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10 Best-Kept Secrets to Strong and Shiny Hair, Experts Say

Here's how to make every day a good hair day.

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If you're tired of having dull, weak hair that's prone to breakage, it may be time to try something new. Depending on your current routine, this could mean switching up your styling habits, experimenting with new products, or making your hair's protection a top priority. With a few simple tweaks—and some insider knowledge of the best-kept beauty secrets for strong, shiny hair—you can completely transform not only the look of your locks but also your hair's health. In fact, hairstylists say there are 10 little-known tricks for achieving salon-level strength and silkiness. Read on to find out what they recommend.

RELATED: 7 Secrets for Growing Out Gray Hair, According to Stylists.

Protect against the sun.

Happy mature woman of 50 60 years on the beach

You wouldn't walk outside on a bright, sunny day without applying sunscreen to protect your skin. As it turns out, it's important to do the same for your hair—or else you may be risking serious sun damage to your strands.

"Protecting the hair's protein from UVB rays and the color from the UVA rays preserves both strength and shine," says Shann Christen, a Beverly Hills-based celebrity hairstylist and the founder of BioMethod. To that end, he recommends SunPotion, a finishing product from the BioMethod line that protects the integrity of the hair while adding shine and gloss.

If you step outside without a protective product, a hat is another easy way to protect your strands.

RELATED: What Happens If You Never Clean Your Hairbrush, Doctors and Stylists Say.

Try a high-quality hair mask.

Woman putting hair mask product in her hair

Every once in a while, your hair needs more than your everyday products can provide. When that happens and you find yourself in a dull hair rut, a high-quality hair mask can quickly turn things around.

"Conditioners are excellent for regular styling and sealing the cuticle, but adding a quality mask to your wash cycle can keep your hair thoroughly hydrated," explains hOURS Haircare founder and veteran hairstylist MariLynne Cosmillo. Her favorite is the In Minutes Silkening Mask, an Oprah-approved product made with avocado oil and biotin that's designed to make any hair type silkier and shinier in two minutes, flat.

Or, for another popular, beauty award-sweeping hair mask that will leave your hair both softer and stronger, try Aveda's Botanical Repair Intense Strengthening Masque.

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Turn down the heat.

Close up of a brunette woman using a hair straightener.
ArtistGNDphotography / iStock

Your styling tools may work wonders on your look, but they can also wreak havoc on your hair's structural integrity. This can leave your strands weak and dull over time. That's why Christen recommends lowering the temperature of your heat-styling tools, especially flat irons and curling irons.

"Most of us pump the heat to the max—on most units that's 450 degrees," he explains. Instead, the stylist recommends setting the temperature to 250 degrees to start. "Always keep the iron moving or spinning, never held in one place for very long," he advises.

RELATED: 10 Ways to Embrace Keeping Your Hair Long After 50.

Blow dry on "cold," too.

Smiling pretty young Vietnamese woman blow drying hair in front of mirror in bathroom

In addition to turning down your styling irons, it's also a good idea to blow dry your hair using the "cold" setting, says Cosmillo. This will not only limit long-term damage but also improve the appearance of your hair once you've finished styling.

"Use the cold air setting to finish your sections when blow-drying your hair. While high heat works great to quickly dry and shape your hair, the cold air locks in the shape and closes the cuticle for a high-shine finish. Use the cold air setting until your strands feel cool to the touch before you move on," she recommends.

RELATED: How Humidity Is Ruining Your Hair—And What to Do About It.

Use only one "protein" product at a time.

Back view of a woman washing her hair with a shampoo in bathroom. Copy space.

Christen says that getting strong, shiny hair is not just about choosing the right individual products for your hair—it's also about finding the right balance between the products you use together. He notes that it's especially important to only use one protein-based product in your routine at a time.

"In other words, don't have a protein shampoo and a protein conditioner. Go for a moisture-nourishing conditioner," he says, noting that these products are often marketed with words like "repair," "rebuild," or "restructure."

"Too much protein can harden the hair shaft and lead to breakage. Nothing ruins shine like a bunch of broken ends," Christen explains.

RELATED: What Happens If You Don't Wash Your Hair for a Week, According to Doctors.

Try a boar bristle hair brush.

Two boar bristle hairbrushes shown laying flat on a person's blonde hair
mayura benjarattanapakee / Shutterstock

The wrong brush can pull on your hair, weakening your mane and leaving it more vulnerable to breakage. Cosmillo recommends opting for a boar bristle hair brush, which she says can give you that "super shiny blowout" look once reserved for salon visits.

"This type of brush provides a gentle pull for maximum shine. It also doesn't use any added heat source as a ceramic brush does and helps avoid unnecessary heat," she explains.

RELATED: Does Rosemary Oil Stimulate Hair Growth? Here's What Dermatologists Say.

Drink lots of water.

Close-up shot of a tourist drinking water from a reusable stainless steel bottle while looking at the view.

Staying well-hydrated is one of the best things you can do for both your organ health and your beauty routine. And while many people are well aware of the ways that drinking water can improve their skin—reducing acne and erasing wrinkles, for example— fewer people realize that drinking plenty of fluids can also give you stronger, shinier hair.

However, Christen recommends doing just that: hydrating your hair from the inside out. "The first place we dry out is in our hair and the last place to get replenished is our hair!" the celebrity stylist tells Best Life.

RELATED: The 9 Most Important Products to Invest in If You Have Gray Hair, Stylists Say.

Know your ingredients.

Woman at the store buying shampoo

If you want to get strong and shiny hair, it pays to get to know your hair products' ingredients. For instance, hairsprays that contain alcohol or the preservative ethanol can damage and dry out your hair, says Taylor Rose, a certified trichologist who shares hair tips on TikTok.

Meanwhile, Cosmillo says that one of the best hairspray ingredients to look for is vitamin E. "Vitamin E protects the cuticle, boosts strength and resilience, and is a key ingredient in hOURS Mostly Modest, which gives you a shiny-soft hold and won't make your hair stiff," she tells Best Life.

RELATED: 10 Tips for Switching to Shorter Hair After 50, According to Stylists.

Protect your hair before and after washing.

Ground Picture / Shutterstock

Finding the right products to protect your hair before and after washing can help shield your tresses from damage and over-washing. In a recent TikTok clip, Rose recommended using Olaplex No. 3 as a pre-shampoo treatment to enhance your hair's strength, reduce breakage, and prevent split ends. She also endorses using the bonding oil Olaplex No. 7, to repair deep damage and add shine.

RELATED: 6 Ways to Keep Your Scalp Healthy Over 50, According to Hair Stylists.

Match your products to your style.

A young woman getting hair highlighted, wavy hair done at the salon.
hedgehog94 / Shutterstock

Sometimes your hair products work against your styling, which Cosmillo says can result in over-styling and excessive heat exposure.

"Make sure your wash products align with your styling goals! If you're using a volumizing or clear shampoo but put a lot of work into smoothing or straightening your hair, you should switch to a shampoo that makes the process easier. This can cut out half of the work and leaves your hair softer and healthier because it requires much less heat styling," she says.

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Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more