1. If You Blow Dry, then Upgrade
Blow drying isn’t for everyone, but it is a device that you should have on hand for the “if and when” (it’s a common courtesy to have one at home, for any houseguests who might need it). And whether it sits idly by or gets daily use, make sure the hair dryer is one (or both) of two things: ceramic and ionic. A ceramic dryer has a clay belly that sends infrared heat into the hair shafts, which penetrates the shaft instead of opening it up. (An open cuticle will frizz.) Secondly, an ionic dryer will shoot negative ions at water’s positive ones, thus expediting drying time and preventing frizz in the process (by comparison to regular non-ionic dryers).
Ortiz adds that any use of a hot tool (dryers, straighteners, irons) should be preceding with a heat protectant product to seal off the cuticle, preserve smoothness, and prevent frizzing and breakage. “Also, use the blow dryer on the lowest setting with the correct attachment, like a smoothing nozzle in the direction of the hair growth, or a diffuser to distribute the air. This will help protect strands and prevent frizz.”
2. Layer Products Properly
The order in which you apply products to your hair plays a large role in their effectiveness, Ortiz says, and it all comes back to your specific hair type. Here are three different orders/regimens for straight, curly, and wavy hair, to show you how they differ.
If your hair is curly, then moisture is your priority, as outlined above. “Build a foundation of a hydrating shampoo and conditioner, plus a leave-in treatment hair mask is a start,” Ortiz says. “With clean hair, begin with a leave-in conditioner then lightly layer a hydrating serum or oil. Now that curls are softened, finalize with a curling cream or gel for hold. Keep your fingers out of your hair to minimize frizz.”
If your hair is wavy, Then use a hydrating hair mask after shampooing and conditioning, Ortiz says (you might see these listed as bond-building creams or leave-in conditioners, too). “Create a healthy foundation for your waves of nourishing ingredients, like argan oil or almond oil, then add definition with a sea salt spray or texturizing cream. Don’t forget to scrunch lightly.”
If your hair is straight, Then a little hydration should help counter static, which is very similar to frizz in its effects (though it’s less based on moisture loss, which is itself still common for all hair types, including straight). “A good smoothing shampoo and conditioner plus drying with a microfiber towel can reduce damage, frizz, and static,” Ortiz says. “After hair is dry, a light spritz of anti-humidity or flexible hairspray should greatly reduce unruly strands. Also, avoid using synthetic brushes and combs or wearing wool caps to reduce friction.”
3. Don’t Shampoo Daily
Washing your hair daily is totally unnecessary, and even if you condition it after each wash (which you should do), a daily flush will parch your hair and make it frizzy and untenable. So, as Ortiz notes, focus on hydrating + reparative + smoothing shampoos—prescriptive to your hair type, per her above suggestions—and use a similar conditioner after each one. Try to do your hair care regimen first thing in the shower, so that the conditioner can set for a couple minutes before you rinse it out. On the non-wash days, you can also use a conditioner to help rinse away excess grease and grime (this is known as co-washing), or you can use a dry shampoo to absorb scalp buildup and lift hair at the roots without any impact on the longer strands. However, if you use a thickening or volumizing conditioner, then daily use might start to weigh hair down and render it flat, especially if you have thin or fine hair. Consider switching to a smoothing conditioner (and shampoo) if this is the case. They’ll protect and build moisture without the bulk.