To date, one of my favorite articles the internet has ever served up was this gem from 2016: “Why Everyone on TV Has the Same Hair.” From the leading image alone, it’s easy to know exactly the style writer, Julia Rubin is breaking down. In her words, it’s “The same straight-up-top, loose-curls-on-bottom hair.” It’s a mix of clearly requiring some effort, while still maintaining a laid-back, surfer vibe. On TV, Rubin considers it a “norm.” But in real life? While texturizing pastes, sprays, and foams can work in a pinch, to really perfect the look, you’re going to need to pay a visit to your local Drybar. But as with the transformation of many trends over the course of the pandemic, we’ve seen this style fall out of favor. In its place? Slick, sleek, and shiny hair à la Hailey Bieber. Plus, of course, all of your other favorite top models who’ve perfected the off-duty look. To help you recreate it for yourself, we’re rounding up the best shampoos and conditioners for shiny hair that every bathroom needs.
I’m not sure what your Instagram and TikTok feeds look like, but I can confirm that mine are a compendium of variations on the trend. Whether it’s tied down in a bun, pulled back in a pony, or let loose behind the ears, shiny glass hair is here to stay. Say goodbye to dry and dull locks and get ready for advice from some of the best in the biz. We tapped Emilie Hoyt, founder and CEO of LATHER to share her expert knowledge to help you get the shiniest hair of your life, and her shiny hair care tips do not dissapoint. Then keep scrolling for a roundup of all the editor-approved shampoos and conditioners your high-shine hair will ever need. Let’s dive in.
Feature image by Claire Huntsberger.
Similar to the “clean look” skincare trend, shiny hair is all over social media today. Is this real? Can hair really be that shiny? Or is it just a result of good lighting and filters?
You know what they say: don’t always believe what you see on social media. As our go-to platforms have developed, the technology users rely on to create content has gotten more and more sophisticated. Ring lights ensure perfect and even lighting and most of what ends up on our feeds have gone through several rounds of editing. And while authenticity and even low-production videos dominate TikTok, it’s hard to know what’s real and what isn’t.
And though this writer is inclined to first approach everything she finds on the internet with a healthy dose of skepticism, Hoyt’s take has turned me into a believer. “There is super shiny hair out there!” With, of course, this added caveat: “But good lighting always helps hair shine.”
What ingredients should we look out for to get shiny hair?
When “tl;dr” began working its way into the common lexicon, I felt seen. (For the uninitiated among us, translation: too long, didn’t read.) Don’t get me wrong, I love reading a truly absorbing article from start to finish, but when beauty and hair are involved, I want answers and I want them now. So what are the go-to ingredients we should be skimming every back-of-the-bottle label for? “Products that have natural emollients and proteins,” says Hoyt. “For really shiny hair, I suggest looking for avocado or coconut oil as well as protein such as baobab.”
What steps should we incorporate into our hair care routine to get the glossiest locks?
Until a few years ago, there seemed to be a universally held belief that shampooing and conditioning our hair every day was the way to go. Thankfully, we’ve since seen the light, and most of us are mindful of washing our hair only once or a few times a week for the healthiest locks. Hoyt recommends focusing on shampooing only the roots of the hair for maximum shine. “You also want to make sure you add a moisturizing mask or hair oil once a week to lock in moisture,” she notes.
Help! I’m craving shiny hair, but my locks are lacking luster. What am I doing wrong?
Ah, the good days of middle school (she joked sarcastically), when Abercrombie & Fitch was still years away from a rebrand and skinny jeans weren’t yet demonized by the teenage masses. Another common occurrence of my late-aughts adolescence? Frying my hair every morning with my Conair straightener. Thankfully, I ditched the routine before too much damage was done, but at the height of the habit’s frequency, my hair was definitely not a picture of health.
According to Hoyt’s expert opinion, it’s a good thing I gave my straightener to Goodwill: “So many things can make your hair appear dull! Over cleansing, overcoloring, and overusing heat styling products are key offenders.” You know what they say about less being more? The adage certainly applies here.
What are a few key things we can be doing to take better care of our hair?
I don’t know who needs to hear it, but showing your hair some love on the reg isn’t about outward appearance or aesthetics alone. While we’re all about getting the shiniest hair possible, taking the time to nurture and nourish healthy locks can be a powerful act of self-love. Make a ritual of applying your go-to products (see below) and treating your hair care routine like any other habitual part of your day. Oh, and according to Hoyt, kindness is key: “Try not to be too rough with your hair! Be gentle when towel drying and use a good quality brush that can distribute natural oils to bring out the shine.” Done and done.
Keep scrolling for the best shampoos and conditioners for the shiny hair! (Like, the shiniest hair of your life.)
LATHER Avocado Mint Shampoo Bars
Small, but mighty. Who knew a tiny block could be filled with so much hair-loving goodness? It relies on a coconut oil-derived cleansing agent for creamy suds and makes sure to lock in your hair’s natural oils. Basically, it checks off everything Hoyt says to look for in a shampoo. “I suggest a very gentle shampoo such as this mild, sulfate-free option.” Bar, raised.
