The Basic Components
Whatever your hair type, how you wear your hair, and whatever your hair concerns are, every hair care routine has basic components.
Cleansing hair is removing product residue, dirt, and dead skin without stripping the natural oils from the strands. But if hair is not properly washed, the oily, sticky wax called sebum builds up and attracts more dirt and residue. What’s best for you: A clarifying shampoo is a deep-working shampoo that gets rid of all build-up. Its use must be limited though to once monthly as it can strip natural oils as well. Otherwise, for regular washing so-called daily shampoos with gentler formulas can be used.
Conditioning does moisturising primarily, but as well as detangling, add shine and reduce frizz. Its main ingredient, a cationic surfactant, sticks to wet hair coating it with moisture that shampoo has removed. What’s best for you: You can use a daily conditioner that rinses out in a few minutes. There are leave-in conditioners that you don’t need to leave out. Use this if your hair needs more nourishment and moisture. And if your hair is damaged or tends toward dryness, use a deep conditioner.
Moisturising and Sealing is a two-step process that provides more hydration than conditioning. This is your go-to step if your hair is kinky or coily and with a tendency to dryness. The process involves sealing in the moisture by a hydrating product and sealing oil. What’s best for you: After you have done with shampoo and conditioner, apply a cream-based hair lotion and then seal with oil. The lotion protects from dryness and breaking, as the oil seals the moisture in.
Detangling is removing all those tangled knots in your hair without causing breakage. Tangles can happen to all hair types and it’s essential that you use the right tool for it, or else by mistake, you might pull out a handful of strands. Sometimes you might do detangling everyday. What’s best for you: Use a comb on wet hair, more so if it’s textured or very curly; a wide-tooth comb is safer to use. Use a brush that you’re comfortable with; settle with bristles that are not too hard on your hair and scalp; avoid too much brushing. Use detangling spray or detangling serum if need be before brushing or combing.
Styling and Protecting go together because with so many array of products available, plus hot tools, your hair needs a lot of protection as you style. What’s best for you: Mousse provides volume and texture, especially to curls; choose one that doesn’t feel sticky. Hair wax provides more hold but shouldn’t make your hair stiff; they also add lots of shine. Pomade gives that sleek look to the hair; it’s very shiny, not drying, and lasts through the day. Styling gel gives that obvious shine and texture; different types provide anywhere from a light hold to very strong hold.
Dry Shampoo is used to eliminate extra oil which makes your hair often greasy; it’s not used everyday as it builds up on your scalp. Volumizers tend to lift your hair making it look thicker; it’s supposed to be lightweight and generally intended for limp hair. Texturizers add texture to hair and tend to preserve the style; examples are salt sprays, curl definers, foam, dry spray, etc. Shine serum or spray gives the glossy, smooth look, applied on hair surfaces except the roots. Hair spray provides a variety of holding power, but shouldn’t make hair appear stiff. Heat protection spray is important when you use heating tools; it shields the hair strands from extreme heat.
Treatments for various hair issues include scalp treatment, protein treatment and hair masks. Scalp treatments are 1 or 2 times monthly; it uses exfoliating action that unclog follicles, stimulate blood circulation for growth, and resolves itchiness. Protein treatments give frizzy or brittle hair more protein; monthly treatments strengthen and smooth strands and fill in gaps in the cuticle. Hair masks take only a few minutes to nourish the hair with nutrients and resolve frizz, dryness, or split ends.
While most apply themselves to follow these steps faithfully, use of these products and tools vary widely and preferences differ. Find out what is best for you. Do not expect overnight results because they take time. For a more professional approach, ask your hairstylist. What is important is not the order of the routine, but your consistency.