It doesn't take many bad hair days to appreciate the value of great hair. But luxe locks don't happen by accident. Just like anything worth having, if you want 365 good hair days a year, you'll have to work for it. Here's how...
Clean up your act
Hair follicles reside close to the surface of the scalp, which means the ingredients in the products you use to cleanse and condition hair really do count. Avoid sulfates and other harsh detergents responsible for that lathering effect many love, and opt instead for products rich in Vitamins B5 and E as well as peptides; all of which can reach the follicle and improve hair thickness, growth and health.
I like the sulfate-free DermOrganic Daily Conditioning Shampoo, packed with Omega-6, Panthenol B5, rice keratin and antioxidants ($16 at Ulta). Or, for a cheaper and accessible alternative, try Burt's Bees Very Volumizing Pomegranate Shampoo; it's about $8 at local drugstores. This gentle shampoo leaves hair looking thicker and imparts shine thanks to pomegranate seed oil and jojoba protein, plus it's SLS-free, meaning there's no harsh sodium lauryl sulfate to strip locks of luster.
The thicker the better
Minoxidil, most commonly marketed under the brand name Rogaine, is the only FDA-approved drug to stop hair loss. And about one in every four women who use Minoxidil will also benefit from new hair growth. And while this topical treatment used to be available by prescription only, that's no longer the case with corner drug stores offering Minoxidil products over the counter. (Minoxidil is available in 2 percent and 5 percent strengths, but only the 2 percent is approved for use by women.)
The newest product on the market to stop hair loss is FDA-approved Hair Regrowth Treatment for Women from Pantene, which boasts 2 percent Minoxidil; it's $23.99 for a one-month supply at local drugstores.
Don't trim split ends
If, like me, you can't stand to lose a precious inch of hair, frazzled ends or not, try the Brazilian blowout professional split end repair treatment (about $25 at upscale salons and spas). This new treatment promises to instantly repair locks, as well as sealing and protecting hair from damage for up to four weeks.
The treatment calls upon a thermo-marine bonding system that aims to fill in and bind broken hair fibers, meaning split ends are miraculously repaired. Done in-salon only, damp hair is dusted with the system and combed through strands from root to tip. Next, hair is blown out and finished with a flat iron to lock in product and seal split ends.
In the bay area, book Brazilian blowout treatments at Salon Lofts in Tampa, Salon Pearl in St. Pete and The Hot Spot in Brandon.
— Carolyn Brundage is the founder of tampabay.prettycity.com, a guide to the best in local beauty. Need beauty advice? Tweet up with Carolyn on Twitter @tampabaypretty.