It’s hard to surprise a beauty editor, but when experts told us these out of the ordinary strategies for better hair, we almost didn’t believe them. Read on for their “who knew?” secrets to a more beautiful mane.
1. Brush Up
Wait, haven’t we filed the “100 strokes before bedtime” myth under Terrible Advice To Never Heed? Well, yes, but some brushing can actually be good for hair, says Hollywood hair treatment expert Philip B.
“You should always brush just before you shampoo,” says Philip, who explains that the scalp’s oil is hair’s natural conditioner. “A good brushing helps you make the most of your shampooing: It moves the natural oils off your scalp and down the hair shaft, where they’re needed. It revs up circulation and helps to loosen any dead cells or greasy build-up, so your shampoo can really do its work.”
Even curly hair should be brushed pre-shampoo, says Philip. Use a natural boar bristle brush, such as Philip B.’s Medium Round Hairbrush ($65, philipb.com), which is gentler on fine and textured hair than nylon brushes. And forget the 100 strokes; 10 or 20 should be plenty.
2. Add Color
Yes, the peroxide and ammonia in hair color can damage strands, but as long as you’re not making a drastic change (anything more than two levels lighter or darker than your current color), a fresh hue can actually make your mane shine brighter.
“Processed hair does truly shine differently than virgin hair,” says John Frieda International Creative Consultant Harry Josh, who we caught up with backstage at Zac Posen’s spring 2013 runway show. “Virgin hair can be very shiny and flaxen, but doesn’t hold texture very well. If you wave it, it goes very flat. Once you color the hair, it gives the hair a lot of hold and a lot of shine.”
Josh recommends applying hair color, such as John Frieda Precision Foam Colour ($11.99, drugstore.com), 24 hours before your big event for optimal richness and shine — and he did just that for three models at Posen’s show. If you’d rather put yourself in professional hands, Redken salons offer the oil-based, ammonia-free Chromatics color line, which actually strengthens hair follicles as it colors.
3. Eat Breakfast
You probably know that what you eat affects your hair’s health, but did you know that when you eat is just as important? Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, who treats hair and scalp problems as a trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic in New York, advises her clients to fill up “early and often.” That means “protein intake at breakfast and lunch are the key times for hair health.”
Why? Think about it: if your body only has a small amount of food energy available, it will use that energy to keep your heart, lungs and other essential organs working — hair is low-priority on the list. You want to send your brain the message that there’s plenty of fuel available to nourish your entire body, including the hair.
Phillips recommends starting the day with a balanced meal that includes complex carbohydrates and protein. Egg whites, yogurt, cottage cheese, fruits, multigrain bread and high-quality peanut butter are a few of her healthy hair picks.
4. Soothe Your Scalp
While most of us tend to fixate on scraggly split ends, the other end of the hair deserves equal TLC. “Ninety-nine percent of hair’s natural strength and beauty comes from the scalp,” says dermatologist Dr. Francesa Fusco, who works with haircare brand Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy. “Just as good soil is to a tree, a well-nourished scalp is the right foundation for strong, beautiful hair.”
Phillips, the Philip Kingsley trichologist, echoes this idea. “A healthy scalp creates a better environment to ensure healthy hair growth,” she says. She’s also a proponent of daily shampoos to keep the scalp clean and clear.
Yes To Carrots Scalp Relief Shampoo and Conditioner ($7.99 each, yestocarrots.com) both feature tea tree and lemon to treat the scalp, plus salicylic acid to promote exfoliation and reduce flaking. With a moisturizing complex of vitamins, nutrients and botanical oils, Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy Moisturizing Dry Scalp Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner ($5.99 each, drugstore.com) treat a parched scalp, an issue that winter weather can worsen.
“I advise my patients to stick with a routine for an absolute minimum of a week to give the product time to work its magic,” says Dr. Fusco. “Of course, the longer you use it, the longer you will see continued benefits.”
What are your go-to habits for gorgeous hair?
Rosanna Scotto is one of my favorite New York broadcast icons. As one of the lead news anchors for FOX’s Good Day New York, she always looks great on camera and certainly is one to watch for all things lifestyle. Rosanna has a passion for travel and cooking (her family owns the Italian restaurant Fresco by Scotto in NYC), so I am thrilled that she shared some of her delicious family recipes! I caught up with the three-time Emmy winner to find out some of her go-to places, favorite things, and finds.
