We're fascinated with other people's way of doing things, from their
morning beauty routines to what they'll be gifting for the holidays. Whether it's to compare approaches or poach new techniques and products, we're firm believers that sharing is caring. Next up? Hair care. With co-washing, salt shampoos, and scalp cleansing influencing people's styling choices, it's easy to get lost in the jargon and struggle to work out what's best for your hair type.
Landing on the best treatments for your hair can be a lifelong journey, from the hot tool abuse you put it through as a teen to the regrettable cuts that are best left in the past. Ahead, we quizzed the
Refinery29 team on how they treat their hair, from fighting the frizz to the best at-home DIY color. Check out their answers, ahead.
Rose Lander, Executive Assistant to VP of International & International Co-ordinator When I was 10, my mom cut my long, naturally blonde hair into a bob that made my head look like a pork pie, and my hair-care routine has been a 17-years-long effort to try and undo that fateful day. I have a balayage every four to six months, so my hair is very fair at the ends with my natural mouse brown at the roots. To counter the dryness of dying my hair, I use Redken All Soft Shampoo and Davines Melu Conditioner, which were both recommended by different hairdresser friends. I never used to splurge on fancy shampoos and conditioners but I find myself needing to use a lot less when using these two. I have a great Trevor Sorbie Mask in my shower, but I'm usually too forgetful to use it. I used to use serum or oil after washing, but I've found now that a final rinse with cold water works better and doesn't make my hair heavy. I always use heat protection though. My hairdresser told me that creams were much better than sprays as they absorb into the hair, so after a quick towel dry I smooth a bit of Kérastase Ciment Thermique on before drying my hair. I know I should air dry but because I have a lot of fine hair, it takes hours to dry naturally unless it's really hot outside. I go over it with a hairdryer, and either use my trusty GHDs for a quick smooth, or my Remington Pearl Curling Wand – it doesn't have a clamp so it takes a bit of getting used to, but is perfect for loose waves. This is all a lot more than I had to do when I was 10, but it's worth it for my long, blond hair.
Khalea Underwood, Beauty Writer I'm still figuring out how to take care of my natural hair, but what's worked for me so far is lots of moisture. My hair is thick and dries out very, very fast — it sucks water and product up like a sponge. That's something that I keep in mind while washing. I shampoo about once a month. Lately, Devacurl's No-Poo Decadence cleanser has been my saving grace. While my hair is still wet, I'll finger comb to get the tangles out. I usually like to apply a Fair Trade Certified coconut oil treatment (like Conscious Coconut Organic Coconut Oil) from root to tip beforehand, which makes detangling such a breeze. Then, I'll condition. Right now, I'm really feeling Devacurl's One Conditioner Decadence — it makes my hair feel crazy soft. Then, if I have time, I'll do a mask. The Carol's Daughter Almond Milk Ultra-Nourishing Hair Mask works really, really well at keeping hydration in. Once I rinse out my mask, I stretch using the coolest setting on my Amika Immortal Power-Life Dryer. I'll hold pieces of my hair as taut as possible, using the concentrator on my roots (but not too long, because I don't want to dry it out completely). My nighttime routine is a little trickier. Again, I am not trying to spend an hour twisting or braiding my hair — but sometimes, it's necessary to fight the tangles. I'll either do four big, chunky cornrows after hydrating with Creme of Nature's Moisture & Shine Curl Activator Creme, or just slip on a Grace Eleyae satin-lined cap when it isn't too hot. At a recent visit to Hale Organic Salon, the stylist that I worked with showed me a hack that's similar to the pineapple method, since my hair's too short for that. I simply take a scarf, hold both ends tightly, and put it on from the back of my head so that my 'fro falls forward. I tie it in the front and tuck both ends in the scarf before falling asleep on my satin pillowcase. Normally after that, I'd do a twist-out. But frankly, I just don't have the patience for that these days. Plus, I really like what my coils look like without manipulating them. In the morning, I'll refresh my hair with my Taliah Waajid Shea-Coco Daily Leave-In Conditioner or Vernon François' Re~Vamp Moisture Spray. When I finger comb, I make sure to really focus on the ends so that my curls separate appropriately.
