If you've been with me since the start of 2016, you'll know about the Hair Journey that I've departed on. It's now been over a year and, thanks to my specialised team of hair 'wonder products', my hair is smoother and shinier than ever. Grab yourself a snack and some slippers (it's a long one) and keep reading for my top tips and favourite products for smooth and shiny hair with zero heat.
K E E P I N G Y O U R H A I R D E T A N G L E D
I suppose if there's one takeaway message you should mentally note from this post, it's to try an apple cider vinegar rinse. Not only should it cost next to nothing and be entirely natural, the results are instant after just the one use. Having been used to using heat to tame and smooth my hair, going heat-free was certainly a bit of a shock, to embrace my hair's natural texture. Thankfully ACV smoothes down the hair cuticles, preventing them from rubbing against eachother and causing frizz and friction. Make sure you get one like this one I use that includes 'the Mother' and head over to my original post for the recipe and method (and equally to have a laugh at my
I've tried many a detangling/leave-in conditioning spray and it's O&M's Know Knott (full review) that has remained at the fore. Not only does it smell like a cross between pear drops and peaches, it's lovely and light, doesn't feel at all oily, and leaves my hair feeling really soft whilst keeping all of it's body.
After using the Hair Xpertise Argan Oil for years, I gave it up during my phase of going completely silicone free. I've now, however, come back to it because it's the best product I've found to combat breakage. With it's super slippery, light texture, it really helps to stop my hair tangling itself up and breaking, without weighing it down - it's like John Frieda's Frizz-Ease but a lot better. I don't use this everyday, instead reserving it for when I need my hair to look it's best.
U S I N G A W O O D E N P I N N E D H A I R B R U S H
Ever have the situation of an oily scalp but dry ends? And you've tried the L'Oreal clay mask and it just doesn't work for you? Try brushing your hair with a wooden-pinned brush. The natural, wooden bristles distribute your hair's natural oils down the hair shaft, detangling any knots and conditioning your locks. Whether it's a paddle brush, a wide toothed comb or my favourite oval brush, swapping over from my plastic brushes have made a great difference to the balance of my hair. And whilst we're on the topic of brushes, I love my boar bristle brush as a finishing brush - it's the best tool by far to smooth down any stray hairs and bring out the natural shine of your hair.
C O N D I T I O N I N G & S T R E N G T H E N I N G
I have the type of hair that could take a hair mask everyday if I had the time - it really sucks up moisture, so I like to treat it as often as I can with intensive hair masks. Shu Uemura's Shusu Sleek masque is a fairly new purchase for me. A silky, oily mask, it's marketed for thick, coarse hair but I actually think this makes an excellent mask for all hair types. Super intensive, it contains more black cumin oil (the active ingredient - which has what I can only describe as an 'interesting' scent, a bit like Neem oil if you've ever smelt that. Not entirely unpleasant but it's certainly not fruity, floral or sweet in any way) than the rest of their Shusu Sleek range (probably put together) and leaves my hair feeling undeniably smoother, detangled and shiny. Even though it's almost £40 for a less than generous 200ml (although you can get it here for around £30), this stuff is quite magical. And if you're after something similar but a) a little more affordable and b) that smells a little nicer, then Macadamia's Deep Repair mask is the one that immediately comes to mind - it smells divine.
I tried out the Grow Gorgeous Strengthening Oil last year and their products have quickly become favourites. I've tried many an oil (Moroccan oil, coconut oil, drugstore, high end) and never been completely enthused with how the texture worked (or in these cases didn't work) for my hair - I've always found the oils to be too heavy, too oily, too sticky, they'd attract dust and my hair would consequently look dull and flat. The Strengthening Oil is super light (it's more than suitable for fine hair), that a mere 3-5 drops will suffice, yet manages to change the feel of my hair and give it added resilience - take a look at my full review here for more. If you're looking to strengthen your roots then I'd advocate giving their Hair Growth Serum a go - I've been using mine before washes for 2 months and it's made a marked difference to the amount of fall out I now get.
B E C H O I C E - Y W I T H Y O U R S H A M P O O
I picked up Keracare's Honey Shea Co Wash completely on a whim a few months ago - essentially a super gentle shampoo that conditions your hair whilst cleansing it. Sulphate-free (a given), inexpensive and rich in emollients and humectants, it's been so gentle on my hair and whilst it doesn't leave it squeaky clean, it still leaves my hair soft and free from dust, dirt and excess oil. Whilst I've never used this brand before, it's been a bit of a secret winner - rich in castor oil, honey, shea butter and a selection of nutritive oils, it's got some really nice ingredients.
S L E E P I N G O N S I L K R E A L L Y D O E S M A K E A D I F F E R E N C E
I was admittedly dubious that sleeping on silk would have the effects that you've undoubtedly read about if you're into beauty, but since investing in a good quality silk pillowcase like this one, I'm absolutely converted. Although you may think that cotton is best, silk doesn't wick away moisture from your hair, reduces friction and is naturally anti-static, meaning fewer kinks and knots, and less hair breakage - leaving you with hair that's better in it's natural state. It's beneficial for your skin too, helping to prevent dehydration and loss of moisture.
M Y F A V O U R I T E P R O D U C T S F O R S H I N E
Now that we've worked on the condition of our hair, especially without using heat to tame it into a sleek style, there are a few products I automatically reach for as finishing touches, to add shine and lustre. Oribe's Supershine Cream is a pearly, leave-in conditioner-come-styling-cream that smoothes down frizzies and imparts moisture and gloss to the hair. Proteins, nutrients and amino acids provide protection against the elements, and it's got the delicious, signature Oribe scent that we all love. It feels really slippery in texture, and it does include a fair few silicones, but this stuff feels super lightweight in my hair, still allowing bounce and movement - there's a mini or travel-size tube, to try before committing to full size, and also a Light version if you've very fine hair but I really think a small amount of the standard formula would be more than suitable.
Their Shine Light Reflecting Spray is a really fine, beautiful spray that adds a glisten to your hair. Enriched with argan oil, as well as sunflower, amber and lemongrass extracts it's a delightfully luxurious finishing touch, that I ration solely for the lengths and ends of my hair. I really advise a light hand at a good distance because if you're not careful you can end up with a piece-y texture that looks overladen with product - although if you get it right it's exquisite.
If your budget doesn't stretch quite as far as Oribe, in fact, regardless of budget, I highly recommend the Shine Serum, kindly sent over by Grow Gorgeous. I think the science they're going for is really interesting here. A moisturiser-primer-high-refractive-top-coat blend, the serum is oil-free, using a selection of uncharged silicones that aren't water soluble so protect the hair from humdity, and won't cause product build up in the same way that 'ordinary', positively charged silicones do - meaning you don't need harsh shampoos to cleanse your hair thoroughly. I tried their Strengthening Oil last year (mentioned above) and fell in love with the way that remained so light in my hair, yet managing to impart moisture and conditioning - this serum is no different, and I think that's the star feature of Grow Gorgeous products. Literally 3-5 drops is sufficient for my fairly long locks, which I like to apply to air-dried, slightly damp hair.
S H O P T H E P O S T
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