Getting into a hair care routine is just like embarking on a skin care one. Once you’ve found one that works for you, you’ll rarely stray.
But the process of finding that routine can seem a little daunting, especially when there’s numerous options for people with the same hair type.
Here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know to find the hair care ritual that’s right for you.
From the feel of your hair to the styles you prefer, these elements will all alter the routine you end up choosing.
Your natural hair texture or type
Hair types tend to be fine, thick, or coarse and fall into one of four categories:
Each has its upsides and downsides. For example, straight hair usually looks and feels greasy
Whether your hair has been bleached, dyed, or otherwise chemically processed
If your hair has come in contact with dye, bleach, or chemicals, you may have to think extra hard about your routine.
People with dyed hair are advised not to wash it every day to prevent
And bleached hair may require some
How you want to wear your hair on a daily basis
Do you like to straighten your hair? Curl it? Leave it completely natural?
It’s another thing you’ll have to consider, especially if you’re a fan of using damaging heat tools.
Whether you have specific concerns that you want to address
It’s normal to find at least one aspect of your hair problematic, whether it’s frizz, a flaky scalp, or dry, damaged strands.
Knowing what the problem is, is half the task. The rest involves finding the best solution.
Although your hair type and concerns will alter your hair care routine in some ways, there are a few basic steps that every person can benefit from.
Cleansing is a balance between removing things like
Without a good wash, sebum will build up, leaving unwanted oiliness.
So will dead skin if not removed. The skin renews itself
And, if you’re an avid swimmer, you don’t want to leave chlorine on your locks. The longer it sits, the more time it has to strip hair of its natural elements and cause damage.
Conditioners have myriad benefits. The main one is moisturizing, but others include detangling, shininess, and frizz reduction.
The main ingredient of a conditioner is called a
When hair is wet, this sticks to it, coating the strands to replenish the moisture that shampoo may have removed.
Moisturize and seal
To add further hydration to the hair, you may want to embark on a two-step process known as moisturize and seal.
This can be particularly useful for kinky or coily hair that tends to be dry.
The aim is to seal in moisture, not to lock in dryness, using a hydrating product and sealing oil.
Detangling is essential for stopping breakage and for making your life a whole lot easier.
But you need to use the right tool, such as a wide-tooth comb, to avoid pulling hair out by mistake.
Depending on your hair type, you may need to detangle every day or much less often.
Style and protect
Thanks to a number of tools and tricks like volumizers and gels, you can style your hair practically any way you want.
But if you’re a fan of heated tools, you’ll need to protect those strands with a heat protection spray.
Spot-treating hair simply means picking out a particular area that’s bothering you and doing something to remedy it.
For example, you’re fed up with how frizzy your hair is, so you try a protein treatment.
Or you’ve noticed that your scalp is feeling extra dry, so you apply a super nourishing product designed for that area.
Although most people religiously stick to the above steps, there’s no set product or tool that you need to abide by.
Instead, experiment to find the ones that work for you.
Cleansing and conditioning
- Clarifying shampoo. A deep-working shampoo, clarifying formulas work to remove buildup from the hair. Restrict use to around once a month, as they can remove natural oils.
- “Daily” shampoo. Used for regular washing, this shampoo may not need to be applied daily as the name suggests, but whenever your hair feels like it needs a good cleanse.
- “Daily” or rinse-out conditioner. The conditioner that you use the most is likely to be one that rinses out after a couple of minutes. It’s best applied to the middle and ends, as root application can result in a greasy-looking scalp.
- Leave-in conditioner. With this kind of conditioner, you apply it in the same way but don’t rinse it out. This allows for an increased level of nourishment.
- Deep conditioner. For even more hydration, try a deep conditioner. Great for hair that’s prone to dryness, these conditioners are designed to be left in for longer.
Moisturizing and sealing
- Hair lotion. Once hair is cleansed and conditioned, a cream-based lotion can offer further protection from breakage and dryness. It also provides a light, non-stiff hold.
- Oil. When it comes to oil, a little goes a long way. Enhancing your hair’s natural oils, it locks in moisture and strengthens strands.
- Comb. Wet hair can break more easily when brushed, although this doesn’t apply to textured or tightly curled hair types. A wide-tooth comb can be a less damaging alternative.
- Brush. Different types of brushes exist. Some find bristles to be too hard on their hair, so opt for a plastic version. Try not to brush your hair too much. Once a day is usually sufficient.
- Spray. If you find tears welling up when brushing or combing, apply a detangling spray beforehand.
