Layering might make you think of cool, crisp fall weather and cozy knits, but did you know there’s an art to layering your hair products too? Just ask any fashionista or skin care guru: being well-versed in the art of layering is essential.
But what about hair care? When it comes to layering, hair just doesn’t get the same amount of buzz. The fact of the matter is that if you want to maximize the results of your hair products, applying them in the right order is key. Just as layering your clothing can give you an ultra-stylish, knockout outfit and layering your serums can give you smooth, hydrated, baby-soft skin, layering your hair care correctly can yield transformative results.
You can spend all your time researching the very best hair products and dish out tons of cash on high-quality, all-natural haircare, but if you apply those products in the wrong order, you’re not getting the best bang for your buck. In fact, your hair may not even be able to absorb all the products properly at all.
Confused? Not sure where to begin? Don’t worry! From what comes first to what comes last, and everything in between, we’ve got the full scoop on how to layer your products for best results.
1. Leave in conditioner
Once you get out of the shower, wrap your hair up in an old cotton t-shirt to absorb excess water. While your hair is still damp, but not sopping wet, the first thing you want to do is spray in some leave-in conditioner. The lightweight texture absorbs best when it is applied first as it can quickly and easily penetrate the hair and thus, won’t create a barrier for products you apply afterwards.
Leave-in conditioners often help to detangle the hair as well, so it’s important to ensure you spray your hair thoroughly (focusing on the mid-lengths and ends) before you start combing through your hair as it will make it easier to loosen up knots and tangles. Remember to avoid using a brush post-shower as wet hair is especially delicate and susceptible to breakage. Instead, stick to a wide-toothed comb starting at the ends of your hair and carefully working your way upwards.
2. Serum or mousse
Next, you want to apply your mid-weight products like a serum or mousse. If it’s a sleek, straight look you’re after, opt for a serum. On the other hand, if you want to define your curls or give your hair a boost of volume, a texture-enhancing mousse is your best bet. Since you’ve applied a leave-in conditioner first, you are ensuring you have a good baseline canvas to work with since applying mousse on top of frizzy hair can make the hair feel crunchy and dry.
While applying a leave-in conditioner to your roots likely won’t have any negative side-effects (it can actually help prevent those stubborn flyaways and baby hairs from standing straight up), you’ll want to keep any serum or mousse away from your scalp to ensure your hair doesn’t look greasy.
3. Heat protectant
If you’re going to be heat styling your hair, using a heat protectant is an absolute must. We recommend applying a heat protectant about five minutes before heat styling your hair (ideally, let your hair air-dry as much as you can to minimize damage). This ensures the product has some time to dry and set so you won’t hear your hair sizzle as you straighten. Make sure to comb through your hair before you get started with the hot tools to ensure the product is evenly distributed and none of your strands are left unprotected.
4. Hydrating hair oil
Whether or not you’ve opted to heat style your hair, a few drops of a hydrating hair oil can work wonders. In addition to locking in moisture, taming flyaways, and preventing frizz, a hair oil helps add shine and definition to your style, whether it be sleek and straight, beachy waves, or your natural texture. Since hair oils have a more viscous texture, it’s important to apply thinner products beforehand as oils tend to create a barrier around your hair which is good for protecting against humidity but bad for layering products over top.
5. Hairspray or finishing pomade
The final step in your hair care routine is all about locking in your style so you can make your hair last. Whether you want to maximize the lifespan of those curls you worked so hard to achieve or are looking to smooth down those stray hairs to polish up that slicked back pony, hairspray or finishing pomade should be your final step. Our recommendation when it comes to finishing products is less is more; too much and your hair will look crunchy so start small—it’s always easier to add more than take some away.
Now that you know how to layer your hair products correctly, give it a try! You’ll be surprised how big a difference simply applying your products in the right order will make to your hair. Just as layering t-shirt on top of a winter jacket is a big style no-no, when it comes to hair care, there are some rules you’re better off following.