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10 (Easy!) Expert Tips to Get Shiny Hair


It seems like every hair commercial ever shows us mile-long hair that’s so reflective we could do a flawless face of makeup in it. Yet reality feels like our locks are doomed to two phases: dry and greasy. With the occasional (and super frustrating) combo of both at the same time. We’re here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way—it’s time to reclaim your shine. To solve this hair dilemma, we consulted with celeb hairstylist and colorist Brittany Gharring for the lowdown on glow. With a few key products in your arsenal and some routine hacks, you totally can get shiny hair—and dare we say it’s actually easy? Oh yeah.

1. Invest in a clarifying shampoo.

Close-up image of a model rocking a white eyeliner look and pearl-studded headband

Product layering can be essential to achieving any hair goal (more on that later), but all of that buildup leads to one thing. You guessed it—dullness. Contrary to our normal moisture-moisture-moisture approach to all things dry, a gentle clarifying shampoo will help break down the buildup without stripping your hair of the essential oils.

IPSY Pick: EVA NYC Clean It Up Shampoo

2. Rinse with cold water.

SOAPBOX Coconut Milk Hair Mist
SOAPBOX Coconut Milk Hair Mist

“I always recommend rinsing out your conditioner with cold water as this helps to close the hair cuticle and keep it laying flat, optimizing shine,” says Gharring. Yes, sometimes we need to cut back on the things we love most—like scalding hot showers. While incredibly satisfying, hot water is a huge culprit when it comes to zapping moisture from our skin and disturbing the hair cuticle. Why is this important? The hair cuticles are like shingles on a roof. Warm water opens them up (which is great for deeper ingredient penetration) and cold water will allow them to close and lay flat, sealing and protecting the shaft. A closed cuticle means light will bounce off the surface, maximizing reflectivity. Plus, that quick burst of cold water will perk you up faster than a triple shot of espresso. Now, add in your leave-in conditioner to lock in that moisture.

IPSY Pick: SOAPBOX Coconut Milk Hair Mist

3. Look for moisturizing ingredients.

BRIOGEO Be Gentle, Be Kind Avocado + Kiwi Mega Moisture Mask
BRIOGEO Be Gentle, Be Kind Avocado + Kiwi Mega Moisture Mask

Now that we’re all cleaned up, it’s time to get back on that hydration train. Look for ingredients like avocado and jojoba oils, shea butter, or glycerin—which help to bind moisture to the surface of your hair. These heavy hitting ingredients come into play with your go-to conditioners, which help to fill in any frizz-causing cracks on the hair cuticle, and weekly masks that help to repair damage from heat styling. “Using a thick concentrated mask on these strands works wonders in smoothing down dryness,” adds Gharring.

IPSY Pick: BRIOGEO Be Gentle, Be Kind Avocado + Kiwi Mega Moisture Mask

4. Try out hair oil.

If there’s been any major revelation in recent years, it’s debunking the myth that oils are bad. We’re now fully enlightened to the fact that oils are liquid gold for refining texture and adding shine to both skin and hair. A few drops of oil smoothed over the surface of your hair will help to nourish the cuticle and give instant sheen to the hair’s surface. ”I love starting on wet strands to infuse it into the cuticle which will provide lasting shine and for further moisturizing the strands,” says Gharring. Worried about greasiness? Argan and marula oils are fab choices for boosting luster without looking like you just emerged from a three day camping trip.


5. Avoid heat styling…

Close-up image of a model hiding behind her lacy outfit

We know—impossible, right? For those of us who live and breathe by our hot tools, we may have accepted our fate of dull hair. But the occasional break from your trusty blow dryer can give hair a much-needed reprieve. Air-drying hair is the healthiest styling option out there and, with the right technique, can yield results that are just as chic. Thanks to an extended stay indoors lately, this is the perfect time to try it out.

6. ...or at least use a colder setting.

If you have to use heat (we get it!), it’s worth using a lower setting to keep damage at a minimum and loading up on heat protectant. If you’re blow drying hair, consider the 80-20 approach. Use a colder setting to get your hair 80 percent dry, then switch to your normal setting (medium-high) to dry the remaining 20 percent, bending and shaping your style into place. Using hot tools regularly? “Well-crafted tools will make a big difference in how much damage is done to your hair,” says Gharring. Just like investing in key wardrobe staples, high-quality hot tools will make a massive difference in your hair game.

7. Consider switching your pillowcases.

“Regular pillowcases can cause friction on your strands, which will damage the hair and make it appear dull,” Gharring points out. A switch to silk can aid in this. Silk pillowcases offer more than just an old Hollywood glam to your bedroom, they’ve been a hair secret for decades. Standard cotton pillowcases can cause breakage, frizz, knots, and straighten out curls and coils—no good. Because of silk’s smoother surface, hair glides with minimal friction resulting in a smoother, shinier hair. Bonus? They’re also known to help with acne and fine lines. We’d like to nominate silk pillowcases for president.

8. Enjoy some hair-loving foods.

Close-up image of a model rocking a white eyeliner look and pearl-studded headband

Millennials, it’s happened! Your avocado toast obsession has finally paid off. In a surprise to literally nobody, diet can have a major impact on your beauty routine. Sadly, Hot Cheetos do not equal gorgeous locks—but healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids can help. “Make sure to take fish oil, coconut oil capsules, order that avocado toast, and use rich olive oils,” advises Gharring. While this won’t have much of an immediate effect on your current hair sitch (because hair is essentially dead protein), it will help promote healthier hair growth. Future you thanks you.

9. Don’t forget upkeep.

OUTRE By Use Me Instant Repair Hair Mask + CBD
OUTRE By Use Me Instant Repair Hair Mask + CBD

“I love offering my clients a surface dusting every other visit, it cleans up old breakage, and offers a very smooth canvas for moisture to be absorbed back in and penetrate on a deeper, more substantial level,” says Gharring. In general, upkeep (like regular trims or gloss treatments) can help maintain a polished quality to hair—so next time you visit your stylist, be sure to mention your shiny hair goals. They’re pros and know how to help. Can’t make it in just yet? We feel you—keep up with a reparative mask to nourish hair between visits.

IPSY Pick: OUTRE By Use Me Instant Repair Hair Mask + CBD

10. Layer up your products.

NEUMA neuStyling smoothing creme
NEUMA neuStyling smoothing creme

“Layering hair products is like building a skincare routine—they work together to bring on a healthy shine. Best of all, building a hair regimen can help you assess your specific hair needs and tailor the products you use accordingly. “Lots of heat protection spray, and lots of products that have nourishing ingredients to help boost the overall health of the hair—don’t be scared to layer,” Gharring reassures us. This is especially helpful for those with color-treated hair, which can fade quickly without protective measures. To keep your hues looking like you just left the salon, seek out products with UVA/UVB protection.

IPSY Pick: NEUMA neuStyling smoothing creme

Want in on all the Glam Bag fun? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

About the author
Hannah Cassidy
Hannah is a beauty editor at IPSY and has been creating content for fashion, beauty, and wellness in Los Angeles for over five years. Outside of the beauty world, she’s an avid vintage collector and dog mom to Pumpkin and Turtle.
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Article Last Updated July 31, 2020 12:00 AM