If your hair looks dull and feels fragile, it’s only to be expected: we subject our hair to constant brushing, tugging, and heat. But the damage could be coming from a culprit that’s less obvious than a curling iron, which is where a hair detox comes in. Here’s what you should deep clean from your daily routine to restore your hair’s health.
Silicones Cause Breakage
In everything from shampoos to anti-frizz serums, “silicone acts like a coating around the hair strand, trapping dirt, oil, and pollution,” says Anna Jackson, a hairstylist at Boss Hair Group in Chicago. It sits on top of your hair’s cuticles, forcing them to lie flat (resulting in a shinier, smoother appearance). But silicone also adds weight to hair, making strands more likely to snap as you’re brushing and styling. Plus, that layer of buildup can also keep essential moisture from sinking into the hair shaft, which is why “it eventually dries out the hair as well,” says Jackson.
If you’re looking to tame flyaways and enhance shine, look for a natural plant oil blend (argan, coconut, and marula work on all hair types)—it mimics your scalp’s natural oils, moisturizing and smoothing strands on the spot.
Hard Water Dulls Color and Shine
Rich in minerals like copper, iron and calcium, hard water can make all hair look lackluster, especially hair that's been dyed. “The minerals can interfere with and alter the artificial coloring used to dye hair, changing the color and disrupting the longevity of the color,” says Rachel Nazarian, M.D., a dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology in New York, NY.
In addition to installing a shower filter, like the T3 Source Showerhead, you should add antioxidants to your routine. Minerals in hard water can double as free radicals—antioxidants, like the green tea seed oil found in the Nourishing Shampoo and Nourishing Conditioner, neutralize them, keeping your hair more vibrant and healthier over all.
Dry Shampoo Can Irritate Your Scalp
It’s an essential for many, but “the problem with dry shampoo is that it allows for a continuous buildup,” says Nazarian. “And most types also absorb natural oils and hydrators on the scalp and in the strands that help to maintain a healthy hair cuticle.” It’s the equivalent of piling powder onto your skin to cleanse it instead of washing it every night—and this can lead to flakes, itchiness, and bumps.
As with most things, dry shampoo is best used in moderation. Unless your hair type requires less frequent washing—like textured hair—aim to wash with a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo every one to three days. In addition, avoid blasting your roots with an aerosol dry shampoo, which leads to more buildup (and fills the air with volatile organic compounds). The best approach for your hair, your health, and the environment is a non-aerosol, talc-free powder. Shake a little into your palm, massage it into roots, and you’re good to go.
Sulfates Strip Moisture
For years, sulfates were the gold standard of shampoos, in part because they’re so effective at washing away oil. But they’re problematic when it comes to our health—and our hair. “Overuse of sulfates can add to brittleness,” says Nazarian. Its effects are even worse if you have a naturally drier hair type, such as curly or textured hair, adds Jackson.
Seek out formulas free of sulfates and other harsh detergents (skip any ingredients that end in -eth). And when you do shampoo, focus your application at the roots, which is where your hair needs the most deep cleansing anyway. The Nourishing Shampoo replaces traditional sulfates with coconut-derived ingredients that create a satisfying lather without stripping hair.
An Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse Can Help
If you want to totally reset your hair and scalp by removing buildup and product residue, a clarifying shampoo seems like the obvious option. However, most clarifying shampoos contain high levels of sulfates, which—as we mentioned— present their own set of problems. Luckily, something in your pantry can help: an apple cider vinegar hair rinse, made by mixing two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar into an 8 oz. glass of water, lowers the pH of your strands, breaking up mineral buildup and product residue. One caveat: if you have a sensitive scalp, proceed with caution, warns Nazarian. Make sure you rinse the formula from hair quickly and, if needed, dilute the rinse with even more water.