How to Have a Good Hair Day, Every Day
The Biggest Mistakes to Avoid
According to Santiago, here are the three biggest errors that men make in terms of ensuring good hair days on the regular.
Not using the right products—or any products.
Look, even if you’ve got a crew cut or a slightly grown out buzz cut, that doesn’t mean you should skirt on hair product. Instead, just a pinch of product can give you the intentionality that comes with any hair style. “Having a go to product that’s easy and quick to use will help achieve good day hair goals,” says Santiago. It helps you say “I chose this look and I know how to maximize it” as opposed to “I’m just kinda taking the easy way out here, which requires no effort”. Add a pinch of texture to that cut, or a hearty shine, or tamp down the corners so your hair doesn’t balloon. If you’ve got long hair, make sure you double down on smoothing stylers if the strands are thick or straight, and on extremely hydrating products if you’re curly or coiled. There’s a product for everyone out there—maybe three or four even, if you want a roster of looks up your sleeve—so don’t short change yourself.
Waiting too long to get a cut.
A few weeks can transform a hairstyle of any length, notes Santiago—and with that comes new rules for how to style the hair. Even long styles will wear differently from one month to the next, so Santiago urges guys to visit the barber or salon regularly (every 6-8 weeks is standard for styles over a couple inches, while anything shorter should visit more frequently). “Maintaining your style is much easier when your hair is at the length you like,” she adds.
Ignoring the cowlicks.
Echoing the importance of regular haircuts, Santiago sees lots of guys have no idea what to do with their cowlick. This will change depending on hair texture and length, as well as cowlick placement and pattern. But Santiago notes that having the proper cut will help you smooth and style your cowlick, because this is one of the first indicators that your hair is well past due for a cleanup.
The Rules of Blow Drying
Blow drying is one of the best ways to get control over your hairstyle, as it helps fully activate the hair product and lock a style in place for longer (even if it’s a relaxed and low-hold product you’re using). However, in order to get the most of your hair dryer, follow these few simple rules, or else you risk frying the strands and enduring frizz.
Always use heat protection
It is important to coat your strands with a heat protectant product before blow drying, says Santiago, since this will seal off the cuticles, prevent moisture loss due to the heat, and prevent damage and breakage as a result. These products can range from sprays to oils to creams, but they share that core function of protecting hairs and ensuring the style you desire, as opposed to the one that the hot, fast air dictates. Many will also protect your strands from moisture loss due to overly dry or humid air, as well as any impact from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Curls should avoid—or at least use a diffuser
Santiago prefers letting her curly clients air dry as opposed to using a blow dryer, since this is the best way to keep them frizz free, she notes. (A good leave-in curl conditioner will go a long way to keep them from frizzing, too.) However, if you insist on drying curly hair, then make sure to do so with a diffuser attachment at the end of the blow dryer nozzle. This will evenly disperse the air so that it can softly dry curls as opposed to blasting a high concentration of hot, fast air.
Take the speed and heat down a notch
Yes, higher heat and speed will make hair drying go faster, but they also compromise your control over the style, as well as increase any risk for cuticle damage as well as strand dehydration and breakage. So, if you can carve out an extra couple minutes to run things on lower intensity, that’s going to go a long way in terms of your hair’s health, as well as its daily tenability. Oh, and you can even use a cold blast of air (a feature most blow dryers offer) to “set” the hair product after you finish styling it with the hot air.
Get an ionic, ceramic, or tourmaline hair dryer
When looking for a hair dryer to buy, make sure to only consider those marked “ionic”, “ceramic”, or “tourmaline” (some will be two or all three). Below is the technology at play with each model, all of which minimize damage and dehydration in the strands, while also managing to safely speed up drying time.
- Ionic hair dryers release negative ions that break down water molecules on the hair’s surface, reducing drying time and minimizing heat exposure, ultimately decreasing hair damage and frizz.
- Ceramic hair dryers use ceramic heating elements to distribute heat evenly, preventing hot spots and providing a gentler drying experience, reducing the risk of overheating and damage to the hair cuticle.
- Tourmaline hair dryers incorporate crushed tourmaline crystals into their components. When heated, these crystals produce negative ions, helping to neutralize positive ions in the hair, resulting in faster drying, reduced static, and minimized damage by sealing the hair cuticle and preserving its natural moisture.
The most important rule for everyone: Maximize moisture
Just like with skincare, moisture should always be top of mind for every hair texture, length, style, etc. Use conditioner after shampooing, use styling products that add nourishment (and maybe even seal in that moisture), and cut back on any bad habits that compromise moisture, such as blow drying without heat protectant, cranking up the A/C, showering in hot water, taking long showers, and more. The less you can expose your hair to all of these changing variables, the better defense you have against frizz, says Santiago.
This rule is exponentially important for anyone with curly or coily hair, Santiago adds. She even has a trick she uses on clients for the most photo-ready curls ever: “Try to get your hair steamed to open the cuticle and finish with a moisture rich product to lock in hydration.” Sure, you won’t be doing that every day, but it’s a good tip to tuck away for when you need the Greatest Curly Hair Day of All Time. In the meantime, just stick with curl creams and leave-ins.