LATHER Avocado Mint Shampoo Bars, $16
House of Dear Resurrecting Wash
“I discovered this shampoo/conditioner combo at one of Dallas’ most popular salons. The products are so luxurious (and clean!) and I’m obsessed with the way my hair feels when I wash with them. The shampoo in particular is pretty life-changing. It foams up beautifully but is somehow very moisturizing. I’ve tried so many big-name brands, but this little line has been my go-to for almost a year now.” – Caitlin Clark, Contributing Editor
House of Dear Resurrecting Wash, $38
Crown Affair The Ritual Shampoo & Conditioner
“This duo is a match made in shiny hair heaven. Crown Affair is one of the buzzy Instagram brands that truly deserves all the hype. These products strike the perfect balance of being incredibly gentle on your hair while boasting super powerful results. They rely on coconut-based surfactants to get rid of all the grimy gunk that builds up in your hair (gross, I know), leaving your locks as shiny as they’ll ever be.” – Isabelle Eyman, Contributing Editor
Crown Affair The Ritual Shampoo & Conditioner, $67
Crown Affair The Renewal Mask
“I have fine hair but a lot of it so I need a product that can moisturize without weighing it down. Since my hair can tend to get dry (especially on the ends), I often reach for a mask instead of a conditioner. This one from Crown Affair is incredibly hydrating and lightweight so my hair feels luxe and soft without getting greasy or heavy from too many oils.” – Sacha Strebe, Deputy Editor
Crown Affair The Renewal Mask, $58
L’Huile de Leonor Greyl Pre-Shampoo Treatment Oil for Dry Hair
“When my hair is feeling especially dry, I will reach for this super-hydrating pre-shampoo treatment oil. It’s incredibly luxe (and expensive) but you don’t need much. Plus, because I only wash my hair 1-2 times a week, it really does last a long time! You apply this nutrient-rich oil (it’s packed with organic jojoba, coconut, sunflower seed, and sesame seed oils) to your hair about 10 minutes before you hop in the shower and then shampoo it out, followed by your moisturizer of choice. If my hair is feeling really dry, I will use it as an overnight leave-in treatment once a week or month. And (bonus points!), try taking this one traveling because it also doubles as sun protection for those days spent by the pool or at the beach. I will often use it to slick my hair back in a low bun or ponytail so it’s protecting, treating, and styling all at the same time.” – Sacha Strebe, Deputy Editor
L’Huile de Leonor Greyl Pre-Shampoo Treatment Oil for Dry Hair, $59
hers Triple Threat Shampoo Thickening & Moisturizing Hair Defense Shampoo
“Since I’m also currently growing out my hair, I’m focused on repairing past damage and detoxing scalp build-up—both things which (thankfully) also result in major shine factor, too. The shampoo contains biotin to boost hair health, while the conditioner has argan, coconut, and sunflower seed oils to nourish. When I really want to amp up my efforts, I use the detox scalp scrub and rapid repair hair mask for bounce and mega-watt shine.” – Camille Styles, Editor-in-Chief
hers Triple Threat Shampoo Thickening & Moisturizing Hair Defense Shampoo, $15.89
Act + Acre, Shampoo and Conditioning Hair Mask
“I love this conditioning hair mask because it’s full of clean ingredients that don’t irritate my scalp. So many products leave my scalp dry and flaky, due to the synthetic ingredients. The hair mask contains castor oil and vitamin B which amp up the shine, and the shampoo gently cleanses without stripping your hair of its natural oils. What makes this entire line special is that it’s cold-pressed hair care, meaning you get the full benefit of the ingredients because they aren’t heated in the creation process.” – Brandy Joy Smith, Motherhood Contributor
Act + Acre, Shampoo and Conditioning Hair Mask, $36
LATHER Avocado Mint Hair Repair
Hoyt recommends finding yourself a moisturizing mask that’ll restore strength and shine to dry or damaged hair. This deep-conditioning treatment will hydrate your hair with all the moisture it needs. It also includes a laundry list of some of the most nourishing ingredients you can find: avocado oil, macadamia seed oil, and jojoba oil for fully-refreshed hair.
LATHER Avocado Mint Hair Repair, $18
Prose Custom Shampoo
“While they tell you not to judge a book by its cover, you can definitely judge this shampoo by its pretty, minimalist packaging. This brand takes an innovative approach to making sure you have a shampoo that fits your hair’s unique needs. Go through a brief, but thorough online consultation and you’ll be matched with a formula that’s filled with natural and sustainable ingredients (scalp-cleansing Shikakai extract, strength-building biotin, apple cider vinegar for maximum shine, just to name a few) that’ll give your hair the healthy hydration it craves.” – Isabelle Eyman, Contributing Editor
And our Deputy Editor, Sacha Strebe agrees: “After seeing so many friends have a great experience, I ordered a custom hair care set from Prose late last year and it was a gamechanger. My hair is always softer and shinier after using their customized shampoo and conditioner but I also love to follow that with their leave-in moisturizer and hair oil at the ends.”
Prose Custom Shampoo, $28
Illes Formula 3-Step Replenishment System
“I have used Illes for years and I swear by their shampoo, conditioner, and finishing serum, not to mention the smell is insane! Developed by a celebrity hairstylist from Australia, Wendy Iles this detangles and protects hair while providing manageability and a lusciously silky texture. I really LOVE this brand.” – Sacha Strebe, Deputy Editor
Illes Formula 3-Step Replenishment System, $117
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