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Shiny Hair: Fact and Fiction

By Hope DeAngelis Schmid

Every woman wants them -- lustrous locks that look straight out of a hair commercial. Smooth, shiny hair is right up there with a clear, glowing complexion when it comes to your overall look, because both are a reflection of your health in general. But how do you get it? Read on to separate the fact from the fiction about shiny hair.

1. Rinsing with cold water makes hair shiny.
Fact
. The cuticle, the outermost layer of the hair structure, is constructed like shingles on a roof. When you rinse with cold water, it encourages the cuticle to lie flat and produces a smooth surface that light will bounce off of, creating shiny hair. It’s not necessary to take a freezing cold shower; a thorough cool rinse after conditioning is enough to do the trick.

2. What you eat doesn’t affect your hair.
Fiction
. Your hair and nails are a product of what you eat and drink. First, drinking enough water is vital for your organs, and if you don’t take in enough, your body will withhold the moisture from your hair (among other things). Drink water to avoid brittle hair that can break or cause split ends. Second, don’t be afraid of adding a little healthy fat to your diet. One of the best is omega-3 essential fatty acids, which make your hair healthy and shiny. Eat more tuna and salmon, or take a fish oil supplement.

3. Straight hair is shinier than curly hair.
Fact
. Because straight strands have a wider surface to reflect light, hair looks shinier. Curly haired gals can use sprays or oils for shiny hair. Refrain from brushing through curls once they are set; that’s a shortcut to frizz. Instead use your fingers to comb through dry curls, to separate and define the hairstyle.

4. Brushing your hair 100 strokes every day will make your hair shinier.
Fiction
. This may have been true decades ago when people showered less and used mostly natural brushes. It is beneficial to invest in a good boar bristle brush, which is gentler than a synthetic brush and distributes the natural oils from roots to the ends, where your hair is the driest. A good brushing once a day (but not a full 100 strokes) will help marginally. Also, don’t brush your hair roughly while it is wet, because it’s susceptible to stretching and breaking. When combing your hair post-shower, use a leave-in conditioner or detangler, and gently work through hair from the bottom section up to remove tangles.

5. Using too many products on your hair can make it dull.
Fact
. Gels, mousses and waxes can build up and dull your hair shine. An easy fix is to use a clarifying shampoo either once a week or once a month, depending on your needs. If you rely on dry shampoo to stretch the times in between washings, be sure to concentrate the powder close to your scalp. Just as face powder works to minimize the oil and shine on your face, dry shampoo absorbs the oil on your scalp. You don’t want it to take away the natural oils from the rest of your hair that contribute to its shine.


Hope DeAngelis Schmid has written for many websites, including DailyMakeover.com, Sephora’s Beauty and the Blog, Glamour’s beauty blog Girls in the Beauty Department and TheDCLadies.com. She is the co-founder of the popular travel website, TheJetSetGirls.blogspot.com.
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