amount at your nape, just below your hairline.