MM: Do you have a signature look or item you always wear?
RS: I prefer a tailored look when I’m working, so I wear Luca Luca’s suits, and Magaschoni’s sweaters and blouses. Then I fill in when I see something I like.
MM: What skincare products do you like best?
RS: It depends on my mood, but I have everything from Créme de la Mer, to Trish McEvoy to Almay in my medicine cabinet.
Créme de la Mer, BUY NOW, $250
MM: What is in your make-up bag?
RS: About 15 lip glosses from Mac, Trish McEvoy and Estee Lauder. My nieces love going through my bag to play with the glosses.
Mac Mini Gloss Kit, Dazzleshere Neutral Ornament, BUY NOW, $33
Trish McEvoy Irressistible Pink Lip Gloss Duo, BUY NOW, $32
Estee Lauder Pure Color Gloss to go, BUY NOW, $33
MM: Your hair always looks perfect, what is the secret?
RS: It takes a village to do my hair! Oscar Blandi cuts and his talented staff… Alexis does color and Ingrid blow dries, but depending on my location and time; Geoffrey Firth from John Frieda, Savita from DS Studio and Nate from Warren-Tricomi do fantastic blow outs. I told you, it takes a village!
MM: How do you stay in shape? Favorite workouts?
RS: I am part of the Soul Cycle cult!
MM: What are some of your favorite travel destinations (and why)? Secret vacation spots?
RS: My family and I love to go to the Ocean Club in the Bahamas. Its about 3 hours by plane from New York City. It has a beautiful garden, an awesome beach and a lovely staff. In the summer we travel to Italy. I am always happy to visit Capri, Sardinia and Venice; the food, the clothes, the history – it’s heaven!
MM: What snacks do you recommend when on the go?
RS: Right now I’m into Kind bars because they have flax and antioxidants, but they are a splurge. I think I should go back to almonds.
MM: What restaurants do you frequent most?
RS: I am at my family’s restaurant, Fresco by Scotto in midtown several times a week. But I also love Catch in the meatpacking district and Crown on the UES.
MM: Biggest guilty pleasure?
RS: Jeffrey Rackover jewelry.
It’s no secret that getting your hair to look great in the summer can be a big challenge. Sun, sand, salt, chlorine, and humidity take a toll on our hair, and that can lead to a less-than-desirable look. In order to get those gorgeous summer locks, we put these (and so many more) products to the test and did the lathering, rinsing, and repeating for you. We might even have the cleanest hair in New York City! Read on for our favorite picks for summer hair care, including the old stand-bys as well as the hottest new products available. Tip: It is important to switch off between at least two shampoos, conditioners, and styling products to get the best results.
Pantene Pro-V Medium-Thick Hair Solutions Shampoo
Pantene is known for being a great and affordable hair care brand. We love the classic clean scent, which is undeniably Pantene. This shampoo leaves you with silky soft and smooth hair.
Buy Now, Pantene Pro-V Medium-Thick Hair Solutions Shampoo, $4.07
Nexxus Aloe Rid Gentle Clarifying Shampoo
Spent too much time in the pool? Light-haired girls especially tend to suffer from the dreaded chlorine green. Nothing works like Nexxus aloe rid to get out the green and restore your hair to its natural shine. This product has been around forever but does the job best!
Buy Now, Nexxus Aloe Rid Gentle Clarifying Shampoo, $12.99
Organic Surge Moisture Boost Shampoo for Dry or Frizzy Hair
It’s always nice to go organic and use all-natural products, especially during the summer. For those ladies who prefer to be eco-friendly AND look naturally gorgeous, this lightly scented product really gets your hair feeling clean. It has an incredible beachy almond scent we love!
Buy Now, Organic Surge Moisture Boost Shampoo for Dry or Frizzy Hair, $5.99
Serge Normant Meta Velour Conditioner
This is from Serge Normant’s new hair care collection. Hair feels well-conditioned without any residue. A great new product to add to your regimen.
Buy Now, Serge Normant Meta Velour Conditioner, $24
Herbal Essences Touchably Smooth Conditioner
Herbal Essences products always smell amazing, but this one blew us away with its fun floral scent. It creates the softest, lightest-feeling hair. You won’t believe this product came from a drugstore!
