It’s Time To Shine

Sleek, glossy strands don’t just turn heads; they are also indicative of hair health.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Sleek, glossy strands don’t just turn heads; they are also indicative of hair health. Here’s how to get that lustre.


For the shiniest strands, a proper maintenance plan is key.

Shine is associated with enviable hair the way glowing skin is associated with youth,” says Nunzio Saviano of Nunzio Saviano Salon in New York City. For one, it looks good, catching and reflecting light at every angle, but it’s also one of the most visible signs of hair health, says Jeni Thomas, a haircare scientist at Procter & Gamble. “Hair’s shine is a result of two things: fibre alignment and the strength of the outer cuticle layer,” Jeni says. “Both factors affect how light reflects off hair; the more regular the reflection, the healthier and shinier the hair.” Looking dull? Follow these steps to sparkle.

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“Hair that is coated with styling product, excess oils, and dirt will not shine,” Nunzio says. That’s because it ends up becoming a landing strip for atmospheric debris, which sticks to the grease, and interferes with the smoothness of your cuticle and the proper reflection of light. To keep hair from becoming weighed down, avoid applying product at or near the roots, and get to the uncoated strands by using a clarifying product, such as Hask Charcoal with Citrus Oil Purifying Shampoo ($16.90 for 355 ml, Guardian) and Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt (from $35 for 75ml, Sephora), one to two times per month, in addition to your regular cleansing routine.


“Cleanliness promotes sheen, but clean hair with a coarse cuticle won’t necessarily be shiny,” Nunzio says. Those who colour their hair or rely on other chemical treatments are especially prone to breakage of the outer cuticle layer, which leads to lacklustre locks. In addition to regular conditioning, use an at-home glossing treatment, such as Rita Hazan True Color Ultimate Shine Gloss ($38 for 150ml, and Bumble and Bumble Bb. Color Gloss (US$34, or S$47, for 150ml, to fortify the cuticle layer and improve its reflection of light.
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You know the drill here: Get a haircut, or at least have your ends trimmed, every four to six weeks. “Regular haircuts are important,” says Steven Picciano, a national artist for Goldwell. “Split ends travel upward, so if you don’t get rid of them, they will creep up the shaft of the hair, giving it a dull, fuzzy appearance.” Seal off clean-cut ends with a strengthening cream such as Rita Hazan Triple Threat Split End Remedy ($44 for 50ml, or a repairing mask such as Tsubaki Premium Repair Hair Mask ($19.90, Watsons), so they’re less prone to split.


“For coarse, curly and processed hair, I always use a boar-bristle brush when it’s wet and a ceramic one for touch-ups once it’s dry,” says Rita Zito, a senior stylist at Eddie Arthur Salon in New York City. Another good way to detangle wet hair, especially if your strands are on the finer side, is with a wide-toothed comb. Whatever your hair type, dry strands will benefit from a few strokes of a boarbristle brush, which helps distribute the scalp’s natural oils, leaving a shiny finish. Before you reach for your hot tools, spritz strands with a thermal protection product such as Toni & Guy Prep Heat Protection Mist ($15.90, Watsons) to prevent damage to the outer layer of the cuticle. And when heat styling, keep your tools below 200 deg C and make sure hair is fully dry before using a curling or smoothing iron, Steven says.