Alice Casely-Hayford, Fashion & Beauty Editor My hair has been through the wars. I first got my hair chemically relaxed when I was 12 years old, and began straightening my hair on a near-daily basis around 14. In between I've tried everything from keratin treatments to Olaplex and my brother even dyed my hair blond in my early teens with an at-home kit in a bid for me to look like Beyoncé. Considering the amount I've abused my hair, it's a surprise I have any left on my head, but I swear by a weekly coconut oil treatment. I apply two dollops and massage in from root to tip. I leave this on for about an hour or two and then wash out with shampoo. It leaves me with the silkiest locks, minimizes breakage and my hair is so much stronger and subsequently thicker. Since I do a keratin treatment every few months, I use sulfate-free shampoos so my hair isn't stripped. Bumble and bumble's Invisible Oil softens, detangles, and de-frizzes my hair like no other. I've used this religiously for two years. I then use the Invisible Oil Conditioner, which also helps to protect my hair from heat damage and keep it silky smooth. Afro hair is typically drier than other types and despite my hair already being dry, I zap any other moisture by frazzling it with straighteners every damn day. I ensure it is kept as healthy as possible with Living Proof's No Frizz Oil – it's fast-absorbing and weightless, keeping frizziness and flyaways at bay as well as enhancing shine. After I've styled my hair, I finish it with a generous mist of Oribe Free Styler Working Hairspray to set it without leaving a sticky or heavy residue. Finally, I've taken Biotin supplements for the past few years and am convinced it has helped strengthen my hair from the inside. I love Ouai products so have switched up my Biotin bottle for these, which help boost healthy, shiny hair.
Jess Commons, Health & Living Editor I am so low maintenance with my hair – I'm lucky it dries pretty straight naturally about 10 minutes after I step out of the shower. Although, to be fair, it is pretty boring as hair goes. I use whatever shampoo and conditioner is in the shower (currently Maria Nila Head & Hair Heal because the bottles were pretty), then towel dry my hair and twist it into a bun of sorts. I'll leave it like that all day unless I'm going out, in which case I'll let the now wavy hair down and use one of the many volumizing styling powders I own (current fave: Batiste's super cheap XXL Plumping Powder) to lift it up a little. Oh, and sometimes I steal some of my boyfriend's expensive argan oil to make it a bit softer – contrary to me, he has great thick and luscious shoulder-length hair.
Sarah Raphael, Editorial Director I heard that your hair changes every seven years, which must be true because my hair used to be really thick and curly, but over the last few years it’s done a complete 180 and now I have inexplicably straight, smooth hair. It’s like the immaculate conception. I wash my hair twice a week, and I’ve used all sorts of fancy shampoos and conditioners over the years but my go-to is Aussie Color Mate Shampoo. Right now I’ve got my hair dyed black, and this is protective, smells really nice and makes my hair feel luscious. I always give myself a scalp massage with the matching conditioner because some of my hair fell out a few years ago, and apparently scalp massages stimulate the follicles and encourage growth. I brush my hair through with a tangle teaser in the shower when the conditioner is on. Every girl with textured hair who grew up in the '90s and shopped at Boots has a place in their heart for John Frieda. Over the years I switched to MoroccanOil when that was all the rage, and tried dozens of other serums and oils, but it’s the cheap, cheerful John Frieda Frizz-Ease Nourishing Oil Elixir that gets my vote now. I have really long hair so I use about 5-6 pumps (rather than the suggested one to two) from the middle to the ends. Growing up, I used to spend hours in the mirror blow-drying and straightening my locks. Since my hair had a personality lobotomy a few years ago, I just leave it to dry naturally and use GHDs to either make some curls because it’s quite flat and lank now, or just smooth over any little kinky bits. I usually can’t be bothered but when I can, I love styling my hair, from French plaits to high ponytails to low chignons. I never use hairspray though because it makes the hair hard, so just use bobby pins.
Natasha Slee, Social Media Manager I have naturally curly, type 3A hair. I have struggled to find the right hair-care routine for it for years, and it felt like a blind experiment every time I washed my hair – it could come out super soft and fluffy, frizzy, or limp. I tried everything from oils to serum and air dry foam. A new product would work miracles for a week before returning me to rubbish nothingness. I rarely have my hair cut and had grown it long over a year before deciding it needed a big chop for summer. I have an amazing hairdresser (big up Matt at Glasshouse Salon) who cuts each individual curl while it's dry before washing and individually drying each curl using a hood over a cool hairdryer. (Diffusers are a BIG no-no for me.) Losing the length gave my hair new life, and I felt emotionally invested in maintaining this happy halo. I'd heard about co-washing but was overwhelmed by what I should be using. Much to my boyfriend's amusement, I dedicated an entire evening to diagnosing and researching my curly hair type, discovering styling methods and researching products. I settled on KeraCare's Honey Shea Co-Wash and Natural Textures Defining Custard and a month on I am hooked. I condition my hair in the morning 2-3 times a week, coating very wet hair in the conditioner from root to tip. I give my scalp a really good massage with my fingertips to lift the dirt and grease before rinsing thoroughly. Out of the shower, while the hair is still very wet, I section it and apply the custard from root to tip and use the 'rake and shake method': running my fingers through a section of hair until it is smooth, stopping to hold it at the ends before giving it a good shake to loosen the curls. Once my whole head is styled, I leave it and vow not to touch it until it is absolutely dry. Once dry, I scrunch the hair to break the crunchy dried-gel feel and create soft full curls. If my curls need a restyle between washes I either rinse and repeat the rake and shake, or run some oil through to tame. I haven't shampooed my hair in a month and haven't felt the need to yet. The tiny flakes of dandruff I usually had after day two of washing haven't returned, and I don't suffer from fluffy volume. My hair has more weight and substance, which it needs to hold its curls. I just returned from a week's holiday, and only co-washed my hair once despite being in and out of the pool and sea every day. I only needed to rinse it and air dry to return to the desired texture.
