Your Step-By-Step Guide To A Perfect Hairstyle, Every Time

Photographed by Winnie Au.

We take pride in our hair and want it to look its best, which is why our showers and medicine cabinets rival that of Sephora. (Hey, who can resist the VIB sale?) But, when you’re acting as your own mixologist with your styling wares, things can get a little tricky.

Most of us know the rule of layering your skin care: in most cases it’s best to go from lightest to heaviest. But what about hair products? Does mousse come before oil? How about a heat protectant? Armed with a whole lot of questions, we tapped Mark Townsend, Dove celebrity stylist, to give us the lowdown on how to layer products into wet hair before you heat style or air-dry. While every hair type, texture, and style is different, there are some general rules that will allow you to get the best results.

Whether you reply upon two, or all, of the product categories ahead, consider this your cheat sheet to ensure your styling will go off without a hitch — just follow this order before you style!

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Shampoo & Conditioner
Yes, this is a given, but it’s worth noting. “First of all, your style absolutely starts in the shower,” Townsend explains. You want to make sure you’re using a shampoo and conditioner that are right for your hair type. For example, “It’s crazy how many people skip conditioner because they think it will weigh their hair down, but that just isn’t the case,” Townsend says. Stumped? Scotty Cunha, who works with Kim Kardashian, praises this Burt’s Bees deep conditioner because it’s light, nourishing, and works for all hair types.

Burt’s Bees Hair Repair Shea & Grapefruit Deep Conditioner, $8.00, available at Burt’s Bees.

Leave-In Conditioner & Detangler
Ladies with thick or natural hair are probably already well versed in the language of conditioners, but gals with thin hair may shy away. For them, Townsend recommends spritzing in a detangler, like Dove ‘s, while you’re still in the shower — and then rinsing it out! This tricks ensures the lightest application possible.

If your hair is on the thicker side, you’ll want to spray in the detangler after you step out of the shower. But, first, squeeze out that water. “You want to get at least 50% to 60% of the moisture out of your hair,” Townsend says. “The only thing that goes into super-wet hair is shampoo and conditioner.”

Dove Advanced Hair Series Quench Absolute Detangler, $5.99, available at Target.

“My favorite leave-in is Shea Moisture’s,” says Danielle Priano, who works with Selena Gomez and several Victoria’s Secret Angels. “I would only use this one if you’re going to wear your hair curly to keep the frizz out. If you have thin, straight hair, it will make it look a bit greasy.”

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Leave-In Conditioner, $10.99, available at Shea Moisture.

If your hair is on the thicker side, you’ll want to spray in the detangler after you step out of the shower. But first, squeeze out that water. “You want to get at least 50% to 60% of the moisture out of your hair,” Townsend says. “The only thing that goes into super-wet hair is shampoo and conditioner.”

Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Leave-In, $11, available on Carol’s Daughter.

Heat Protectant & Oil
If your detangler doesn’t have an oil or heat-protectant benefits, you want to layer these in next. “Make sure you apply it from the mid-length to the ends,” Townsend says.

Kérastase Nectar Thermique, $48, available at Adore Beauty.

Thickening & Volume Spray
Now is time to add volume — if that’s your thing — so Townsend suggests spritzing in a root-lift spray. Danilo, who’s Gwen Stefani’s stylist, told us that this one “will literally double your hair.” Sold!

Pantene Pro-V Volume Root Lifting Spray Gel, $4.97, available at Walmart.

“If you use a mousse, you can work that in instead of a root-lift spray,” Townsend notes. “I’m a big believer in mousses — they have so many moisturizers in them now. They’re such a versatile product.”

John Frieda Luxurious Volume Perfectly Full Mousse, $7.29, available at Walgreens.

Styling Cream
Styling cream comes next, if you want it, of course. Dritan Vushaj, stylist to Lily Collins, and Gregory Russell, who’s worked with Hailee Steinfeld, both love this cream from Leonor Greyl.

Leonor Greyl Eclat Naturel, $46, available at Leonor Greyl.

This new Phyto Specific product for curly girls and guys gives you gel-like hold — with the added bonus of shea butter, sunflower oil, and other moisturizing natural extracts.

Phytospecific Curl Legend Curl Sculpting Cream Gel, $28, available at Phytospecific.

Beach Spray
This is also the time when you can incorporate your beach sprays or any other texture spritz you may use on your damp strands. Once you’ve added some height, all that’s left to do is blow-dry your locks or let them dry naturally.

Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine Hairspray, $42, available at Neiman Marcus.

This budget-friendly option has quinoa protein to hydrate your hair, but will still give you the gritty look you’re aiming for.

Verb Sea Spray, $14, available at Sephora.

The abbreviated version: shampoo, conditioner, detangler, oil, heat protectant, styling cream, and mousse, then finish with beach or texture spray. Stick to this order — no matter how many you actually use — and you’ll get a picture-perfect ‘do every time. If only everything in life could be this easy…

Photo: Via @marktownsend1.

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