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How to get shiny, healthy hair (without it looking greasy)

You can have healthy-looking, shiny hair one second, and the next it's gone limp and greasy – what happened? Here we explain what's behind the shiny-to-oily slippery slope, and how you can keep your hair looking glossy (not greasy), smooth and soft.

Why does shiny hair = healthy hair?

There is a scientific reason that healthy hair gives off a natural glossy glow, and it's all about the cuticles...

The center of each hair strand (known as the cortex) is covered by protective cuticles that overlap one-another like scales. When these cuticles are lying as they should, flat against the cortex, they form a smooth surface. When the light hits this flat surface, it bounces off easily. This is what gives hair a shiny effect.

However, if the cuticles are weak, dry, damaged, or have been (literally) rubbed up the wrong way, they become raised, flaky and lie unevenly. This makes it difficult for the light to bounce back, giving the impression that the hair is dull. Cuticles can become damaged due to a number of reasons, the most common ones being sun exposure, over-coloring/styling, pollution and not using the right haircare. The conclusion: healthy hair is shiny hair!

Why does my hair get greasy?

Shiny hair and greasy/oily hair are unrelated. As we've seen above, shiny hair is when your cuticles are happily lying flat against the strand's cortex. Greasy hair, however, is when the oils naturally produced by your scalp over-lubricate the hair strand.

The scalp produces oils to moisturize the skin on your head, and to keep your hair from drying out. Too many oils piling up on the roots and along the hair strands, however, and there's a problem. The hair feels and looks greasy, with sections tending to bunch in oily clumps.

Greasiness can be caused by: not rinsing your conditioner properly, playing with your hair too much (and spreading the oils), stripping your scalp of essential oils (and causing the skin to over-produce more to compensate) or it can simply be that your body has a naturally-elevated level of oil production.

How to get shiny hair

First, check the paragraph above to see if one might be the reason for your oily hair. By rinsing well, not overly-touching your hair, and not using harsh cleansing products, you can help get your hair back into a healthier state and on the path to shine-central.

For those with naturally greasy hair, there exist haircare solutions that gently cleanse excess oils without stripping the scalp. Try the Hair Spa collection by L'Oréal Professionnel for sensitive scalp concerns. For damaged hair cuticles, the Absolut Repair Lipidium collection strengthens and reconstructs the hair fiber, leaving it repaired and protected.

Once you've found a shampoo and conditioner tailored to your hair type, your hair should start showing signs of recovery. The next step is all about using styling products to smooth the hair...

How to smooth your hair

Do you have weak, frizzy hair that needs to be smoothed but not weighed down? Try a blow-dry cream after washing to give it natural-looking volume, all while controlling those flyaways.

For how to make your hair soft and shiny while still maintaining control, look for the right styling spray. Forget the crunchy texture and unnatural movement that hairsprays used to give: now the emphasis is on hold, shine and natural body. Applied to wet hair, the Natural Finish hairspray from Tecni.ART provides a healthy-looking gloss and lightweight touch, so you can style your hair however you choose. Hair stays soft and manageable, but totally under control.

Top tip: Remember to use the concentrator nozzle when blowdrying, and point it towards the hair at a downwards angle to ensure those cuticles are dried flat against the cortex.

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