In each issue of WebMD the Magazine, our experts answer your questions about skin care, beauty, makeup, hair care, and more. In our November-December 2011 issue, Jessica Dolese, 25, a real estate agent in Florham Park, N.J., asked how she could keep her straight hair healthy. For help, we turned to George Gonzalez (owner of George the Salon and a freelance stylist at The Spa at Harpo in Chicago) and Stephanie Pohl, a celebrity hairstylist in Los Angeles. Here's what they had to say:
Q: I flat iron my straight hair regularly. What can I do to minimize dryness and split ends?
Jessica Dolese, 25, real estate agent, Florham Park, N.J.
George Gonzalez's top picks:
The long-term effect of unprotected, excessive flat ironing is split ends and color fading, but with products and a few key techniques, you can stop damage before it starts.
For starters, avoid shampoos with sodium lauryl sulfate, which can strip and dry out your hair. Instead, use a super-moisturizing cleanser like Burt's Bees Super Shiny Grapefruit & Sugar Beet Shampoo ($8), which is sulfate-free and contains soy protein to repair damaged strands.
In addition to your daily conditioner, you should also use a conditioning mask once or twice a week if your hair is very dry or damaged. Infused with blue agave and shea butter, Ojon Dry Recovery Intensive Hydrating 2-Minute Hair Mask ($29.50) will boost moisture levels to repair the cuticle layer of your hair.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is not using products to seal and protect their hair. Spray each section with a thermal protector like John Frieda Frizz-Ease Hair Serum Thermal Protection ($9.99) before flat ironing. Afterward, apply a little John Frieda Full Repair Perfect Ends Deep Infusion ($9.99) to the tips to help block humidity-induced frizz and prevent split ends and flyaways. Finally, use a light hairspray like Garnier Fructis Style Sleek & Shine Anti-Humidity Hairspray ($4.29) to keep straight strands smooth all day long.
Stephanie Pohl's top picks:
Healthy hair starts in the shower. Thin, straight hair can benefit a ton from sudsing up with a volumizing strand cleanser such as Pureology PureVolume Shampoo ($27), which is free of sulfates and contains a soy, oat, and wheat protein complex that helps repair dry, damaged locks. Since your strands are straight (and probably fine), you might feel you can skip conditioning them, but that's not the case. Always condition your ends (the driest part of your hair) when you wash; just try to keep the conditioner away from your roots because they produce their own natural oils that help moisturize the scalp.
To give your straight strands control without weighing them down or making them look greasy, stock up on lightweight hairsprays such as Sebastian Shaper Zero Gravity ($16.95), a soft-hold spray that locks in loose styles while maintaining the bounce. If your hair is thin, it's best to apply products with a light hand. To fight flyaways, I suggest Davines Wizard No.1 Finest Oil Non Oil ($22), a combo of sweet almond proteins that helps nix static during blow-dry sessions and adds shine while keeping strands light and airy.
Women with straight hair often damage their hair with high-heat styling tools -- flat irons, blow-dryers, or curling irons. Because straight strands can be fragile, it's important to use a pre-heat spray to protect your locks from wear and tear. Particularly before flat ironing, prep hair with Rusk Design Thermal Flat Iron Spray with Argan Oil ($16). Infused with UVB sunscreens and silicones, the spritz protects and conditions while adding texture, sheen, and soft hold to straight, fine strands.
Blow Drying Tips
Do you leave the salon thinking your hair will never look this good again (until your next appointment)? You can get salon-worthy blowout results at home. Zahir Ziani, Red Door Spas' national creative director, shares his steps for success.
1. Pre-dry your hair with a blow-dryer set to low heat to remove excess moisture, or let your locks air-dry for a few minutes.
2. Apply an anti-frizz/smoothing product to soften hair and make it more manageable.
3. Divide your hair into four to six sections, securing each with a clip. Using a round brush, hold your hair taut to avoid any frizzing and begin blow-drying in the back, and finish in the front. Before you're done with each section, blast it with a shot of cool air to close the hair cuticle (it opens when heated) and boost shine.
4. Apply a non-greasy shine serum, such as Citré Shine Anti-Frizz Serum, to the ends.
The opinions expressed in this section are of the experts and are not the opinions of WebMD. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.