Ask the Experts: How to Love Your Hair

Feel like you've fallen into a style rut? Here are pro tips that will help you see your lovely locks in a new light!

Tasha Turner Apr, 02, 2013

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Layers add volume and movement to the hair, especially fine hair, says Mann Nance of Halcyon Days Salons & Spas at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City.

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Volumizing products work for our hair too. Look for those with nourishing benefits that don't weigh down hair. Nance recommends a sulfate-free volumizing shampoo, which helps make it appear fuller.
Adding texture like curls or waves and pulling them into an updo are simple ways to add volume to thin hair.

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Some are so heavy that it's hard to remove them once they've been applied. Alli Webb, owner of the Drybar in New York City and Atlanta, suggests using a dry oil. "It gets into the cuticle and repairs what it needs to," she says.

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If your hair is natural, be sure to use a leave-in conditioner every day, says Mahisha Dellinger, founder and CEO of Curls. "Us girls with curls know that our hair can dry out," she says. "A natural daily leave-in is one of the best ways to keep our curls bouncing and shining."

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Artificial heat from flat irons and blow-dryers can scorch our hair and dry it out. If possible, use tools every other week. Furthermore, styling products that contain it will dry out your strands, making them brittle. Using too many products can weigh down your hair and actually prevent it from soaking up moisture. If you happen to go overboard, remove stubborn product buildup with a sulfate-free clarifying shampoo.

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Often when those silver strands crop up, our first instinct is to reach for a bottle of dye. But that's not the only option, says Nance. Incorporate lowlights and/or highlights into your hair to blend with your natural color. "It's a great buffer between the two," he adds.

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Gray strands have a mind of their own and a different texture than what you're used to. "The reason why gray is so unmanageable is because it doesn't have melanin in the cuticle," Nance explains. "The hair becomes more compacted, so it's hard for it to get moisture. The result is that wiry feeling." Restore silkiness with a heat treatment that goes under the cuticle, Nance advises. His pick: Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Treatment, which is a three-step in-salon regimen formulated to allow keratin and moisture to seep into the cuticle and soften strands dramatically.

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Get creative with products. "The use of styling products helps to set the natural curl pattern," says celeb stylist Anthony Dickey, owner of Hair Rules salon in New York City. "And don't worry about overdoing it; natural hair absorbs products quickly." Pay attention to your technique, he advises. The better job you do at applying the product, the more days your style will last, he adds.

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"If you rock a wash-and-wear do, it's important to cowash, which softens strands and makes your texture malleable," says Dickey. His advice: Use protective styles like twist outs and braid outs to stretch your strands. A conditioner we like: Hair Rules Quench Conditioner ($42, hairrules.com).

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Remember to comb your hair all the way through; it keeps strands from knotting up. "Combing through tangles is the best way to avoid breakage," says Diane Da Costa owner of SimpleeBEAUTIFUL salon. Her tip: Separate hair into four sections using a wide-tooth comb and water or a detangling product. Our pick: Joico Daily Care Leave-in Detangler ($15, joico.com).

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