Many men that sit in my barber chair have fine hair that is limp and lifeless. These guys typically are over styling their hair with heavy products, which is weighing their hair down and causing it to lay flat. There are a few easy tricks to dealing with fine men’s hair that will give your hair more life and get you more noticed.
- Keep a short haircut. Longer hair is heavier hair and that extra weight just pulls the hair flat.
- Use a thickening shampoo and conditioner. Look for quality hair care products that plump your hair follicles to make them thicker and adds additional volume. Many volumizing or thickening conditioners provide light conditioning so not to weigh down your hair.
- Don’t over style! Look for quality styling products that say they won’t weigh down your hair or have heavy conditioners.
One great styling product is our Chad Michael Styling Cream. This cream is a gives the hair a medium shine with a low to medium hold. The Styling Cream glides easily through the hair, absorbing nicely allowing flexibility and movement while styling. Rub a small amount (about the size of an almond) between your palms to coat your hands with a thin layer. Apply to dry or towel dried hair and style into desired shape, focusing on the tips of the hairs for achieving the desired style.
Fine hair has it’s challenges, but with the right haircut and styling product, your fine hair can look fuller, thicker, and healthier.
Many of us still wash our hair the same way we were shown by our parents when we were just little kids in the bathtub playing with our rubber ducky. The needs of your hair have changed and so have the rules. Below are some simple steps that you can start today to make sure you have the best head of hair possible. One rule that has changed is the frequency in which you should wash your hair – I discuss this more in my article called Washing Your Hair Every Day.
- Choose separate shampoos and conditioners. First, let’s talk about the products you should use when cleaning and conditioning your hair. You need a separate shampoo and conditioner for your hair type and conditioning needs. I go into more depth on purchasing hair care products in my other article called Buying Men’s Hair Products.
- Select the water temperature. I recommend beginning the steps to wash your hair as the first thing to do when getting in the shower. Select a warm temperature that is comfortable, but not too hot. According to David Alexander, Expert Hair Advise at com, “Shampooing in water that is too hot can strip your hair and scalp of essential oils, so shower using the coolest water possible.” Too hot of water also dries out your scalp making it itchy and allows dandruff to form. Hot water is also a no no for color treated hair as it allows the color to dull.
- Rinse your hair first. Before adding shampoo, wet your hair down thoroughly. Make sure your scalp is wet and all your hair. You never want to put shampoo on dry hair as it won’t lather or spread evenly and it can be harsh on your scalp when concentrated. It is during this step that most of yesterday’s styling product is washed from your hair as most products are water soluble. Once you’ve essentially washed your hair with just warm water you can grab the shampoo.
- A little shampoo goes a long way. Using too much shampoo is just a waste, and not enough product won’t get the job done. For short hair (and most shampoos) a nickel-sized dollop of shampoo is all that is needed (you may need a little more for hard water). For longer hair, start with a nickel-sized dollop of shampoo and add more as needed working from the scalp to the ends of your hair (this isn’t an exact science).
- Give yourself a quick massage. After you have coated all your hair and scalp with shampoo and a lather has been created, begin to massage your scalp gently with your fingertips (not your finger nails). This makes sure the product gets evenly distributed, increases blood circulation in the scalp, and just feels really good. Massage your scalp for about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Rinse the shampoo out. After your mini-massage with your fingers, begin to rinse your hair under the stream of water from the shower. Move your fingertips all over your scalp and between all of your hair to make sure all of the shampoo is rinsed out. You’re done when the water runs clean without suds.
- Apply a separate conditioner. Refer to my article about The 2-in-1 Product Trap for my explanation why you need separate products. Use a little more conditioner than you had shampoo and apply in the same manner giving yourself a slightly longer massage this time when working the conditioner into your hair and scalp.
- Complete the rest of your shower routine. Don’t immediately rinse out conditioner after applying it to your hair. The product needs several minutes to penetrate the hair follicle to accomplish everything the bottle said it will do. Move along to cleaning the rest of your body and don’t attempt to rinse your hair until you’re all done otherwise.
- Adjust the water temperature. When rinsing conditioner from your hair, you may be inclined to thinking that the hotter the better, but the opposite is what is true. The warmer water used when shampooing and conditioning your hair opens hair follicles. You need to re-close the hair follicles to lock in moisture and hair dye (if applicable), and allow the essential oils produced by your scalp to easily coat your hair as nature intended. Cooler water also makes your hair shinier and manageable when styling.
- Rinse the conditioner out. Begin to rinse your hair under the stream of water from the shower. Move your fingertips all over your scalp and between all of your hair to make sure all of the shampoo is rinsed out. You’re done when the water runs clean without the cloudy conditioner.
