Ever notice how straight hair looks almost incandescent when it catches the light? That extra-glossy effect isn’t an illusion, says dermatologist Jeannette Graf. “Flat-ironing helps ruffled hair cuticles lie flat, which creates more surface area to reflect light,” she explains. Just be sure not to fry your strands: Only iron bone-dry hair, use a gliding motion, and choose ceramic plates to protect against excessive heat.
2. Add Contrast
Hair that’s both light and dark reads shinier to the eye than a flat field of one shade, says colorist and salon owner James Corbett. If your base is dark, ask your colorist for thin ribbons of a lighter hue; if you’re a blonde, consider low-lights. At home, try Clairol Perfect 10 by Nice ‘N Easy ($14; clairol.com), a single-process treatment that delivers three subtle tones of a single shade.
3. Eat a Caesar Salad
And don’t pluck out the anchovies! According to dermatologist Nicholas Perricone, L-cysteine, found in egg yolks, optimizes the production of keratin, a protein critical for growth (healthy hair = lustrous hair). The omegas in olive oil and anchovies also boost the hydration of hair from the inside out.
4. Step Away from the Glitter
We all love a little bling, but dousing hair with shine products that contain mica can rough up the hair shaft and work against your natural gleam. Instead, look for gloss-boosting ingredients like argan oil, found in Josie Maran’s argan oil hair serum ($30;sephora.com), that also condition hair.
5. Wash Wisely
Not all hair colors are created equal, which means you should wash, rinse, and repeat accordingly. Lighter hair is porous and more susceptible to buildup, so it’s shiniest when it’s cleanest, says Clairol Global Creative Director Marcy Cona. Those with brunette or deep auburn strands are at their glossiest with well-conditioned second-day hair.
6. Master Silicone
Few ingredients add more shine than this glossy polymer, but it can weigh hair down if it’s not used correctly, says cosmetics chemist Ni’Kita Wilson. For thin hair, pick a spray formula, like John Frieda Frizz-Ease 100% Shine mist ($6; at Rite Aid), and gently mist onto damp hair from mid-shaft down. For thick hair, work a pea-size drop between palms and distribute evenly through damp hair. If your hair is coarse or kinky, add a bit more product to ends once hair is dry, or try a heavier natural oil.
7. Go Brazilian
Imagine getting a blowout and having it last 12 weeks. Sound too good to be true? Well, maybe, but the Brazilian Blowout, also known as a keratin treatment, comes close. This 90-minutes-and-up salon process, which involves ironing a smoothing complex onto the hair’s surface, can enhance shine and combat frizz for as long as three months (cost: $250–$500). To preserve results, use a sulfate-free shampoo, like Brazilian Blowout Açai Anti-Frizz shampoo ($32; amazon.com).
8. Feed Your Scalp
Shiny hair is nourished hair, and hardy strands start at the roots. “I have my clients break open vitamin E capsules and rub the gel directly on the hairline,” says Softsheen-Carson stylist Johnny Wright, who works with First Lady Michelle Obama. The antioxidant increases circulation, which stimulates growth. An even easier option: using a vitamin E serum (available at drugstores).
9. Use the Right Shampoo
Clarifying shampoos and conditioners have their appeal (who doesn’t want to rid hair of gunky buildup?). But if high gloss is your goal, avoid them: They strip away too many natural oils and leave the hair lackluster. Instead choose creamy, moisturizing formulas, like Sunsilk Thermashine shampoo and conditioner ($5 each; at Walmart), made with strand-fortifying proteins and nourishing oils.
10. Brush Naturally
Marcia Brady had the right idea about brushing every night; she was just using the wrong brush. Aggressive tugs with nylon bristles can actually increase breakage. Instead, use natural bristles-they distribute the oils in hair, making it glossier. Try the Denman medium boar-bristle grooming brush ($20; folica.com).