Am I the only one who goes into the hair salon with a ton of questions, but then ends up feeling stupid for asking them? Questions like, “How often should I wash my hair?” that are so simple but can make a big impact in creating the hair routine right for you. Luckily, I’m not the only one, because I asked my Snapchat and Instagram followers what questions they’ve always wanted to ask a hairstylist—but never had the nerve to— and the responses poured in!
These hair FAQs have been debated online in the beauty community, but hairstylist Tracy Nguyen who currently works out of CURE Salon & Spa in Malibu is setting the record straight. I asked her your burning questions while she cut my hair, and she had a lot of hair tips and advice to give.
Watch the video above to hear her responses and see my hair transformation, or just read them below.
Q: How often should I wash my hair?
A: “It just depends on your hair type and how oily your scalp gets. If you’re not producing [a lot of] oil, I would say try two days [in between washes], and if that works, try three days the following week. Just test out what works for you.”
Q: Does washing your hair every day make your hair oily?
A: “When you wash your hair a lot, your natural oils get eradicated from your scalp, and you’re going to produce more sebum to make up for all the lost oil. So I would try to reduce washing to every other day.”
Q: How many days can I use dry shampoo before washing my hair?
A: “I’ve seen people go a whole week, but that’s very rare. Some of my clients go maybe three or four days.”
Q: Is it bad to layer dry shampoo day after day?
A: “No, not at all.”
How do I find a lightweight dry shampoo that would be ideal for daily use?
A: “I really don’t like dry shampoos that are sticky or wet. I spray dry shampoos on my hand before use to feel the texture of the product, and if I think it feels wet, I won’t put it on because it will weigh it down. Even on coarse hair, I wouldn’t use it either because I don’t want to weigh down the top [of the hair]. I like Klorane Dry Shampoo— you can use the aerosol version, or they have one that is a squeeze powder which is great if you want to squeeze it onto a brush and brush it into your hair”
Q: How frequently should I be getting my hair cut?
A: “It depends on the haircut. If you have shorter hair, definitely come in a lot sooner… I would say 4-6 weeks depending on how [quickly] your hair grows. But, for longer hair it can be anywhere from six weeks to longer depending on if you want to maintain the length.”
Q: Is it true getting regular trims helps hair grow?
A: “It will help it grow for sure. If you have split ends, what ends up happening is those split ends will split all the way up to the top and you’re going to lose hair. If you get them trimmed on a regular basis, it’s going to help your hair grow.”
Q: Can hair products really seal split ends?
A: “It’s like a bandaid. You have to get to the root of the problem and cut the split end off, there’s no way of getting around it.”
Q: What styling tools can you save on instead of splurging?
A: “If you invest in a good flat iron or curling iron from the drugstore that you like, go ahead and use it! Just be sure you prep your hair really well so it doesn’t burn.”
Q: How do I know if I have dandruff vs. product buildup?
A: “Dandruff is going to be more consistent. Product buildup is going to be more infrequent and depend on how much product you’ve used. Throughout the week it will look worse as you keep using more product.”
Q: How do I get rid of itchy, flaky scalp if it’s not product buildup?
A: “I highly recommend going to a dermatologist. They can check out the health of your scalp and skin, as it may be a problem internally.”
Q: How often should I use a clarifying shampoo?
A: “Once a week. If you use it more than that, you’re going to make your hair extremely dry. What it’s meant to do is strip all of the product buildup and gunk off of your hair from the week. Bumble and bumble has their Sunday Shampoo, and the name is a reminder to use it every week, once a week, to clarify your hair!”
Q: Do heat protectants work better than oils when using hot tools?
A: “I think whatever you put on your hair is going to act as a heat protectant. It doesn’t matter if it necessarily says heat protectant on the packaging, because whatever burns off of your hair will be the product rather than your actual hair.”
Q: What is the best temperature for flat ironing hair?
A: “I like to do it on the highest setting, but I do it really fast and don’t pass it through too many times. If you are going to pass it through many times, stay at about 350. It also depends on your hair, too. If you have very fine and colored hair, you don’t want to put too much heat on it.”
Q: Is box hair dye actually bad for hair?
A: “I would say yes. It’s made for the mass consumer so that anybody can pick it up and use it. The developer in it is usually really high and the pigment is really strong because it’s supposed to color all sorts of different hair textures. It would be better to go to a hair dresser because they can personalize the shade that you want. If you’re doing your own hair color at home, you also risk overlapping the dye with your previous color, creating bands in the hair where the pigment is layered. I suggest services from salons like dpHUE that customize your color for you and let you take home a personalized kit to do yourself.”
Q: Which vitamins make your hair grow, and do they work?
Q: So hair gummies aren’t a scam?
A: “No, they’re not a scam. But, while the hair gummies taste great, they usually don’t have that much Biotin in them. They’re still a fun way to take your vitamins!”
Q: Should I wash my hair before going to the salon?
A: “No, because most like you’re going to get your hair washed at the salon. For color appointments, it depends on the service but natural oils can protect your scalp from burning.”
Q: What is the best way to preserve a blowout?
A: “Dry shampoo is your best bet. It’s going to give you more volume and make it nice and full again. For sleeping, use a silk pillowcase so there’s no friction against your hair to make it frizzy. Don’t put it in a bun, which can leave your hair in a weird shape when you wake up. Just pull your hair back and away from your head.”
Q: Does teasing the hair damage it?
A: “Not as long as you tease correctly, which consists of taking a section at the crown, holding it straight up and moving the comb in “C” shape motions toward the hair going all the way to the root. Don’t just move the comb up and down.” (See the video to watch Tracy demonstrate this.)
Q: Should I apply a hair mask to wet or dry hair?
A: “When you apply a hair mask to dry hair, it’s going to give you the most potency. If you put it on wet hair, the mask will be diluted by the water, so it depends on how much moisture you’re looking for. I like to do my hair mask on dry hair. Then I’ll jump in the shower and shampoo and use a light conditioner.”