Having dry hair is far from an unusual problem. It's so common that Marc Anthony/MAV Beauty's artistic director Marilisa says, "Dry hair is one of the most universal issues in haircare." That's because "lack of moisture creates a domino effect. When hair is dry, it is more prone to frizz, breakage, and dullness."
If dry hair has been getting you down, we're here to help. We spoke with two celebrity stylists to walk us through how to add moisture to dry hair before, during, and after washing. Read on for their expert advice.
Meet the Expert
- Marilisa is Marc Anthony/MAV Beauty's artistic director and a Plutino Group stylist.
- Justin Toves-Vincilione is an Authentic Beauty Concept advocate and celebrity hairstylist.
Pre-Condition Your Hair
Yes, it's important to condition your hair before washing it. "The best way to moisturize your hair before cleansing is to pre-condition," says Toves-Vincilione, who tells us that Tik-Tok creators refer to the process as "hair slugging."
He adds: "This is a conditioning method where an oil, mask, conditioner, or deep conditioner can be applied to dry hair and left on for an extended period. Some people do this overnight and others for as little as an hour." He suggests covering your hair with a scarf or wrapping it in a scrunchie.
Marilisa explains that adding hydration to your hair occurs with water, whereas adding moisture involves oils. Both are important elements of preventing hair from drying out.
Opt for a Hydrating Shampoo
Ideally, your shampoo should also moisturize your hair. And even if a shampoo claims to be hydrating, you need to look closely at the label. "Not all shampoos that claim to be moisturizing will actually moisturize your hair," says Toves-Vincilione. We recommend Briogeo's Super Moisture Shampoo ($39), Virtue's Recovery Shampoo ($38), and Pantene's Hydrating Glow Shampoo ($12).
Use a Conditioner With Long-Lasting Benefits
What your conditioner doesn't contain is as important as what it does. "Some moisturizing conditioners also contain sulfates and detergents," says Toves-Vincilione. "Some of the main ingredients are ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). Finding a conditioner (and a shampoo) free from these ingredients is a great first step toward treating your dry hair with the right products."
Marilisa adds, "For the most part, conditioners that focus strongly on detangling as well as leave-ins tend to have more conditioning elements."
Lock in the Moisture
"The best step to take after conditioning your hair is to layer on a moisturizing leave-in to help lock in the moisture," Toves-Vincilione says. "If you blow dry and heat style your hair after you wash it, this step is especially important. Additionally, you will always want to use a heat protectant to prevent your blow dryer and iron from immediately depleting or evaporating the moisturizing products you've applied.
He adds, "If you do not blow dry or iron your hair after washing, use a UVA/UVB protectant to prevent sun exposure from depleting moisture & creating damage."
Use Mists, Oils, and Serums Between Washes
If you go several days between washes, your hair will likely benefit from some additional product during that time. "A good serum is something you can easily use between washes," Marilisa says. "I run my damp hands through my hair and then Idd some serum." In addition, Toves-Vincilione adds, "You can maintain moisture using lightweight mists when touching up or nourishing oils that provide heat and sun protection."
The Final Takeaway
Our stylists agree that pretty much everyone will experience dry hair at one time or another. Sun, heat processing, bleaching, dying, and even the environment can all dry out our hair. Fortunately, there are steps to take to mitigate this issue. Pre-conditioning before washing, using moisturizing shampoos and conditioners, locking in moisture after conditioning, and using a serum or mist in between washes can all keep dryness at bay.