Massage in an oil
Hair that’s well-moisturized is naturally shinier—and one of the fastest, most effective ways to boost hydration levels is with an at-home oil treatment, says Nina Dimachki, a stylist in Northville, Michigan. Her oil picks: olive or almond oil, both of which Dimachki says are lightweight and appropriate for most hair types. To apply, start by pouring a quarter-size amount into your palms (or more, depending on your density and length), rub together and, starting at your ends, work up to just above your ears, massaging and finger-combing through the hair. Repeat until the hair is fairly well-coated. Let the oil treatment sit for up to an hour, then shampoo out.
Boost sheen with a brush
Using your own natural scalp oils to boost hydration (and thus, sheen) is also an effective tactic. The best strategy? Several times a week, simply run a natural-bristle brush through your hair, roots to ends, to evenly distribute oil to your hair’s dryer mid-lengths and ends.
Scale back on shampoo
Shampoo can strip natural oils from the hair, so extending time between washings will enable those oils to stay put longer and do their hydrating and shine-boosting work. Ideally, limit sudsing to no more often than two to three times a week.
Turn down the heat
If and when possible, try to turn the water temperature down when cleansing and rinsing your strands. While this is obviously not desirable in the dead of winter, keep in mind that the hotter the water, the more it will open up your strands and allow moisture to seep out. And if a lukewarm shower is just not going to happen, consider giving your hair a quick cool rinse of water at the sink after your shower. Cold water has been shown to seal the outer layer of your strands, locking in moisture and creating a smooth, light-reflective surface.
Squeeze don’t rub
After washing, to keep that outer layer of your hair smooth, gently squeeze, don’t rub, excess water out of your strands, then carefully wrap your hair in a towel turban. If you rub dry, you run the risk of roughing up your strands’ outer layer, which can decrease shine when your hair dries.
Blow dry strategically
The way you point your blow-dryer can dramatically influence how glossy your locks look. To create the smoothest, shiniest surface, “hold your dryer nozzle parallel to your hair, directing air down the shaft toward your ends,” says Dimachki. This will shut the cuticle (that’s your hair’s outside layer), preventing frizz and boosting sheen.
Consider a salon service
A color (or clear) gloss applied by a professional colorist or at home can help boost your hair’s shine for a good four to six weeks. Or, if frizz is hindering your luster levels, a keratin smoothing treatment can help lock down your cuticles, making your hair silkier and significantly upping its shine quotient without removing your hair’s natural texture. (Note: Running a flat iron over your hair can have a similar effect, says Dimachki. Just be sure to apply a heat-protectant spray beforehand to prevent shine-sapping sizzling.)
Sleep on satin
Like rough-drying damp hair with a towel, sleeping on a scratchy pillowcase can also disrupt your hair’s cuticle layer while you sleep, leaving you with duller strands come morning. To minimize the friction, consider replacing your cotton pillowcase with a silk or satin one—or wrap your hair in a loose bun and secure it with a soft or satin scrunchie.
Healthy, hydrated and shiny hair starts with the right hair care regimen. To create yours, get started here.