How to Get Shiny Hair


Curly hair tends to be less shiny naturally compared to straight hair due to the texture dispersing light as it reflects. There are several ways to improve the natural shine of your curls, including keeping the hair free of build-up and preventing damage. Fortunately, we can also get shiny hair using styling products.

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Use Styling Products with Film-Forming Properties

Styling products are the single biggest influence on your hair’s shine. If you have curly hair and want to make it look glossy and juicy, you need to finish your routine with some kind of styler. Foams and texture sprays are not the best in this instance, as they texturise the hair and ‘roughen up’ the pattern to achieve more volume and a beachy look. Prefer a cream or a gel, which will smooth down the cuticle, define your curls and lock them in place, while creating a smooth surface that will reflect the light for extra shiny hair.

Cleanse Your Hair to Enhance Shine

Our scalp naturally produces a substance called sebum. This substance is fundamental to keep the hair shaft moisturised and healthy. However, if it isn’t cleansed regularly it may build-up and accumulate on the hair, reducing its ability to reflect shine. This can happen, for example, if you only use a co-wash to wash your hair. Co-washes are great, but such mild detergents aren’t enough to remove the build-up from the scalp in the long run. Understanding the difference between co-wash and shampoo, as well as how often you should use one or the other, is essential to develop a healthy routine that makes your hair shiny.

Keep Heat & Chemical Treatments to a Minimum

When the hair shaft gets damaged, its external cuticle structure becomes compromised, and the cuticles that protect it rise to create an uneven texture. This is not great to maximise hair shine, as the light doesn’t reflect as well if the cuticles aren’t tightly closed. The more damaged your hair is, the more dull it will appear. If you want to maximise your hair shine, make sure you avoid all those activities that can be damaging to the hair. This includes bleaching, colouring, heat styling, but also brushing and swimming in chlorine or salt water without protecting the hair first.

Choose Shine-Enhancing Ingredients

The ingredients in your hair products are responsible for creating that glossy hair effect. Oils, extracts and film-forming ingredients help smooth the cuticles and create a sheen on the hair. These are often found in gels and serums, but can also be in styling creams and butters.

Here are a few examples of powerful ingredients in hair care products that help make your hair shiny:

  • Natural plant oils: Jojoba Oil, Castor Oil, Sunflower Oil, Argan Oil, Coconut Oil
  • Natural plant butters: Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter
  • Film-forming humectants: Aloe, Honey, Agave, Slippery Elm, Irish Moss
  • Natural extracts: Bamboo, Hops, Lemon, Apple Cider Vinegar, Jasmine
  • Silicones (although it’s worth noting that these create an artificial film on the hair but do not add benefits to the hair and can cause buildup over time)

A Step-by-Step Routine for Shiny Hair

Thoroughly cleansing with a clarifying shampoo, followed by deep conditioning, and proper styling with light-reflecting products will restore vibrancy and shine. If you’re struggling with dull hair, the following routine serves as a reset and can be done weekly, or monthly, depending on the level of build-up you experience on a regular basis.

  1. Start with a pre-poo oil such as Curlsmith’s Intense Treatment Serum or Bonding Oil. Let it sit overnight or for a minimum of 30 minutes to absorb. This will help protect your hair from becoming dry while clarifying. If you don’t have enough time for a pre-poo treatment, you can just wet your hair and use the Curlsmith Super Slip Pre-Biotic Primer to prep hair for clarifying and detangle beforehand.
  2. Clarify using the Curlsmith Wash & Scrub Detox Pro-Biotic Clarifying Scrub Shampoo. Take time to thoroughly massage your scalp or use a scalp massaging brush. Rinse thoroughly.
  3. Deep condition using your choice of mask, such as the Curlsmith Hydro Cream Soothing Mask or Double Cream Deep Quencher. If your hair is weak or damaged, you can use a protein-rich option like the Multi-tasking Conditioner. Let it sit for 10-30 minutes and rinse out.
  4. Use a cream or leave-in conditioner such as the Curlsmith Shine Cream, which contains a blend of natural oils, butters, and extracts that provide shine.
  5. Use a gel for hold, definition, and shine. All the Curlsmith gels provide great shine, however the Curlsmith Shine Jelly and the Shine Gel are specifically formulated to give long-lasting gloss to the hair. Style as desired.
  6. Diffuse or air dry until your hair is completely dry.
  7. Finish with an oil or serum, such as Curlsmith Bonding Oil. This will add extra shine and help soften the gel cast as you scrunch it in.

For a regular wash day when you don’t need to clarify and deep condition, replace steps #2-3 with the Curlsmith Shine Shampoo and Shine Conditioner.

Quick Fixes to Reduce Dullness

There are many factors that can make your hair dull, but luckily they are all easily resolved. Following a simple routine will help enhance your hair shine, reducing build-up and causes for damage. If you’re looking for a quick fix, there is one product that will immediately add shine: hair oil. There are different types of hair oils, and each of them has specific benefits depending on what you are looking for. The one thing they have in common is shine: when used as a finishing product, they’ll give your hair an instant glow-up. Add them to your routine to make sure you never have to battle dull hair another day.

Shiny Hair the Curlsmith Way

Maintaining a routine of clarifying and deep conditioning will keep your curls from becoming dull. Look for styling products that contain film-forming ingredients, oils, and extracts that enhance shine, such as the Curlsmith Shine Recipe. This fragrance-free line is suitable for all hair types and packed-full with shine-enhancers. With proper care and the right products, you can improve your hair’s natural radiance and the health of your hair.