Make sure that you use a diffuser nozzle at the end of your blow dryer, too, since it will spread out the air into a manageable flow and will dry the hair steadily from the roots up, instead of from the top down. DeZarate adds that you should protect your strands with a heat defense spray or cream prior to blow drying, too. This will coat the hairs and lock in the moisture. Secondly, use an ionic hair dryer if possible.
“Use the blow dryer on the lowest speed setting, but a higher heat setting to ‘set’ your hair in place. Let it completely cool before touching it so that you’ll have less to deal with during the day. Once your hair is dry you should be able to shake out your hair and have an effortless, low-maintenance style.” You can of course replicate this any day of the year—particularly when you’re in a hurry to have it dry before heading out the door. But blow drying it every single day is an invitation for frizz, split ends, breakage, and more, less you maintain a strong, steady hair care regimen.
Hair oil also works wonderfully as a heat protectant.
Read More: How to blow dry your hair
How to Care for Medium-Long Hair
Styling is only half of the game.
1. Find the right shampoo-conditioner balance
In general, you should shampoo your hair 2-3 times a week, says Ortiz—though this amount could change if you workout/sweat a lot or have other factors that require more frequent resets. “Condition with every wash and in between washes use the co-washing technique, which is a solo conditioner being used to rinse out the styling products or sweat,” she says. (Some brands also sell gently rinsing co-wash conditioners, which provide a terrific balance between washes with a full-on shampoo and conditioner application.)
You need to find the balance that works for you; It’s not good to have overly washed, dry, brittle hair, but you don’t want to be greasy. Try to scale back to an every-other day shampoo at first, and then space it out a little bit more from there. Every third day should be achievable, especially if you can co-wash on the days between.
2. Swap for the seasons
Ortiz likes to target the seasonal elements with different types of hair care agendas: “In the winter months, choose shampoo and conditioners with rich natural oils, and which are heavy on moisturizing properties,” she says. “For the summer months, you’re dealing with humid, sunny weather so it’s good to switch to a smoothing shampoo/conditioning set to prevent frizzing.”
Here’s something heavier:
And two to try for the warmer months:
3. Do a weekly mask
One way to ensure consistently smooth, hydrated, and cooperative hair is to administer a hair mask once a week—Ortiz notes that they’re also extremely beneficial to your scalp’s health, too.
You can find masks that target the scalp specifically, or ones that target damaged hair. (Generally, the benefits will be shared between hair and scalp regardless.) This weekly jolt of nutrients and targeted treatments will keep everything strong, balanced, and cooperative as you continue growing—or as you maintain the length you’ve already got.
4. Get regular haircuts
It can seem counterproductive to get steady haircuts while your hair grows out, but it will help navigate those awkward stages by keeping you “cleaned up”, even if it’s a short trim and texturizing session. More importantly, though, these regular cleanups are imperative for the health of your hair.
“You need to get regular trims, to prevent split ends,” says Ortiz. “Set a calendar reminder to book a haircut every 8-12 weeks when it’s longer, and every 4-8 weeks for shorter hair.”