How to Get Super Shiny Hair
Is your hair naturally dull?
Research aggregated by Clarence R. Robbins in “Chemical and Physical Behavior of Human Hair” suggests that a healthy shine in clean, untreated hair is affected primarily by the color, shape and thickness of your hair. Darker colors naturally appear shinier that lighter colors, since dark-colored hair tends to scatter light outward. Elliptical hair shapes, like in African hair, tend to be shinier for similar reasons. On the other hand, kinky African hair often appears less shiny than other curly hair types. Curly hair reflects light more uniformly than kinky hair, due to its ability to clump. This isn’t to say that straight, European hair cannot have the level of shine as dark, curly hair. Dark, curly hair just tends to be shinier, naturally, than straight blond hair.
Getting the healthiest version of your hair possible
Shiny hair is not necessarily an indicator of healthy hair. Doing too much damage to your hair can, however, cause frizziness and take away some of the natural shine from clean hair. Do not overuse products like chemical straighteners, hair color and harsh shampoos. Excessive use of physical treatment, such as blow drying and straightening, can also damage hair. Other means of damaging your hair over time include a poor diet, over-exposure to UV radiation and humidity.
Practicing healthy hair habits can eliminate the bulk of the damage that reduces shine. Do not brush your hair when wet – if possible, use a comb to detangle your hair. Air drying after a shower (as opposed to towel drying) is an effective way to keep your hair from becoming brittle and dull. Air drying is especially recommended for curly hair.
Effective use of clarifying shampoo
First things first, you can keep natural oils more intact if you shampoo less in general. Taking a day or two off from shampoo, sometimes can make a difference in the shine of your hair. Clarifying shampoos clear through dirt and oil residue, but they also get through the product build up – the kind that exists on your scalp even if you don’t wash your hair regularly.
Some of the clarifying shampoos work by an increased pH, at which many resins used hairsprays, mousses and gels become water soluble. When the build up is caused by high molecular weight silicones and other water insoluble ingredients, our old friends surfactants can take care of them.
Clarifying shampoos can, however be very drying. They effectively strip the scalp clean of natural oils as well as the product gunk. If you use a lot of products, or are often exposed to environmental factors that would continuously damage your scalp, these shampoos are best used once a week for maximum shine. Otherwise, limit use to once a month.
This is especially useful for folks with dry or brittle hair. Deep conditioning is more of an involved process – it takes more time than your run-of-the-mill apply-and-rinse in the shower. Apply your chosen product to clean hair, leave it on for 10-30 minutes (dependent on product description and instructions), place hair under a shower cap, and rinse thoroughly. The best deep conditioners contain natural ingredients that leave you with softer, more manageable hair that’s looks and feels healthier.
When applied to the negative charges of wet hair, the positive charges of the conditioning ingredients have a magnetic attraction to the hair. This connection, in addition to the oily components of the conditioner, leaves enough conditioner behind on the hair to add to the flexibility and shine. Add your own oils, like coconut oil or sunflower oil, to the mix and turn your favorite conditioner into a deep conditioner!
Clarifying shampoos will dry out your hair, so make sure you condition your strands very well after that.
Find a great hair spray to give that extra boost
Perhaps the most obvious tip: you can use hair spray that’s designed to make your hair look shinier. But not every hair spray is created equal! If the hair spray is designed to prevent frizz, others are made to keep a strong hold on your hair. You want a spray that is light and less likely to weigh your hair down. These will also complement the anti-frizz benefits from deep conditioning to clump and soften the hair.
Don’t like aerosol cans? Plain or a mixture of oils are a great substitute for the squeeze nozzle hairsprays.
The perfect brush
Take the time to learn about what kind of brush works best for your hair type. It’ll help you with obtaining your desired style and shine without damaging hair further. If you have long, thick hair, try using a paddle brush to reduce styling time. For thin, fine and dry hair, try using a brush with boar bristles. They’re softer than the nylon of typical bristles, so they can move cleaner through your hair. They can even work to pick up and get rid of excess dirt in the hair.
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