Shiny hair is a difference-maker. You can have hair that’s perfectly styled but if it lacks that certain glossy luster, it can still look off somehow. To find out how to keep hair sleek and lacquered, we went straight to celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons, who keeps the Kardashians’ hair on point in literally every situation, from lounging at home to red carpet appearances and filming their reality show.
The key to shiny hair
There are a number of factors that contribute to shiny hair, perhaps most importantly the actual structure of the hair itself. Oil, product buildup, damage and even pollution all also play into the level of shine that hair can achieve. “It’s a bit of an oversimplification to say that ‘healthy hair is shiny hair,’ but there’s a general truth to that: you want to ensure your hair is as healthy, moisturized, strong and clean to maximize your shine. Also, certain hair colors naturally appear shinier than others,” discloses Andrew.
It’s all about the cuticle
Our hair strands have something called cuticles, not to be confused with nail cuticles. The hair cuticle is the outermost part of the hair, and this is actually what light reflects off, creating the “shine” we see. “When the color within the cortex of the strand is really intense (like black), it will also appear shinier,” says Andrew
Step-by-step to shinier locks
The first step to creating more shine is to remove excess buildup from the scalp and hair, which Andrew notes can negatively impact shine. “I’d recommend adding a weekly scalp scrub into your haircare routine,” he says, noting you should think of it like a detoxifying face mask. “It helps clear away any debris and anything you may be missing your regular routine.”
Next, if you are using any type of heat on your hair, Andrew stresses to make sure you are applying a heat protection spray, which is crucial for keeping the hair free of damage.
Finally, make sure your hair is super moisturized. “I would add in a weekly hair mask into your routine (there are a number of great ones on the market, or you can make your own with items at home!). You can also layer in a shine spray or leave in conditioner for added moisture if you find your hair is on the dryer side,” he continues.
Shiny despite damage
Even if hair is damaged, you can still get it back to optimal shine levels by relying on reparative products (shampoos, conditioners, treatments, etc.), which will restore the cuticle back to pre-damage levels. “It’s especially critical to use heat protection and minimize the use of hot tools to prevent future damage,” adds Andrew, who notes that you want to add moisture back into the strands with a hair oil and/or treatment mask.
Shine and curly hair
One of our biggest questions regarding shine is its relationship with curly hair, namely can curly hair be shiny? Unfortunately, curly hair won’t appear as shiny as straight hair due to the position of the cuticle. “The cuticle layer of curly hair is naturally raised (not lying flat – which we know is the situation for optimal shine). Because the cuticle is raised, it doesn’t reflect light the same way that it would if the cuticle layer was laying flat,” Andrew explains.
Cold rinse and better hot tools
A little-known cheat to creating more shine is with temperature – and is another reason why you should end your shower with a cold rinse. “I always recommend rinsing out your conditioner with cold water as this helps to close the hair cuticle and keep it laying flat, optimizing shine,” he notes.
Another key to keeping hair shiny is to invest in your hot tools. “While it seems like an oxymoron as I’ve also recommended to avoid hot tools as much as possible, well-crafted tools will make a big difference in how much damage is done to your hair.”
Hero shine products
Keeping up with shine comes down to good habits and also good products. “I recommend SlipSilk Pillowcase to all my clients — and everyone else, invest in a good silk pillowcase. I love the ones from SlipSilk,” Andrew share, noting that regular pillowcases can cause friction on your strands, which will damage the hair and make it appear dull. Andrew also loves TIGI Copyright Shine Booster, an oil treatment to boost the cuticle shine. “It contains a blend of oils like coconut oil and cassia leaf oil, which are great for adding shine and for moisturizing the strands,” he says.
“I love using hair oils, they’re a staple in my kit,” adds Andrew, suggesting his own product, Primark x Andrew Fitzsimons Hair Oil. “I love the oil I developed with Primark as part of my collection, it banishes frizz, is super hydrating and adds a ton of shine.”
Hair health leads to hair shine
The biggest challenge for anyone trying to keep their hair shine is maintaining the optimal health of the hair. “In my job, we do a lot of intense styling, which can easily lead to damage, so we have to be careful. Lots of heat protection spray, and lots of products that have nourishing ingredients to help boost the overall health of the hair!” he adds.