When it comes to shiny hair it’s all about bouncing light off the hair-shaft and getting the surface of hair to be as reflective as is humanly possible, how do we do this? There are several ways to approach boosting shine in hair and they all involve your cuticle.
The MECHANICAL way uses physical forces to alter the structure of the cuticle to get it as compact as possible and reflecting like a laser beam.
We’re talking about that amazing blow-dry you get from your stylist when you visit the salon. Any kind of tool fits into this category whether that’s blow-drying the cuticle flat or pressing it flat with a straightening iron. Even the bristles of your hairbrush do their bit to smooth your cuticle. It takes a bit of effort to get this kind of silky shine and it’s totally worth it for the maximum impact you get.
Is there such a thing as ‘too much of a good thing’, in this case yes. Using tools to smooth your hair and create shine can cause physical damage and heat damage to your hair, just ask anyone from the 90’s. Be gentle, do it once and do it well. Take the time to wash, dry and style your hair so that you can wear it for days before it needs restyling. Oh, and ALWAYS use a heat protector.
COSMETIC methods are superficial, short-term fixes that look and feel really good, with immediate effect, they give you an instant hit of shine. Usually coming in the form of a serum or a shine spray, shine products coat the cuticle in a layer of glossy goodness.
The two most common ways to do this are with oils and silicones. Non-soluble silicones aren’t our friend, and neither are petrochemicals or palmitate. Not to worry, there are heaps of amazing naturally derived oils and soluble silicones available in haircare to get your hands on. As well as boosting shine some natural oils will have long term benefits for your hair, reducing damage and protecting from environmental stressors.
Remember too, your scalp produces luscious natural oils to coat and protect your hair and add natural shine. The old fairy-tale stories of brushing your hair with 100 brushstrokes have some truth to them, regular brushing (in the right hair type) helps to distribute these natural oils along your hair shaft.
CHEMISTRY uses key ingredients to alter the composition of your hair and help it on its way to becoming a bouncy shiny example of a healthy hair shaft. There are some absolute heroes when it comes to shutting down that cuticle for shine and repair. When the hairs cuticle is in good condition it sits super flat and creates a highly reflective surface. Ingredients to look out for are:
Glycerin – an oldie but a goodie. Glycerin has a small molecular size which allows it to penetrate the hair shaft and reduce dehydration, frizz, and split ends. This ingredient is really effective at protecting the hair’s natural barrier by supporting lipid function (google it) and can even gat the job done at low concentration which make it A+++ in our books.
Panthenol – good for more than just healing your tattoo, as an ingredient in haircare Panthenol improves shine, strength and softness and elasticity. Otherwise known as vitamin B5, by creating great slip on the hair shaft, at the very least panthenol will reduce wear and tear on your cuticle help to keep it in prime condition – it’s all about the cuticle after all.
Sugarcane – food for your hair, this extract’s high moisture content hydrates your scalp and ultimately leads to shiny healthy hair. Also rich in Glycolic Acid which improves elasticity, gently sloughs away dead cuticle cells, and repairs the internal bonds in your hair, that means STRENGTH.
Keratin – most people are familiar with Keratin smoothing treatments as a way to improve the manageability of hair. Keratin works in the hair shaft to smooth over holes and disruptions in the cuticle to produce a sleek slippery strand of hair. Keratin is a structural protein found in our hair and nails and when applied in a hair treatment helps to add shine, reduce frizz, and reduce split ends.