- Gently towel or air dry your hair. Wet hair is more fragile than dry hair. Refrain from vigorously drying your hair with a towel. Being too rough with wet hair causes breakages to occur. It’s better to pat dry your hair. If you have longer hair, consider the towel turban to let the water from your hair be sopped up rather than wiped off.
- Style as normal. If you followed the tips above, you may notice that styling your hair is now easier than it was before and that less styling product is needed to achieve the same results. Healthy, well maintained, hair is manageable hair.
Cleaning your hair doesn’t have to be a chore. The tips I provided, above, are easy and things you can start today. In some future posts I’ll talk about how to use different styling products to achieve your desired look.
There are many articles on the internet that espouse the effects of not washing your hair every day. These articles insist that you should only wash your hair two or three times per week to keep from stripping the essential oils out of your hair. There is merit to this philosophy, but there are many men that do not subscribe to it because they have dry hair that feel they need to moisturize daily or guys that work out daily and do not want smelly hair. Do not worry – you can wash your hair every day – but do so in a way to not strip your hair of the essential oils that keep your hair healthy and manageable.
When experts say that you should only wash your hair two or three times per week, they are assuming you are using a standard shampoo that contains chemicals that strip your hair of the essential oils it needs to remain healthy. These chemicals are called sulfates (more specifically sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate), or SLSs for short, and they are usually listed as one of the top few ingredients in many shampoos. SLSs are inexpensive surfactants and foaming agents. But they have a nasty tendency to be harsh on hair and strip your hair of the essential oils it needs to stay soft and manageable. Excessive use of SLSs can cause dry and unmanageable hair. For some, dandruff may also appear. So the experts are correct when you use a shampoo with SLSs it would be best to shampoo less frequently. But that is not the whole story.
There are many shampoos that do not contain SLSs that are not harsh on your hair and can be used daily. Sometimes, these SLS or sulfate-free shampoos are listed on the container as being safe for colored treated hair. Those that color their hair know to look for SLS free products as the sulfates can cause their color to fade more quickly. These SLS free shampoos can cost a few dollars more as the surfactants and foaming agents they use instead of SLSs cost more to produce. But there are many options available on the market.
I noted earlier that excessive use of SLSs can cause dandruff in some users. The best treatment for those with dandruff is to use a less harsh shampoo that leaves the scalp alone and does not contain any harsh chemicals that may dry it out. You may think that using a product like Head & Shoulders can easily zap that dandruff away, but what you do not know is that products like Head & Shoulders contain SLSs as well as zinc pyrithione to treat dandruff. The zinc pyrithione is great at treating dandruff, but it has to work twice as hard to overcome the harsh effects of the SLSs also present in products like Head & Shoulders. An easier alternative is to use SLS free shampoos, even those without zinc pyrithione. The less-harsh chemicals allow your scalp and hair to retain the essential oils it needs, which in turn keeps your scalp moisturized and flake free.
So the next time you are in the shampoo aisle at the grocery store, turn the bottle over, and look what the first five ingredients are listed as being. If you see either sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate, then keep looking. Remember to look for products listed as safe for color treated hair. When washing your hair, use the coolest water you can stand and follow with a daily conditioner. Water that is too hot can dry your scalp, cause dandruff, and cause colored hair to become dull.
Buying men’s hair products can be confusing. You are in the grocery store or drug store in the hair care aisle. You are looking for a new shampoo and conditioner to try that addresses whatever your last shampoo/conditioner did not fix and do not know where to start. Below are some tips for shopping for men’s shampoo and conditioner.
- Look for the men’s hair care section. The hair care aisle is generally split into different sections for men’s products and women’s products. There is no fundamental difference between the cleaning and conditioning of men’s and women’s hair, but there are differences in packaging, product color, and fragrance. Most men do not want to smell like they are using their girlfriend’s shampoo – they prefer more manly scents that are similar to men’s colognes. So limit your search to the hair products in the smaller men’s section, the bottles are probably less pink and more black or gray in color.
- Disregard the products on the bottom shelf altogether. Marketing plays a big part in where products are located and on which shelf. Do a little test, look for the cheapest shampoo in the aisle. Was it found on or near the bottom shelf? No I am not psychic. The cheaper products are put below “eye level” so that you see (and hopefully purchase) the more expensive products that are more easily seen. I am not in cahoots with the store trying to get you to spend more, the cheaper products are cheaper because they use cheaper ingredients that can be harsher on your hair. Look for products between about waist-high up to eye level.
