4 reasons your hair is nowhere near as shiny as you want it to be

what to do for shinier hair

The changes to make for your healthiest-looking hair yet

Beauty Crew Editor / August 17 2018

No matter the hair type, length or colour, it’s a pretty safe bet that for most women the ultimate hair goal is maximum shine. To have that healthy swish of reflection is basically the beauty equivalent of swanning around with a designer handbag on your arm. 

But for some, a glossy head of hair seems but a pipe dream. Well, we’re here to tell you it’s absolutely not. You just need to know where you’re going wrong so you can make the right changes to ditch those dull, lacklustre locks. 

Before we get into that, it might be a good idea for you to understand what it is that actually makes hair look shiny (yep, we’re going to get scientific here). According to the experts at Dyson, there are three major factors that contribute to hair shininess: your strand smoothness, your strand alignment, and your colour contrast. 

So, if your individual cuticles and strands are smooth, ordered and aligned, light bounces evenly in one single direction off your hair to give it the appearance of smooth, shiny hair. But on the flipside, if your cuticles are disordered and strands are not aligned well, the light bouncing off your strands is dispersed in several directions, creating that duller finish. 

If the latter sounds like you, here’s where you’re likely going wrong: 

#1 / You’re using extreme heat on your hair

According to leading editorial stylist and Dyson Supersonic™ hair dryer ambassador, Renya Xydis, this is one of the biggest contributors to a lack of shine. 

You may think that cranking up the heat on your hair dryer is a good exercise in time management, but in reality you could be doing a fair amount of damage.

“When hair is exposed to extreme temperatures, it can become weaker and never goes back to the resilient state it was in before. The weaker your hair, the more likely you are to suffer from broken strands and split ends, which reduce the ability to align your hair, making it less shiny,” says Xydis. 

The fix:

Xydis’ advice is pretty simple: “To prevent extreme heat damage and maintain the quality and natural shine of our hair, we shouldn’t heat hair over 150 degrees [Celcius].” Translation: Invest in a hair tool that has been thoroughly researched, designed and created to prevent extreme heat damage, because – as you may have already guessed – a proven way to protect your hair’s natural shine is to protect it from damage in the first place. And the clever folks at Dyson spent four years researching the science behind hair to deliver exactly that with the Dyson Supersonic™ hair dryer.

With $100 million invested in hair research, 600 prototypes, 103 engineers and an insane 1625km of hair tested, it’s safe to say Dyson has done the hard yards with this tool. Featuring an intelligent heat control system, the hair dryer doesn’t go above 150 degrees to ensure the temperature doesn’t get too hot and cause extreme heat damage, getting you one step closer to maintaining your hair’s natural shine. You’ll also be pleased to know that the design of the Dyson Supersonic™ hair dryer allows you to dry your hair quickly, so you’ll be out the door fast without compromising your hair’s health.

Fun fact: The Dyson Supersonic™ hair dryer measures the airflow temperature 20 times a second to ensure it doesn’t exceed 150 degrees.

#2 / You’re brushing your hair when it’s wet

Is it your natural instinct to use a brush on your hair after you wash it? Yep, that could be one of the silent killers of your shine factor. “When your hair is soaking wet, it is weaker, fragile and more susceptible to breakage,” says Xydis. 

The fix:

It’s as easy as swapping from a brush to a wide-tooth comb. This will cause less friction, and therefore less cuticle damage. Xydis also recommends combing from the mid-lengths down, and then from the roots down, as starting from the roots from the get-go can cause more breakage and damage as you tug your way through knots.

Try swapping your regular paddle brush for Evo Roy Wide-Tooth Detangling Comb.

Evo Roy Wide-Tooth Detangling Comb

#3 / You’re not taking proper care when you colour your hair

Balayage has become one of the biggest hair colour trends in recent years, so more women than ever before are exposing their hair to bleach. And it’s no secret that the chemicals in the bleach can be harsh and aggressive, which can compromise the health of your hair, leaving strands weaker, a bit rougher and more porous – all elements that are going to affect the shine of your hair.  And let’s not forget the fact that blonde hair doesn’t reflect the light as well as darker hair colours. 

The fix:

We would never expect for you to go cold turkey on hair colour, so Peter Thomsen, hairdresser and L’Oréal Professionnel Ambassador, has some other suggestions up his sleeve. 

“When colouring hair, have your salon professional add L’Oréal Professionnel Smartbond to the mix in order to strengthen and protect hair during the process. [It helps] result in longer-lasting colour and shiny, healthy hair. 

At home, use a prescriptive hair care regimen, like L’Oréal Professionnel Absolut Repair Lipidium, which is designed to target each part of the hair fibre according to the level of damage. This ensures the hair is restored back into optimum health – and healthy hair is smooth and shiny.”

L'Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Lipidium Absolut Repair Nourishing Serum

#4 / You’re using too many styling products

We’ve become a generation of women who rely on dry shampoo, texturisers, sea salt sprays, root-boosting powders, smoothing serums and everything in between. While these all serve excellent purposes, you can get too much of a good thing.

Even though you’re regularly washing your hair and seemingly cleansing it, you’re likely to still get product build-up, which can leave hair looking dull and lifeless. 

According to Xydis, one of the biggest culprits for product build-up are products with a high silicone content. While they temporarily work wonderfully to smooth down hair and create the illusion of shine, over time silicone builds up and can weigh down hair, and can even lead to weakening of the strands and breakage if it prevents the proper nutrients getting in. 

The fix:

Once a week (or fortnight if you prefer), swap out your regular shampoo with a clarifying or exfoliating shampoo, like Eleven Australia Deep Clean Shampoo. These are essentially the equivalent of a face scrub for your scalp and work that extra bit harder to get rid of the gunk that’s been secretly accumulating on your strands and dulling its shine.

Eleven Australia Deep Clean Shampoo

TOP TIP: When it comes to towel-drying your hair post-wash, Xydis recommends squeezing and patting with your towel, rather than rubbing, as this can cause cuticle damage.

Balayage not looking its best? Here are four things you can do to make your balayage look better

Have you tried the Dyson Supersonic™ hair dryer? What are your secrets to shiny hair? Share with us in the comments section below.

Main image credit: Getty

Carli was BEAUTYcrew’s Editor from launch in 2016 until May 2020. You can find her words right here on BEAUTYcrew, and previously on beautyheaven.