The Basics: Your New Guide To Sexy, Shiny Hair

How much time do you think you spend washing, drying and styling your mane? It’s easily hundreds of hours a year, right?

dazzling shiny hairAre you totally happy with it?

If you’re like most of us most likely not. Too many have two common complaints despite all their efforts – lack of fullness and lack of shine.

Well, let’s save the full body shortage for another time. Instead let’s delve deeply into some common and uncommon luster boosters and luster busters. Or how to get shiny hair.

Because shiny hair shines all over.

It looks sleek and soft.

It’s what most of us want but can’t seem to get.

Now I’ll admit upfront you likely know a lot of this. But I still suspect there is a shiny bauble or tip to be found here that can help you rise and shine. So before you run out and buy yet another product, tool or buy into another styling strategy in search of that elusive shine why not get the 411 on shininess now?

Let the Sun Shine In Or Not?

Luster Buster: Few things can leave your hair drab, dull or brassy looking faster than a day or two of UV rays beating down on it. I read somewhere where just 100 hours of exposure to direct sunlight wrecks the equivalent amount of damage on your tresses as is done by bleach in 30 minutes – so powerful is the oxidizing effect of the sun. That’s just a week’s vacation spent frolicking in the waves at the beach for example. Can you hair stand up to that?

Luster Booster: If you plan on having any serious fun in the sun, in addition to sunscreen for your skin you want to protect your hair too. Products with SPFs help. Hats or scarves do too.

Layered In Drabness

Luster Buster: It’s hard to think how a cut can dim the lights of shiny hair, but it’s truly possible. For example many of us love our layers. Yet the rule of thumb of shiny hair is the blunter the ends, the shiner your hair. Problem is with layers cut in your hair is less light reflective. So if shine is your desire, lay off the layers.

Boaring In On Shine

Luster Buster: Brushing your hair when wet can cause excessive breakage, frizz and so can be a serious shine kill.

Luster Booster: It’s best to avoid brushing as much as possible. A wide tooth comb would be your best detangler of wet hair. While if you must, a boar bristle brush would be the best way to distribute those sheen enhancing natural oils your scalp produces for just that purpose.

Alcohol On the Label?

Luster Buster: Any styling product with the wrong type of alcohols can be dulling and drying to your hair. Because neither ethyl or isopropyl alcohol will do much for your hair’s shine quotient. Seeing them on the label of your fav whatever product should make you cringe.

Luster Booster: You might think the safest bet is to avoid any sprays and gels that are alcohol free. Problem is not all alcohols are bad – as this link points out. Actually the best thing to do is to not go crazy with your styling products. Use the suggested amount as per label instructions. No more. No less.

Halt Frizz

Luster Buster: Frizz makes shine next to impossible to achieve. All the more if you are dealing with split ends. No mirror like shine for you when either frizz or split ends exist in abundance.

Luster Booster: One way to beat the frizz by making sure you hair is dry before heading out the door. And deep condition to keep it hydrated and healthy.

Shine Fact: Dark hair is naturally going to be shinier. That’s because darker colors are simply better light reflectors. And this will all the more be the case if you’ve lightened your hair which can result in damaged, less reflective strands.

Goose Shine With Gloss

Luster Booster: Enhance what shine mother nature gave you by applying a gloss, glaze, or shine spray made for your texture. For instance a glaze can make your hair sparkle like crystal by covering each strand with a layer of light reflecting coating making it super shiny. You can get even better results if you do a quick heat blast of your mane with your blow dryer as the product is setting. Just take care to avoid application near your roots if volume is a problem..

Product Over Dose

Luster Buster: If a little is good, more must be better! Is that your approach to styling products? If so your hair may have OD’d on products which could be robbing it of shine-ability. Because all that strand coating eventually creates a water proof barrier that zaps your hair of moisture and contributes to lackluster locks.

Luster Booster: Don’t dull your mane by using too much product. Even something designed to boost shine can be overdone. To get clearheaded use a clarifying shampoo twice a month to remove the nasty residue that’s weighing down your shine.

Ho Hum Hair From Hot Styling

Luster Buster: Hot tools. Especially if used without heat protectant a flat iron can dim the shine like nobody’s business. That steam you see rising off your hair isn’t the tool doing its job. No, it’s more like your hair giving up its shine. Fact is the endless bouts of heat is wreaking havoc on your mane. Leaving it damaged and dry. This is even worse since too many let the tool linger in one spot for too long which snuffs shine fast.

Luster Booster: Only hot style hair that is 100% dry and only after applying a silicone based heat protecting spray. The way this works is silicones are activated by the heat and coat, smooth and protect each strand leaving them more light reflective. Still, even here your hair isn’t protected perfectly from the heat. Which is why it’s best to resort to heat styling as little as possible.

Tepid Styling Tools

Luster Buster: Hot tools that are too cool. Sounds crazy and not what you’d expect given everyone and her sister is preaching the dangers hot tools pose to our locks. But if you’re running at too low of a temp that means you don’t get the desired effect with your hot iron in one pass. So you try again and guess what? Multiple passes are a death sentence for healthy hair. And without healthy hair you have to settle for less shine.

Luster Booster: Now no one is saying to heat crazy. You just want to find the lowest heat needed to do straighten your hair in one pass.

Lusterless Blow Drying

Luster Buster: Excessive blow drying. And that would be any time spent with dryer in hand when you hair is wet beyond damp. Blasting away for too long can blast the shine off leaving you with a parched frazzled mess.