Buy Now, Herbal Essences Touchably Smooth Conditioner, $7.49
Terax Hair Care Crema Ultra Moisturizing Daily Conditioner
A tried-and-true celebrity favorite. This daily conditioner deeply moisturizes without weighing down hair and works wonders for detangling.
Buy Now, Terax Hair Care Crema Ultra Moisturizing Daily Conditioner, $48
Living Proof No Frizz Straight Styling Spray
Living Proof is getting exceptional amounts of praise from everyone who tries this product. Spray it on before you blow dry to prevent frizz, repel humidity, dirt, and oil to prolong the life of your blowout. Apply more as a finishing spray without fear of product buildup. This amazing new product really works!
Buy Now, Living Proof No Frizz Straight Styling Spray, $19.99
Sebastian Shaper Professional Zero Gravity Hairspray
This is our go-to hairspray because it provides the perfect hold and sets your style without that crunchy, sticky feeling. Hair still has lots of movement and you can still run your fingers through it!
Buy Now, Sebastian Shaper Professional Zero Gravity Hairspray, $10.51
Keratin Complex Products
We are obsessed with all the styling products from Keratin that we tried, including the hair spray, styling oil, mousse, root lift spray, and nourishing spray conditioner. This new line of keratin-enhanced products gives you the look of a professionally styled coif at home.
Buy Now, Keratin Complex Products
Dove Flexible Hold Aerosol Hairspray
It can be difficult to find inexpensive hair products at the drugstore that compare to the salon products, but Dove makes it easy. We love the flexible hold and the scent of this aerosol hairspray. A must for keeping hair in place whether it is worn down and polished or up and messy.
Buy Now, Dove Flexible Hold Aerosol Hairspray, $3.50
Moroccanoil Glimmer Shine Spray
Blowouts can leave hair looking dull, especially in the summer. Try topping off your ‘do with one of the great products from the MOROCCANOIL line, like the Gold Glimmer Shine oil for sheen without the grease. Spray a little extra on the ends!
Buy Now, Moroccanoil Glimmer Shine Spray, $25.80
Dry shampoo is great to use between washes because it removes the oils that build up at the roots, especially during the summer. We also like to use it when styling for added texture (like when we create a fishtail braid).
Oscar Blandi Pronto Invisible Volumizing Dry Shampoo Spray
This dry shampoo smells citrusy, which is perfect for refreshing “day-two” hair. Plus it goes on clear, not powdery.
Buy Now, Oscar Blandi Pronto Invisible Volumizing Dry Shampoo Spray, $23
Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk Aerosol
This dry shampoo has been a favorite of ours for years! Smells great, and does the job well.
Buy Now, Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk Aerosol, $18
T3 Refresh Volumizing Dry Shampoo
We love this formula because it matches your hair so you don’t have to worry about the telltale white powder on your roots.
Buy Now, T3 Refresh Volumizing Dry Shampoo, $25
Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray
Spending a day at the beach is not always convenient when you want those fab-looking beach waves. Capture it at home with Bumble and Bumble’s Surf Spray —this product creates those naturally sexy waves that mimic the combination of salt water, sand, and wind.
Buy Now, Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray, $22
Frederic Fekkai Marine Summer Hair Beach Waves
Fekkai is synonymous with beautiful hair, so it’s no wonder his Marine Summer Hair Beach Waves really creates an authentic look. Spray on damp hair and scrunch for best results.
Buy Now, Frederic Fekkai Marine Summer Hair Beach Waves, $24.48
John Frieda Beach Blonde Smooth Seas Detangling Conditioner
Everyone can use a little leave-in conditioner after a day at the beach. To nourish and treat your hair while still rocking that fresh-from-the-beach look, spritz this on after shampooing.
Buy Now, John Frieda Beach Blonde Smooth Seas Detangling Conditioner, $7.95
Highlight Activating Enhancing Shampoo, $6.49, and Highlight Activating Enhancing Conditioner, $6.99
Emma loves John Frieda Sheer Blonde hair care products. Specially formulated for blonde hair, the Highlight Activating Enhancing Shampoo and Highlight Activating Enhancing Conditioner keep her highlights looking fresh and bright in between trips to the salon.