"My hair is too soft and silky," said no one ever. Think about it, have you ever easily run your fingers through your hair, from scalp to ends, and wished it was more difficult? Even for those who love lived-in, beachy, or natural texture, starting with soft, healthy hair is never a problem thanks to endless styling products that easily add grit and volume.
Suffice it to say, whether you're currently dealing with severe summertime damage — namely, dryness and dead ends — or you already have relatively-soft hair, there's always room for improvement. So, we've compiled a short guide to softer hair for everyone, whatever texture, haircut, or curl pattern you're coming at it with.
We talked to stylists and colorists who've broken down their tips to achieving (and maintaining) heathy, soft, run-your-fingers-through-it hair. Find them all, ahead.
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Start At The Scalp
Soft hair is synonymous with healthy hair and maintaining it starts at the scalp. “Never neglect your scalp," says Frank Friscioni, co-color director at NYC's Oon Arvelo Salon. "For your hair, a scalp exfoliator is kind of like what a gentle peel is to your skin — it keeps your hair clean and ready to take in the moisturizing products that come after."
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Use A Strengthening Conditioner
Soft, strong hair might sound like an oxymoron, but it's the best way to describe healthy hair. At a micro-level, healthy hair fibers should be strong, meaning they're flexible and don't break or split. Many colorists recommend Olaplex Bond Maintenance formula to people with color-treated hair, but the strengthening formula can really be effective for anyone looking to soften brittle strands, too.
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... Followed By A Leave-In
Heat and color damage can be temporarily softened with a good leave-in conditioner. L.A.-based colorist Kelly Massias tells us that the Unite 7Seconds formula is her favorite. "I love to prep damp hair with the 7Seconds Detangler because it locks in moisture and protects the hair from both UV and heat damage," she explains. "The moisture-lock will make the hair soft, and the protection element will help keep it that way."
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Sleep On Silk
Think about rubbing a cotton pillowcase all over your hair. You probably wouldn't do it willingly because it would give you knots galore, which is exactly what happens when you sleep on a tradition pillowcase. That's why a silk or satin alternative is a good investment for the softness of your hair. “Silk pillowcases work wonders for all kinds of hair types and textures as they keep the cuticle layer of the hair intact, and don’t cause the friction traditional pillowcases do," celebrity hairstylist and Slip spokesperson Jen Atkin tells Refinery29.
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Handle With Care
Traditional hair elastics — and the yanking and pulling they require — have been found to damage the hair shaft over time. If you're looking to facilitate overall softness and hair growth, it's worth grabbing some softer options. These silk scrunchies will tie up your high pony for the gym, or secure your low bun for the beach, without creating breakage or dents. Win-win!