5 Reasons Why Your Hair Care Routine Deserves Your Attention

By Ashleigh Cometti
A basic hair care routine will consist of the same three principles you’d expect from any solid skincare routine — cleanse, treat and protect. Photo / Pinterest

You’ve got your skincare routine down pat, but what about your hair? One expert weighs in.

No matter how involved (or not) your skincare routine might be, it’s safe to assume that if you’re reading this, you have one.

As the body’s largest living organ, skin deserves every little

The “skinification of hair” has picked up momentum over the last few years, with many hair brands cocktailing ingredients formerly reserved for skincare into their hair care formulas.

This shift is reflective of the growing preference for scalp care, which argues that while the mid-lengths and ends of hair are dead, the scalp certainly is not.

With this in mind, we tapped Kelly Manu, session stylist, L’Oréal Professionel Artist and founder of inner-city salon Una, for her hot take on why a solid hair care routine is just as important as your twice-daily skincare routine.

Award-winning hair stylist Kelly Manu makes a strong case for building a simple yet solid at-home hair care routine.
Award-winning hair stylist Kelly Manu makes a strong case for building a simple yet solid at-home hair care routine.

You can use ingredients popular in skincare

Building a hair care routine you can actually stick to need not be overwhelming, and Kelly says the best place to start is to book in for a consultation with your hair stylist, who can tailor a routine to suit your hair type and styling preferences.

“People think that having a proper hair care routine is really cumbersome and time-consuming, but it definitely doesn’t have to be,” Kelly says. “You will get more of a personalised experience by going to your hairdresser to build your ideal hair care regime.”

Generally speaking, a basic hair care routine will consist of the same three principles you’d expect from any solid skincare routine — cleanse, treat and protect — with a shampoo and conditioner (or treatment) alongside a leave-in product.

Kelly says these three (or four) products are your basic starting point, and adds that the likes of dry shampoo, mousse and hairspray are often nice-to-haves rather than hair essentials.

As far as hair care ingredients go, Kelly says she’s not one to demonise silicones as some can be beneficial to hair (check with your hair stylist first) but says to always shop for sulphate- and paraben-free options.

She’s quick to reinforce how skincare ingredients work just as well on hair, so advises shopping the shelves armed with this knowledge.

“The thing with hair care at the moment is there’s a lot of skincare ingredients coming into it. So things that we recognise as good for skin are actually in hair care now so it’s actually quite easy,” she says.

“If you are really into skincare, it’s easy to take those ingredients that you know work well for your skin and transfer that to your hair care.”

For example, when it comes to scalp care, Kelly loves chemical exfoliants AHAs and BHAs to gently slough away debris or product build-up, or for dry, damaged hair, to try products containing humectants like hyaluronic acid.

Try Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scalp Scrub with Sea Salt, $81, which contains a combination of AHAs (glycolic acid) and BHAs (salicylic acid) to restore balance to a sensitive or oily scalp.

You can wash your hair less

In the same way that a double cleanse helps to wash away makeup, dirt and impurities from skin, shampooing our hair twice should be a non-negotiable, Kelly says.

“The first cleanse helps to loosen up the dirt, but it’s not until the second cleanse that the dirt is actually removed,” she says.

It would be easy to assume shampooing twice means you’ll use double the product in half the time, but Kelly says the reverse is true — it makes your hair last longer in between washes so you can wash it less often.

“People believe that doing a double shampoo is a means to sell more product, which is absolutely not the case,” she explains.

Viva loves Kerastase Blond Absolu Ultra-Violet Shampoo, $63, to preserve the colour and condition of blonde or grey hair.

You can extend your results from the salon

Time means money in the salon chair, and longer services can often set you back a pretty penny.

It makes sense, then, to look after your hair well between appointments to not only extend the results you achieved when you left the salon chair, but to save time (and money) at your next appointment if your stylist doesn’t have to undo the damage you’ve caused to your tresses in between.

“There’s no point in spending so much money going to a really good stylist if you’re not going to have good hair care maintenance after. It’s like having a Ferrari and going to a cheap car wash,” Kelly says.

She recommends selecting products geared towards maintaining your results and your hair’s condition, whether that be protecting a vibrant colour or banishing brassiness on blonde hair.

“Hair stylists really notice a difference when you don’t have a great hair care regime when you come in to get your colour. There’s often extra steps or things we have to do to correct the fact it hasn’t been well maintained at home,” Kelly says.

These “extras” run the gamut from needing to lighten the ends of blonde hair or restore brightness to hair that’s become congested with minerals or heavy metals.

“In the long run, having a home hair care routine helps save time and money at the basin,” Kelly says.

You can grow longer, healthier hair

At the risk of sounding counterintuitive, there are some in-salon treatments that are worth adding to your service which promise to help you maintain your hair’s condition after your appointment ends.

One such treatment is L’Oreal’s newest in-salon innovation, the Absolut Repair Molecular System, which claims to repair two years of damage in a single application, with results supported by a shampoo ($63) and rinse-off serum ($73) you can continue to use at home.

It does so by strengthening and resurfacing dry or damaged hair with five amino acids and a 2 per cent concentration of peptides to rebuild the hair’s molecular structure.

Kelly recommends this service to those wanting to restore their hair’s condition post-summer or to brighten and lighten dull hair.

“You can instantly feel the difference in the hair strands, it immediately feels stronger and looks brighter. It’s a really exciting treatment and just shows there’s lots of big steps forward in hair technology at the moment,” she adds.

You can treat it as a form of self-care

If you’re a regular on TikTok, you might have seen clips of Japanese head spas — a scalp treatment that goes one step further than a heavenly hair wash at the basin, by combining cleansing and massage therapies to remove excess oils and debris, and hydrate hair follicles, while alleviating tension and increasing stimulation of the scalp.

While it’s not a treatment offered at Una, Kelly says she tried the treatment at an authentic head spa clinic in Japan and predicts the uptick in scalp massage will be one of the prevailing hair care trends in Aotearoa in 2024.

“Exfoliating the scalp is something that people should be thinking about if they have a lot of oil, or a lot of product build-up. It is important to get a specific scalp cleansing shampoo that cleanses all of that away. It also really helps with the growth of your hair,” she says.

As far as scalp massaging tools go, Kelly says fingertips work just as well, but adds a wide-toothed comb is a must for detangling strands and dispersing a hair mask or treatment throughout the hair evenly.

Try Philip B Detangling Comb, $81, which can be used on wet or dry hair and features ultra-wide teeth to minimise breakage.

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