Welcome to #HairGoals, our new series all about helping you get the hair of your dreams. We'll be featuring routines of real women with amazing hair, interviews with stylists about the products you should use for your hair type, and more.
Be it busy schedules, tight budgets, or dreams of longer hair, there are an endless number of reasons we don't make it into the hair salon as often as we should. But while this may seem like the easier approach, a lack of hair maintenance can be counterproductive. If we skimp on snips and leave split ends unchecked, it could result in more appointments to correct the damage (and ultimately hinder your shot at long, healthy hair). "If you want healthy hair, there are no shortcuts," explains Sam DiVine, co-founder of L.A.'s Society Salon. "For women growing out their hair, this sounds like a big contradiction to their ultimate end goal. I get that, however, it's important to understand what happens when your hair becomes unhealthy and the ends begin to split."
The analogy DiVine uses with her clients is that a split end is like a run in a stocking. "A run usually tears all the way up the leg until it hits the reinforcement of the cross stitching and then it stops," she describes. "Similarly, the split ends will continue to split past the initial damage up until they hit some truly healthy hair and then break." She notes that this damage is why we always hear women say, My hair never grows! "It is absolutely growing," she clarifies, "so if you're trying to grow your hair out to no avail, it is breaking faster than it can grow and you need more frequent dustings." Even though staving off a trip to salon seems like the low-maintenance approach, it actually means you need to be even more proactive about your hair health. As DiVine put it, "The best way to extend the time between cuts should be more of a lifestyle approach than an afterthought."
Listen to what your stylist recommends.
"The length of time that your stylist recommends between cuts is not arbitrary," warns DiVine. "It is carefully calculated based on your unique hair texture and porosity, the color and style you choose to wear it in, and your daily maintenance routine." She reminds us that many elements contribute to the time frame and for this reason, advises consulting with your stylist when trying to extend the time period. "As much as you may not want to cut your hair, the only way to maintain healthy hair is to keep the ends fresh and cut it."
Get treatments as often as you style.
"If you frequently get blown out or style your hair, you should just as frequently get treatments," notes DiVine. "Much like the haircut, you don't want to miss or push these treatments off. Heat styling strips the hair of moisture, dries it out, and causes your color to fade. These treatments will help to rehydrate, repair and replenish the hair from the damage done during heat styling."
Beverly Hills-based celebrity hairstylist Linet K. recommends using a moisturizing mask and Olaplex to keep hair healthy when you're going longer between cuts. "Both of these will keep your hair strong and soft, preventing ugly split ends and dry breakage," she says.
Work with your pro to find the right product for you.
Recognizing that there are a lot of great products on the market, DiVine underscores that it's important to find what works best for your unique hair. "Just because something is great for your friend doesn't mean it's the right line for you," she stresses. "Many products will have silicones in them that create a film over the cuticle of the hair that does not come off during your shampoo. Over time, this will dry out the hair and cause it to become brittle."
After you've identified the right products, use them.
"Always using a heat protectant when styling is a must to prevent damage from hot tools and blow dryers," states Linet K. Every hair type will require products that address specific needs. "Curly hair? Your hair is prone to dryness so use a hydrating leave in and curl primer like Wonder Worker and Kaze Wave by Shu Uemura," says DiVine. "Wash and go? Use a leave in like Wonder Worker to moisturize, provide UV protectant, and create a barrier between your hair and environmental aggressors."
Avoid heat styling whenever possible.
When possible, give up the heat altogether. "If you can, it is best not to use any heat at all to keep hair healthier and shinier for a longer time between cuts," advises Linet K. The reason for this tip is fairly straightforward. "Less heat equals less damage," reminds DiVine. At the very least, use a product that will protect your hair when heat styling.
Turn down the temperature.
If you can't give up the heat, use less of it. "Many hot tools can reach temperatures of 450 degrees while many heat protectant products do not protect past temperatures of 350," warns DiVine. "Most women do not need their hot tools to be at 450 degrees. Turn the temperature down to a lower setting around 275 or 300. This will prevent excessive heat damage and allow most heat protectants to do their job."
Don't go too long.
Lastly, be smart about your salon visits by keeping them regular, extending the time between them only as much as you absolutely need to. "The best tip I can give you is to take exceptional care of your hair and keep in mind that even with all the precautions, you should not extend the length of time between haircuts too long," advises DiVine. "Work closely with your stylist, make sure they know what goal you're working toward, and create a plan that gets you there while maintaining the integrity of your hair."
If you can't get to the salon, try an at-home treatment for split ends.