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Finding hair tools and products that work with your hair type can be overwhelming. With hundreds of mousses, gels, irons, and other products on the market, how are you supposed to choose the right ones? What you really need boils down to 10 essential tools and products. Here are some of the haircare tools we can't live without.
Two Different Types of Hair Brushes
The higher quality your hairbrush, the healthier your hair. Don't fret about spending money on a good brush, because they're worth it and last a lot longer than a cheap brush. Plus, they're much better for your hair. The best brushes have rubber bases with boar's head bristles mixed in with synthetic bristles. The mix of bristle materials allows the bristles to flex with your hair, reducing tugging and hair damage.
You need at least two brushes in your tool arsenal: a round brush to add body when blow drying hair and a paddle brush for drying bangs and finishing hair. We love the paddle brush from Mason Pearson ($240). It's pricey, but will last a lifetime and frankly, is about what you'd spend on one or two haircuts at a high-end salon. For round brushes, we recommend Spornette ($15), which is extremely affordable.
Hairstylist Eva Scrivo of the Eva Scrivo Salon in NYC insists that we'd all have much healthier hair and scalps if we brushed our hair regularly. Yet another reason you want a good hairbrush: a bad one can pull on and damage hair, whereas boar bristles naturally carry your hair's oils from your scalp down to the rest of your hair. If you're curious about how to find the best brush for your hair, then check out our guide on how to do so, which details the bristle types best suited for every hair texture, ranging from thick and coarse hair to very short hair with bangs.
The Right Shampoo for Your Hair Type
Shampoos work by cleansing hair of dirt and oil so, it's important to select a shampoo that's formulated for your hair type. If you have oily hair, you should not be using a shampoo for dry hair, even if it's the only shampoo in the shower. Shampoo that's formulated for curly, dry hair will leave your oily hair flatter than ever. You're better off shampooing daily or every other day with a mild shampoo like Kiehl’s Amino Acid Shampoo With Pure Coconut Oil ($20).
If you have normal hair, choose a shampoo that's formulated for normal hair, but make sure to use a conditioner on your ends, which tend to be drier. Dry, frizzy hair doesn't need to be shampooed often. Some people with super dry hair opt to never shampoo their hair, using conditioners instead. If you still want to use a traditional shampoo, then look for an ultra-hydrating one like Oribe's Shampoo for Moisture & Control ($46) to help your curls pop.
Condition and Mask If You Have Dry, Frizzy Hair
Unless you have baby fine hair that goes limp at the sight of creamy conditioners, try to condition your hair after every shampoo.
Hair pros will tell you conditioner can help repair heat and chemical-damaged hair. The truth is, conditioners protect your hair from these things. Conditioners have moisturizing agents that coat hair leaving it tangle-free. Want to spend less time brushing out long wet hair? Condition the ends, and your comb will zip right through.
Once or twice a week, apply a medium layer of the MoroccanOil Intense Hydrating Mask ($35) to your strands. In as little as five minutes, your hair will soak up the ultra-hydrating combination of argan oil, glycerin, and linseed extract, which will also have your hair feeling softer and smelling good.
If you have frizzy hair, invest in a great hair mask and use it weekly. To properly use a hair mask, squeeze the water out of your hair after you shampoo. Then apply the mask from crown to ends, combing it through with a fine-toothed comb. Let it work its magic while you shave your legs or soap up your body, then rinse it out, making sure not to leave any residue, which will weigh hair down.
Dry Shampoo Between Washes
There's nothing better for hair that's a bit greasy than a generous spray of dry shampoo. They work by absorbing oil between washings, add body, and allow you to hold off a day if you don't want to wash your hair. Our hands-down favorite dry shampoo is Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk ($20).
Talcum powder also works in a pinch. Just make sure you go easy on your part and at the hairline. You don't want the powder to be obvious (sometimes the smell of baby powder is a dead giveaway, but the smell is worth not having oily hair). Talcum powder works better on light hair than dark hair.
No matter your hair type, there are styling sprays on the market that will help your hair look better either by creating volume or taming frizz.
If your hair tends to be dry, your battles will be with frizz and getting hair to settle down.
To avoid weighing the top of your head down with product, apply product at the back of your head where hair is thickest, working it through the sides and then to the top of the head.
It's good to have both curling irons and flat irons in your beauty tool arsenal if you want to change up your look. Curling irons add volume to flat hair and structure to wavy hair. Flat irons will tame curls and flatten straight hair even more so. Always use a flat iron with ceramic plates, as it is much safer on hair.
An Ionic Blow Dryer
Never underestimate the power of a good blowdryer. The more powerful your dryer, the better. A strong, ionic blow dryer, like the Harry Josh Pro Tools Pro Dryer 2000 ($249) will speed drying time, which reduces your hair's exposure to damaging heat. If you have thick hair, you'll want a dryer with at least 1875 watts while those with finer hair can make do with 1500 watts.
Sea Salt Spray
If you crave sexy waves that only come after a long day at the beach, you should invest in a bottle of sea salt spray. There's nothing better for scrunching your hair into sexy, beachy waves.
You can use hairspray to boost hair's volume and to keep your hair in place after styling it. When you curl your hair, look for a hairspray that has a heat protectant, that way you can mist your strands before you curl your hair to help your style last longer, minus any of the damage.
Try a lightweight option like Living Proof's Flex Shaping Hairspray ($27), which works on all hair textures. Whether you apply hairspray every morning or save it only for special occasions, it's good to have a decent one on hand.
Foam rollers are great for giving your hair body, but a lot of women also love hot rollers. In any case, these are great to have on hand in case you want to add body to the crown of your hair or add true definition to your wavy hair or curly hair.
The best part about hot rollers is that you don't need to splurge to get voluminous, Insta-worthy hair. The Conair Xtreme Instant Heat Hot Rollers ($32) quickly warms up in 75 seconds. The pack of 20 ceramic rollers comes in a variety of sizes ranging from 1 1/4-inch to 3/4 inch if you prefer a tighter wave.