We’ve all seen the adverts where a model with enviably glossy, smooth locks flicks her hair and nonchalantly claims she achieved the look with just a quick spritz of some miracle product. We know she probably spent the hours before the shoot in the makeup chair having thick, lustrous extensions clipped in – but even so – it can still cause a degree of frustration when we look in the mirror and see our own long hair looking unruly or limp from over-styling. Why can’t it be so easy for our hair to look that good?
In reality, maintaining healthy-looking, long hair can be a nightmare. First it takes hours to wash, blow-dry and style, and then once you’ve got it looking perfect it only takes the slightest breeze or drop of rain for it to look tangled and dull again. Add to that the frazzled ends and static that comes with too much heat styling and the expense of keeping up regular haircuts and pretty soon you’re going to develop nothing but a hate-hate relationship with your hair.
So what’s the secret to stunning, healthy looking tresses for those of us with long hair? Quite simply, it comes down to five key hair styling products that you should have on hand in your bathroom cabinet ready to use after your usual washing and blow-drying routine.
Leave in conditioner
You can choose to use this every day before styling, or once or twice a week if you think your hair would benefit from a blast of hydration.
Revive dry or stubborn hair with a spritz of a good leave-in conditioner and it will become glossier and easier to manage. Go for a weightless formula to avoid greasy-looking locks and create volume for healthy looking, bouncy hair.
Often, people underestimate the power of a good brush. If you’re using the wrong brush you can lose the battle for glossy hair before you’ve even started. Lots of factors can affect the health of your hair and scalp – like the weather, your age and your lifestyle – so it’s important that the brush you’re using is contributing towards the health of your hair, not working against it.
A paddle brush is a great tool for styling all types of hair, especially if it’s long and thick. The wide, air-cushioned base is designed to follow the contours of your head and distribute healthy oils while the large surface will spread out long hair to make the whole blow-drying process quicker and easier.
Paddle brushes work to reduce frizz and volume, so they make for great everyday styling brushes.
Coconut oil is the latest big thing in the beauty industry. It’s a natural skin softener and also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities, so is great for dry or blemish prone skin. For many people, coconut oil has replaced all their usual beauty products as it can work as a multi-purpose moisturiser for skin, dark under eye circles and is great for deeply conditioning your hair and scalp.
Give your hair a deep-conditioning treatment at home using coconut oil. Simply take a ten pence sized chunk and melt it by squeezing it in your palms (it’s solid in the jar, so will need to be softened slightly before application).
Distribute the oil over your scalp and down to the end of your hair, massaging as you go. When it’s evenly spread, cover your hair with a shower cap and leave it to soak in for a minimum of two hours (if your hair is really dry you can leave the oil treatment in overnight).
Then, shampoo your hair as normal, making sure that all of the oil has been washed out. Treat yourself to this luxurious conditioning mask regularly and you’ll soon notice a massive difference in the health of your hair.
Heat protection spray
Our hair is really fragile, and applying heat directly to it can weaken it even further, zapping it of natural oils and proteins. That’s why it’s important to use some kind of heat defence spray before using heated styling tools, especially if you have long hair. Split, frazzled ends can’t be fixed easily.
To keep hair healthy, reduce frizz and increase shine, spray a generous amount on towel-dried hair before using heat products. Comb through your hair from root to tip to ensure even distribution then style as usual.
A good-quality heat protection spray will build polymers around the hair to absorb heat and prevent damage and breakages.
A high-quality, effective hair straightener is vital for maintaining salon sleek hair at home. There are hundreds of different products on the market, which vary in price massively, but it’s important when investing in a pair of straightening irons that you go for a high-quality, respected brand.
Go for a straightener with ceramic or tourmaline plates, as both of these produce negative ions when heated, which mean they work faster as well as protecting hair from damage at high temperatures.
Before buying a pair of straighteners, have a look at the different products on offer. You want to make sure that they won’t cause damage to your hair, and that they’ll be long-lasting and reliable. Read reviews online or ask your hairdresser which irons they recommend for your hair type, you’ll get much better results than simply going out and buying the first pair you see.