Snapped, parched ends are not the one, which is why all dry-haired girls will know that a shampoo for dry hair – that’s specifically formulated for nourishing our strands – can make a world of difference.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t look for a little extra softening action elsewhere in our haircare routine. Masks, as we know, can cocoon our strands and introduce our hair to some much-needed additional moisture. Ditto conditioners. But, it’s important to look at your entire haircare line-up to spot extra opportunities to pump hair with more hydration, as well as to identify products that may be doing more harm than good.
To get cracking, start with your shampoo. Our guide to the best shampoos for each hair type can help you to narrow down what might work best for you, but there are a few things to bear in mind. For instance, clarifying shampoos are brilliant at detoxifying and deep-cleaning scalps, but they have a tendency to dry hair out. Likewise dandruff shampoos are often antibacterial and exfoliating, which may be necessary if you’re experiencing lots of flakiness, but they can feel stripping on already dry strands, so it’s a good idea to alternate with a more gentle shampoo. If you already err on the dry side, it’s best to limit how often you use both of these.
As for ingredients to watch out for, sulphates (the cleansing agent that allows shampoos to lather up into a ginormo foam) can be a little harsh on fragile hair that already lacks moisture. If that’s you, it’s best to stick to sulphate-free shampoos. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for alcohols and silicones in your shampoos. These can help your hair dry quicker and provide slip and shine temporarily, but they won’t keep your hair looking healthy in the long run. Instead, it’s worth looking out for nourishing organic and natural shampoos, loaded with nurturing plant extracts that are rich in keratin (the protein behind healthy hair) like argan oil and almond oil, as well as moisturising avocado oil and coconut milk. Likewise, bond-building shampoos can strengthen hair, which in turn improves its ability to hold onto moisture, meaning healthier, hydrated strands.
Next, consider your hair texture. Fine hair can often feel sapped at the ends, but greasy at the roots, so make sure you’re choosing shampoos with thin and fine textures in mind and stick to applying the follow-up conditioner just on the ends. Meanwhile, the structure of afro hair can mean it’s difficult for the oils from your scalp to wind all the way down the hair shaft, therefore your strands generally enjoy being drenched in deliciously moisturising formulas from root to tip.
Finally, look at your styling routine and colour habits. Bleaching can all play a major part in how dry your hair feels, as can how often you use heat. If you’re able to cut back on both, your hair will thank you for it. If not, nourishing formulas are definitely the way forward!
So, if your hair feels like it’s screaming out for a drop of moisture, we’ve got the remedy.