Cassandra Mooar, the director at the International Academy in Cincinnati, says hair should maintain an acidic state to be at its shiniest. Acidic shampoos, conditioners and other styling products force the cuticle to lay smooth, which increases shine.
The cuticle is the outer layer of hair that is made up of long compressed bundles of Keratin (a protein) fibers. When cuticles are intact and lying flat they reflect light.
Mooar recommends products in the Wella Color Preserve or Sebastian Laminates lines to boost hair and keep it shiny. These product lines are found only in salons.
Sarah Hunterman, a stylist at Identity Hair Salon and Spa in Kenwood, agrees that the secret to maximizing shine is to get the cuticle layer to lie straight and smooth. She says that investing in conditioning treatments will help you achieve this. Hunterman says over-washing your hair can be counterproductive. Highlighting your hair can increase shine at first, but due to the peroxide, it can also damage the hair causing it to become dull. If you want to add color and minimize damage, try low lights.
Mooar and Hunterman both suggest shine sprays to add everyday shine. Mooar says to look for products with dimethicone. Dimethicone is a type of silicone that can make hair soft, manageable, full, shiny and easier to comb. She recommends Wella System Professional Flashlight for instant glossiness.
Hunterman warns to stay away from shine serums and other style products that you pump into your hand. She says that anything you apply with your hands can add greasiness and weigh your hair down. This can cause dullness. Instead opt for the spray, they have no hold, and won't weigh down hair.
When using the spray shines, concentrate spraying from the mid-shaft to the ends. The roots do not need much because the hair in that area is new. Hunterman suggests using the Bed Head spray shine called Camera Ready. It not only adds brilliant shine, it also acts as a smoother and defrizzer. Another spray shine used at Identity Hair Salon and Spa is from the Aquage line.
When styling hair, you may think that flat-ironing it will make it look the shiniest, but it also damages hair. The more you damage by flat-ironing, the more you will become dependent on the flatiron to reach the same level of shininess, Hunterman says. She says that taking the time to blow-dry your hair straight, and using a flatiron just on stubborn sections of hair, will keep you hair healthier.
However straightening your hair every one in a while is fine, and it will add instant shine. Try using a leave-in conditioner before straightening. Also, as a side note, ceramic flatirons truly are less harmful to your hair. Ceramic styling appliances, everything from irons and hair dryers, to brushes are all around better for the health of your hair.
Also available to smooth out the cuticle and pump-up the shine are Powerdose treatments at Identity Hair Salon and Spa. These treatments, Hunterman says, are customizable to each individual's type of hair or hair need. They are only $15, spray-on and can be asked for at your next salon appointment.