How to Buy Hair Care Accessories
While some people have mastered the art of styling their hair, and some people were born with hair that requires no effort to look good, the rest of us have to work a little harder to achieve the styles we want. With the myriad hair care accessories available today, choosing the right products to suit your needs can be tricky.
- Identify your hair type. Long or short? Thick or thin? Stick-straight, super-curly, or somewhere in between? This will help you identify what kinds of products will be appropriate for your hair.
- Identify your style. How much work are you willing to put into your hair? If you're looking for wash-and-wear, you won't need much outside of shampoo and conditioner. More intricate styles will require more work, and usually more products, too.
- Do your research. Here's where it gets a little more complicated. You can find hair care products everywhere from the local drug store to professional supply chains like Sally Beauty. Where you go, however, is not nearly as important as the research you do while you're there. All hair care products have usage instructions, and most of them are geared toward achieving specific results with specific hair types. Now that you know what you're working with and what you want to do, you have a much better chance of finding the products to help you get there.
- Be fearless. Don't understand a product, despite a thorough examination of the label? Here's a brief rundown on some of the most common hair care accessories and their effects:
Shampoo: Soap for your hair. Cleanses the oil and dirt from your hair and scalp, and gives you a clean slate for styling.
Conditioner: Replaces moisture lost when you stripped the oil from your hair with shampoo. Also works to repair longer-term damage, and can help prevent frizz and split ends. Some are rinse-off, and some are leave-in.
Gel: A thicker styling aid, designed to hold hair together and in place. Tends to create a "wet" look, and can make hair feel very crispy and stiff when used in high quantities.
Hairspray: A finishing product also used to hold hair in place, although used more for an overall effect. Overuse can also result in stiff, wind-resistant hair.
Lotion: Gives a softer hold than gel. Often used for curly styles.
Balm: Adds shine and a very soft hold.
Paste: Tends to create a rougher look. Has a stronger hold, and is stickier than gel, but does not harden into dryness the way gel does.
Pomade: Offers a variety of holds, from very strong to very soft. Can add shine or give hair a more matte look, depending on the individual product.
- Get a second opinion. Ask your hairstylist for product recommendations. Usually they have a lot more experience than you do with hair products, and are happy to advise you on everything from shampoo to pomade. When you look good, they look good!
- Experiment. Sometimes there's nothing to do but conduct experiments until you find that just-right product or combination of products. Trial and error isn't so bad--eventually you'll get the hang of it!