Going to the salon is the hair-care equivalent of a teeth cleaning. Just as you would see a dentist twice a year to make sure your mouth is in good shape and give you a deep clean, you should also be regularly seeing a stylist who can assess your scalp and strands and treat them to some pro-grade TLC. But while you’ve probably committed to brushing your teeth twice a day between dental visits, you’re probably not doing everything you should be to keep your hair healthy between salon appointments.
“It’s important to keep your hair routine in check between salon visits because your hair color and hair health depend on it—when you don’t care for your hair at home you’re jeopardizing its health, luster, and overall texture,” says Devin Graciano, hair stylist and head of product development at Goldie Locks. “In order to maintain the tones and color you walked out of the salon with—and the investment you just made [in them]—it is imperative to keep some professional tips at the top of mind when caring for your hair at home.”
4 golden rules for keeping hair healthy between salon visits
1. Keep up with hair hygiene
“If you’re not washing your hair as often as you should be, you’re putting your scalp in a vulnerable place that could lead to unwanted dandruff and other scalp conditions,” says Graciano. And if you tend to go for less-frequent washes with deep-cleaning or clarifying products in lieu of regular lathers with gentle shampoos, she says your stripping your hair of its natural oils, which will “leave you with dehydrated strands that are prone to split ends and breakage.”
On the other end of the spectrum, you also don’t want to wash too often.
“Shampooing your hair too frequently will cause an opposite reaction than what you may think,” says Graciano. “It may cause overactive sebaceous glands to produce more oil, leaving you with an abundant amount of oil. In addition to this, for those of us with color, highlights, and/or toners, shampooing too frequently will increase the pace of color fading. You’ve invested too much time and money into your end result to lose it that quickly.”
While the ideal number of weekly washes depends on your hair type (stylists suggest two to three times a week for people with straight or wavy hair, once a week for people with curls, and once every other week for people with coily or natural textures), when you’ve found a number that works for you, be sure to opt for a hydrating shampoo and conditioning duo, which will cleanse your scalp while also restoring moisture. Try this set from Oribe ($49). It contains travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, and dry shampoo that works well for all hair types.
2. Don’t cheap out on products
While you don’t need to spend ridiculous amounts of money to get a good shampoo, regularly opting for cheaper, less-nourishing options can make those professional visits a bit superfluous in the grander scheme.
“Professional product plays an important role in how your hair is kept up,” says Graciano. “While you may be squeamish in browsing brands or product prices, just know that quality top-shelf ingredients are not cheap. With this, how the ingredients are placed together in a specific formulation plays a huge role in your end result. Generally speaking, cheaper products can layer on the hair more while professional products can work internally as well as outward on your hair strand.” Dip your toes into more luxe hair care with the Best of Dermstore Hair Edit ($50). Worth $113, it contains some of Dermstore’s best-selling goodies like the Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment and the Virtue Healing Oil.
3. Regularly do deep treatments
“Hair masks play a big role in keeping your hair’s health in check,” says Graciano. “By using a hair mask one to two times a week, depending on current damage level, you are allowing the nutrients, hydration, and moisture to work a little bit deeper and a little longer on your strands. Daily conditioners are great to use, but they are created to work fast and therefore won’t work as hard to mend your hair.”
4. Lay off the heat
“When we are crunched for time, we flip the heat up an extra notch and don’t brush through our hair with as much ease, which is a recipe for hair disaster,” says Graciano. “Not only are you drying out your hair but you are also damaging your hair’s cuticle, which will lead to premature color fading, dry, brittle hair, and breakage.”
Obviously, air-drying is the best option for your overall hair health, but if opting out of heat entirely isn’t going to happen, you want to do everything you can to minimize the damage it causes. Keep the temperatures of your tools as low as possible, and always (always!) use a heat protectant, “which will “protect your strands from the direct heat contact that can save your hair from irreversible damage,” says Graciano. She recommends the Goldie Locks Ultra Hydrating Leave-In Conditioner and heat defender ($38), and I’ve been loving the Verb Glossy Shine Heat Protectant Spray ($20).
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