- Serum. A richer way of managing those knots, a detangling serum can further condition hair and make it softer so combs seamlessly work their way through.
Styling and protecting
- Mousse. It sounds super retro, but modern mousse adds texture and volume to hair and can even enhance curls. What’s more, it doesn’t leave behind a sticky or clumpy feel.
- Wax. A thicker product, hair wax provides more of a hold while increasing shininess. Plus, it shouldn’t leave strands feeling stiff.
- Pomade. For a long-lasting, super shiny look, opt for pomade. This styling product should be used on damp hair, as it doesn’t dry, leaving you with a sleek finishing touch.
- Gel. Styling gel can give hair anything from a light hold to a super strong one, depending on the product you use. All gels, however, provide a noticeable texture and shine.
- Dry shampoo. If your hair gets greasy pretty quickly but you don’t want to wash it every day, a little dry shampoo can get rid of unwanted oil. But it does tend to build up on the scalp, so try not to use too much.
- Volumizer. Hair looking limp? Volumizers lift hair away from the head to make your do look thicker while still feeling lightweight.
- Texturizer. This category can encompass everything from salt sprays to curl definers, and is designed to add texture to the hair and preserve styles.
- Shine serum or spray. These products sit on the surface of the hair, resulting in that smooth, glossy look. Apply from the ends up to the middle.
- Hair spray. Today’s hair sprays come in various holding strengths and can even target concerns like frizz. Unlike years gone by, they don’t leave hair super stiff.
- Heat protection spray. Whether you’re using a hair dryer, straightener, or curling iron, you need to protect those strands. These sprays create a barrier to prevent exposure to extreme heat.
- Scalp treatment. An exfoliating scalp treatment can unclog follicles, stimulate circulation
for growth, and calm issues like itchiness. Use once or twice a month.
- Protein treatment. Frizzy or broken hair may need an extra dose of protein. These monthly treatments fill in gaps in the cuticle, strengthening and smoothing strands.
- Targeted mask. Often infused with nourishing ingredients, hair masks tend to be left on for several minutes to deeply replenish hair and remedy dryness, split ends, or frizz.
You’re not going to notice dramatic results overnight — although the effects of masks and certain styling products can be immediately noticeable.
It takes time for your hair to get used to new products. In some cases, this may be a week.
But dry or damaged hair may take at least a month to reap the benefits.
The order you apply products can also make a difference. While this does depend on your hair type and texture, there are a few general rules.
Shampoo, conditioner, and any in-shower products should be applied first, followed by heat protection, a volumizer or mousse, and shine serum.
Then you can dry and style your hair, setting it with a gel (or similar product) and hair spray.
Make sure your final styling product is one that seals in moisture and helps keeps hair healthy.
There are no hard rules for how often you should use each product.
Some people wash their hair three times a week, while others cleanse once a week. And some do it even less.
When in doubt, ask a hair professional for personalized advice targeted to the products you use and the needs of your hair.
There’s a saying that hair changes texture every 7 years. Unlike most of the rumors floating around the internet, this one does have an element of truth behind it.
Hair grows in bundles, and these bundles start again every 7 years or so.
Hormones can also alter hair.
During pregnancy, for example, rising estrogen levels can
When levels of these kinds of hormones drop, hair loss can occur. Menopause, for example, is often linked to such hair issues.
Noticing these changes and responding appropriately can keep your hair looking healthy.
You may also need to change up your routine at certain parts of the year.
When the winter months hit, many need to opt for products with extra hydrating properties. Thicker creams are also favored.
But in the warmer summer season, you may want to choose more lightweight formulas to help hair stay bouncy in the face of humidity.
Lastly, it’s worth knowing a few handy things that apply to any hair texture and concern.
Get regular trims
If your hair is looking unhealthy, it may be because it needs a snip.
Getting hair cut every 6 to 8 weeks is considered to be beneficial for reducing breakage and split ends as well as growth.
Use warm, not hot, water
Dousing hair in hot water can dry it out and, if dyed, can quickly fade color.
You don’t have to endure a freezing cold shower or bath. Just switch to lukewarm water instead.
Make sure you’re getting these nutrients in your diet
Even your diet can benefit your hair.
Protein — also known as hair’s building block — will only reach the hair if enough is consumed.
If you’re lacking in it, expect to notice brittleness and dryness.
Iron is also an important source of life for hair. When the body doesn’t have enough, hair growth
And don’t forget omega-3 fatty acids. These are needed for hydration and overall scalp health.
