When I decided to switch from a partial balayage to a full head of foil blond highlights, I knew I had to update my haircare routine. My hair was already in a mediocre spot. Years of drugstore purchases and heat styling with mediocre protectant (or none at all) had left my hair seriously frizzing out in this summer’s humidity. It was time for a change.
The first thing I did (the first thing you should always do) is lots of research. I was ready to spend some money and upgrade the products I was using, but I didn’t want to waste money or go overboard. I read what other bloggers were using, what beauty forum members were recommending, and I even did a bit of my own trial and error testing. Keep reading for my results–they’re good, I promise.
Shampoo & Conditioner
I knew I needed to start here. I’d been using Pantene Pro V for years and in addition to being tired of the general old-lady-perfume scent I felt like my hair felt dry and rough after I got out of the shower, and this didn’t feel right to me. I’d used Kérastase products a few times in the past and was always pleased with the results so I took their hair care quiz and took a look at the recommended products. And then I fell out of my chair because I saw the prices on those products. I simply could not justify spending that much money on shampoo and conditioner, so I did some more research and put together a list of mid-price-point brands to try including Moroccanoil, Matrix, Aveda, Paul Mitchell, and Redken. These all seemed within a price tolerance I could abide.
After reading about Moroccanoil for a bit I decided to give their whole line a try (more on this below) and I ordered a small bottle of shampoo and conditioner. As I lathered the shampoo into my hair I noticed that its scent was quite strong and not altogether pleasant to me. It smelled… perfumey and strong. Not really like anything I could put my finger on. The conditioner smelled even stronger, and as my hair air dried that night I found myself getting head-achey because the smell was still so strong. My husband even commented on it while we were sitting on the couch together and then again the next morning when we woke up. It was that strong. Clearly, no matter how good it was for my hair, I just couldn’t abide the smell.
I realized the same would be true of any other super-scented shampoo or conditioner, so I took a trip to Ulta. I went through their haircare aisles and smelled all the other brands I was planning on trying. The overwhelming results? All these shampoos and conditioners are way too scented. Seriously, who wants to be that person that’s so perfumed that the people around them are choking on the fumes? I don’t get it. The only one on my list that wasn’t headache-inducingly perfumed was Redken, and happily its scent was also pleasant to me. It has a light, almost fruity smell to it.
Anyway, enough about the scent. Having landed on Redken I did some research and found that their All Soft line was likely my best bet. I wanted to tame my dry, frizzy locks into something much shinier and softer, so it seemed like the right choice. I’ve been using their All Soft Shampoo and Conditioner for several weeks now and I love it. My hair feels super hydrated after I’m done washing and conditioning it, which I do most days. I workout most days, and I just can’t stand not washing my hair after a sweaty workout. Using this stuff, I don’t feel so bad about washing everyday.
This is probably where I’ve always been the most lacking in my haircare routine. As you can see from my blow out tutorial, I was heavily invested in drugstore brands. After doing some reading, I decided that hair oil was decidedly the right product for me, given my fine hair’s penchant for drying out and frizzing up. I spent some time researching Moroccanoil and landed on three products of theirs to try: the standard treatment oil, the Blow-Dry Concentrate, and the Glimmer Shine finishing spray.
Here’s my current routine. After I get out of the shower I dry my hair with a micro-fiber towel. Then I apply 4 pumps of the treatment oil to my hair. This is more than the bottle recommends, but given the length and dryness of my hair it needs it. Then I let my hair air dry if I can. When it comes time to blow dry, I rewet my hair (if needed) and apply 4 pumps of the Blow-Dry Concentrate to my hair. This helps protect my hair and make it that much more smooth while blow drying. The real key to it all is the finishing spray, though. I was so amazed at the results the first time I tried it that I actually ran out of the bathroom and showed my husband, who was also impressed–no joke. I usually spritz it something like 6-8 times all over my hair, let it sit for a few minutes, and then run my hands through my hair.
Using this routine has honestly caused such a transformation in my hair. I don’t think its ever been this shiny or healthy, and the fact that the humidity in Chicago has been over 80% for the entire time I’ve been using this updated routine just makes it that much more impressive. If you generally have frizzy, dry hair, I can’t recommend these products enough.
The final update I’ve made to my routine has been to schedule in a deep conditioning mask once per week. I’ve actually been using Kérastase’s Nutritive Masque for several years after reading another highlighted blogger’s positive review of it. Truthfully, though, I’d tell myself to use it at least once a month and I’d find myself putting it off and using it more like once every three months, which isn’t really enough for it to be truly effective. Now I just put it on my schedule, and that’s made all the difference. In fact, I really am enjoying thinking of it as a self-care routine.
To use it, I put maybe a 1/4 cup of it into my hair just after I shower, then twist my hair into a high bun and leave it in for around 2 hours. While its working its magic, I often will give myself a pedicure, drink coffee, and just generally relax–my current guilty pleasure is binge watching Gilmore Girls. Its made the whole thing feel like less of a chore and more of a treat.
If you’ve never tried a deep conditioner like this before prepare yourself to be truley amazed at just how soft and sleek your hair feels after you rinse it out. It’s like butter.
I’d love to hear what you think of my updated hair care routine and for you to share any hair care tips you have in the comments below! By the way, the pajamas I’m wearing in this post are from Target. Here’s a very similar pair from Target at $20, which is what I paid for these.