A little extra effort pays off when painting a living room or baking a birthday cake. But when it comes to getting great hair, it’s better to do some strategic slacking. Experts refreshingly suggest: Stop trying so hard. In turn, you’ll have hair that’s in top condition (not to mention extra time in the morning and money in your pocketbook). Here, six no-nonsense tips for cutting back.
Comb Early, but Not Often
Prevent post-shower snarls before you step under the water by using a wide-tooth comb on dry hair. (Wet hair is more fragile and prone to damage.) Then don’t pick up a comb or a brush again until your hair is partially dry.
“People who have dry hair can easily go four to five days between shampoos,” says Harry Josh, a New York City stylist. Oilier hair may need lathering every other day. Consider subbing in a dry product, such as Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo Spray ($23, ulta.com), to break a daily-shampoo habit. If you develop greasy bangs or a limp-looking hairline, pull your hair into a shower cap but leave out the hair around your face. Then wash just that area, suggests Mandie Joslin, a stylist at the A Line Salon, in Corte Madera, California. Otherwise simply restyle between washes by wetting hair and drying it.
Skimp on Conditioner
If your conditioner bottle is empty before the shampoo bottle, chances are you’re using too much. A dime-size dab of conditioner suffices for most people, says Michael Jacobson, a co-owner of the Michael & Michael salon, in Chicago. Applying more than you need not only costs more but also creates a dirt-attracting residue that necessitates more shampooing (and the vicious cycle begins again). Use conditioner from midshaft to the ends only, and rely on your scalp’s nourishing oils to keep the hair closer to the roots healthy. (Occasional strokes from a natural-bristle brush will help distribute these oils.)