What's Your Damage?
Check the Bulb
Pluck out a strand of hair at the root and examine the base. Strong hair has a thick bulb. “If there’s no bulb, the hair follicle isn’t healthy,” says Michael Shaun Corby, global creative director for Alterna Hair Care. The cause? Damage from styling or, potentially, genetically linked hair loss.
Give It a Tug
Wrap a strand of hair around your index finger and thumb (like a piece of string), then use your other hand to tug on it. If it snaps immediately, your hair is lacking moisture; if it stretches “like bubble gum,” says Corby, it needs protein, which strengthens the hair’s keratin bonds.
Do the "Sink or Float" Test
Drop a strand of hair into a glass of water. A healthy strand will float. If it sinks, the shaft is porous. This can happen to color-treated hair, but it can also occur with a protein deficiency.
To get a fair picture of your hair’s overall health, repeat tests on at least four strands from different parts of your head, suggests Donna Maggi, education manager of Nioxin, a hair- and scalp-care company.
Stop a Bad-Hair Day Before It Starts
If you go outside with wet hair
Outdoor elements (wind, cool temperatures) can be rough even for dry hair, explains Corby. But when hair is wet, it’s actually more fragile and susceptible to breakage.
Healthy-hair fix: Try styling products designed to cut drying time. The Paul Mitchell Express Style line, for example, is formulated with technology to help hair dry faster.
If you use a subpar blow-dryer
In a cheaply made blow-dryer, the coil and motor can overheat, frying your hair’s cuticle. The tip-off: “The louder the sound, the poorer the quality,” Corby says. But a professional blow-dryer isn't always better, says Erin Anderson, VO5 celebrity stylist. “They’re powerful and can burn hair if used incorrectly,” she says.
Healthy-hair fix: an ionic blow-dryer. Ionic technology shrinks water molecules, so hair dries faster but with less damage. Try the T3 line (the Rolls-Royce of dryers), or you can find one for less, like Conair ION Shine 1875 Watt Dryer, $37.
If you still smoke
That nasty habit is not only bad for skin — “it pollutes your hair,” says Anderson. Smoke leaves residue on the scalp and hair, making it look dull.
Healthy-hair fix: Um, quit. Also, use a clarifying shampoo monthly, and consider a “facial” for your scalp. “Just like the rest of our skin, the skin on our scalp needs to be addressed,” says Maggi. Try Nioxin Scalp Renew, an in-salon dermabrasion treatment that removes buildup and unclogs follicles.
hair tips & beauty advice
Peach gloss and a swingy ponytail look great. They really do. But with only a month left until September, it’s time to have more fun with your summer beauty game. We’ve come up with a gorgeous beauty idea for every last day in August. Test some now, pin others for later, and look amazing all month long.
That elusive, perfect-every-day haircut can be yours. Don't be skeptical, now; these sweet, shorter styles are as easy to pull off as they are flattering. So chop chop!
The results were crazy awesome.
When the clock’s ticking, digging though every compact in your bathroom is an exercise in frustration. What you need is one simple bag with a selection of products that help you pull yourself together as quickly as possible, at home or on the road. In it:
You know the freshly scrubbed, athletic look that defines American beauty? Turns out it’s been centuries in the making.
According to Hollywood's top hairstylists, celebrity clients get sticky fingers when it comes to these no-fail products.
The top tips I've picked up thanks to my obsession with blowouts, highlights, and my favorite hairstylist.
Hue-changing dos we absolutely love.
Wait a month between waxing visits? Check. Pop a preappointment Advil? Duh. We all know the basics, but here are the tricks you don’t know.
What to always—and never, ever—do to keep hair in top shape.
We love how a new nail polish has the ability to instantly change your look and your mood with a simple swipe. While happy lime greens and aquas are ruling the five million #nailpolish Instagrams this summer, there are a variety of great colors to choose from—whether you want an office-appropriate neutral or a fun going-out shade that’ll give your LBD a punch of color.
Buying a brush is like getting a new smartphone: once you learn how to use it, it’s indispensable.