To date, one of my favorite articles the internet has ever served up was this gem from 2016: “Why Everyone on TV Has the Same Hair.” From the leading image alone, it’s easy to know exactly the style writer, Julia Rubin is breaking down. In her words, it’s “The same straight-up-top, loose-curls-on-bottom hair.” It’s a mix of clearly requiring some effort, while still maintaining a laid-back, surfer vibe. On TV, Rubin considers it a “norm.” But in real life? While texturizing pastes, sprays, and foams can work in a pinch, to really perfect the look, you’re going to need to pay a visit to your local Drybar. But as with the transformation of many trends over the course of the pandemic, we’ve seen this style fall out of favor. In its place? Slick, sleek, and shiny hair à la Hailey Bieber. Plus, of course, all of your other favorite top models who’ve perfected the off-duty look. To help you recreate it for yourself, we’re rounding up the best shampoos and conditioners for shiny hair that every bathroom needs.
I’m not sure what your Instagram and TikTok feeds look like, but I can confirm that mine are a compendium of variations on the trend. Whether it’s tied down in a bun, pulled back in a pony, or let loose behind the ears, shiny glass hair is here to stay. Say goodbye to dry and dull locks and get ready for advice from some of the best in the biz. We tapped Emilie Hoyt, founder and CEO of LATHER to share her expert knowledge to help you get the shiniest hair of your life, and her shiny hair care tips do not dissapoint. Then keep scrolling for a roundup of all the editor-approved shampoos and conditioners your high-shine hair will ever need. Let’s dive in.
Feature image by Claire Huntsberger.
Similar to the “clean look” skincare trend, shiny hair is all over social media today. Is this real? Can hair really be that shiny? Or is it just a result of good lighting and filters?
You know what they say: don’t always believe what you see on social media. As our go-to platforms have developed, the technology users rely on to create content has gotten more and more sophisticated. Ring lights ensure perfect and even lighting and most of what ends up on our feeds have gone through several rounds of editing. And while authenticity and even low-production videos dominate TikTok, it’s hard to know what’s real and what isn’t.
And though this writer is inclined to first approach everything she finds on the internet with a healthy dose of skepticism, Hoyt’s take has turned me into a believer. “There is super shiny hair out there!” With, of course, this added caveat: “But good lighting always helps hair shine.”
What ingredients should we look out for to get shiny hair?
When “tl;dr” began working its way into the common lexicon, I felt seen. (For the uninitiated among us, translation: too long, didn’t read.) Don’t get me wrong, I love reading a truly absorbing article from start to finish, but when beauty and hair are involved, I want answers and I want them now. So what are the go-to ingredients we should be skimming every back-of-the-bottle label for? “Products that have natural emollients and proteins,” says Hoyt. “For really shiny hair, I suggest looking for avocado or coconut oil as well as protein such as baobab.”
What steps should we incorporate into our hair care routine to get the glossiest locks?
Until a few years ago, there seemed to be a universally held belief that shampooing and conditioning our hair every day was the way to go. Thankfully, we’ve since seen the light, and most of us are mindful of washing our hair only once or a few times a week for the healthiest locks. Hoyt recommends focusing on shampooing only the roots of the hair for maximum shine. “You also want to make sure you add a moisturizing mask or hair oil once a week to lock in moisture,” she notes.
Help! I’m craving shiny hair, but my locks are lacking luster. What am I doing wrong?
Ah, the good days of middle school (she joked sarcastically), when Abercrombie & Fitch was still years away from a rebrand and skinny jeans weren’t yet demonized by the teenage masses. Another common occurrence of my late-aughts adolescence? Frying my hair every morning with my Conair straightener. Thankfully, I ditched the routine before too much damage was done, but at the height of the habit’s frequency, my hair was definitely not a picture of health.
According to Hoyt’s expert opinion, it’s a good thing I gave my straightener to Goodwill: “So many things can make your hair appear dull! Over cleansing, overcoloring, and overusing heat styling products are key offenders.” You know what they say about less being more? The adage certainly applies here.
What are a few key things we can be doing to take better care of our hair?
I don’t know who needs to hear it, but showing your hair some love on the reg isn’t about outward appearance or aesthetics alone. While we’re all about getting the shiniest hair possible, taking the time to nurture and nourish healthy locks can be a powerful act of self-love. Make a ritual of applying your go-to products (see below) and treating your hair care routine like any other habitual part of your day. Oh, and according to Hoyt, kindness is key: “Try not to be too rough with your hair! Be gentle when towel drying and use a good quality brush that can distribute natural oils to bring out the shine.” Done and done.