From the salon to the corner store, shelves are overflowing with products promising to give you healthy, shiny hair. It can be hard to decide which products will work best for you, but there are a few guidelines to consider:
- Analyze your hair. Is it thick or thin? Straight, wavy or curly? Do you have problems with frizz or does your hair fall flat at the first sign of humidity? Has your hair been chemically treated with color, perms or straighteners? Hair care products are very specialized and designed to work with specific hair types. If you need help determining your hair type, ask for a consultation at a reputable salon.
- Determine your goals. Whether you are trying to increase the volume of thin hair or hoping to control your wild curls, you must formulate a plan to achieve your desired result.
Search for products. Once you know what you are hoping to achieve, you can look for appropriate products. Start at the salon, since they will be able to advise you on products for your individual hair type. Salons can be costly, however, and many brands carried at mass merchandisers are of high quality, too. Sneak a peek at the first two or three ingredients in your favorite salon products and then look for those same ingredients in the less expensive brands. Good places to find bargains are beauty supply stores, drugstores and discount chains. Deals can be found online, too. Simply go to your favorite search engine and type in "discount hair care supplies." You'll be amazed at all the bargains available!
- Overview. Hair care products are designed to highlight the strengths and diminish the weaknesses of each hair type. Here is a quick overview of some of the more common hair products:
- Clarifying shampoo and conditioner: Designed to remove build up of styling products or reduce oiliness. Can be drying so do not use if you have dry or damaged hair.
- Moisturizing shampoo and conditioner: These products are wonderful for curly hair, as well as hair that has been colored, permed, straightened or subjected to excessive heat styling. Some moisturizing conditioners can weigh hair down so if you have fine, yet dry hair, apply the conditioner just to the ends of your hair.
- Color-enhancing shampoo and conditioner: Fairly new on the market, these products help hair to retain the tone and vibrancy of just-colored hair and add just a touch of color so they may help to stretch the time between color touch-ups.
- Leave-in conditioners: For very fine or thin hair, these light conditioners may be all that is needed after shampooing. They also offer an additional layer of conditioning for dry or damaged hair.
- Deep conditioners: These heavy, moisture-rich conditioning treatments are typically applied weekly to maintain healthy, bouncy hair. Typically, deep conditioners are applied and left on the hair for a longer period of time than regular conditioners.
- Volumizing products: From spray to mousse, volumizing products will give fine or thin hair a thicker appearance. Avoid volumizing products if you have thick or curly hair.
- Hair gel or pomade: Designed to help hair to hold a style, these products are very useful for short, spiky hairstyles. Use sparingly since too much can give hair a greasy appearance.
- Hair serum: Silicone-based hair serum is most beneficial when used to tame frizz or reduce bulk in curly hair. It is applied to wet hair before styling.
- Shine spray or gel: For a glossy finish, a light application of shine-enhancing products will produce a healthy appearance. A little goes a long way, so use sparingly.
- Hairspray: Style-holding sprays have made big advances. Gone are the stiff, heavy sprays of a decade ago. Today's hairsprays are lighter and produce a softer, more natural-looking hold.