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Whether you're looking for a solution to frizz and split ends or you're on the hunt for simple styles to DIY at home, there's a TikTok beauty hack for you. The app's hairdressers and beauty enthusiasts are a fountain of knowledge and this week's most viral hack is all about achieving shiny hair worthy of a shampoo ad.
What is TikTok's viral hair washing hack and how does it make hair shiny?
TikToker @audreyvictoria_ went viral recently for her hair washing hack which supposedly gives you "super soft and shiny hair" in 30 minutes. The trick (which has racked up an enormous 1.1 million likes and counting) consists of shampooing and rinsing as normal, then following with conditioner. Audrey suggests wrapping the hair in a warm cotton T-shirt for half an hour before rinsing out the conditioner with cold water. The result is impressive to say the least: silky, glossy, smooth hair and not a strand out of place.
You're probably thinking, Er, her hair is straight. But the comment section proves the deep conditioning hack works on lots of different hair types and textures, from curly and wavy lengths to afro hair. It won't change the pattern of your hair, of course. Instead, the moisturising ingredients in your chosen conditioner and the way cold water seals your hair cuticle may encourage your strands to lie more smoothly, making hair softer and shinier.
Does TikTok's viral shiny hair hack actually work?
I asked Brad Mondo, hairstylist and founder and creative director of XMONDO, for his thoughts on the hack. "A lot of these haircare trends come from people with naturally amazing hair, so it's sometimes hard to believe," he said. "You think, If it works for her it must work for me. A lot of people think they have a miracle cure for achieving great hair but a lot of the time, unfortunately, it's genetics." According to Brad, there is no instant hack for super shiny hair. "It's all about doing the little things and taking care of your hair," says Brad.
My wavy hair is bleached, dyed and absolutely frazzled so I had to see if this actually works or whether it's a fad. I washed my hair, and once I'd wrung most of the water out (a must before following with conditioner) I raked conditioner through my ends and lengths, using the remainder on my roots. I don't have a tumble dryer to warm up the cotton T-shirt so I wrapped up my hair as normal; it had retained some heat from the water, anyway. I wasn't looking forward to the blast of cold water at all but luckily I have an adjustable showerhead so I didn't have to drench my entire body. After 30 minutes, I tipped my head over the bath and saturated my lengths, then squeezed out the excess water with an Aquis Hair Towel, $43.
Taking Brad's advice, I followed with a nourishing and protective hair product. To help impart shine, I ditched my usual air-drying method and used a hairdryer with a paddle brush.
The first thing I noticed was how incredibly soft my hair had become. I'm putting that down to the heat from my hair allowing the conditioner to soak deep into my parched strands, and the leave-in conditioner. But what about the blast of cold water, said to flatten the hair cuticle? Does it even work? "I like that people are letting their hair adjust to natural room temperature before using the cold water," said Brad. "A lot of people will use really hot water on their hair and then hit it with cold water, which can be harmful for your hair and cause breakage. This is because you're expanding the hair fibre so much and then immediately contracting it." You especially don't want to use really hot or cold water on just-bleached hair, says Brad, as this will cause breakage. "Using lukewarm or room temperature water is better," he says. "Cold water can be painful and it's not necessary at all."
While I didn't notice any shine immediately after washing, the next day on a Zoom call I noticed that my hair looked glossier than usual as it reflected the light from the window opposite. I was most impressed when I went to straighten my hair, though. Thanks to the deep conditioning treatment, my straw-like lengths were a lot softer and smoother, which contributed to the shine. In all honesty, I think the softness and shine was boosted by the hair products I used afterwards. As you can see in the 'before' photo, my hair is frizzy and dry without an ounce of product in it. The 'after' photo shows just how great a deep conditioning treatment and styling products can be.
As for the cotton T-shirt? "I get the concept," says Brad. "But as long as you're not using sandpaper to wrap your hair up, you'll be fine! If you're using a cotton towel, I don't see much of a difference between that and a T-shirt. Your hair doesn't know the difference. In the salon, we don't wrap people's hair up with a cotton T-shirt; we use regular towels and hair comes out beautiful." The trick is to squeeze the water out of your hair gently, rather than roughly drying, as this could damage hair (which is a lot more delicate when wet) and disturb the cuticle, causing frizziness.
How can you make your hair silky and shiny naturally?
"One of the most beneficial things you can do is to use a gloss, which is amazing for adding lasting shine to the hair," says Brad. "There are a lot of gloss treatments you can do at home, including products for use in the shower."
Other than that, Brad recommends bond building treatments, which he says are great for restructuring the hair and making it shiny, healthy and more resilient. Olaplex No.8 Bond Building Treatment, $50, is arguably the best on the market and works for all hair types. It takes rough, parched and limp hair and breathes new life into it using Olaplex's star ingredient (bis-aminopropyl diglycol dimaleate) as well as moisturising oils, ceramides and glycerin.