You may know how to use skincare products in the correct order (if not, here’s a guide), but hair care can be even more perplexing. Conditioner, of course, comes after shampoo, but what about serums and oils? Anti-heat agents? Masks for your hair?Apply Hair Products
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The truth is that our post-shower hair care products frequently wind up looking more like a random experiment than a routine, but treating your hair like a mixologist isn’t helping it. Just as you shouldn’t apply face oils before serums, applying your products in the wrong order might make them less effective or even cause harm to your strands. “Knowing the proper order of application for your hair is just as crucial as knowing the exact order of application for your skincare,” says Michelle Lee, a professional hairstylist and co-owner of Salon Eva Michelle in Boston, Mass., as well as a Sebastian Professional Top Artist. “Products penetrate your hair in different ways, and using them in the correct order assures proper use and advantages.”
While each hair type is different, there are some general guidelines to follow to achieve the greatest results. You’ve probably heard the golden rule of skincare layering: lightest to heavier. Lee adds the FSF rule applies to hair care: foundation (shampoo, conditioner, masks), structure (nourishing leave-ins and protectants), and finish (styling products and texture sprays).
With that in mind, we asked Lee to provide the ideal hair care product layering sequence. The order of application will remain the same whether you use one, three, or all of these products at the same time. (Note: This order begins with shampooing; if you prefer to pre-poo first, go ahead and do that.)
The Correct Order To Apply Hair Products For The Best Results
1 conditioner and shampoo
This one may seem obvious, but it’s worth remembering: The first step in your style routine is to get in the shower. To put it another way, make sure you’re using shampoo and conditioner that are appropriate for your hair type. Whether you have fine, straight hair, thick, curly hair, kinky hair, or color-treated hair, the appropriate shampoo and conditioner may bring out the natural texture of your hair and give it the boost it needs to make style a little easier. If you have colored hair, choose a product that is designed for color-treated hair (read: no parabens and less surfactants), moisturizing if you have damaged hair, and volumizing if you have limp hair. And, no matter what you use, Lee suggests using a clarifying shampoo as least once a week to get rid of the styling residue on your scalp.
2 Mask for the hair
If you have any rinse-off hair masks or treatments, now is the time to use them. Lee recommends using your fingers to comb it into your hair (avoiding the scalp) and leaving it on for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing it out. Although hair masks can be used in place of normal conditioner, if your hair is particularly dry or damaged, you may want to double up—just be careful not to overdo it, as too much application might weigh down your strands.
Because your style products won’t soak well over knots and tangles, detangling as soon as you get out of the shower (and before applying anything else) is essential. This will not only assist to equal out the porosity of the hair so that your wet products go on more evenly, but it will also aid to prevent breakage while style. Just remember to maintain your detangler on the center to ends of your hair to avoid a greasy scalp.
4 hair oils and/or leave-in conditioner (if not heat-styling)
It’s ideal to start with a hydrating leave-in conditioner after making sure your strands are tangle-free. Apply this when your hair is still wet—not only will it be more receptive (since your cuticles are open), but it will also keep your strands from frizzing out while it dries.
Hair oils are a little trickier because they can be applied to wet or dry hair. If you’re not planning on using heat on your hair, this is the time to apply the components because your hair will absorb them the finest. However, if you intend to heat-style your hair, you should wait. Applying it right now will fry your strands, making them more vulnerable to injury. Lee also points out that not all oils are created equal: “Some oils are meant to be used before blow-drying, while others are meant to be used afterward. If you’re unsure, always refer to the instructions.”
5 mousse thickening/volumizing
Following that is volume if you desire it. Apply a pump of volumizing mousse directly to your roots for the finest effects, scrunching as you go for extra lift and body. Make sure the product is only applied to the roots and mid-lengths of your hair, not the ends.
6 Heat insulator
To avoid heat damage, use a heat protectant now if you plan to use any hot tools, such as your blow dryer, curling iron, or flat iron. Spray the product all over your hair, then comb it through with a fine-toothed comb to distribute it evenly from root to tip. After that, you can style your hair with heat as desired.
7 Hair oils and/or styling cream (if heat-styling)
After you’ve finished styling your hair, apply a styling cream or oil to enhance shine, bring out hair texture, and reduce frizz. With oils, a little goes a long way, so just a touch should suffice.
8 Texture or beach spray
Finish your hair care routine with a beach or texture spray to keep your style in place. Never use hairspray on damp hair, whether you’re looking for grit or shine, as it might induce stickiness and clumping. And, because going overboard will undo all of your hard work, start with a small amount on completely dry hair and gradually increase as needed.
There you have it, The Correct Order To Apply Hair Products For The Best Results
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