Stars go on styling benders that damage and age their hair: Getting curled, blown-out, straighted and highlighted is all part of the job. And yet their locks always look luscious, thanks to a few seriously smart repair strategies. Click through to learn the 12 tactics to make your hair look truly specatcular.
Healthy hair starts with a clean scalp, which is why hairstylist Jen Atkin, whose clients include Jessica Alba, often suggests a divide-and-conquer approach: "I massage a cleansing shampoo into the scalp to invigorate the skin and then apply a hydrating shampoo to the ends," says Atkin. Do this a few times a weekÃ¢â‚¬”and use good ol' H2O on the off days. "Your scalp can start to overproduce oil if you strip too much oil away, so I tell clients like Jennifer Lawrence and Elizabeth Olsen to shampoo just three times a week," says hairstylist Mark Townsend. "You can take a shower every day; just massage your scalp with water instead of shampoo. It will help shift the oils down to the ends of your hair, which need moisture."
An overload of hair products can leave behind a residue that makes hair look dull. "During fashion week, models came in from a previous show with way too much firm-hold gel in their hair, and I'm like, 'Ew, you've been using too many products!' Conditioner can build up over time, and hair spray can stick around for a while too," says Townsend. "So I tell all of my clients to do a deep cleaning once every two weeks with Sally Hershberger's Clean Tech Shampoo and Conditioner. They wash away hair products and oil and grease buildup and help restore shine without irritating your scalp." ($24 each, sallyhershberger.com)
"I love using paper towels to scrunch about 50 percent of the moisture out so I don't have to blow-dry for a long time, which can cause damage," says hairstylist Adir Abergel. "I do this with all my clientsÃ¢â‚¬”like Jessica Biel, Anne Hathaway." Paper towels seem to soak up more moisture than a cotton towel, "and people tend to rub towels back and forth on their head, which creates friction that leads to frizz and breakage," he says. Or pick up a microfiber turban, which Townsend uses on his clients to absorb moisture. "They don't pullÃ¢â‚¬”and breakÃ¢â‚¬”hair like regular cotton towel turbans," he says. Try Aquis Essentials Microfiber Hair Turban ($17, drugstore.com).
Celebrities tend to be people of extremes, but not when it comes to heated tools. "If I use a flatiron on Jennifer Garner, I always choose one with a gauge so I can control the temperature to protect her hair," says hairstylist Jenny Cho. She likes the Harry Josh flatiron ($250, hairenvy.com), which she puts on medium heat; she also goes over each section quickly to prevent baking it.
Peek into most actresses' bags and you're bound to spot a sleek Mason Pearson brush. Hairstylists promise they're worth the investment (brushes range from $68 to $325; neimanmarcus.com): "I use Mason Pearson brushes on all of my celebrity clients because these brushes don't rip hair or cause split ends," says hairstylist David Babaii, partner at Blo Blow Dry Bar, who works with Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kate Hudson. "I use natural boar-bristle brushes for fine long hair, bristle-and-nylon brushes for normal and short thick hair, and all-nylon ones for very thick hair. The longer the hair, the bigger the brush you need."
When a celeb chops her hair, it's not always because she was craving a pixieÃ¢â‚¬”sometimes it's because her hair was damaged beyond repair. "You need to trim your hair half an inch to an inch every three months to keep it looking healthy," says Townsend. "I regularly 'dust' Ashley Olsen's ends, but initially Mary-Kate wouldn't let me. I was like, 'Babe, if you don't let me get these split ends off, your hair is going to break off.' We then had to cut almost a foot off."
And when you're in the stylist's chair, consider going blunt. Chemically induced thinness or splits can be visually disguised by blunt ends. "They give the illusion of thicker hair," says Townsend. "I give Kate Bosworth a nice blunt cut on the ends and then a few face-framing layers." Adds Abergel: "The blunt layers create movement. Like with Jessica BielÃ¢â‚¬”you can see the healthiness in her hair."
These salon frizz reducers have an unexpected side effect: They boost glossiness. "Keratin treatments are a great way to flatten out the cuticle so it reflects more light, which in turn makes hair look healthier and shinier," says Abergel, who advises doing one (starting at $175) twice a year.
These oil potions combat dullness, dryness, and damage all at once. "I make a hair-treatment recipe and give bottles to Diane Kruger, Kate Bosworth, and Ali Larter," says Townsend. "It's half a cup of coconut oil and a tablespoon each of jojoba oil, almond oil, macadamia oil, and vitamin E oil. Once a week, apply it from mid-shaft to ends, leave it on for 20 minutes, and then shampoo your roots."
BabaiiÃ¢â‚¬”who likes using almond oilÃ¢â‚¬”says that for hair in need of major resuscitation, "apply enough oil to coat your scalp and hair, tuck your hair into a shower cap, and then step into the shower. Allow the steam to penetrate the oil into the hair for a few minutes, and then shampoo and condition."
Colorist Rita Hazan, owner of the Rita Hazan Salon in New York City, uses a "shadowing" technique that involves leaving the underside of the hair, from nape to ends, two shades darker than the rest. This is especially helpful for people whose hair is thinning or fraying from damage. "The shadowing gives the illusion of thickness," says Hazan, whose clients include Jessica Simpson and BeyoncÃƒÂ©.
Not only can bangs hide forehead lines, but they are also a clever and convenient way to get rid of some hair baggage. "Most of the time the front is the most damaged section of your hair, because it's the part you style the most," says Abergel. "Start with a long side bang, which gives you a lot of movement around the face. That's what I did with Sienna Miller."
We all know dye can damage your hairÃ¢â‚¬”but nobody's about to give up her highlights! To keep the hurt to a minimum, colorists prolong the time between sessions with glosses, which (in case you were wondering) are semipermanent color treatments that don't contain hair-parching peroxide. "When color starts to fade a little, I apply a colored gloss. It makes hair look healthier and more youthful. Then I'll apply a clear gloss over it for a little boost of shine. I did this on Anna Kendrick," says colorist Sharon Dorram, owner of Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger salon in New York City.
Celebrities may sleep on D. Porthault Egyptian cotton sheets, but their pillowcases are often less pricey. "I tell clients to go out and buy a simple $12 Sateen cotton pillowcase," says Townsend. "They're gentler on hairÃ¢â‚¬”and on your walletÃ¢â‚¬”than regular cotton, and your hair doesn't get all tangled, which can lead to damage. It's the one time I'm a fan of Sateen cotton." Overnight success!