What We Know About Shiny Hair:
Whether or not you have natural shine has a lot to do with your hair's level of porosity. Porosity levels are a way of measuring your hair's ability to absorb moisture, and you can work out roughly whether you have high, medium or low porosity at home.
Simply drop a clean strand of your hair into a glass of water. If your hair sinks fairly quickly, you probably have high porosity. Your strand rapidly absorbed the surrounding water and sank. If your hair lingers on the surface before sinking slowly, this would indicate medium porosity levels. If your hair floats about on the surface and takes ages to sink, or seems like it won't sink at all, you likely have low porosity.
High Porosity Hair
Common traits of high porosity hair include:
- Your crowning glory craves moisture, but it always seems dry and thirsty.
- Your hair breaks and/or tangles easily
- Tends to look dull and frizzy on a bad hair day
The cuticles of high porosity hair don't lie flat. Instead, they are splayed open. Light reflects best off our hair when our cuticles lie flat; giving us the appearance of smooth, glossy hair. This is why high porosity hair lacks shine.
Medium Porosity Hair
Common traits of medium porosity hair include:
- Hair is bouncing and has good elasticity or tensile strength (tensile strength means you hair can stretch without breaking)
- Requires very little maintenance.
- Easily accepts and retains moisture
- Holds styles well
- Is easy to colour
If you've been blessed with medium porosity hair, congratulations! Your hair cuticles lie flat, but aren't closed too tightly. Light will easily reflect back off your hair, and treatments and colour won't have to work hard when applied to your tresses.
Low Porosity Hair
Common traits of low porosity hair include:
- Hair takes a long time to dry.
- Products tend to build up on your hair rather than penetrate it like they are designed to.
- Your hair's natural oil doesn't easily penetrate either and tends to sit on your hair.
- Can be resistant to colouring or treatments
The cuticles of low porosity hair are closed extremely tightly. It does retain moisture well, it's just hard for that moisture to penetrate the strand in the first place. Product build up is a common low porosity problem, and this can take away your natural shine. With layers of old product sitting on the surface, light won't reflect off your hair as well as it should.
Does shiny hair equal healthy hair?
Contrary to popular belief, shiny hair does not automatically mean that your hair is the picture of health. You could have shiny hair that is suffering from serious colour damage due to constantly dyeing, or if you've tried to transition from dark to light tones too quickly. You hair could be shiny and heat damaged if you're addicted to your curling wand or blow dryer. The old saying goes that you should brush your hair 100 times each night if you want it to be in tip-top condition, but in reality aggressively brushing your hair can lead to breakage and added fallout. So, if you're blessed with shiny hair, don't rest on your laurels. You hair will still need upkeep.
Celebrities with Famously Shiny Hair
Shiny hair may suit some people and not others, but these celebs definitely fall into the former category!
1. Alicia Vikander
The Tomb Raider star nails the glossy look with her long, brunette locks. Notice the light and dark tones in Alicia's hair? Hair that is both light and dark appears shinier than just one block slab of colour, so speak to your stylist about low-lights or highlights.
2. Julianne Moore
Screen-queen Julianne Moore is rarely seen without her crown of shiny red hair. If being a redhead comes naturally, a clear gloss like Paul Mitchell Smooth Gloss Drops will maximise your shine with minimum fuss. If you're a redhead by choice, you should consider getting a hair gloss treatment from your stylist in between your touch-ups.
3. Lupita Nyong'o
Afro hair needs regular TLC. When it gets the tender loving care it deserves, it truly outshines all competitors. If you're thinking of adopting a longer lasting braid style like the one-and-only Lupita is here, you're need to keep your braids moisturised for their entire lifespan. Lush's Queen Bee Hair Honey has been specially formulated for Afro hair, and you can simply warm it up between your hands and smooth it over your braids.
