It’s not necessarily what you use on your hair, but how you treat it. (Hint: be gentle!) Make your hair your best asset with these tips from YOU: The Owner’s Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life, by Michael F. Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet C. Oz, M.D.
Step 1: Shampoo. Before getting into the shower, gently brush or finger-comb your hair to loosen up tangles and residue. When washing your hair, treat it delicately. Leave hair hanging down and gently massage in shampoo starting at the roots and working down. You don’t need a lot to clean your hair. Most shampoo just washes away the protective oils.
Step 2: Condition. Conditioner creates shine and preserves hair’s health by giving it smoothness and protecting it against damage. For volume, condition only the middle and ends of your hair, where it’s most susceptible to damage. For shine, condition the entire strand. Do it every time you use shampoo. If your hair is dry, try skipping the shampoo part some days and just apply conditioner and rinse thoroughly. Or just use water.
Step 3: Dry. Don’t rub your hair with a towel or twist it tightly into a turban. Wet hair is delicate and breaks easily. Pat it gently and squeeze it with your towel or use a superabsorbent towel sold at salons. A wide-toothed comb is the best way to detangle and distribute styling products when hair is wet. And keep any dryers at low-heat settings. High hair-dryer heat (and that from curling irons) causes the water under the cuticles (the outermost layer of the hair) to form bubbles that stress and break the hair, leaving those dreaded split ends.