When it comes to hair goals, it's safe to say that we're all just pining for that bouncy, shiny mane — you know the one. It requires nothing more than an air dry and a few brush strokes for style perfection, and it's never been touched by the cruel hand of heat styling or coloring.
A girl can dream, right?
But for most of us, healthy, bombshell-status hair isn't something that just happens. It's either the product of bi-weekly blowouts, or of a haircare routine that's as meticulous as it is consistent.
And unless you're all sorts of #blessed, we're going to guess that you don't have the funds for multiple trips to the salon every week. That leaves one option: You need to improve your haircare habits using expert tips that actually work.
Lucky for you, we chatted with celebrity hairstylist Christine Symonds, and touched on everything from cuts to split ends to this season's hottest (and laziest) look. She also revealed all the hair mistakes keeping us from achieving our hair goals.
As we learned, there are many of them. Read on.
1. You're washing your hair wayyy too often.
“A lot of people are under the impression they have to wash their hair every day,” Christine says. More frequent washes don't always mean cleaner hair — they can actually have the opposite effect. Over-washing trains your hair's oil glands to produce more oil than necessary, as they work overtime to condition your dried-out hair.
Christine suggests washing every two days, and using dry shampoo to spruce up your 'do on the off days.
2. You're using your styling tools wrong.
When it comes to straighteners and curling irons, the highest setting doesn't necessarily mean the best setting. Christine tells her clients to start on low-medium heat, and then slowly work their way up, watching closely to see how hair reacts to the temperature.
And just like makeup, heat styling tools also have an expiration date — ideally you should be replacing basic tools every two years, and high-end tools every four to five years.
3. You don't know how to correctly use dry shampoo.
“Dry shampoo is my best friend when I'm in a crunch,” Christine says. She stresses that actually massaging the product into hair is essential t0 the absorption process — this is NOT a spray-and-go situation.
Dry shampoo isn't just for oily hair, either. Christine suggests adding it to clean hair (even post-blowout!) as a preventive measure, so your fresh style will last longer without the slightest trace of oil. Christine's fave is Batiste Dry Shampoo, which she loves because it comes in a variety of colors and yummy scents.
4. You're not clarifying your hair.
If your routine includes any sort of hair product, you should be using a clarifying shampoo at least every two weeks. Think of it as a “deep clean” for your hair.
You'll clear away that nasty buildup, which will allow your styling products to work at their maximum potential.
5. You don't know what hair type you ACTUALLY have.
You've heard it about bras — most women go their whole lives without knowing their true size. Well, the same goes for hair type. There's a misconception that dense hair equals thick hair, and fine hair equals thin hair. But that just isn't always the case.
To find out what type of hair you have, there's a quick trick Christine recommends: Simply examine the individual strands as opposed to the density of your ponytail.
Keep this in mind as you style — thicker strands can tolerate higher temperatures than thinner strands.
6. You're mistaking dry ends for split ends.
Oftentimes those crispy ends that we refer to as “split” aren't really split at all — they're just dry and brittle. So, before you chop them off, try rehabilitating ends with conditioning cream, a leave-in hair mask or even a little coconut oil from your kitchen cabinet.
7. You're not letting oily hair work to your benefit.
Yeah, oily hair can be a total nuisance, but it can also be a super on-trend look. Christine offers this tip: “If you do wake up and your hair's oily and you DON'T have your dry shampoo, slick it back in a sleek pony and let the oil work with you. The oils will keep it slicked back. Later, spray the base of the ponytail with dry shampoo and just go!”
Brilliant. Now why didn't we think of that?!
8. You're not waiting long enough between trims.
Generally, Christine suggests visiting the salon every 10 to 12 weeks. If you go more often than that — every six weeks is a number that seems to be floating around the beautysphere — you run the risk of cutting off your hair's healthy length, as opposed to the dead ends you're trying to nix.
9. You're not incorporating oils into your hair routine.
We know: Oily hair is exactly what you're trying to avoid. But natural oils have tons of hair benefits, from adding moisture to growth stimulation.
Christine let us in on her hair-growth secret: Combine pumpkin oil, castor oil and a touch of peppermint oil and apply it to your scalp before bed. Throw on a shower cap, sleep on it and proceed with your usual shampoo-plus-conditioner routine the next morning.
And though it might seem a little quirky, we hear this trick works wonders whether you're trying to grow out damaged ends or just join the cult of mermaid hair.