4. Every Member of the Kardashian-Jenner Clan
Could we really ever expect anything less from the Kardashian-Jenners? Every member of this family has a shiny mane of luscious hair, no matter what shade they happen to be rocking. Kim recently hinted that she may be returning Team Blonde in this Instagram post. Kim is no stranger to bleaching and lightening her hair, even joking that there's a NSFW reason why she does so.
To Bleach or Not To Bleach?
When you first start researching how best to get shiny hair, bleaching may not be an option that initially springs to mind. Darker hair reflects light while lighter hair absorbs it, so maintaining shiny blonde hair is a commitment. Bleaching is a harsh process no matter if you're Khloe Kardashian or Jane Doe, so there will always be an element of damage involved. The bleach reacts with the melanin in your hair, permanently removing your natural colour. But there's nothing like a brilliant blonde hue to get heads turning, and that's the reason while so many women reach for the bottle (the bleach bottle, that is!)
How To Make Hair Shiny: Our Step-By-Step Guide
For those of you hell bent on finding out how to get silky smooth hair that shines like the Gods, relax. We have your back. Here's our guide to the shiny hair process, complete with products that designed to give you a boost!
If you suspect that your hair is low porosity and suffering from built-up product, a clarifying shampoo is a good place to start. Clarifying shampoos act as a detox for your hair, flushing out product residue, hard water minerals and pollutants that your hair comes into contact with on a daily basis. This unwanted nasties all contribute to dull hair, so banishing them with a clarifying product is a step in the right direction.
Not all clarifying shampoos are suitable for treated or coloured hair, and some are not suitable for use more than once a week. If you're looking for a shine-inducing shampoo but don't thinking a clarifying product is for you, there are loads of other options you can explore.
Without the right conditioner, you've got no hope of shining bright like a diamond.
For soft, smooth hair that's been nourished by nature, try Aēsop Classic Conditioner. It contains bergamot mint, cedarwood bark and lavender stem, and has cult following.
If you've opted for the OGX Biotin & Collagen Shampoo, treat yourself to the matching conditioner. OGX Biotin & Collagen Conditioner is a super volumizing blend designed to give you fuller, shiner hair overnight. Shut up and take our money!
3. Masks and Treatments
Applying a mask or treatment is crucial if you want hair that is both shiny and healthy because, like we've learned, shiny hair doesn't necessarily mean healthy hair.
Argan oil is the way to go if your hair is dry and damaged. Hydrating and protective, argan oil will give you that sheen you crave, and it may go some way to fixing crunchy split ends. Used as a treatment, argan oil is extremely cost effective. A little goes a long way!
What would you do if we told you that there is a mask on the market that leaves your hair visibly healthier, 20 times stronger and shinier? Freak out and demand to be told where to find it? We don't blame you. Here it is -
Living Proof Restore Mask Treatment is available from Mecca, and is suitable for coloured hair, so everyone can reap the benefits of this deep conditioning mask!
4. Sprays and Serums
Using a hair shine spray or a hair shine serum is a great way to instantly give your hair some va-va-voom!
Try TIGI Bed Head Headrush Shine Spray for an effective and affordable way to achieve shine and manageability.
If you'd prefer to get your Moraccan oil fix in the form of a spray, then MOROCCANOIL Glimmer Shine Spray is the product for you.
But by far one of the best hair shine products available is Alterna CAVIAR Anti-Aging Smoothing ANTI-FRIZZ Nourishing Oil.
Andrew Fitzsimons (@andrewfitzsimons), celebrity hairstylist extraordinaire is a big fan of this miracle oil. "This stuff has been my go-to for years," Andrew has said. "For a hair oil, it has a pretty thick texture, so it layers well, without getting wet or sticky. I use it primarily for an instant shine boost, but as you work in more, it can act like a deep conditioning treatment."
If this is what Andrew uses to get the Kardashian's looking red-carpet ready, then sign us up!
Shiny hair may not come to you overnight, but with the right products at your disposal and a tailored hair-care routine, you too can be a modern-day Rapunzel.