Here’s How to Make Your Hair Super Shiny and Healthy, According to Experts
Step one: Wash your hair the right way.
Raise your hand if you want to learn how to get shiny hair. Everyone? Yeah, us too. Unfortunately, everyday exposure to pollution, hair styling products, and heat tools can decrease your hair's health and shine. Our natural texture and color can also have an effect on how shiny our hair looks, and thankfully, for each hair type, there are haircare and hairstyling products that can get every hair type super-shine status.
We spoke to celebrity hairstylist Leonardo Rocco and hair colorist Stephanie Diaz and asked for their expert insights and tips on how to get the shiniest hair ever, both immediately and over time. Below, see their tips for getting your glossiest hair ever, plus the award-winning beauty products that can help you get there.
1. Wash your hair the right way.
First, be mindful of how often you're washing your hair, as doing it too much can do more harm than good. Then, once you're in the shower, make sure to shampoo your hair twice. Rocco says that the first shampoo is for cleansing the scalp and hair of buildup, and the second works as more of a treatment. Additionally, he says you should give yourself a gentle scalp massage as the movement stimulates blood flow to the scalp, which brings new blood cells to the area and helps rejuvenate the hair's roots.
Lastly, if you've heard that giving your hair a final rinse with cold water will leave it extra-shiny, ignore that: Studies show that the cold water rinse theory is a tall tale, so save yourself from arctic temperatures and maintain warm to lukewarm water instead.
2. Stay clear of damaging ingredients.
Your hair can easily get full of styling products and debris, and that makes it look less shiny and way more dull. Between the products we apply, the oils we secrete, and the grime we pick up in our everyday lives, our hair could definitely use a little extra help in the cleansing department—but watch out. Rocco says that sulfates can strip your hair of its natural oils, which then leaves it looking dull, especially if you have dyed or chemically treated hair.
3. Use an apple cider vinegar rinse.
Rocco recommends staying away from clarifying shampoos as they strip hair of everything, both the bad and the good stuff. Instead, Diaz recommends using an apple cider vinegar rinse to help balance the scalp's natural pH level, causing hair to look shinier and healthier over time.
4. Skip shimmering sprays—opt for oils instead.
While you might think that spritzing on a little shimmering spray is a quick way to gloss up your locks, you could be doing more harm than good. Many hair sprays that promise to add sparkle to your mane include mica, a mineral that will indeed make you shimmer in the short-term but can also rough up the hair shaft and work against your natural gleam over time. Instead, Rocco recommends using products that contain ingredients like Argan oil, which will make your hair look shiny and improve its texture in the long run.
5. Massage your scalp with vitamin E.
We know that taking vitamins orally is good for our health, but applying them topically to our hair can also make it stronger, healthier, and shinier over time. The next time you're at the grocery store, pick up a bottle of vitamin E capsules. At home, snip off the ends of about a dozen capsules, squeeze the oil into a bowl, then give yourself a pre-shampoo massage with the (admittedly sticky) substance. Diaz says that this vitamin nourishes and hydrates strands, and studies show that ingesting vitamin E can increase hair growth.
6. Use a boar bristle brush.
"Boar bristle brushes seal the cuticle, enabling maximum shine by creating a completely two-dimensional surface for maximum light reflection," says Diaz. For best results, you'll need a 100% wild boar hair brush (sourced humanely, of course). These stiff, rough-feeling brushes will draw natural oils from your roots to the ends of your hair, promoting natural gloss and shine. Plus, they help to increase volume in fine hair—double score!
7. Eat some omega-3 fatty acids.
Yes, you can eat your way to healthier, stronger, and shinier hair. Studies prove that omega-3 fatty acids (found in foods such as eggs, salmon, and chia seeds) make your hair shine like whoa, so stock up next time you're at the grocery store.
8. Try a glossing hair treatment
In-shower glossing treatments work like hair masks, taking time to coat hair and make it shiny. "Glosses seal the cuticle like a topcoat, creating a high-shine finish with tonal value," says Diaz. Get a clear one that works on all hair colors, or choose one that will help boost your specific hair color and give it more life.
9. Use a leave-in conditioner
Your scalp's natural oils are what make hair naturally shiny, but if you have long and/or curly hair, it may have a hard time working its way to your ends, which can leave your tips looking dry and broken. Brushing your hair with your boar hair brush can help bring the oils down your strands, but another alternative is to use a leave-in conditioner with hydrating properties. This will not only soften hair immediately, but it will help to nurture your strands and make them healthier over time.
10. Use a heat protectant
If you constantly blow dry, flat iron, or curl your hair, it's a good idea to protect it. Temperatures on heat tools can go all the way up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, which is really effing hot. By applying a heat protectant you're creating a protective barrier between the heat and your hair. If you use a hot tool without a heat protectant, your hair can lose its color and vibrancy, and it can damage your strands to the point where they break off. "All heat tools remove moisture from the hair and can burn its proteins, so you must protect it," insists Diaz.
11. Get healthier hair while you sleep
Everything looks better after a good night's rest, including your hair! Overnight haircare is very important, especially if you have curly or naturally textured hair. Coat it with a nourishing overnight mask with ingredients such as prickly pear (found in this pick), which can get hair looking shiny and healthy in no time. Just wash it out in the morning with your favorite sulfate-free shampoo and skip the conditioner.
12. Sleep on a silk pillowcase.
Some fabrics, such as cotton, are extremely absorbent and will pull moisture from your hair, and will therefore dry it out and reduce its shine. Plus, the friction on traditional pillowcases can break hair over time, so treat yourself to a silk one instead.