Always Look For This Shampoo Ingredient If You Struggle With Dry Hair

A five-step routine to boost moisture, ahead.

by Natasha Marsh
Originally Published: 
dry hair woman with curly hair
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The summer is good for many things — relaxation, vacation, copious sunshine — but it can also wreak havoc on your hair. Dryness, especially, is one of the main concerns for many people this time of year (although it can be a factor in your lackluster hair year round). “Dry hair develops when your hair doesn’t get or retain enough moisture,” says Rashuna Durham, stylist and amika lead pro educator. “This reduces it’s sheen and can make it appear frizzy and dull.” That’s why finding the right products, like the best shampoo and conditioner for dry hair, is key to maintaining healthy, hydrated hair year-round.

In addition to your environment, things like bleach, excess heat from heat tools (without the use of a quality heat protectant), chemical and color processing, age, and hormones can all dry out the hair — affecting the overall structure of the hair follicles. Dry hair is also more common in Type 3 and 4 hair. “The natural oils that flow from the scalp to our ends can become trapped in the curls and coils of textured strands,” says Monique Rodriguez, CEO and founder of Mielle Organics. Meaning, textured hair is susceptible to dryness, which could lead to breakage.

And although dehydrated locks can be disappointing, curing it doesn’t always mean heading back to the salon. You can achieve luscious, moisturized hair from the comfort of your own home with the perfect arsenal of products that are specifically formulated for dry hair. Since managing dry hair and finding the right shampoo and conditioner (among other shower staples) can be tricky, TZR spoke to a couple experts for their product recommendations and overall TLC tips for dry hair.

Holger Scheibe/ Getty Images

Dry Hair Tip 1: Find The Right Shampoo

When selecting your next shampoo, Jamie Lynn, Bumble and Bumble hairstylist, encourages you to focus on ingredients that add moisture, like coconut oil, avocado oil, argan oil, vitamin E, and shea butter. And unsurprisingly, all the experts recommend staying away from sulfates — the cleansing agent in soaps, shampoos, and body washes that remove build-up grease and dirt.

“The goal of detergents is to strip away dirt, sebum, and excess product, but they do so at the expense of the natural oils that are meant to stay on the scalp and hair,” Wes Sharpton, hairstylist for Hairstory tells TZR. “This stripping causes a terrible viscous cycle of overproducing oil, washing, and stripping again — a continuous recipe for dry hair.” And although hair slugging was trending for a minute to help boost moisture, the experts say that petrolatum (while a great occlusive for locking in moisture for the skin) can suffocate the hair cuticle and should be avoided.

And remember, no matter how great your shampoo might be, if you shampoo your hair too often (often this means daily), it will also cause your hair to become dull and dry. It’s best to stick to washing three times a week at most to maintain the natural oils in the hair.

Dry Hair Tip #2: Invest In A Star Conditioner

Lynn recommends conditioners with coconut, almond, and macadamia nut oils that are full of fatty acids and lipids that help rebuild the hair. These ingredients will seal off the hair cuticle and lock in all that needed moisture. Make sure to apply conditioner from the ends up, while combing through hair to ensure it’s evenly distributed.

Dry Hair Tip #3: Add A Scalp Treatment

According to Rodriguez, dry hair often stems from a dry scalp. Add in an oil, mask, or leave-in to your hair once a week, or when you see fit, to allow the product to penetrate deeply. You’ll also want to look for hydrators like argan oil, biotin, and keratin (which can help repair damaged hair cuticles and reduce moisture loss). Rodriguez recommends leaving a scalp treatment on for at least 30 minutes before you wash it out, and encourages you to keep it on for longer if you can as it will give the formula more time to seep in.

Dry Hair Tip #4: Trim It

Erinn Courtney, natural hair care professional and stylist, encourages regular hair trims (every six to eight weeks) as a good rule of thumb to stick to for not only length retention, but to also keep strands hydrated. A trim will freshen up layers, take care of split ends, and help hair remain moisturized and strong.

Dry Hair Tip #5: Say No To Heat

Heat styling can damage even the healthiest strands, making it super problematic for dry textures. Limit using heat whenever possible, and if you must use hot tools, always apply a heat protectant to the hair before styling to minimize the risk of damage.

Ready for a life of dry-free hair? Below the experts are sharing their favorite shampoos, conditioners, and hair masks to set you up for success.

We at TZR only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

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