- Look for hair products that match your hair type. Have fine hair that is lifeless? Look for a volumizing shampoo and light-weight conditioner. Have oily hair? Look for clarifying shampoos or products that contain Green Tea (a natural clarifier). Dry hair? Look for products that promise extra moisture. Normal hair (not too oily or too dry)? Many products are created for this type of hair as well – just stay away from the ones that say they contain added ingredients for dandruff as well (more on that later). Normal hair also requires daily conditioning, so do not skip the conditioner because you think your hair is healthy enough as it is. After a while without a conditioner and you will find your hair dry and unmanageable.
- Choose a product that matches how often you plan to wash your hair. If you plan on washing your hair every day (or several times per day) then look for products that are labeled as being sulfate free or safe for color treated hair. Sulfate free shampoos do not contain sodium lauryl sulfate nor sodium laureth sulfate, which can strip your hair of the essential oils it needs to remain healthy and manageable. If you normally wash your hair only two or three times per week then you can choose just about any product available, but I still suggest choosing a product that does not contain harsh sulfates.
- Skip anti-dandruff shampoo. Unless your doctor or dermatologist has told you have a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis – you can skip the dandruff shampoos. Most people with mild dandruff can find relief by using a sulfate-free shampoo. Sulfates such as sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate can strip your hair of the essential oils it needs to retain a healthy and flake-free scalp.
- Stay away from 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioners. These products claim to be time savers that allow you to cleanse and condition your hair in one step. 2-in-1 products are okay for infrequent use, but anything more than that may cause buildup in your hair then cause it to be dull and lifeless. Then you will need a separate clarifying shampoo to strip the buildup out and potentially cause your hair to become dry.
- Smell the product and see if the fragrance is agreeable. Most products will not be in a box or have a safety seal around the cap. Flip the cap open and have a sniff. Be careful not to squeeze the product bottle and send a stream of shampoo up your nose in the middle of the store! If you cannot live with that scent every time you wash your hair, then keep looking. Life is too short to use a product that you do not like the fragrance of and are reminded of it all day long – you are just asking for a bad day. A nice scent should be pleasant and possibly even relaxing to the senses. If you wear cologne, or other scented products, you may want to keep this in mind in case the fragrances mix into something overpowering or not pleasant.
Choosing products that fit these criteria will greatly narrow the options for a product you like and fulfills your requirements, which saves you money by not wasting it on products that go unused under the bathroom sink!
Many products that we use every day tout how they can help speed up our daily routine. For example, 2-in-1 shampoos and conditioners claim you can wash your hair once and you are done with cleaning and conditioning your hair instead of having to use two separate products and double the time. 2-in-1 products trap you into thinking that they save you time, but instead they cost your more money and time. If 2-in-1 products have been created, why do we still have separate shampoos and conditioners on the market? Why does not everyone use one of these combination products? These are common questions many guys ask themselves when searching for new hair care products. The simple answer is that most men should not be using 2-in-1 shampoo products and everyone needs a daily conditioner. But before you growl about having to spend more money on a separate product and spending more time in the shower – let me explain why using two separate products will inevitably save you time overall and less money out of your pocket.
Before I get into the the time and money saving you will have, let me explain how 2-in-1 shampoos with conditioner became to be. “The 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner products became very popular in the ‘80s because consumers were using shampoo regularly but not conditioning enough,” said cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson of BeautyStat.com. “So brands began to incorporate conditioning ingredients into the shampoo, hence the name ‘2-in-1.’”
Initially, after using a 2-in-1 product your hair feels soft and is manageable. However, a side effect to using 2-in-1 products is that some conditioning agents begin to build up on your hair and weigh down your hair making it dull and flat. To counter the build-up of some conditioning agents, using a clarifying shampoo once per week usually helps. But clarifying shampoo is not just stripping away the buildup of conditioner, it is also stripping away some of your hair’s essential oils that keep it healthy and manageable. Eventually, you will find yourself in this never ending cycle of your 2-in-1 shampoo and a clarifying shampoo or you risk having dull and lifeless hair. More time in the shower and more money to shell out at the store.
If you look at some other articles online that say that 2-in-1 products are fine, keep reading. Many of these articles go on to say that if you have “normal” hair that is not too dry or too oily that you can use a 2-in-1 product “a few times per week.” But if you have dry hair you may need to follow-up with a separate conditioner! What is the purpose of a 2-in-1 product if you have to use a separate conditioner anyways? None.
Most men’s grooming experts agree that you should use a separate shampoo and conditioner that is correct for your type of hair. See my other article on Buying Men’s Hair Products for tips on buying products matched to your hair type. Remember to wash and condition with the coolest temperature of water you can tolerate. Water that is too hot can dry your scalp, cause dandruff, and cause colored hair to become dull.