Some days, I roll out of bed, take a look in the mirror, and want to write the whole day off. Bad hair days could also be known as “shoulda-stayed-home” days because when the hair is flat, dull, and lifeless-looking, no amount of cosmetic prowess can keep my eyes from wandering to the top of my head.
The astonishing thing about bad hair days is that they are 97.5 percent avoidable! But the process to get there requires many steps. And—let’s be real—achieving shiny, glorious hair takes a little more effort than sighing and wishing it were so.
So if you’re like me and can’t survive a hectic day without the aid of checklists that makes sure you are doing things right and proper, here are hair beauty tips embedded into a haircare routine that will turn any given day into a fabulous hair day.
Step 1: Brush before you wash.
Wet hair breaks easily, so you likely know to not brush after you step out of the shower, right? This means you need to get those tangles taken care of now, before you wash. Also, brushing your hair can help loosen up day-old dust and whatever else managed to settle onto your scalp.
Step 2: Shampoo.
Avoid that scrubbing motion when applying shampoo. Treat your hair as you would a delicate daisy. (“Daisies don’t belong in showers!” That’s right, so treat your hair delicately.) Use gentle, massaging motions.
(Note: I’m skipping the conditioner step here, because your best hair day requires a hair masque, but for girls who don’t have/want to do a hair mask, add in a leave-in conditioner right here.)
Step 3: Hair mask.
Hair masks are for those times in your life when your hair is looking dull, dried out, damaged, or generally frazzled. Actually, there are now hair masks for most any grievance you might have. My favorite beauty products of this type are those that bolster shine and provide deep nourishment to each strand. (I look for ones with moisturizing and nourishing ingredients like argan oil, honey, green tea, etc.) Bonus point: They also smell fantastic—like you (very gracefully) dumped your head in a bucket of flowers.
Apply the product evenly throughout your hair. You might need to section off hair to make sure you don’t miss a spot. Then wrap your head/hair up in a towel and let all that goodness seep deep.
The leave-in time will depend on each product, so read the instructions. Generally, expect to wait for 5 to 10 minutes. Then rinse.
Step 4: Air dry.
After gently rinsing the hair mask out, gingerly and very carefully use a towel to blot at your hair. And if you want to go the extra mile in making sure not to damage your strands, buy a dedicated towel that is for hair blotting. Something softer (try microfiber or even a t-shirt) and less rough than those large body bath towels.
Blot until you can move about your space without dripping water everywhere, and then leave your hair alone until 80 to 90 percent dry. Air dry for as long as possible!
Step 5: Serums and hair oils.
Once your hair is 80 to 90 percent dry, prepare your hair for the blow out stage by applying a heat protection treatment to your hair.
Heat is awful for hair, full stop. It dries out hair’s natural oils and destroys hair protein, etc. But bad hair is awful for me, full stop. And a blow dry is the only thing standing between me and bad hair. So for every girl who needs a good blow dry to live their best life, you also need a powerful heat protection product that you use each and every time before your blowout.
The best of them also do awesome things like add volume and help the body of your hair keep shape throughout the day.
Step 6: Blow out.
An entire article would be needed to outline the ideal blowout. So I’m boiling it down to the basics: Avoid using the highest heat; use medium heat to minimize hair damage. Make sure to blow against the direction you want your hair to fall in. And then give your hair a cool shot at the end to seal in its shape. If you use a hot iron for a couple finishing curls, here is where you add that in.
Step 7: Hair spray.
Getting all these steps right is worth little if your hair won’t last beyond the first hour of your day. As a finishing touch and a protective move, use a hair setting spray to keep your hair in fine form until you can lay it to rest tonight.
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