Hair dos and don’ts: 5 tips for healthier hair (and star products to go with it)

More hair masks? More serums and oils? We dissect them all for you

When it comes to hair, there are just so many questions to be answered: How often should you shampoo your hair? How do you treat damaged hair for a healthier shine?

READ MORE: This trendy new way of washing your hair is so much gentler yet effective - and it only takes one step and want to get unbelievably soft and shiny hair? Grab this

While hairdressers will usually recommend you a slew of the newest and hottest products to try for your damaged hair (think Moroccan oil, keratin treatments; the list goes on), it’s more important to start caring from the basics – that is, your day-to-day hair care routine.

So here’s the deal. You don’t need to apply copious amounts of hair products to get a silky smooth mane. Rather, practise these five simple dos and don’ts at home and you’ll be one step closer to healthier and stronger locks.

Don’t: Wash your hair every day

I know, you’re scared of ending up with a head of grimy and ‘smelly’ hair. But washing your hair every day means that you are stripping it of essential oils. Unless your scalp is prone to overproduction of oils, over-washing it will remove too much sebum from the scalp and dry out the strands, even if you’re using the gentlest of shampoos. Plus less frequent washes means you’ll avoid excessive blow-drying, another factor for parched hair.

Do: Use a dry shampoo

We know it’s near impossible to not wash your hair in our hot weather, but you can try to swap your regular shampoo with dry shampoo every other day. The latter is great for absorbing greasiness in your hair, making it look freshly washed and presentable in a pinch. If you can’t stand not washing your hair, Ted Gibson, the owner-stylist of the Ted Gibson salons in New York City, advises you to “rinse your scalp with water”. Also, gently comb out your hair to spread the natural oils from the roots to the frizzy ends as this will help in nourishing and making them healthier.

Try: Ouai Dry Shampoo, $36 from Sephora

Don’t: Use a shampoo with sulfates

In the last few years, there has been a lot of buzz around sulfate in shampoos. So what are sulfates? They are detergents – that is, cleaning and foaming agents – and are found in most rinse-off products. Sulfates may give you the sensation of a rich lather and they do help to clean and purify your hair from dirt, but they can be quite harsh and also strip off essential oils. Other than that, they might even cause acne on your scalp, so avoid them like the plague.

Do: Choose a sulfate-free shampoo

These formulas are less irritating, much gentler on the scalp and less prone to washing away your hair’s natural moisture. One thing to note: they don’t froth as much but that does not mean you are not cleaning your scalp properly; too sudsy of a wash can be drying for your scalp.

Try: Alterna Haircare Caviar Daily Detoxifying Shampoo, $32 from Sephora

Don’t: Condition your whole head

The roots are coated with natural sebum, being the closest to your scalp, so by conditioning them, you may actually be over-nourishing them. The ends of your hair are usually more damaged and parched, so focus on working the product at the tips, which need more care.

Do: Deep conditioning with a hair mask

While you’re at it, why not opt for a hair mask that offers deep conditioning? After shampooing your hair, squeeze out the excess water and towel dry. Then take a generous amount of nourishing hair mask and apply it to your frizzy hair ends. Use a broad toothed comb and run it through your hair to make sure all the strands are thoroughly coated Then leave it in for a good 10 minutes and rinse off with cold water, for both stronger and shinier hair.

Try: Living Proof Restore Mask Treatment. $61 from Sephora

Don’t: Tug at your wet hair

Given the insane morning rush, you may be tempted to comb your hair out immediately with a brush and dryer after stepping out from the shower. “There’s no upside to this,” says Kristina Barricelli, a celebrity hairstylist and co-owner of the Gemini 14 Salon in New York City. “Hair is less elastic when it’s wet, so it’s more prone to breaking from the tug of the brush.”

Do: Blow-dry it slightly and use a detangler product

It’s paramount to comb your wet hair with extreme care, so you should always be using a broad toothed comb (combs with tinier teeth can ‘tear’ your hair). We recommend blow-drying at the roots, flipping your hair back and forth so as to not dry out the ends and simultaneously give it more volume. Then spritz on some detangler and use the comb to smoothly glide through.

Try: Original and Mineral No Knott Conditioning Detangler, $38 from Sephora

Don’t: Leave your ends hanging

Though you have taken the extra step to nourish your frizzy ends with a conditioner, it does not contain certain minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids that boost the overall health of your hair.

Do: Apply hair oil

Enter the popular Moroccan oil, which is said to fortify and repair damaged hair with its naturally high content of fatty acids and vitamin E, which promises to protect your hair from sun damage and aid in accelerating hair growth. Pump a small amount and apply it all over your ends if you’re not shampooing your hair. In the event that you are, then apply it from roots through to ends.

Try: Caudalie Divine Oil (contains grapeseed, hibiscus, sesame and argan oil), $50 from Sephora