Luster Booster: If you can’t air dry, which would be best, use your blow dryer’s nozzle. Use the one that came with your hair dryer and direct the air down the strands. Work small sections of hair at a time and minimize the distance from the nozzle to your hair. This encourages impossibly smooth shiny tresses. Finish with a cool blast to seal in that shine by closing getting the cuticles to lie flat.

Another smoothness helper is an ionic dryer. This type tends to dry your hair faster reducing any potential for damage.

Condition for Shine

Luster Booster: Continuing on the moisture theme, deep conditioning is almost a must to take your hair from dull to dazzling. And the best way to do that is to combine a good moisturizing mask with a bit of heat.

Coming Clean on an Unusual Heat Treatment

smooth and shiny hairLuster Buster: Generally you want to avoid the roots of your damp, towel dried hair when applying shine-enhancing serums. Instead you want to apply midshaft down. Yet it’s easy to end up with greasy looking hair. Especially if it’s on the fine side. And greasy will never be confused with shiny. Which is why you shouldn’t rush into any shine enhancing treatments.

Luster Booster: Yet there’s an unexpected and surprising way to produce a gleaming mane. Heat. You wouldn’t think so, but if you are deep condition applying some heat opens the cuticle up. And when the cuticle is open the oil or mask like product is better able to make its way deep into the shaft which can restore luster to lifeless locks. The easy way to do this at home is to apply the product and then wrap your hair in an toasty hot towel. The end result will be a lustrous finish.

Cold Rinse Cycle

Luster Booster: Easier said than done in the shower, but still, if you want to close those cuticles after suds time, you’ll want to finish with a cold water rinse. This will create the most reflective surface possible on your strands. Result? Instant luminosity.

Conditioned Not to Shine

Luster Buster: We both know that a glossy finish comes from having lots of moisture. So you wouldn’t think moisturizing conditioning could put a crimp in the shine. But it does. At least indirectly. That is if you don’t give the product time to do its job. Rushing it’s costing you shine. You see the proteins, lipids and other beauty wonders that make up conditioner take time to work. If you rinse them down the drain seconds after applying they can’t anywhere close to completing their assigned task. Oh and be sure to squeeze as much water from your hair before applying the product. Otherwise you risk diluting it which isn’t the path to polished shiny hair.

Luster Booster: Okay so the formula is moisture equals gloss. Conditioner equals moisture and it fills in tiny cracks and breaks on the surface of your strands making a high gloss mane possible. The longer the better but two minutes is about all it usually takes for that to happen.

The Shine Vitamin

Luster Booster: So we all know a hot oil treatment can do wonders for your tresses. No news there. But there’s another oil that can make a big impact on your luster. Vitamin E. Break open a capsule of the stuff, mix three drops or so in with a blob of your conditioner of choice and condition as usual. Give it at least five minutes to work and rinse. You may discover that this is a good way to get more bounce and shine from your vitamin aisle.

Shampoo Smart

Luster Buster: Hot water sudsing. Just like hot water can dry your skin it can also dry your hair. So don’t indulge. Warm water is better for cleansing while leaving the shine intact.

Luster Booster: You wouldn’t think so but washing less often can be another way to enhance the radiance of your mane. It gives the natural oils your scalp produces (and your hair needs) a chance to produce silkier and smoother strands.

Does Your Shampoo Pass the Shine Test?

Luster Booster: If you can see right through your shampoo you’re on the right track to shine to die for. Transparency in your choice of shampoo tells you there’s a lack of possible hair dulling ingredients. Or nothing that will lead to any shine killing film on your strands as may be the case with more opaque formulations. Not to mention too many detergents strip away the natural oils needed for sheen.

Sudsing Overkill

Luster Buster: Daily locks lathering is overkill for most of us. And a shine killer too most likely. It’s just that we’ve been programmed to lather up every day.

Luster Booster: Instead why not see if you can get away with a warm water rinse while you massage your scalp every other day. And when you do shampoo focus on the scalp. As you rinse the suds out of your hair enough cleaning agents will find their way to the ends in the process to wash away any grime.

What’s Coming Out of Your Shower Head?

Luster Buster: The water coming out of the shower head could have a dulling impact on your locks. Could be the minerals in your water or rust from your pipes aren’t doing the shine factor any favors.

Luster Booster: If you suspect this to be a problem the solution is found in your kitchen. Vinegar. Apple cider vinegar. While the exact proportions of the mix vary from a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a cup of water to equal parts water and vinegar depending on who you are talking to, the idea is the same. Use the acidic nature of vinegar to banish all mineral buildup to the shower drain. Yeah, vinegar is great hair gunk remover.

So after you shampoo, spritz the mixture all over your head. Let it sit for five minutes to work its magic. Rise and shampoo again to get rid of any vinegary odor. The results should be super shiny.

Okay so did you see something to like in that quick shine overview? I hope so. Because while it may seem like nothing, it could be one or two seemingly harmless hair care habits that are sucking the shine from your locks. Which you want to fix for three perfectly good reasons.

It’s hard not to notice when someone walks by with shampoo commercial shiny hair that radiates light.

Shine never goes out of style and glossy, high volume tresses are a sure sign of energy and vigor.

Plus a gleaming curtain of hair almost guarantees admission into total babedom.

So watts up with your hair?

About Tori

Tori is a recovering shoe addict and aspiring beach bum with a devotion to all things chocolate. Her goal is to make TerrificTresses your online destination for all things hair. Whether it’s ideas to keep things stylish and chic or answers to nagging hair care problems, you’ll find it here. You might look at as your irregular dose of hair care inspiration. Oh and you can find me on too.

Speak Your Mind

*