We love our hair, but sometimes, our hair just doesn't love us back. It flip-flops between gracing us with the greatest hair days of our lives (seriously, Becky with the good hair could learn a thing or two from us) to looking so dull and lackluster that we can’t even leave the house without considering wearing a paper bag first.
It's dry, it's brittle, and no amount of hair care products are making a difference. What's a girl to do? Luckily, there are a few tricks of the hair trade that can banish bad hair days for good, and it all starts with these tips.
Start with adding moisture
When it comes to dry anything—dry skin, dry weather, dry hair—the remedy is often moisture and lots of it. "You want to use products that contain ingredients such as shea butter, olive oil, argan oil, or coconut oil," says Jonathan De Paca, a stylist at Frederic Fekkai Palm Beach.
Be sure to avoid products that contain silicone or alcohol, as he explains that silicone can actually create a barrier on the hair, suffocating strands and preventing the hair from absorbing moisture. Yikes. Alcohol does its own damage by being super dehydrating.
If dry hair ends are the issue, try leave-in conditioner. By letting it sit in your hair for 10 minutes or more a few times a week, you can prevent annoying split ends.
Wash your hair less often
It's ideal to wash your hair two to three times a week (and it could be less if you have curly hair or if you're trying a regimen of silicone-free shampoos). Any more than that, and you could actually be damaging your hair. "Over-washing your hair can lead to dreaded dryness and brittleness, to the point that no matter what products you put into it, it is not going to style properly," says Carolyn Aronson, hair stylist and CEO of It’s a 10 Haircare.
If you see these signs, cut back how often you're washing it per week to see if it makes a difference: dryness, breakage, a dull appearance and color that is fading fast, oily hair, frizz, and even scalp flakes.
Cut your hair more often
A regular cut can help too, even if it's just to trim split ends. Dr. Jeni Thomas, principal scientist for P&G Hair Care, explained how you know it’s time to visit the hairdresser: “When you have split ends and a lack of moisture … it’s time for a haircut.” With this, she recommends a trim every 10 to 11 weeks for people who have long and damaged hair.
In the meantime, hair-softening products can help. This includes using a silk pillowcase in bed since it eliminates the amount of friction between hair and pillow. Also, consider hair masks. There are several different kinds on the market, including this Kristin Ess reconstructive moisture mask, which is great for detangling and rehydrating dry, damaged, or color-treated hair with its coconut oil and shea butter formula.
All it takes is a little extra care and some elbow grease, and you'll feel like a walking shampoo ad in no time.
Sarah is a multi-platform writer and editor. Her work has appeared in USA Today, Vital Proteins, Healthline, Diply, and more. When she's not writing, she's trying to keep up with her border collie, Emmy.