Walking into a hair salon or supermarket can be intimidating when it comes to selecting the correct products. There are five major products that you will need in your everyday routine and everything else here after can be considered an extra. You might think a commercial advertising the latest shampoos and conditioners are the right way to go, but here’s a heads up on what you really need and why.
This is the most important part of your hair styling routine. Shampoos act as the building block in the routine by removing build-up, cleansing the hair, opening the cuticles to allow the conditioners and treatments to go into the hair shaft and also by providing much needed nutrients to damaged or brittle hair. Most people think 2-in-1 shampoos do the trick, but the truth is it’s a waste of time. You can’t put a body wash and a body lotion on at the same time and expect a great result. The body wash will always be more over powering, but it won’t be 100% as effective. Same goes for shampoo and conditioner. So, select products according to what your hair needs:
• Dry, brittle hair does not need a shampoo that deep cleanses. Rather use a mild product with extra conditioning.
• Fine hair may need a volumising shampoo, but regular or mild shampoo meant for fine hair is the correct type. Check the bottles or ask a professional.
• Thicker, course hair may need a cleansing shampoo once a week especially if it’s long and styled with product. Remember to incorporate a deep cleansing product once a week to remove build-up.
This is very important no matter what type of hair you have. The main reason we use conditioners is to soften the hair, calm down the cuticle and to nourish and detangle hair. It also provides for a great deal of your hair’s nutritional needs, though most women end up skipping this step to try and maintain their hair’s volume. Conditioners are mostly meant for your mid-lengths and ends and should be left on for at least one to three minutes. This cannot be used as a treatment, although a treatment can be used as a conditioner in some cases. By avoiding the use of a conditioner you leave you hair vulnerable and open to damage when being dried or combed after washing.
This is the final ‘must’ in your hair’s cleansing routine. It’s the product that enhances your hair’s health and encourages it to hold on to the nutrients you’ve just supplied it with. It encourages shine, strength and manageability as well as growth if applied correctly and used regularly. This should ideally be used once a week and should be left on for five minutes.
Whether you heat style your hair or leave it to dry naturally, you still need a heat protecting product to guard your hair against all elements including mechanical and environmental damage. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a spray or cream form as long as it contains little to no alcohol, specifies it’s a heat protecting product and is oil and silicone free. Oils heat up and melt onto the hair and silicones leave a residue and build up that can be damaging to the hair if not cleansed off properly. Your heat protectant should never be in the form of a mousse as this usually contains alcohol. Stick to a light simple product and never substitute conditioners for leave in sprays – it is not the same thing. It should be applied after your conditioner is rinsed out and can be left in during styling.
These are also known as styling aids. They can be silicone based, anti-frizz spray, creams, balms etc. The main purpose of this is to tame any fly-a-ways, complete the rest of your style and to maintain a healthy glow on your hair. Never apply this to wet hair because it’s not a heat protectant. If it’s meant for after care, then use it just for that. Silicones are meant to be applied to mid-lengths and ends, hair sprays should be used at least 15-20cm away from the head and balms and gels should be heated in your hands before applying it to your hair. Once you’ve applied this, try not to apply heat after. It just burns your cuticles and creates damage.