You put beauty elixirs on your face to protect it on a daily basis. But if you don’t do the same for your hair by using hair products after showering — think leave-in conditioners, heat protectants, and serums — you’re not keeping your strands as healthy or protected from damage as possible. they should be.
Juliana Ohlmeyer, hairstylist and colorist at Bassia Bassia in New York City, says to think about using these kinds of products like protecting beautiful clothes. “Let’s say you have a silk shirt and you’re going to iron it,” she explains. “You’ll want to use some sort of fabric spray to create a barrier between the direct heat and the silk, and it’s the same idea with your hair.”
This is largely because your locks are at their most vulnerable state when they’re wet (i.e. after your shower). “Your hair is most fragile and susceptible to damage when it’s wet,” says Ohlmeyer. This is why you are told not to walk outside in the cold with damp hair; If it’s already damaged or colored, for example, facing the harsh elements can potentially cause your locks to break and break, she adds.
It’s not just the humidity you need to watch out for: the same external factors that can damage your skin, like pollution and UV rays, also wreak havoc on your hair. “Whether it’s really dry weather, humid weather, indoors with the air conditioner, or the blowing heat, you’re exposed to the elements wherever you go,” says Ohlmeyer. And that’s why you should turn to a leave-in product to keep your locks looking their best. Read on for expert information on how to use hair products after showering, what to look for in formula, and some of the best ones you can buy.
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What are after-shower hair products?
Whether you turn to a heat protectant, oil, or other post-shower product for your hair, the job is essentially the same: to function as a protective barrier. “If you don’t use any leave-in products after showering, hair can become frizzy, dry, or tangled,” says Sally Hershberger, a celebrity hairstylist and founder of her eponymous salon and hair care line. “They work to provide an extra level of hydration and protection that you may not get from your regular shower products.”
If you use heated tools, these products are essential. For example: “Heat protectants create a barrier between the hair and the heat source like a curling iron or hair dryer,” says Hershberger. “This barrier seals in moisture and reduces heat damage.” Other products also work similarly to heat protectants. “Putting on a leave-in conditioner or other protective product will create a gentle barrier between the heat and your hair,” says Ohlmeyer.
How to find an after-shower product for your hair type
Of course, hair products aren’t one size fits all, so you’ll want to buy a formula that’s right for your hair type and texture. One thing that is useful is to search multitaskers, i.e. hair care formulas that provide more than one benefit.
Hershberger recommends products containing argan oil if you have thick or colored hair. “Argan oil is found in many leave-in products because it nourishes and conditions hair, leaving it super smooth and soft,” she says. “It’s also great for heat and color protection.” If your locks are finer, she suggests using the ingredient sparingly, as it can make it look greasy if you apply too much at once.
Another MVP to look for is keratin. “Hair is made up of keratin, so products containing it are great for adding extra protein to improve hair elasticity,” says Hershberger, noting that it’s suitable for all hair types.
How to use a hair product after the shower
Experts recommend brushing on one of these protectants after every shower, whether it’s laundry day or not. “Even if you’ve only done a no-shampoo rinse, a heat protectant is still very important to use because heat and UV can be very damaging to hair,” says Hershberger.
Be sure to apply them when your locks are damp. If soaked, the water can prevent the product from fully absorbing, Hershberger says. And start with a small amount. “Too much product can weigh hair down, so it’s always easier to add more than to remove excess,” she tells Bustle. You can skip your roots if your hair falls on the oiler side, says Ohlmeyer. “If you have very long hair, applying from the middle of the shaft to the ends will be helpful,” she adds.
Shop post-shower hair protectors
For heat and UV defense
This versatile mist shields strands from pollution, heat and UV rays while smoothing frizz. An additional benefit? Your hair is hydrated thanks to the B vitamins in the formula.
To fight frizz
If you prefer to use a hair oil, this elixir is an excellent protective treatment that also fights frizz. Its trio of castor, grapeseed and almond oils strengthen your strands and keep them hydrated.
For a multitasking protector
Make it easy on yourself by snagging a product like this prep spray, which uses a blend of botanicals — including sunflower seed extract and rose flower water — to protect your hair from all kinds of damage. external pollutants.
For more volume
Need a zhuzh? This mist provides protection from heat and humidity while giving your hair a volumizing boost so you have a punch that lasts.
For hair strengthening
Improve the health of your scalp (and therefore your hair) with this nourishing leave-in treatment. The vitamins in the bottle, which include B6 and K, help increase circulation to the scalp so your locks stay strong and protected.
Dias, MF (2015). Hair cosmetics: an overview. International Journal of Trichology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4387693/
Sinclair, R. (2007). Healthy hair: what is it? Proceedings of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium. Volume 12, Number 2, December 2007, pages 2-5. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.jidsymp.5650046
Yang, FC. (2014). The structure of people’s hair. Peer J. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4201279/
Zhou, Y. (2011). The effect of various cosmetic pretreatments on protecting hair against thermal damage caused by hot flat ironing. J Cosmet Sci. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21635854/
Juliana Ohlmeyer, hairstylist and colorist at Bassia Bassia in New York
Sally Hershberger, a celebrity hairstylist
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