Just like I did with makeup, I feel like I'm finally kind of finding my groove with my hair. It took me a really long time to figure out not only what kind of hair I have (thin, tangly strands, but a whole heck of a lot of them), but what in the world to do with it. I used to hate my slightly wavy, easily straightened hair, but I'm learning to really love it! It's incredibly easy to maintain if I just give it a little bit of TLC each day.
I'll kind of go through each product I use (sort of) in the order that I use them. Some of these I use daily, some once a month...but they're all a big part of my hair routine!
(Affiliate links used.)
Shampoo/Condition with a mix of...
-Redken All Soft Shampoo, Conditioner, and Cream
-Garnier Whole Blends Shampoo and Conditioner
-GVP's version of Clairol Shimmer Lights
I use several different types of shampoo/conditioner, just kind of depending on the day and what I'm needing out of it. I probably use Redken All Soft more than most. It makes your hair so incredibly soft and easy to manage...plus, it smells amazing! (And if you're buying it, that link is by far the cheapest I've found it.) But I've found that if you use it every single shampoo it can make your hair kind of limp and heavy. So, I've been changing it up with Garnier Whole Blends. The one I use is a hydrating line that really helps my blah postpartum hair.
The GVP version of Clairol Shimmer Lights is one I only use about once a week. If you're not familiar with it, it's a purple shampoo (and no, it won't turn your hair purple with normal use). I am currently trying to grow out all of my colored hair, just leaving my natural color (I figure I might as well get away with not coloring while I still can). Right now I have a ton of brassy outgrowth on my ends that looks terrible if I don't tone it a little. This shampoo is a deep purple that counteracts some of that brassy yellow color to make your color look a little more natural.
And, if you notice, the bottle of Shimmer Lights I linked to isn't directly from Clairol. One of my favorite hair product tips ever is to check out Sally Beauty's Generic Value Products line. It's a set of very popular hair products that are made by a generic lab, typically almost identically to their more expensive counterparts. If you are a fan of expensive hair products, definitely check Sally Beauty first to see if they make a knock off of your product! I've loved just about every product I've ever used in the GVPs.
Apply leave-in conditioner...equal parts It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In and Sebastian Potion 9. So I've mentioned before that I am obsessed with Redken Anti Snap. Up until recently, it was my go to for a leave-in (which is an absolute must for my tangly mess of hair). But y'all...it has been dethroned. It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In is SO GOOD. So good. It smells incredible and makes my hair the silkiest it has ever been.
I use a few sprays of the It's a 10 and then put a little bit of Sebastian Potion 9 through my hair afterwards. It's another leave-in that gives your hair a little bit more hold and control. Think of it as a cross between a leave-in conditioner and a hair gel. I really like it if I'm going to be wearing my hair wavy the next day...it gives it that hold it needs.
Brush it out with a Wet Brush. Once you use a Wet Brush, you will never go back. That thing can get through any head of hair. It doesn't really pull hair out but somehow tames even the worst tangles. I don't know exactly how it works, but it does. Amazing.
Apply Aquage Uplifting Foam. I found out about this from Kate at Small Things Blog, and it is incredible if your hair needs a little volume! This is another one Sally Beauty has a GVP product for, so that's the one I have linked. I use the method that Kate talks about in this post to apply it to slightly damp hair right before I blow dry. One note: for some reason, you have to be careful applying this around your ears, it always makes the hair right behind my ears really inflexible and crunchy. Kind of random but I have that issue every time!
Dry with BaBylissPRO Ceramix Extreme Dryer. This is the dryer that just keeps on trucking. I actually looked this one up on my Amazon account so I could get the exact product link for y'all, and noticed I ordered this in 2011. I've used this thing for 5 years and you would never know it's not a brand new, higher end hair dryer. It's the best. I have wavy hair that's fairly easy to blow dry straight, and this dryer gives me super soft, straight hair every time. It also has a lot of power behind it.
Apply Garnier Texture Tease. I think, of all of the items on this list, this tiny bottle of texturizer (which might be the least expensive thing here) is my favorite. It is insane how different my hair is when I use it. This product gives my hair just a little bit of "oomph" it needs to hold curl better, be a little more manageable (i.e. not immediately fall or slip out of ponytail holders), and look like it has more dimension. Think of it this way: you know how your second day hair is usually so much easier to manage and looks better when styled? It does that without having to wait a day or have dirty hair. I've already been through a whole bottle in a month or two and just ordered my second bottle (I haven't been able to find it in stores, but Amazon has it at basically the same price as local places).
From there, if I'm wearing it straight, I'm done! I lost my beloved Hana Professional Hair Straightener in my move last year (I think the company is out of business, but if you can find one it's a great tool). I used to go over my hair with it, but it honestly doesn't need it most days.
If I'm wearing curly/wavy, I use...
Conair Infiniti Pro Curl Secret (for very curly hair). Y'all, I know, this thing look SO gimmicky...but it works! I was pleasantly surprised by it. You have to use tiny pieces of hair in it and there is a little bit of a learning curve to it, but once you kind of get the hang of it it's really not that hard to use. I love that I don't burn myself and it turns out even, beautiful curls. I also love that it alternates the direction of your curls so they look more natural! My curls always hold incredibly well when using this, which is a big deal with my hair.
Remington Salon Collection Pearl Curling Wand, 1-1 ½ Inch (for more beachy waves). If I just want a little bit of volume and wave, I use this one. I curl big chunks of hair all the way around for just a few seconds at a time to get pretty, natural waves.
I usually set with a little bit of hair spray...no favorite in this department, but I currently have a bottle of Tre Semme that works. I'm thinking of looking around for a more high-end bottle soon!
Touch up on off days with Batiste Dry Shampoo, Deep and Dark Brown. If you don't have blonde/light hair, you probably know how difficult it can be to find a dry shampoo that doesn't make your hair look gray. This is the best I've found. I love regular Batiste dry shampoo, but it always made my hair look so ashy...this is a great alternative to that! It has a brown tint to it that blends perfectly with darker hair. One negative: it does come off on your fingers as you're working it into your hair, but as long as you don't use too much or touch your hair too much after you put it in, it isn't a huge issue.
And there you have it! It isn't the most complicated routine in the whole world, but it definitely works for me. I'm sure I'll keep tweaking it a little over time but, after (way too much) trial and error, I think I've finally nailed down how to care for my hair without a ton of fuss or money.