Georgia Murray, Fashion & Beauty Writer I've been through many hairstyles over the year (shout out to my circa-2006 dyed-black emo cut), but I've finally settled on blunt shoulder-length hair with a soft fringe. I have fine hair but there is so much of it that come summertime, I'm only seconds away from a DIY buzzcut (the only thing putting me off is looking more like Phil Mitchell than Kristen Stewart). I wash my hair every two days, as I like the slept-in look but haven't trained my hair not to get greasy between washes. I'm dedicated to Christophe Robin's Cleansing Purifying Scrub, as a tiny dollop builds into a thick lather, and the sea salt gives my scalp a lovely exfoliation. Next up is Maria Nila's Luminous Color Conditioner, which protects whatever color I've been experimenting with lately. It's 100% vegan, smells divine, and my mom – who has psoriasis on her scalp – loves how soothing the brand's products are. I towel dry my hair before applying Bumble and bumble's Invisible Oil Protection Primer, which protects from UV damage and doesn't make my hair oily. I give my fringe a quick straighten with Cloud Nine's The Micro Iron – a teeny tiny hair straightener that fits in the smallest of handbags. Perfect for fixing rain-ravished fringes on the go. I let the rest of my hair dry naturally and just tuck it behind my ears to give it a little kink. My hair is really light so takes color easily, and the last of my balayaged ends are great for experimenting with color. I love lathering on at-home toners on a Sunday evening, and rotate and combine Bleach London's Super Cool Colors in Bold as Brass, Blorange and Tangerine Dream. I recently discovered Maria Nila's Color Refresh series, which comes in the likes of Azure, Pearl Silver and Pink Pop – my favorite is Bright Copper, which on application gives me a Fifth Element-inspired 'do and by wash five has rinsed to a lovely pastel.
Gillian Orr, Senior Editor I mark my life between BD and AD; that’s Before Dry Shampoo and After Dry Shampoo. I used to wash my super-long, fine, grease-prone hair every. Single. Day. If I’d spent all that time focusing on other things, I probably could have solved the energy crisis. Now I wash my hair every three days (sometimes four; sssshhhh) in the morning with Kiehl’s Amino Acid Shampoo and its corresponding conditioner, mainly because the coconut oil in it smells delicious and makes me think I’m on holiday somewhere exotic rather than under a crappily pressured shower in Hackney. I’ll switch this up about once every four washes with Bleach London’s Silver Shampoo which is meant to stop your hair going yellow if you have highlights. This turns into a bright purple lather so, while it doesn’t smell as sexy as the Kiehl’s, it definitely brings the FUN. I might add a bit of MoroccanOil Treatment to the ends after I’m out the shower because I refuse to cut my hair (sometimes I’ll go a whole year; sssshhhh) and it can look a little dry. Then, while it’s still a bit damp, I’ll braid it and leave for a few hours because my hair is criminally poker-straight and I like it to have a nice wave. Rest assured, if you bump into me wearing a plait, it’s not because I think it looks cute, I’m merely trying to add some kink. Then, every morning when I don’t wash it, I spray Batiste Tropical Dry Shampoo liberally through the roots. This smells coconut-y and I swear that the fragrance gets more admiration than my most luscious perfume, which can be embarrassing, because when people ask what that heavenly scent is, I have to admit that it’s dry shampoo. My savior.
Anna Jay, Art Director I grew up with the whitest blonde hair, which appeared to float around my head like a cloud, until it started going darker in my teens and I reacted by bleaching the life out of it. While the bleach did give me some of that beachy texture, it was in horrible condition and I decided to cut it to the shoulder and reclaim my natural, now light brown, hair. It's now the same, but after years of zero texture and in need of a change, I decided to go for balayage at the wonderful Blue Tit – who also do that kind of haircut that you have and realise you've never had it cut well before. I've tried all sorts of lovely natural shampoos such as Davines and Maria Nila, but unfortunately tend to get product build-up with more natural shampoos, so I've found myself settling on L'Oréal Elvive Extraordinary Clay Shampoo & Conditioner. I always run through some Bb Texture Creme and spritz with Sachajuan Ocean Mist and then it goes one of three ways: 1. When I'm feeling fancy I blow-dry with a diffuser, twisting sections to get some wave. 2. I'll plait in two bunches to get a crimp-like wave when it's dry. 3. I'll sleep on it or leave the house with wet hair...
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