12 tips for healthy hair

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					12 tips for healthy hair: get the shine, movement
and softness you desirefast and easywith our
expert advice from top pros

        Hair is the ultimate accessory; it can add to (or detract from) your overall look
instantly. Keeping it in healthy condition is the most important thing you can do to help it
look and feel fabulous. And, while it seems easy, this isn't as simple as minimizing chemical
treatments or slathering on a weekly deep conditioner. While these can make your strands
softer and less split-end-prone, what really matters is the daily handling; this is what creates
the most stress--and potential damage--to your tresses. To help your locks look their best,
we asked top experts from around the country for their advice on how to baby your mane
every single day. So whether your concern is dullness, damage, frizz or fragility, we have the
answers to ease even the toughest hair-care woes. Read on for tips to achieve run-your-
fingers-through-it hair.

       1. Steer clear of plastic-bristle brushes. "The proper bristles are key," says stylist
Edward Tricomi of the Warren-Tricomi Salon in New York City. "A combination of natural
boar bristles on either a round or flat brush are best for dry hair, while soft, rubber-toothed
wide-paneled brushes are best for damp hair." Our favorite brushes include the Mason
Pearson Boar Bristle brush ($78.50; and Aveda's Wooden Paddle Brush ($17;
       2. Brush before shampooing. A few gentle strokes on dry hair will help remove
product buildup and scalp flakes, as well as stimulate the scalp and promote blood flow
(which delivers nutrients like oxygen) to hair follicles. For a smoother slide, try Clairol Herbal
Essences Let It Loose Detangling Spray ($3; at drugstores).
       3. Know your water. If your hair looks dull or is hard to style, the problem could be
your tap water. According to Minneapolis-based Gordon Nelson, international creative
director for Regis Salons, well water contains natural minerals (called "hard water") that can
leave hair lusterless and hard to manage and can impart a brassy, orange hue. Soft water,
on the other hand, has fewer damaging minerals. (Ask your local water department if your
water is soft or hard, or try using Robert Craig's No More Bad Hair Days Kit, $20;; with strips to test your water.) To rid hair of mineral buildup, suds up every
week with a clarifying shampoo. We like Frederic Fekkai Apple Cider Clarifying Shampoo and
Clean Conditioner ($18.50 each;
        4. Mist your ends with water before home coloring. The ends of your hair are more
porous and, as a result, absorb more pigment. "Wet hair doesn't absorb color as readily as
dry hair," explains Renee Patronik, a consulting colorist for L'Oreal in New York.
       5. Trim your troubles. As the ends of your hair get older and damaged by rough
handling, they become prone to splitting, Nelson says. Get regular trims, at least 1/2 inch
every four to eight weeks. "Hair grows (on average) half an inch per month, so trim to
maintain healthy ends," says stylist Stephen Knoll of the Stephen Knoll Salon in New York.
       6. Use color-protective products. Chemical treatments like color can damage hair
because the chemicals have to penetrate the outer layer of the hair (or cuticle) to allow the
hue to be absorbed, explains stylist Rodolfo Valentin of Rodolfo Valentin Atelier for Hair in
New York. Color-protective products are specially designed to minimize dryness, keep color
true and prevent damage. "They typically have more nourishing ingredients, strip less color
and are less abusive," Knoll explains. We love L'Oreal VIVE Color Care Shampoo and
Conditioner ($3.69 each; at drugstores) and Matrix Biolage Color Care Shampoo ($10) and
Conditioner ($11; for salon locations).
        7. Give wet hair extra TLC. It stretches and snaps more easily than dry hair does, so
be extra-gentle with it. "Use a wide-tooth plastic comb while hair is wet; then, once it's
towel-dried, switch to a good brush," says Jon Patrick, color director of the Mete Turkmen
Hair Salon Plus in New York. And avoid wooden combs; wood can have microscopic divots
that snag hairs. Instead try the Jilbere de Paris plastic shower comb ($1.49; sally
for store locations).
        8. Deep condition once every two weeks. "These treatments penetrate the hair shaft
and strengthen strands," says Patrick, who adds that using heat (from a blow-dryer) can
intensify deep conditioning, as the heat causes the cuticle to open and the ingredients to
        For nourishing results, try Kerastase Masquintense ($36; 877-748-8357 for salons),
available for fine or thick hair; Neutrogena Triple Moisture Sheer Hydration Leave-In Foam
($7; at drugstores); or Ellin Lavar Textures ReconstructMasque ($25;
        9. Try an ionic dryer. Ions are atoms with a positive or negative charge. These
particular hair-dryers bathe your hair in negative ions, which help break up water molecules
faster and cancel out hair-damaging positive ions, Valentin explains. Plus, your hair-drying
time is cut in half. We love the Bio Ionic Super-Hydrator Pro Dryer ($165; for
salon locations).
        10. Just use your dryer's nozzle, urges stylist Frank Galasso of Frank.Studio in Santa
Monica, Calif. It's the best way to help prevent frizz because it concentrates the airflow on
sections. "Without a nozzle the dryer's grill gets very hot; if your hair gets too close to it, it
will cause damage and/or breakage," explains stylist Mark Garrison of the Mark Garrison
Salon in New York.
        For curls, use a diffuser attachment to gently surround your hair with air. Try Vidal
Sassoon Ceramic Finger Diffuser ($8; for store locations). Follow up with John
Frieda's Frizz-Ease Secret Weapon Flawless Finishing Creme ($6; at drugstores) to smooth
        11. Give textured or relaxed hair a break. African-American hair tends to be coarse
due to a lack of natural oils (more so if chemically processed), says New York-based celebrity
hairstylist Ellin Lavar. Lavar suggests opting for gentle color choices like semipermanent or
vegetable color. Spacing processing treatments at least two weeks apart, with weekly
conditioning treatments in between for shine maintenance, helps.
       12. Use the right accessories. Kim Vo, a stylist at West Hollywood's B2V Salon,
suggests putting hair in soft braids or twists and using claw clips rather than barrettes,
which can pull hair. Other options: gentle Goody Ouchless elastic bands ($3 for 14; at
drugstores) and L. Erickson Grab 'N Go Pony O's ($12 for three;

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