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I’m going to try and answers some of the many questions asked by the majority of our clients – “what’s the best way to moisturise my hair?” “Is a mask better than a leave in conditioner?” “What ingredients should I be using?” What’s the benefits of buying a salon professional brand?” The list is endless. It’s hard to make sense of what’s right for your hair with so many options on the table. As professionals we always try to advise with an open mind, not everyone wants to invest in a good salon brand but the reasons we use these products are for your hairs benefit, they are formulated with the right ingredients to care and support your hair whatever the needs are. 
By sharing some of our top tips for keeping your hair healthy & moisturized, which ingredients to look out for when buying a product and some salon techniques you can use at home to help keep your hair soft, shiny, and supple, I hope it will aid you in your hair struggles. 
 
Firstly, let’s talk ingredients - 
Moisturizing hair completely depends on the product formulations you use. When looking at the ingredient list on the back of your products (that is if you can see them without having to use a microscope to even see the words, as they are so small) try to keep these things in mind: 

     Look after your  hair & scalp      

 
Ingredients to avoid 
Sulfates – used primarily as a foaming agent, it combines with water to disperse grease from the hair, enabling it to wash away. A frothy lather may seem the norm but, unfortunately, the foamy bubbles could be what’s keeping moisture out of your hair fibers and can be extremely drying for the hair and scalp. Sulfates and are also known to cause hair to frizz, creating a negative electrical charge when it contacts the hair, you don’t realise this until after you have shampooed and dried your hair, leaving you dashing for the straighteners to fix it, in turn causing more dryness. 
 
(When looking at the ingredient list, try avoiding products with words like “Sodium Lauryl Sulfate” and “Sodium Laureth Sulfate.” Oh and a few others to look out for that are not ideal - Isopropyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Parabens, Formaldehyde) 
 
Although the breakdown of oil is needed, there are many free from shampoos out there that will do the same job without the other issues caused, you should expect a different feel from a Sulfate Free shampoo, as they don’t lather up as much, if you find this then all you need to do is add more water to help foam up rather than more shampoo and repeat if needed. 
 
Ingredients that are good - Humectants, Emollients and Occlusives 
 
Humectants are lightweight ingredients and are ideal for fine, low porosity hair, and oily scalps, as they won’t leave a greasy residue behind. Water-loving humectants reach under the hair cuticle to hydrate the fibres from the inside out. Two options include Aloe Vera and Glycerin, which may appear in products specifically formulated for lightweight moisturizing. 
If your hair is on the drier side and is of a higher porosity, you’ll have better luck with Emollients and Occlusives. These form a protective film on the cuticle and help to prevent moisture loss and tend to be thicker and heavier in consistency. They are a perfect match with curly hair types which typically require a lot of hydration. Coconut oil, shea butter, and sweet almond oil are perfect ingredients for moisturizing your thick locks. 
When buying your next shampoo and conditioner some of the key words to look for are - Deep conditioning, Hydrating, Replenishing, Anti-frizz, Shine and the main one Moisturizing. It may seem obvious but many think of moisturizing as heavy and may think you don’t need it, but I can assure you, all hair that has had some form of chemical treatment or has cosmetic damage form hot tools will need moisture. Products with these key words are all good indicators your shampoo and conditioner are specifically formulated to feed your fibres from within. 
 
If you’re unsure as to what are the best products to use, ask your stylist for help and advice, whichever brand they use I can assure you they will all look after your unique hair needs. 
Our choice of salon professional range is milk_shake which makes the most of the benefits of natural, organic ingredients and offers solutions for all hair types. Using fruit and milk protein to maintain and nourish hair, we find the lightweight feel of the products help give in-salon results at home. 
(HQ’s top tip - A good way to test your hair to see if you need moisture is, if you gently stretch one single hair and it stays rigid and doesn’t bounce back then you definitely need Moisture, if it stretches and is slightly spring like then you need protein.) 
 
Hair Mask v’s Leave In  
Both are necessary for hair; the results just depend on the amount of conditioning needed. 
Sometimes, your hair needs more than a rinse-out conditioner. This is where a deep conditioning mask once a week can really inject your hair with moisture. Typically thicker in texture, like a heavy cream or a mask our fave go to’s are milk_shakes yoghurt mask & milk_shake's restructuring milk mask. Deep conditioners sit on your hair shafts so it can feed your hair, I always recommend using your normal conditioner after you have rinsed the mask off to help lock in the moisture, as conditioner is used to close the cuticle down. 
After rinsing off your mask or conditioners in the shower it doesn’t mean you have to stop there. Saturating hair with moisture 24/7 by using a leave-in conditioner like milk_shake incredible milk can severely improve hair’s condition, even if your hair is fine in texture and find masks too heavy, a leave in is a great way to keep the condition in tip top shape. milk_shakes whipped cream is our most used product out of the whole range, our team and clients love it, not only for its beneficial ingredients but for the smell alone, it leaves your hair smelling like ice cream and extremely edible (wouldn’t recommend eating it though). 
A few techniques to help boost your products 
To help your in-shower hair moisturizers soak in more efficiently, try this simple trick to open up your cuticles: 
• Apply your moisturizing mask or rinse-out conditioner 
• Carefully bundle your wet hair into a shower cap 
• Microwave a towel or soak it in hot water for two minutes 
• Wrap the towel around your shower cap 
• Wait for about 10 – 20 mins, remove towel and cap, comb through and rinse. 
(Alternatively, you can skip the towel and turn on the hot water in your shower, close the door to create a sauna-like environment, and apply a shower cap to keep the heat in.) 
Another great way to seal in moisture is a cool water rinse at the end, this will help close and seal your cuticle even more and gives a great shine. 
 
The LOC method 
Ok so, you’ve completed your washing routine and got your towel wrap on ready to style. This is where you need to focus and think about what order you apply the right products. One of the ways that can help remember is the LOC method. Leave in’s, Oils, Creams. 
Start with your leave in which will wrap round and feed the inner parts of your hair shafts, making sure to disperse the product round the whole head, using a wide tooth comb or a wet brush will help here. Then go in with your oil, on the ends of your hair only, be careful not to apply to the root area making it to heavy and flat. (Using healing oil’s that contain Argan, Moroccan or Macadamia nut are great for repairing hair) Finally apply your cream, these can be any products that will smooth, reduce frizz, volumize and control, finishing serum’s and shine sprays all will protect and wrap round the hair creating a seal to keep the moisture in to complete your routine. 
Now it may seem that after reading this you’re going to need hours just to wash your hair, but in truth it will only take you a matter of minutes to do and to actually improve your hairs condition, chances are you’ve already got some - or most of the moisturizing products and techniques in place, your shower probably looks like aisle 7 from your local supermarket and you’ve probably tried the LOC method without even realising it. All that may be needed is to switch out some of the products for Sulfate Free, and maybe review your routine and see if you’re abiding by the dos and don’ts listed above to achieve the best results. 
 
So, there you have it, learning how to moisturize your hair doesn’t need to be a tall order, you now have the knowledge, it just needs a little effort and patience. 
Good luck in your hair journey and remember to ask your stylist for advice. 
 
Enjoy the rest of spring. 
Love the team at HQ Hair x 
 
 
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