Go natural where possible
Letting your hair breathe can work wonders. This can involve restricting heat use by letting it air-dry and avoiding straighteners and curling irons.
Even putting hair up in a tight ponytail can cause strain, so leave it down to stop the pull.
And if you don’t need to use a styling product, don’t use it. That way, you’ll reduce residue buildup.
Figuring out a hair care routine may take a few days, if not a few weeks.
But once it’s sorted, you’re well on the way to getting the hair you deserve.
Lauren Sharkey is a journalist and author specializing in women’s issues. When she isn’t trying to discover a way to banish migraines, she can be found uncovering the answers to your lurking health questions. She has also written a book profiling young female activists across the globe and is currently building a community of such resisters. Catch her on Twitter.
The 4 steps are Groom, Cleanse, Condition, and Style. But how and when you do these steps is informed by your Scalp Surface, Strand Structure, Porosity, and Hair Texture.What is a good hair routine for healthy hair? ›
For extra hydration, look for moisture-adding products that are high in humectants. Try to wash your hair only once or twice a week. If you need to wash it more often, use a conditioner (no shampoo) in between regular washes. To provide extra moisture, condition your hair before you shampoo it.What is the most important step in hair care? ›
1. Hair Care Routine- Oil. The first and one of the most important steps in a hair care routine is using oil. This well-known tradition has been passed down to many generations, as a result of which our mothers and grandmothers have had luscious and healthy locks.How do I know my hair type? ›
- If your hair dries straight without a bend or curl, then you have straight hair (type 1).
- If your hair dries with a slight curve or “S” shape, then you have wavy hair (type 2).
- If your hair dries with a defined curl, then you have curly hair (type 3).
Maintaining a healthy scalp and hair through good hygiene and proper hair care can help prevent and control many diseases and conditions. Use soap and clean, running water to remove dirt, oil, and unwanted residue from your head.What is the most important part of the hair routine? ›
Conditioning your hair is more important than shampooing it. This keeps it nourished and frizz-free. You can even add a few drops of an essential oil to your conditioner to keep your scalp and hair free of dryness. Deep-conditioning your hair can be an integral part of your regimen.What hair needs most? ›
- Protein. Your hair's structure is made of hardened proteins called keratin. ...
- Biotin. Lentils are a good source of biotin—a nutrient that has been shown to promote hair growth. ...
- Iron. ...
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids. ...
- Water. ...
- B Vitamins. ...
- Vitamin C. ...
What are the signs of healthy hair? Healthy hair strands have a sheen and a luster, little breakage, minimal shedding, are moisture rich (so not dry), reflect light, do not break when brushed, and do not contain dandruff.How do I get my best hair? ›
- Brush your hair before you shower.
- Condition correctly — and with care.
- Take time for hair masks.
- Be mindful of key ingredients.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Turn down the temp of your shower.
- Shield strands from the sun.
- Don't skip your scalp.
There are four main types of hair texture: Type 1 - straight, Type 2 - wavy, Type 3 - curly and Type 4 - tightly curled. The hair type and texture can be further broken down into a, b and c based on the hair's curl pattern, density, porosity, width and length.
You can use coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil, etc. to massage your scalp and hair. This will promote blood circulation and also add the much-needed moisture to your hair. Massage your hair with oil and then leave it for at least one hour or overnight before washing it with a gentle shampoo.
Is Daily Oiling Good? We don't recommend doing it daily as too much oil can still be a bad thing. It may end up leaving your hair and scalp greasy, and the excess oil might end up blocking hair follicles on your scalp and cause pimples.Should you use conditioner daily? ›
Unlike shampoo, conditioner can be used everyday, as it re-hydrates hair and replenishes nutrients. You might also want to consider conditioning on the days you don't shampoo (remember, keep that to two or three days a week). It'll help rinse away grime on the non-shampoo days, and re-hydrate following a shampoo.What should I put in my hair everyday? ›
Use a Standalone Conditioner Daily
Most importantly, you can use a conditioner as a rinsing agent on the days when you don't shampoo, keeping your hair buoyant but tameable instead of limp and unresponsive. In sum: shampoo every few days but condition every day.
Rossi generally tells his patients they should wash their hair once or twice per week. But if you've had chemical treatments that can make your hair drier — such as bleach, perms or relaxers — you might want to wash it less than once weekly to avoid breaking or brittle hair or split ends, he said.How many times wash hair in a week? ›
People with oily hair or who use hair care products daily should consider washing their hair once every 1–2 days. People with dry hair can wash their hair less frequently. Those with textured or coily hair should only wash it once every 1–2 weeks.