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BEAUTY LESSONS:

YOUR
HEALTHY HAIR
PLAYBOOK

Achieving and sustaining healthy hair can be a, well, layered process. But there are a few nearly-universal truths to help set you on the right path. Here, a checklist of best practices to consider in the spirit of reaching hair nirvana.


Written ByFIORELLA VALDESOLO

Photography ByGUY AROCH

TRADE UP FOR A SILK PILLOWCASE

Cotton may be the fabric of our lives, but silk should be the fabric of our pillowcases. “With silk your hair will experience less breakage and you’re also less likely to wake up with any knots and tangles,” says Bekie Reynard, a colorist at the Barrow Salon in San Francisco. Those silky fibers reduce friction, extending the life of your blowout and, says Shayla Wynne of New York’s White Rose Collective, prevent frizz and flyaways. All types, adds Reynard benefit from a silk upgrade, but especially hair that tends to be drier (see: curly, color-treated or bleached, and aging). A bonus: your skin also reaps the benefits of a silk pillowcase which, unlike its cotton counterpart, prevents creasing, harbors less bacteria, and retains moisture.

USE A HAIR SPECIFIC TOWEL

The towel you use on your body should not be the same one you use on your hair: a microfiber version will not only dry hair more efficiently it will also do the job more gently. “The microfibers blot out water and they don’t snag or rough up the cuticle as much as regular towels,” says Reynard whose devotion precedes her hair career, dating back to her childhood swim team days. Once again, all hair benefits but especially drier and curly types.

DO DAMAGE CONTROL

Just as skin sometimes requires an extra shot of high-performing ingredients, so does hair that’s been damaged by overzealous heat styling and constant color treatments. Oribe’s Power Drops, in which linoleic acid, biotin, and sea kelp extract (to strengthen, curb hair shedding, and smooth, respectively) feature prominently, is, quips Reynard, much like adding adaptogens or collagen to your diet. “These drops add so much moisture and slip to each strand that it helps prevent breakage and the linoleic acid really improves the overall quality and texture of dry, aging hair by adding essential fatty acids,” she says.

OLAPLEX, OLAPLEX, OLAPLEX

The cult of Olaplex, the system for reviving and transforming chemically-processed hair conceived of by a scientist at UC Santa Barbara, is very real. “I’ve recommended this strengthening line so many times and it never doesn’t work,” says Wynne. “I always have any client getting color services add the No 3 hair perfector to their routine to revive the aggravation chemical processes will inevitably cause.”

MASK REGULARLY

Your face (and, frankly, your psyche too) responds in kind to a weekly mask routine and the same is true of your hair. “Anyone who regularly uses a blow dryer or any heat styler, or colors their hair should be masking at least once a week,” says Reynard. They are also an ideal shield against any environmental aggressors, adds Wynne. “That’s why I typically up my mask usage during the summer and winter months when the climate can be harsher and hair can feel more dull and tired,” she says.

EMBRACE THE INVESTMENT BRUSH

When you consider cost per usage, a pricier brush will feel like less of an investment; after all, most of us use our brushes every day, often multiple times a day. Reynard, who prefers Yves Durif and Mason Pearson brushes, just warns that a high price tag isn’t always synonymous with higher quality so do your homework. “Make sure that your brush is heatproof because not all of them are, so even if it costs a lot it doesn’t always mean you can blast it with your blowdryer,” she explains. To extend their lifespan she advises regularly removing hair from the brush (“Just pull from the base of the brush in a pinching motion with fingers,” she says) to help it aerate—“Yves Durif brushes could last your whole life if you take proper care of them,” Reynard claims.

BE WATER WARY

“I can feel hard water buildup in a client’s hair as soon as they sit in my chair,” Wynne says, adding that in New York old pipes can make it a particular problem. Same goes for San Francisco, says Reynard. “Over time the buildup can make your hair brassy, dull, dry, and even hard to color,” she adds. A solution both recommend to their clients is a shower filter to soften and remove minerals in the water that are causing the buildup.

ALWAYS PROTECT BEFORE HEAT STYLING
To underscore the necessity of using thermal protection every time you blow dry or heat style, Reynard draws a simple but effective analogy between heat styling and a hot oven: would you reach for something in the latter without some kind of barrier? “Curling irons, flat irons, and blow dryers are usually between 300 and 400 degrees, so applying thermal protection before using a styling tool creates a barrier between your delicate hair and 400 degree heat,” she adds.

TREAT YOUR SCALP LIKE YOUR SKIN

The root causes of an unbalanced scalp are many—excess heat and chemical processes and environmental factors can all figure in—but Reynard says that the culprit for scalp imbalance in many of her clients is that they’re washing less frequently, which can also lead to brushing hair less. “When you don’t brush your hair the natural oils on your scalp can clog your pores and that can lead to a foul smelling scalp, an itchy scalp, and even stunt growth and result in hair loss,” she adds. If you’re more of an infrequent washer, supplement with intermittent scalp treatments to give scalp the same exfoliating you would your face.

GET YOU A PRODUCT THAT DOES BOTH

One of the healthiest things you can do for your hair is to do less; that goes both for styling implements and products. With that credo in mind, finding one product that serves multiple purposes can be especially key. The multitasking capabilities of Virtue’s 6-in-1 Styler is in its name: free of sulfates, parabens and phthalates and full of panthenol and strengthening polymers, it acts as styling cream, shine serum and heat protectant.