Your Combination Hair Shopping Guide

Treating opposing hair issues on the same scalp is confusing. Here's how to shop for products that make a difference without undoing your other hair care efforts.

| January 15th, 2014
Combination Hair

There’s no end to the information available when it comes to caring for a complexion that’s not uniformly perfect. But your hair isn’t immune to issues of its own, no matter how nice you treat it. So what’s a girl to do when her head is dealing with a mixture of problems that seem impossible to deal with simultaneously? Which problem do you treat when you have more than one issue? Read on for the answers to your haircare conundrums. (And if you color your hair, be sure to check out our shopping guide for color-treated hair.)

Your Combination Hair Shopping Guide

If Your Hair Is Fine/Limp + Damaged
The trouble here is that deep conditioning treatments are generally super heavy and thick, so fine-haired folks tend to stray away from them. Salon owner Rodney Cutler says the focus should be on fortifying and strengthening the hair through prevention and maintenance. Look for protein-based products like Redken Extreme Anti-Snap, a lightweight leave-in treatment that treats and prevents damage, or Redken Extreme CAT, a weekly protein complex treatment that helps reconstruct hair without weighing it down.

“Frequent haircuts that cut above split ends will also help restore hair back to health and get rid of dead hair that may be weighing you down,” Cutler recommends. “Try to avoid using heat-styling tools, such as straightening irons, which can be highly damaging to fine hair.” Clayton Lee, Bumble & Bumble Creative Lead for Color, says that thick, reparative treatments and conditioners (like this Klorane Mask With Desert Date) can be appropriate even for fine hair, but warns about application methods. “Put them only on damaged areas, not anywhere near the scalp, so you can deal with one problem without making the other one worse,” she says, referring to the oh-so-coveted root volume that limp hair often lacks.

If Your Hair is Fine + Frizzy
The usual defense against frizz (smoothing serums and creams) doesn’t work here, since layering products will only make fine hair look limp and greasy. L'Oréal Professionnel Artist Drew Schaefering says that this hair combo tends to be caused by lack of smoothness, not moisture, so avoid roughing it up. “When you get out of the shower, blot and squeeze the moisture out, instead of rubbing it, which will create static electricity,” he says. We love microfiber towels for their ability to soak up water without roughing up the hair's cuticle—vigrously rubbing back and forth with a regular towel fluffs up the outer "shingles" of the hair.

Try using a fine-tooth comb to blow dry around the hairline; the closely spaced teeth of the comb will help smooth the hair around your face before the rest of your styling. YouBeauty Cosmetic Chemistry Expert Ni’Kita Wilson says that a shampoo and conditioner with a short ingredient list is best, since extra emollients will weigh you down. “It might seem wrong, but silicone-based products are actually great for this hair combination type, as long as you choose the right one,” she says. “It’s easy to use too much when it comes to creams or serums that are meant for coarse hair. Instead, choose a light spray or mist that allows for more control.” We like Ouidad Climate Control Frizz & Flyaway Fighter Taming Shine Spray.

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