According to a recent Unilever study, hair that is about shoulder length (around 9 inches long) has, after two years, gone through 411 washes, 6,171 brushes, and 10 bleaches, and had approximately 19,122 split ends and 36,206 breaks. With that in mind, we asked experts for advice on solving your three biggest hair issues.
The Problem: Your locks are limp—and not in that cool off-duty-model way.
The Fix: The secret to getting hair's "sexy" back: body all over.
1. Whatever your hair type, lather up with a clarifying shampoo weekly, then immediately replenish lost moisture and elasticity (the bounce-factor that's key to scoring swingy strands) with a thickening rinse-out conditioner. "Even naturally full hair can fall flat from heavy styling cream and serum buildup," says Gwynne Mims, a stylist at the Eva Scrivo salon in New York City and lead stylist for Ojon.
2. Get to the root of the problem. David Babaii, the Los Angeles-based stylist who amplifies Kate Hudson's finely spun golden locks, prefers a texturizing powder or spray over liquid lifters like hairspray.
3. Chill out—with the blowdryer. "Using low or medium heats causes the cuticle [a hair's outer layer] to swell up and look fuller, while really high heat makes it collapse," says Mims.
4. Steer clear of metal and plastic brushes when styling—opt for a mix of natural fibers and nylon bristles instead. According to Mims, fine hair is more fragile and susceptible to breakage.
5. Amp it up. Peter Butler, an NYC-based stylist who works with Anne Hathaway and Georgia May Jagger, boosts volume with this quick fix: Spray an aerosol hairspray or dry shampoo onto your crown—section by section—then brush hair straight up into a high ponytail so the roots are vertical. Spray the base again and leave hair up for 10 minutes. "When you take it down, it's like you just got a fresh, full blowout," he says.
The Problem: Seriously, could it grow any slower?
The Fix: While good genes play a part, gentle handling can go a long way toward growing long, healthy hair.
1. Find your hair's inner strength by packing your breakfast plate with protein (the lowest supply of amino-acid-rich blood flow is in the a.m.). Says Matt L. Leavitt, associate clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Florida: "Hair is made of a protein called keratin, so not having enough in your diet could eventually cause hair to weaken," which means it's more likely to break off prematurely. According to New York trichologist (an expert in hair and scalp health) Phillip Kingsley, the best protein powerhouses are eggs, meat, fish, and cheese, which also contain complex carbohydrates and minerals that help build keratin.
2. "All of my clients yse the Viviscal Hair Growth Program," says David Babaii, an L.A.-based stylist and a favorite of Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow. The $50 pack of protein-rich twice-a-day pills is a staple in his hair kit.
3. While the gold standard of kick-starting dormant follicles into overdrive has long been topical, FDA-approved minoxidil treatments like Rogaine (which stimulates a growth factor that holds hair "hostage" in the active-growth phase), there may be a new hair Miracle-Gro on the block. According to Leavitt, the first set of clinical trials to use the same lash-enhancing ingredients found in Latisse on the scalp have been completed. (Next stop: FDA.)
4. Kingsley suggests stimulating growth naturally by simply massaging your scalp when you shampoo: The movement helps increase blood flow to hair follicles.
5. Just like you can make your legs appear long and lean in a sick pair of YSL platform heels, you can extend the appearance of your strands too. First, dry all of your hair except for a wide Mohawk-like section on the top of your head, then pull that hair straight up toward the ceiling as you blowdry "to create the illusion of length, elongate strands, and eliminate any bend," says Gwynne Mims, a NYC stylist. Use a round brush and you'll still have nice movement.
The Problem: Your hair is looking like damaged goods.
The Fix: Because aggressive brushing and heat-styling are the biggest culprits, your best bet is to switch up your regimen.
1. Ditch your professional 3,700-watt engine, Ferrari-like blowdryer, which isn't intended for daily use (1,800 watts are enough for every day). "Initially, it lays the cuticle down so hair looks extra shiny, but over time it gets so fried you need more heat to make it smooth," says Oribe, the mane guru for Jennifer Lawrence and Penelope Cruz.?
2. Lower your straightening—and curling—iron to 300 degrees, and always pre damp strands with a thermal protector (Tresemme's new Platinum Strength line uses a high-tech blend of conditioning agents) to prevent burnt strands.
3. Take time once a week for TLC. For thick or course hair, use a moisturizing mask laced with mega-hydrators such as marula oil, as well as soy proteins and shea butter, or douse strands with a botanical oil, which acts as a Band-Aid, filling in gaps in the cuticle. For finer strands, a lighter, milkier treatment can be a gorgeous-hair game changer (think of it like an oil-free serum for skin).
4. The healthier your hair, the more smoothly the tiny scales that make up the cuticle lie, which increases light reflection. To get a shine boost stat, swap goopy glosses for a sheer mist, says Sally Hershberger, owner of the eponymous salons in NYC and L.A. Spray a tiny amount all over hair, then brush through to distribute evenly.
5. Frayed ends beyond repair? Take. Them. Off. Get what David Babaii, a stylist in L.A., calls a "ghost trim" every six weeks: "You can't even tell because you are literally just snipping the very tiny split ends off, yet you know your hair looks good and feels amazing," he says. The result: hot hair, not a hot mess.