Raise your hand if you want long, beautiful hair. If you found your hand moving in an upward motion—despite being alone in your room in front of your computer screen—we don’t blame you. And we’re here to help. To guide you on your journey of growing your longest, strongest hair yet, we spoke to some of the beauty industry’s top experts for their best maintenance tips for straight, wavy, curly, and coily hair. Discover tips to supporting ~dreamy~ lengths, ahead.
Cleanse hair often
Your routine for healthy hair starts with how you cleanse it. Since fine, straight hair can be prone to getting oily, it helps—and feels ahh-mazing—to shampoo hair often. Devin Toth, hairstylist at NYC’s Salon SCK, suggests doing so every day or every other day if you have this particular hair texture. We love the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths Restoring Shampoo for this, which cleanses without stripping hair of the moisture it needs.
Conditioner is crucial to maintaining long and strong hair, as it restores hydration (leading to softer and more resilient strands) and instantly detangles (preventing breakage.) When it comes to finer textures, however, skin and haircare expert Rocio Rivera, PhD, VP of scientific communications at L’Oréal Paris cautions against over-conditioning, as it could leave hair looking greasy.
She suggests applying conditioner—specifically, the brand’s Elvive Dream Lengths Super Detangle Conditioner—only to the lengths of your hair down to its ends, as applying the emollient formula to your roots may leave the area greasy. Dr. Rivera also touts how the conditioner, formulated with B vitamins and castor oil, nourishes and strengthens hair without ever weighing it down.
Loosen tight styles
Hate to break this to you, but your pop-princess high ponies could be damaging your hair. Don’t freak—when it comes to ponies, braids, and other updos, just make sure you aren’t styling them too tightly. Too much tension can cause unwanted breakage (which is the last thing you want if you’re trying to maintain length). Celeb stylist Dalina Rebollo also points out that sleeping in a ponytail or another tight ’do can cause hair loss over time, so loosen up your bedtime look, too.
Use a generous amount of conditioner
On the flip side, since wavy textures tend to be drier, both Dr. Rivera and Toth suggest being more liberal with the conditioner if you fall into these hair types. Doing so will prevent unwanted breakage (aka what may be keeping you from achieving your hair goals.) “Always apply a generous amount of conditioner when washing, and a leave in-conditioner when air drying or before styling,” Dr. Rivera says.
Toth says aim to completely saturate and evenly distribute the stuff throughout your length. “The goal is to cover every strand of hair with product,” he says, noting to avoid getting it on your roots. (Again, things could get greasy.)
Keep heat styling to a minimum
Preventing heat damage is critical to maintaining healthy hair, but there are special considerations when it comes to coarser textures. Not only will heat-styling wavy, curly, and coily hair often cause more frizz, it can also change the hair’s natural texture with repeated use, according to Toth. “This means you’ll become more dependent on heat-styling the more that you do it,” he says. And this can ultimately lead to more damage.
If you must reach for the curling wand, make sure to prep hair properly. That starts with coating hair with a heat protectant, like the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths No Haircut Cream, which shields hair from temperatures up to 450 degrees. Then, make sure hair is completely dry before hitting it with styling tools. Toth says working with even slightly damp hair can “stretch [it] out disproportionately, unevenly reshape different areas, and leave hair discolored.”
Sleep on a silk or satin pillowcase
While people with different textures can benefit from sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase, you might be surprised to learn that it’s especially beneficial for those with wavy, curly, and coily hair, as these textures can prove to be more fragile than fine, straight hair. Sleeping on satin or silk helps smooth strands and reduces the friction that occurs when they rub against harsher fabrics. The end result: less breakage and stronger, frizz-free hair.
Curly & Coily Hair
Cocktail products to define and hydrate
A surefire way to ensure your curls and coils are getting the proper amount of moisture they need to maintain their structure and length is by mixing two or more nutrient-dense products. To celebrity hairstylist Cheryl Bergamy, that means a moisturizing curl cream and a leave-in with thermal protection. Say hello to supreme curl definition.
Curly and coily hair is really fun to style and play with (because, of course!). There’s nothing wrong with giving your hair the attention it needs, but moderation is key. If you’re experiencing more breakage than normal, there’s a good chance you’re over-working your hair.
The solution: Keep touching to a minimum (we know it’s tough!) while you nurse your strands back to health. Toth suggests applying the L’Oréal Paris Elvive Dream Lengths No Haircut Cream generously throughout over-manipulated, highly textured hair and let it air dry. A little extra hydration and TLC might be what your curls need.
Indulge in a hair mask
Feel like your curls and coils don’t pop like they used to? Dr. Rivera says to treat curls to hydrating conditioners and hair masks. Her pro tip: leave your hair mask on for three to five minutes longer than the suggested time listed on its label. Doing so will not only give your hair more bounce, it will also help ward off future breakage.