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Get Healthy, Gorgeous Hair

You can't hide dull, dry strands under a hat forever. Get amazing-looking tresses with these easy tips for healthy, beautiful hair.

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woman smiling, brunette
Sonja Pacho
Sonja Pacho
Sonja Pacho
Laura Doss
Ericka McConnell
Steven White
Luis Ernesto Santana
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Bring Back Your Shine

Overstyling and underconditioning weaken your hair's cuticle, or outer layer, making hair dry, frizzy, dull looking, and vulnerable to more damage. It's time to lose the Brillo-pad effect!

To repair hair:

Start at the roots. Beautiful tresses begin with the scalp, says Ben Skervin, a hairstylist in New York City and London who works with such celebrities as Madonna and Keira Knightley. He recommends using Head & Shoulders Smooth & Silky Shampoo, $4.99, drugstores, even if you're not suffering from dandruff. Most shampoos simply wash away oil and dirt, but Head & Shoulders also nourishes the scalp, which promotes hair growth, and moisturizes strands from root to tip.

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Try a New Shade

Coloring your hair gives it a boost of brilliance and brings back the dimension you were born with -- think of how a child's hair naturally has highlights and lowlights, says Tracey Cunningham, a celebrity colorist and creative consultant for Redken in Los Angeles.

Her advice: Skip the "permanent" shades designed to hide grays and opt for a "demi-permanent" instead -- it will give you rich color and tons of shine but contains less ammonia than a permanent formula, making it gentler. Cunningham likes Redken Shade ZQ, redkencolor.com for salons, because it's loaded with conditioning ingredients.

Use a shine spray. Finish your style with a silicone-based product to add instant gloss and help the cuticle look healthy, Skervin says. Try Tresemme No Frizz Shine Spray, $3.99, drugstores.

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Undo the Damage

Frequent shampooing. Blow-drying and ironing. Straightening and relaxing. Exposure to moisture-robbing UV rays. Your locks take a lot of abuse.

To repair hair: Slather on conditioner. Strengthen ends with a protein-fortified shampoo, followed by a conditioner with ingredients that prevent snags once hair is dry, says New York City stylist Ted Gibson. Try Pantene Pro-V Beautiful Lengths Shampoo and Conditioner, $3.99 each, drugstores. Once a week, use a deep-treating mask, such as Soap & Glory Hair Supply Super Gloss-Giving Radiance & Repair mask, $9.99, target.com, to infuse strands with moisture.

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Protect Hair from Breakage

Treat wet hair with TLC. Your mane is most vulnerable right out of the shower, when it's saturated, says Ouidad, owner of the eponymous salon in New York City. Don't go near wet strands with a brush; instead, detangle gently with a wide-tooth comb such as Goody Ouchless Detangling Comb, $4.99, drugstores. African-American women's hair is especially prone to breakage. You can just use your fingers to style, Ouidad says.

Safeguard against heat. Apply a product that contains ingredients to protect against the heat of your blow-dryer or flat iron. Try Graham Webb Heat Response Soft Finish Spray, $19.95, grahamwebb.com for locations.

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Boost Volume

Hair becomes less bouncy as it gets older -- weak spots along the shafts literally drag strands down. Plus, as you age, your hair thins out, which translates to lifeless locks, Gibson says.

To repair hair: Use an uplifting formula. Moisturizing conditioners can flatten, so pick a light rinse-out conditioner, Gibson says. Try Nexxus Sublime Volume Luscious Bodifying Conditioner, $13.99, drugstores -- it's enriched with panthenol, a B vitamin that has been shown to plump up the hair shaft.

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How to Add Volume to Your Hair Style

Add body with styling. Apply a volumizing spray, such as Suave Professionals Root Lifter Spray Gel, $2.49, drugstores, to your roots, then use a large round brush while blow-drying to add height at the crown. Or try hot rollers, which aren't as harsh on the hair as a curling iron because they don't get as hot but give you big-bodied waves, Skervin says.

Consider highlights. During the bleaching process, chemicals open the cuticle layer to deposit pigments, then smooth the shaft back down, which leaves strands swollen, giving your hair a fuller look. But this can also weaken the shaft, so use conditioner regularly and wait four to six weeks between touch-ups, Cunningham says.

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Tools for Sexier Hair

  • Don't get burned. A brush with a ceramic-coated barrel won't singe hair the way metal can. Cristophe Beverly Hills Medium Curling Brush, $13.99, cristophe.com.
  • Upgrade your dryer. Use less heat with a dryer that gets the job done 60 percent faster than the competition. Paul Mitchell Express Ion Dry v.1, $190, paulmitchell.com for locations.
  • Go mini. With a flat iron like the TS-2 Shades of Style Detailer, $39.99, ts2products.com, you can quickly straighten without putting too much hair between the plates, which can burn your strands.
  • Sculpt it. Get intense shine and prevent split ends with Kerastase Paris Serum Nutri-Sculpt, $29, kerastase.com.
  • Volumize! Run Biolage Volumizing Whipped Mousse, $16, biolage.com for locations, through damp hair to help build body and shield strands from heat styling.
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    What do you think? Review this slideshow!

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    kristinharrow wrote:

    I use argan oil shampoos from a brand called Pro Naturals, it makes my hair so much softer than Head and Shoulders...honestly.

    11/11/2012 04:26:00 PM Report Abuse
    danibee98 wrote:

    i use head and shoulders and it works great on my hair

    7/31/2010 03:14:35 PM Report Abuse
    limam11 wrote:

    buy natural handmade shampoo bars! skip those chemicals. www.snsoap.com I love her beer shampoo bars, as well as her rosemary lavendar shampoo bars!

    5/14/2010 10:42:03 AM Report Abuse
    cdudeck wrote:

    The problem is with Head and Shoulders that I won't use it is drugstore shampoos are full of harsh chemicals that are NOT good for your hair or haircolor if you do color. I recommend for women that color to use either Biolage products which are excellent and now come in All natural formulas or Burts' Bees.

    5/4/2010 11:32:55 AM Report Abuse
    yelvers1 wrote:

    Is this a commercial?

    2/16/2010 04:30:10 PM Report Abuse
    timreckner wrote:

    sounds like a commercial for the second best dandruff shampoo to me.

    2/6/2010 08:37:00 AM Report Abuse
    dscione wrote:

    I think the whole slideshow is just to project products that we should buy!

    11/17/2009 04:34:31 PM Report Abuse

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