The Science of Shine: What It Takes to Get Lustrous Locks
Perfect hair – you know it’s out there. But how on earth can you turn your dry, frizzled mane into shiny, lustrous locks?
With a little know-how and a lot of TLC, you can strengthen, repair, and rejuvenate your hair from inside-out – and we can help.
Here’s everything you need to know to get mega-watt style this spring:
Take Your Vitamins
Turns out unlocking a healthy sheen involves more than just caring for the hair on your head – you have to think big. Like your whole body big.
According to dermatologist Dr. Melissa Piliang, healthy hair and nails come from taking your vitamins – and eating right. (Yes, even if you’re on a diet.)
You can get plenty of B6 vitamins just by re-thinking how you eat – a good strategy to try before turning to supplements for extra help.
“Biotin, niacin, and cobalamin are among the most popular B-complex vitamins that help restore shine and thickness to strands,” reports HuffPo’s beauty editor Dana Oliver.
“Load up on whole grains, eggs, avocados and legumes, as they are some of the best food sources for B-complex vitamins,” she adds.
And if it’s zinc you’re after, put some red meat in your grocery cart and fire up the grass-fed steaks. (Don’t mind if we do.)
Another ingredient to look out for? L-cystein.
“L-cysteine, found in egg yolks, optimizes the production of keratin, a protein critical for growth,” explain the editors of InStyle.
If you need more help organizing your shopping list by what’ll make your hair feel stronger – and shinier – than ever, check out this handy list from Health for more nutrient-rich foods.
And, if all else fails, try this tip straight from Michelle Obama’s hairstylist, Johnny Wright: “I have my clients break open Vitamin E capsules and rub the gel directly on the hairline,” he told InStyle.
This souped-up antioxidant treatment restores shine and nutrients to your hair instantly. You’ll be rocking that produce aisle like the model in a shampoo commercial before you know it.
Caring Means Repairing
Most hair damage comes from dye jobs and blow-outs – all those chemical treatments mixed with high heat wreak havoc on your head, making your hair look drab and dull.
“Your hair will be much better off if you start blow-drying when it isn’t dripping wet,” dermatologist Ranella Hirsch told Allure.
Styling wet hair can make delicate strands more prone to snapping, while constantly updating your dye job can totally deflate your look.
If you’ve gone a little overboard with styling lately, no worries – there’s still time to course correct.
Get your shine back by giving your hair a bit of a boost with a new shampoo, says stylist Oscar Blandi.
“Washing your hair too frequently can strip it of its essential oils,” Blandi told Elle, and hair with plenty of essential oils is – you guessed it – happy, shiny hair.
Hair oil can also help restore a sheen that’ll make ‘em turn heads, smoothing frizz and putting a spotlight on your locks.
“Oils of all kinds infuse your hair with instant moisture, prevent and conceal split ends, and improve the strength and smoothness of your strands over time,” explains Hannah Hickok at Redbook.
Think rich, fatty oils like avocado, coconut, and jojoba for major wattage. Read up on this trend in Self and find the oil that works best for your hair!
According to celebrity stylist John Corbett, shiny hair is well-hydrated hair.
“When the hair is healthy, the cuticle stays closed, which means less frizz and your color looks better because light reflects off your hair,” Corbett told The Today Show. “Masks can help repair what styling and the environment takes out.”
A deep conditioning treatment from an oil-based hair mask will leave your hair hydrated, smooth, and oh-so-shiny.
If you want to conquer an easy DIY project in your kitchen, check out Elle’s hair mask solution (that also – oddly – sounds delicious).
Combine avocado, coconut milk, honey, and lemon oil into a paste and coat your hair to restore mega-moisture to your locks.
“The omegas in both avocado and coconut milk moisturize and repair summer-damaged hair, adding shine in the process,” Victoria Dawson Hoff explained to her readers.
“Maple syrup (or honey) also conditions and adds shine. And while it’s optional, we gave our formula a superfood boost with lemon oil, which is particularly helpful in combatting both thirsty locks and a dry scalp.”
Sounds like a recipe for success – and super shiny hair.
Searching for a Little Clarity
According to Stylecaster’s beauty editor Rachel Krause, clarifying shampoo is like a reset button for your hair – so it should be used sparingly and wisely.
“All shampoos will cleanse your hair of the usual oil and residue, but a targeted clarifying formula will cut through more stubborn gunk, like the kind you get when you use styling products all the time,” writes Krause.
Because too much clarifying shampoo can put a damper on your shine, save it for when your hair needs a little extra TLC.
“If you’re a product fiend, use a ton of dry shampoo, or spend time in chlorinated pools, once a week will do the trick, but if you have hair that’s on the drier side or are a slave to your color, limit it to once a month, since clarifying formulas can strip the hair,” cautions Krause.
We know, we know. No one likes adding another treatment to their beauty routine.
But clarifying shampoo could make the difference between dull locks drowning in dirt and product – and shiny hair that’s totally gorge.
Lock in Your Hard Work
Now that you’ve repaired and moisturized your way to a healthier sheen, it’s time to lock in all that hard work with a water-soluble, silica-based serum.
The only drawback? If it’s not water-soluble, silica can cause build-up and throw you right back into the cycle of dry, damaged hair you’re trying to fight your way out of.
“Look for products containing Cyclomethicone,” suggests Brager. “This is the most commonly used silicone in hair care products and it does everything Silicone promises to do, but won’t leave buildup on the hair.”
Serums that include nutrient-rich emollients – think argan and coconut oil – might also be a good solution for that finishing touch.
According to Hannah Hickok, you can even pass on chemical-based serums altogether and find all the ingredients you need right in your home.
“Not only does the simple concoction use stuff you probably already have in your kitchen—meaning it’s safe and chemical-free—it’s also cheaper than any product you’d buy in the beauty aisle,” she adds.
If dry, dull hair is getting you down, it’s time to step up your game. By eating nutrient-rich foods chock-full of B-vitamins and antioxidants, you’ll be one step closer to hair greatness.
The rest all comes with planning – and having the right products for your hair. Whether you’re a styling junkie or a DIY mama, there’s plenty you can do to restore moisture and lock in that healthy glow.