We have plenty of hair crushes over here. From Olivia Wilde’s ombré to Emma Roberts’ edgy bob, the red carpet churns out gorgeous hair we can only dream of replicating. (We’re starting to think perfect hair is a job requirement.) The one look we envy most of all? Long flowing locks. Even after the dye jobs and heat styling, celebs still manage to have damage-free thick hair. While their stylists won’t deny that hair extensions are part of the answer, they still have some tricks up their sleeve the average gal can use.
Start With the Scalp
“Create a solid foundation for hair and work from the scalp,” says Clear Scalp & Hair celebrity stylist Jen Atkin, who works on the gorgeous manes of Jennifer Lopez and Sofia Vergara. “Too many people are focused on the ends of their hair, but your hair growth is healthiest at the scalp. That’s why I like Clear Scalp & Hair’s shampoo and conditioners. They are lightweight and formulated to apply from the scalp to the ends for strong, beautiful hair.” The key to promoting healthy growth is a massage. “Instead of rushing through a shampoo, use the balls of your fingers to massage the product into your scalp. Massaging the scalp will help boost blood flow, which stimulates hair follicles to produce hair growth.”
Get the Right Cut
A common hair myth is that constant trims help to promote growth. However, growth occurs at the root. “I don’t think it makes hair grow faster,” says Eugene Toye, a stylist at Rita Hazan Salon, whose regulars include Christie Brinkley, Lily Allen and Chrissy Teigen. “It looks cleaner because you are getting rid of the dead and dry ends. Hair can appear thicker and healthier.” Frequent trims eliminate the possibility of the need for a major cut (over two inches). “No one says you have to chop it all off, but tell your hairstylist you want your layers long, so you can grow your hair out beautifully,” says Atkin.
SPF Your Hair
The more fried your hair, the more likely you’ll need a cut. And although it doesn’t get the same attention, UV rays are just as damaging on your hair as your skin. Ric Pipino, a celebrity stylist (he works with Elizabeth Banks and Petra Nemcova) and global creative director for Alterna recommends simple tricks to promoting health. “Even if you’re just walking down the street, you want to use products that have a UV filter.” And when at the beach, always wear a hat and apply a moisturizing mask—one of his favorites is Alterna’s Replenishing Moisture Mask ($42, skinstore.com). “With treatments, the most important thing is how you apply it. You really have to work it through the entire strand to get the treatment into the hair.” Massage the product into your hair with your fingers to hit every follicle.
Use the Right Tools
Similar to the sun, heat styling is a major fryer. Pipino has a simple hack: “To anyone who uses heat rollers, you can get a tissue, cut it in half (so it equals the size of a roller) and wrap the tissue around the roller. Then the hair can go on top of that. That works really well for protecting your hair against the direct heat of a roller.” And when a curling iron or flat iron is needed, use a spray. “Almost all products now have a thermo-protectant that coats the hair and protects againt any styling,” says Toye. “A lot of shampoos and conditioners include them, but I go the extra step and use an actual spray before styling.”
Your Hair Is What You Eat
“What you put in your body counts when it comes to the health of your hair, so pay attention to your diet,” says Atkin. “Healthy meals of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B support scalp and skin health. Salmon, eggs, dark leafy greens, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, avocados and nuts are all foods to look for.”
Prevention Is Key
It’s much easier to prevent damage than fix it when growing out your hair. (Sadly, that’s where all those trims come in). “A lot of young celebrities don’t really care that much,” says Pipino. “They don’t focus on maintaining their hair’s health. After a while of wear and tear on the hair, it really gets broken down. So they have to backtrack and use products that are going to revive it, moisturize it and protect it to prevent future damage.” Moisturize, trim and keep heat styling to a minimum.
Read more: 20 Tips and Tricks for Thicker Looking Hair