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How To Take Care Of Long Hair: The Complete Guide

photo of woman caring for long hair

We all love the look of mermaid-length locks. However, longer hair comes with its own set of woes that need to be treated with the utmost care. It’s more prone to knots and snarls and can take way longer to style than shorter tresses. Not to mention, they seem to get caught in almost everything. That doesn’t mean you need to give up on your dreams of maintaining a long, healthy mane, however. With the right hair care tips and products on deck, having long hair can be a breeze.

Whether you’re working with naturally dark brown hair or color-treated blonde, we’re bringing you the ultimate guide on how to care for long hair the right way.


Keep your hair snarl-free.

The first mistake you might be making with your long hair is while you’re brushing and combing your strands. Long hair is particularly prone to knots and tangles, which means you need to be extra careful when you’re detangling your tresses. That includes the techniques and the type of brush you’re using.

Soaking wet strands are prone to breakage—so it’s crucial to remove any excess water before you begin detangling. Wring your hair out with your hands first before getting out of the shower, then towel dry your hair as soon as you step out.It’s important to note: being rough with the towel will only cause more damage. Instead, try gently pressing the towel onto the hair. Once your hair is fully towel-dried, you’re ready to begin detangling.

Be sure to apply a few spritzes of a detangler like the Biolage Hydrasource Detangling Solution throughout your strands. It instantly renews moisture as it detangles and controls static. Using a wide-tooth comb, start detangling at the ends of your hair and gradually work your way up. Combing from the bottom to the top makes removing any knots easier while keeping pulling and tugging to a minimum.


Hydrate your mane.

A moisturized mane is a happy one. If your long hair is looking and feeling parched, remedy that with a line-up of hydrating hair products.

The key to achieving hydrated hair begins with the very first step of your hair care routine—a salon quality shampoo and conditioner. From the L'Oréal portfolio of products, we love the Biolage R.A.W Nourish system. Formulated with quinoa husk and honey, the shampoo feeds dry, dull hair for healthy-looking, softer locks. The conditioner, formulated with coconut oil kaolin clay, intensely conditions for soft, shiny touchable strands.

Your journey to soft, hydrated hair isn’t over once you cleanse and condition your strands. We also recommend adding a weekly hair treatment to your routine. The Redken All Soft Heavy Cream Super Treatment Mask delivers intense moisture to ultimately soften and control frizz.

Though products can do wonders for the look and feel of your hair, true hydration begins with your lifestyle. Maintaining a nutritious diet, managing stress, drinking lots of water, and exercising regularly will help you sustain a healthy body and beautiful hair.


Don’t overwash.

It might seem natural to hop in the shower and cleanse your mane every day. We get it—after a long day, washing your hair is hands down one of the best feelings. You might want to skip a day or two in between, however, especially when you’re working with long hair. Shampooing too often can strip your strands and scalp of the natural oils they needs to stay healthy and hydrated. Not to mention, it can also seriously dry out your ends. Try washing only twice a week to give your hair (and your arms) a break.

Concerned that your strands may become oily by day two? A dry shampoo might be the fix. We recommend the Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Two Day Extender Dry Shampoo. It instantly refreshes hair and absorbs oil to extend the life of your blow-dry by two days.

If you’re have color-treated hair, you may be particular about the products you use on your mane. Opt for a dry shampoo formula meant to protect color-treated strands like the Shu Uemura Color Lustre Dry Cleaner Dry Shampoo. This delicate, quick-dry cleanser purifies roots without drying out lengths.


Keep heat styling to a minimum.

Whether you have waist-long hair or a shorter chop, protecting your strands from the damaging effects of heat is crucial. People with long tresses, however, should be particularly wary of the breakage and dryness caused by heat styling since it’s more prone to the effects. In fact, we recommend avoiding heat styling and opting for air-dry styles as much as possible.

If the thought of giving up your flat iron is giving you nightmares, there are tons of products out there to help you on your journey to ditching the hot tools once and for all.

If you’re looking to achieve textured beach-waves, we love the Matrix StyleLink Wild Boho Texturizing Air-Dry Cream. The product texturizes and enhances the natural shape of hair for an effortless, tousled look.

Working with unruly hair? You’ll want to invest in an air-dry styler that’s specifically formulated to tackle frizz. The Redken No Blow Dry Bossy Cream Air Dry Styler for coarse hair provides a quick air-dry with effortless manageability and frizz control for the days you don't want to or can't blow dry your hair.

Natural ringlets come with their own set of styling needs—especially if they’re on the lengthier side. If you’re concerned about frizz and your curls lacking volume, opt for a lightweight formula like the Mizani True Textures Curl Enhancing Lotion.

For ladies with fine hair, heavy formulas are a no-go for your sometimes flat, lifeless strands.. The Redken No Blow Dry Airy Cream for fine hair provides a quick air-dry, effortless texture and volume with a no-product feel


When you do decide to heat style, don’t forget the heat protectant.

Rule number one of heat styling: Always use a heat protectant. Be sure to apply a generous amount of heat protectant from your roots to ends every time you reach for your hot tools. The Redken Iron Shape 11 Thermal Holding Spray is one of our all-time favorites. This lightweight, thermal heat protection hairspray is perfect for use with flat irons and curling irons up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit to protect your hair, add shine and reduce frizz.

It’s important to note: You don’t have to crank your heat setting up to the highest temperature to achieve your desired style. Use lower temperatures whenever you can to avoid scorching your mane. We recommend never upping the temperature past 450 degrees.


Protect your hair while you sleep

Your hair should always be protected—even while you sleep. Tossing and turning all night can wreak havoc on your hair, so taking the right measures to shield your lengthy locks is essential. We suggest gathering your hair into a loose clip or a braid while you sleep to avoid snagging and pulling.

Cotton pillowcases can sometimes cause static, frizz, and tangles, so you may want to consider swapping them out for a softer fabric such as satin or silk to eliminate friction. Making this small switch can do wonders for how your hair looks and feels when you wake up!


Maintain a haircutting schedule.

Contrary to one of the oldest misconceptions in the hair world, you don’t need to avoid cutting your hair to maintain long hair. You can snip an inch or so off every few weeks and still keep your luscious length perfectly intact. A regular trim helps to rid your mane of damage and split ends—keeping your hair looking and feeling healthier longer.

How often you should go in for a trim depends on your hair type and concerns. Those who heat style and salon color their hair regularly will need to hit the salon more. If you’re not exactly sure how often to book a trim, your stylist will be able to determine a schedule that works best for you.


Opt for loose hairstyles.

We have a love/hate relationship with tight ponytails and buns. On the one hand, they’re super trendy and do wonders for keeping your hair from getting all sweaty during a workout. With all the pulling and tugging required to achieve them, however, you might be causing unnecessary damage. Skip the high and tight styles and opt for loose braids and updos that won’t pull on your hair as much.

Pro tip: You might also want to consider trading in your regular hair elastic for a hair bungee. The accessory features a single piece of elastic with clips on each end that is designed to wrap around the base of any hairstyle. Essentially, you can create and unravel hairstyles easily without causing friction.

Most importantly, know what kind of care your hair needs and be as gentle with it as possible. Your stylist (and your scalp) will thank you.

Looking for more expert tips on taking care of long hair? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.

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