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How to get shiny hair

Does your hair look dull and lifeless? Dullness from a lack of shine can drag down even the best colour and style, but there's no reason you need to put up with it. Discover how to get shiny hair! With the right care and products, you too can have beautiful, healthy-looking tresses that shine radiantly.

What produces shine?

Shiny hair is a result of the way that light interacts with and reflects off your hair. Generally, the healthier your hair is, the shinier it will look. Of course, there are other factors involved and there are a few ways you can enhance shine even if you have damage.

Some of the different conditions that can cause your hair to look less shiny include:
  • Dryness
  • Damage
  • Frizz
  • Cuticle problems
Dryness has the biggest impact on how shiny your hair is however, and this is because adequate moisture is necessary to reflect light and create the appearance of shine. If you have overly dry hair, you can't get it to shine without dealing with the dryness first.

Damage also contributes to a lack of shine by causing dryness and causing the cuticle layer on the surface of the hair to become rough. If you have damage, it is easiest to get shiny hair if you treat the damage with protein treatments first. This restores your hair's ability to maintain a proper moisture balance and also helps take care of any cuticle issues.

Treating dryness and damage

Hair dryness is best treated with conditioner. If your hair is very dry, replacing your regular conditioner with a deep conditioner is one of the easiest ways to  help combat this.

If that isn't enough to deal with the dryness, you can also try further methods to address it such as leave-in conditioners and a gentler shampoo.

How to treat dry hair - Need more targeted help with dryness? You can find it here...

Damaged hair is also easily treated with the use of a good protein treatment after shampooing and before conditioning. These treatments bond to and repair weak areas of protein in the hair's deeper structure. They also help reverse porosity and seal the hair so that colour lasts longer and your hair doesn't dry out as easily.

How to repair damaged hair - Struggling with damage? Find out how to get shiny hair by repairing the damage...

Hair serums

If you've treated any dryness and damage and you're still not seeing as much shine as you would like, there are products that can help to enhance shine in your hair and make it more noticeable.

One of the best products for this is a smoothing serum as these not only help lock in moisture, but also coat the hair like a barrier cream to smooth out roughness and frizz. The silicone based formula of these hair products works to actively reflect more light and greatly increase shine for healthier, smoother, and shinier hair.

Spray-based serums are best for this purpose as they are a lighter serum that is more geared towards producing shine than any of the other main uses of serums. This type of serum can even be used on any hair type as it won't weigh down fine or thin hair.

For the best results, apply a hair serum to hair that has been deep conditioned after shampooing. You can apply the product prior to drying and styling for heat protection and smoothing, but more shine is produced if the product is applied after styling and before the use of any hair spray or other finishing product.

Hair gloss

Hair gloss is a more intensive way to increase shine in your hair for up to 2 - 4 weeks by coating your hair with a formula that reflects light and evens up the texture and porosity. As this kind of treatment is semi-permanent it will fade over time, but it is non-damaging and can help your colour last longer and reduce fading if it is applied after dyeing.

Most glosses are clear, and this is the best kind of gloss to use for any hair colour. If you're trying to maintain a vibrant colour like red or a cool shade of blonde however, there are coloured glosses that can be used to both tone and add shine to your hair at the same time. This colour will fade out over time just like the shine will.

To use a hair gloss, shampoo your hair first and then lightly towel-dry it. Apply gloss to your hair while it is still damp and leave it for about 20 minutes. The exact processing time will vary depending on the brand and product you're using.

Hair oils

Hair oils like argan oil and olive oil can also be used to produce shine. In fact, they are very effective for this purpose because they readily reflect light and seal the hair. However, these products do weigh down the hair and can make it feel as greasy as if it was unwashed.

The best way to use any form of hair oil is to only use a very small amount as a little goes a long way. Massage it into your hands and distribute evenly and lightly to all areas of hair, focusing on the ends and any areas of dryness.

However, all of this only applies to actual oils; not to combination products that are really hair serums. Serums often contain a very small amount of argan oil or another beneficial oil that has a mild effect compared to the silicone ingredients which are much more concentrated.

Morrocan Oil and other products which sound like oils are actually hair serums designed primarily around silicone ingredients with only a tiny amount of actual oil present. These products are best used in greater concentration than actual pure oils and in a slightly different way.

Product buildup

Finally, a buildup of hair products can decrease shine too. Product buildup doesn't happen overly often, but if you use a lot of mousses, hairsprays, or other heavier products and only use a mild shampoo, this can be a cause of dull hair.

To prevent this, always use a normal shampoo to wash out products like hairspray. If you have oily hair or use lots of products, a mild or coloured hair shampoo is the worst option because the emulsifying ability of the shampoo is weaker. These shampoos can't remove large amounts of oil and product from your hair and this is why they cause colour to last properly (They don't shampoo as effectively).

On top of this, use of heavy amounts of products is itself a practice that dulls the hair. This is especially true if you're using waxes, mousses, and matte powders. For the shiniest hair, use only a leave-in conditioner and a hair serum. You can also use a small amount of a light hairspray without causing the hair to lose shine.

Have a question about how to get shiny hair or wondering why your own hair looks dull and lacks shine? Leave a comment for tailored advice...

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