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Dull hair tends to lack moisture, shine, and body. It can be caused by many factors, like using the wrong products, not getting enough nutrients in your diet, or overusing harsh chemicals or techniques.
Fortunately, there are ways to perk up dull-looking hair. By introducing some new techniques and home remedies and by using the right kinds of products, it’s possible to turn your lifeless locks into hair that’s healthier, glossier, and easier to style.
Not sure where to start? No problem. We asked the experts to share their tips on how to make dull hair shine.
Dull hair tends to have certain characteristics: It typically lacks luster, has a rough or coarse feeling, and might look frizzy or feel heavy.
Dull hair happens for a variety of reasons, including:
- improper hair care techniques
- a diet that’s lacking in key nutrients
- too much sunlight or heat styling
- overprocessing with harsh chemicals
- environmental conditions, such as dry or cold air
- using too much product or the wrong products
Plus, many pregnant women report hair emergencies like dull, brittle hair. The good news is that it’s usually temporary and due to hormonal changes.
Almost everyone deals with dull and lackluster hair at some point. The weather, your diet, and your overall sense of well-being can all influence the health and vitality of your hair.
The following six remedies from experts are especially helpful for ditching dull-looking locks and ensuring your hair looks its healthiest, no matter what.
“Hair can become dull over time because it has buildup and residue on it from using products,” said Gina Rivera, founder of Phenix Salon Suites. Rivera said that when this happens, it’s important to clarify your hair.
So, what does a clarifying treatment do? Essentially, it helps you get rid of product buildup, hard water residue, and any pollution that’s collected on your hair and scalp.
When your hair and scalp are exposed to these elements, they can accumulate and block the natural flow of oils and nutrients to the hair shaft. When this happens, it can weaken your hair and make it look dull and lifeless.
By removing the residue from products and the environment, clarifying treatments can help unclog the hair follicles and ensure that your hair is getting the nutrients and natural oils it needs to shine and thrive.
You can use a clarifying shampoo, or you can try a home treatment like the one outlined below.
Rivera suggests using this baking soda remedy two to three times per month if you have thick, coarse hair. If you have finer hair, you can wait longer between treatments.
How to use:
- Add 2 to 4 tbsp. baking soda to a cup or shallow bowl. (Use 2 tbsp. for shorter hair and 4 tbsp. for longer hair.) Mix in water until the baking soda turns into a paste.
- Massage the baking soda paste into your roots and scalp, then work toward the ends of your hair. Make sure to massage the paste into your hair shaft as you go.
- Use a wide-tooth comb to distribute the paste throughout your hair.
- Let the paste sit in your hair for about 5 minutes, then rinse your hair thoroughly and use your favorite conditioner.
If your hair is feeling dry, celebrity hairstylist Michelle Parkes, owner of Core Salon, suggested amping up the moisture in your conditioner by adding the penetrating power of a therapeutic oil, like coconut oil or Moroccan argan oil.
Moroccanoil Treatment is another popular product that’s infused with argan and linseed oils to help nourish and strengthen hair. Buy it online.
How to use:
- Mix the oil of your choice into your conditioner. How much oil you use depends on the texture of your hair. Try different amounts until you get the results you want.
- Apply the conditioner as you normally would.
- Leave it on a little longer than regular conditioner so it can soak in, then rinse your hair thoroughly.
To infuse extra moisture into your hair, you can try using the oil on its own instead of mixing it with your conditioner. This may be helpful if your hair is especially dry and frizzy.
For a really deep conditioning treatment, Parkes recommended slathering the oil onto your dry hair before bed.
“Once your hair looks wet, like you just got out of the shower, wrap it or cover your head with a shower cap, and go to sleep,” she said. “You’ll be amazed at the results when you wash your hair in the morning.”
If you’re looking for a way to boost your hair’s shine quickly, Parkes suggested using a hair shine spray. These products are formulated to help restore radiance and reduce frizz.
How to use:
- Style your hair as you normally would.
- Lightly spray the product all over your hair. A little goes a long way; if you spray on too much, your hair may look greasy.
- Use the spray throughout the day to tame flyaways and add more shine.
You can also treat dull or dry hair from the inside. That’s why Ona Diaz-Santin, stylist and owner of 5 Salon & Spa, recommended taking a vitamin and mineral supplement, such as Viviscal, which you can buy online.
Like many other over-the-counter hair supplements, Viviscal contains biotin, naturally occurring silica, and other key vitamins and minerals that support hair health.
HairAnew Healthy Hair Formula, which contains 11 active ingredients, is another popular hair supplement product. Buy it online.
Heat styling tools can damage your hair, especially if it’s fine. It’s easy to burn fine hair if you set the temperature of your heating tools too high, Rivera warned. “Too much heat is never a good idea,” she said.
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To further limit any damage, go easy with how often you use heat styling tools and turn down the heat setting whenever possible.
Rivera recommended using heat styling tools that use infrared technology because they heat the hair from the inside to the outside, locking in moisture.
Indoor heating can cause your hair to look especially dull and lifeless during the colder months. Dry indoor air can also exacerbate some health conditions like the common cold, allergies, and dry skin.
To combat the drying effect of indoor heat, hair care experts recommend using a humidifier. By adding moisture to the air, a humidifier may help prevent your hair from losing moisture and looking dull and dry.
- Sleep on satin. One simple change you can make involves swapping out your current pillow covering for a satin pillowcase. Diaz-Santin said that sleeping on satin causes less friction, which leaves your hair looking smoother and healthier.
- Use the right bristles. Michael Canalé, a celebrity hair colorist, recommends using a hairbrush that has boar bristles, not metal ones. According to Canalé, boar bristles have the ability to close the hair cuticle and create more shine.
- Try a little sunflower oil. Diaz-Santin said that sunflower oil is a great source of vitamins and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Plus, it penetrates easily into the scalp. You may want to try moisturizing your hair and scalp with a small amount of sunflower oil the next time you wash your hair.
- Limit chemical treatments. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends spacing out treatments like coloring, perming, and relaxing. Try to stretch the time between touch-ups to at least 8 weeks, especially in the drier winter months. And you should wait at least 2 weeks between different types of treatments, such as relaxing and coloring.
Many factors can cause dull hair. Product buildup, environmental factors, and overstyling can all contribute to hair that looks dry and lifeless.
Fortunately, there are ways to add more shine and natural luster to your hair. Using basic home remedies, trying shine-boosting products, and nourishing your hair from the inside may all help. Avoiding too much heat and spacing out chemical treatments can be beneficial too.
If you don’t notice any improvement in the shine or health of your hair, make an appointment with a hairstylist. They can help you determine the best products and remedies for your hair type.