3 Surprising Hair Lessons We Learned At The Salon

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When I get my hair done, I like to make good use of my time in the chair. Sure, I’ll flip through the obligatory magazine or scroll through Twitter while I’m sitting there, but mostly I like to pick my stylist’s brain for tips, tips, and more tips. I find that hair pros are so passionate about what they do that it’s easy to get them talking. I recently starting going to Phyto Universe to see Ron Williams, National Educator for Phyto. Our chat sessions are epic.
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I love this guy not only because he’s whipping my hair into shape, but also because he tells it like it is. At my last appointment, our convo turned to what I’m doing wrong with my hair. Let’s just say Ron scared me straight. Here are the three big reality checks he gave me.
Tip #1: Leaving conditioner in your hair overnight is not okay.
The wash, dry, and style process for my relaxed hair is time-consuming, so sometimes I like to break it up. I wash my hair in the evening, apply conditioner, and leave it in when I go to sleep. In the morning, I quickly rinse out the conditioner then blow dry and flat iron my strands. According to Williams, this could be bad.
“I don’t recommend sleeping with conditioner if the product wasn’t designed for that," says Williams. "Your hair will only absorb so much, and what’s leftover dries and creates a film. When you do rinse, there will still be buildup on the hair which leads to dryness, dullness, and a flaky scalp.”
To moisturize safely at night, don’t use anything that’s meant to be rinsed out. Williams recommends rubbing on a nourishing oil, like Phyto Secret de Nuit, which works on damp or dry strands. Apply a quarter-sized amount all over your hair (steer clear of your roots), then style as usual in the a.m. Another good option: olive or coconut oil from your kitchen.
Phyto Secret de Nuit Hydrating Regenerating Night Treatment, $38, available at Nordstrom.
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Tip #2: Yes, you should use hair products from the same line.
My attitude about this might be warped due to my job. I have so many products cluttering up my apartment that I freely mix and match different brands of shampoos and conditioners like it ain’t no thang. While this isn’t necessarily harmful to my hair, I might be missing out on some benefits, especially because I always use stuff that contains proteins and oils to repair damage.
“Most shampoos and conditioners have the same base and are designed to complement each other. If you need to nourish or rebuild your hair, the process could be more effective if you stick with one line. You’ll get more of the key ingredients with each step,” says Williams.
Phyto Intense Nutrition Mask, $28, available at Beauty.com; Phyto Phytospecific Intense Nutrition Shampoo, $24, available at Sephora.
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Tip #3: There’s an art to applying a hair mask.
I usually just slap on a blob of deep conditioner in the shower, but watching Williams' technique reminded me that to get the best results, you have to really work it in. Split up your hair into four large sections and apply a generous amount of your mask starting an inch or two away from your roots. Continue all the way down to the ends and rake the product through with a wide-tooth comb to make sure you coat every strand. The extra time you spend will be so worth it.
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Clear Scalp & Hair Beauty Therapy Ultra-Shea Deep Nourishing Treatment Mask, $4.98, available at Walmart; Philip Kingsley Large Anti-Static Comb, $20, available at Philip Kingsley.

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