The 6-step routine for medium-thick hair that will give you your shiniest hair yet!

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Looking after our hair in the winter can be an utterly gruelling task. With hats and cold weather and air conditioners making our hair somehow dryer and greasier than ever all at the same time, tackling common issues like dandruff, dullness and breakage make for a difficult season of haircare.

And yet, it’s also the season we want our hair to really shine. Party season is here and for the first time since the pandemic, it looks like we might actually be able to get out and about a little bit to see people and go to some festive events – so we need our hair to be in top condition for all the partying we plan to do!

Getting your hair back into top shape all comes down to your routine. In the winter we need a little extra moisture from our routine and a little more aftercare after the shower. Here’s how to curate the ultimate shine and gleam for your hair this season by adding a few simple and effective steps to your routine!

Step One: Shampoo

A common mistake that many people make when shampooing is shampooing the whole head, but any hairdresser will tell you that’s a huge no no if you want luscious, healthy hair. The shampoo part of your routine is designed to nourish and cleanse the scalp and roots of your hair – not the ends.

You should be massaging your shampoo (preferably sulfate-free) into your roots gently, reaching all over the head, but avoiding the lengths as much as much as you can. This way your targeting the grease and debris and buildup there while avoiding stripping hydration away from your ends.

You should also try to gently brush your hair before you shower when you can. It will make for way less breakage when you’re at the shampooing stage.

Step Two: Hair mask

Slim woman in bikini washing head in spacious bathroom

I like to replace my conditioner with a hair mask once or twice a week. It’s a thicker, more nourishing option for when our hair needs that extra boost of hydration and help to shine.

One of my favourites is the Garnier Hair Food Banana mask. It really absorbs into the hair and always leaves mine really shine and soft – which also makes it easier to brush through afterwards. And you can use it as a conditioner replacement, a hair mask or even a leave-in conditioner in small amounts, meaning you can change it to suit your hair needs on any given day. It’s just that extra boost that gives my hair a helping hand in conditions that make hair fragile.

Step Three: Microfibre towel

Close up view of woman with hair wrapped in towel

Switching over to a microfibre towel is life-changing for certain hair types. They cause way less friction than normal cotton towels, meaning your hair is way less frizzy, damaged and dried out when you use one consistently.

This is a change that may take a while to see the results of, but once you make the switch it’s worth it. You hair -especially if it’s frizzy or curly naturally – will present way less of a challenge for brushing and hydration, because microfibre towels keep the moisture in the hair, rather than ringing it out of it just as you’ve put your conditioner in!

Step Four: Heat protectant

Person Holding White and Silver Bottle

The absolute holy grail of hair care! I’m fairly low maintenance with my haircare as generally prefer to let it dry naturally if I can, as I believed that was a less damaging way to dry hair, rather than using intense heat on it.

That being said, I suffered from my hair getting quite greasy quite quickly, soon after washing it. When I asked my hairdresser, she asked if I blowdried my hair or let it dry naturally. Turns out, a lot of the time, we should all be blowdrying our hair with an intensive heat protectant, as when it dries naturally, the moisture and particles in the air actually adds weight and buildup to our hair, causing it to get greasier faster.

So because we should be blowdrying our hair, a proper heat protectant is a must to preserve hydration and shine. I use the John Frieda Frizz Ease Original Serum for Medium to Thick Hair as it protects hair up to 220C and has a really nourishing but lightweight feel to it.

Before you brush you hair after a shower, it’s essential to spritz a little onto your hands and gentle comb it through your ends. Then, using your hairbrush, gently de-tangle the ends of your hair where the product is and gradually work your way up your ends, rather than brushing from the root. This will distribute the protectant mostly on the ends where you need it most but still add a little to your roots without getting them greasy. Plus it will stop breakage and weakening on the hair by trying to de-tangle from the root down.

Step Five: Blowdrying methods

Woman Holding Gray Hair Dryer and Wearing White Bathrobe

So while you are definitely supposed to blow dry your hair to help it get greasy less often, it’s important to do it the right way for maximum hydration retention and shine. Although it takes a little longer, it’s better for your hair to dry it on a low heat setting at first. This will dry your hair without frying it with overly high heat.

Secondly, and this is a step many people miss but makes all the difference, you need to blast your hair with cold air from your blowdryer before you switch it off. It’s sounds random, but the cold air actually seals your hair cuticle shit after all the heat, giving your hair a smoother and shinier finish. It also stops any of the moisture in the air from getting back into your hair and causing it to frizz up, so it’s an absolutely essential step for achieving that smooth, sleek look.

Step Six: Hair oil

Woman in White Sleeveless High Neck Top Showing Her Back

The final step – which is optional if you have hair that needs to be washed every day or so due to grease – is to add a little hair oil. Similarly to the heat protectant, rub a drop or two between your palms and run them through the length of your hair before brushing after blowdrying. Again, running it through the lengths and not the roots allows you distribute it where the hair needs it most, meaning you hair will shine without depositing the oil on your scalp and causing instant greasiness.

Running the hairbrush through afterwards will add the shine to your whole head without the buildup, meaning your hair will be its shiniest and most lightweight ever – enjoy!

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