Q: My hair looks dull and dry, especially in the wintertime. Is a shine serum or spray the best way to get it glossier?
A: “Shine sprays and serums are fine in moderation and add instant, temporary sheen, but they shouldn’t be the first thing you reach for as a remedy for dullness,” says Kyle White, senior colorist at the Oscar Blandi Salon in NYC. What’s more, as their silicone builds up, it eventually dulls your once-gleaming finish. The real key to getting your hair naturally lustrous is to keep it healthy. “When hair is dry and damaged, the cuticle gets roughed up and doesn’t reflect light. A smooth, conditioned cuticle lies flat along the length of the strand and allows light to bounce off of it.” White’s hair rehab starts with moisturizing shampoo and conditioner (like Oscar Blandi jasmine moisturizing shampoo and conditioner) to seal the cuticle. “Rinsing afterward with cold water keeps it closed and flat. And simply washing your hair less often (no more than three times a week) helps retain that shine too. Natural oils from your scalp are Mother Nature’s deep conditioner.”
Take simple preventative measures to protect against styling damage that dims shine: Point the (very necessary!) nozzle attachment of a blow-dryer downward to avoid roughing up the cuticle, use a flatiron with ceramic plates, get a natural boar bristle brush instead of a harsh metal one, and always use heat-protecting product. (White swears by It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-in product.)
Product residue and mineral deposits from water (especially if you live in an old apartment building) can make your locks lackluster too. A clarifying treatment strips off that grime. In the shower, pour one-fourth a cup of slightly diluted apple cider vinegar through your hair and let it sit for a couple minutes before shampooing and conditioning. “This is similar to exfoliating your face. You have to follow it with a good moisturizer,” says White. While rifling in your cupboard for the vinegar, grab your olive oil. White suggests applying it to dry hair only where you need it (on the ends or highlights) and leave it for at least five minutes, or overnight if you can stand it, before shampooing it out. You may smell like a fine vinaigrette, but kiss glossing products goodbye.