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Dry hair is the result of several factors, so it's important to first evaluate your entire hair routine to determine the best course of action. It's not simply enough to slather a heavy cream onto your hair. That can actually do more harm than good, since thick products can lead to buildup and prevent moisture from penetrating into the hair shaft and scalp.
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Your first step to happy, hydrated hair is to find the right shampoo. "Many shampoos contain harsh detergents that strip the hair of moisture," says Wallace. When shopping for cleansers, look for the phrase "sulfate-free" on the label. Cleansing conditioners or co-washes (short for "conditioner washes") are also infused with rich moisturizers and therefore make great options.
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Wallace recommends Wen Cleansing Conditioner, a non-sudsing hair wash that's chock-full of hydrating ingredients. "The more moisture your shampoo has, the better," says Wallace. (Prices vary, available at Wen)
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While a steamy shower may feel good after a long day, too-hot water temps can wreck havoc on your hair. Always wash your hair with lukewarm or even slightly cool water. "Temperature control in water plays a big role on keeping your hair moisturized," says Wallace. "Hot water dries out your scalp and hair."
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Natural oils are an excellent choice if you're looking for a product to keep your hair hydrated. Wallace advises against heavy, petroleum-based formulas that can lead to buildup. Instead, head to your local health food store and stock up on jojoba and coconut oil, which are Wallace's top two picks for healthy hair.
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This organic coconut oil can be used as a pre-poo treatment before you wash your hair or as a sealant to lock in moisture between washes. ($13.99. available at drugstore.com)
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For the ladies who like to mix it up with hair extensions, it's always important to keep your own hair hydrated under your tracks. An eye dropper is the best tool to use for ensuring those hard-to-reach areas are moisturized while you're wearing sewn-in extensions. "Your hair is braided up, so it won't be able to get fully moisturized, so be sure to focus on your scalp being moist, because after all, your hair comes from your scalp," says Wallace. ($2.69, available at Walgreens)
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Ladies, if you're still "oiling your scalp" with heavy grease, stop it! Put that tub of Blue Magic in the trash bin, and opt for natural oils instead. "Do not use hair grease to oil your scalp. It will only clog your pores and could stunt your hair growth," says Wallace. Fill your squeeze dropper with light, natural oils, such as eucalyptus or tea tree oil, which are known for promoting scalp health.
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The EDEN BodyWorks Peppermint Tea Tree Oil is infused with scalp-stimulating tea tree oil and comes in a convenient spray bottle. ($9.47, available at Walmart)
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Alcohol-based products are a major no-no. To determine whether a product is alcohol-based, Wallace advises to take a peek at the ingredient label. "If alcohol is one of the first five ingredients listed, that means alcohol is a prominent ingredient and the product should be avoided." (Tip: Read a common a list of terms used to describe alcohol in hair products here.)
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For an intense deep treatment, this mask offers maximum moisture. While the price tag may make you think twice, Wallace says it's worth every penny. ($74, available at Moroccanoil)
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How you care for your hair at night is just as important as what you do during the day. Wallace recommends sleeping on a satin or silk pillowcase or wearing a silk or satin wrap to help your hair maintain moisture while you sleep.
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