There’s an art to styling hair, but caring for it is pure science. We’re all guilty of putting our hair through the wringer, whether it’s the frazzle of a curling iron or just spending too long in the sun. Even if you favour an au naturel look, UV rays can lead to dry, unhappy locks, and the damage from heat, brushing or chemical dyes is cumulative. If you’re searching for how to look after your hair and products that actually work, LOOKFANTASTIC has (almost) every product under the sun. We’ll give you a breakdown of the key ingredients to look for in hair care products and some hair care tips to keep your locks happy and healthy!
How to look after your hair
1. Switch up your hair wash routine. Shampoo strips your hair of its natural oils and proteins, so the longer you can go without, the better! Focus mainly on the roots and scalp when shampooing as this is the area that needs the most cleansing; consider a co-wash with a cleansing conditioner like Kérastase Discipline Curl Ideal. Conditioner can weigh your hair down, so apply this mainly to the ends.
2. Up the protein and veggies. Your hair needs the nutrients too!
3. Turn down the heat. Spritz on some heat protection like L'Oréal Paris Elnett Heat Protect Spray before using styling tools. Turn down the shower temperature as hot water dries out your hair and skin.
4. Dry shampoo is your friend! It can be cheap as chips and a great way to stretch out the time between washes. We like Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo because it provides UV protection and it contains kernel oil for extra moisturising.
5. Treat wet hair carefully. Wet hair is sensitive to breakage, so treat it gently. Instead of towel drying, try wrapping it in a clean cotton T-shirt.
6. Get regular trims. Even if you’re growing out your hair, you still need a trim every 6-8 weeks. This is because split ends can actually spread up the rest of the hair strand. Be gone, split ends!
7. Add oil. Oil doesn’t always mean greasy. Coconut and olive oil can be an effective and affordable way to moisturise your hair - get experimenting with conditioners and hair treatments infused with oil. We like Garnier Ultimate Blends Hair Food Coconut Oil Mask Treatment to tame that frizz.
8. Use a hair treatment. We all need a boost sometimes - especially our hair. LOOKFANTASTIC’s Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector is PH balanced, cruelty-free and vegan with some rave reviews.
9. Invest in a silk pillowcase. Besides feeling fancy, you’ll also enjoy softer hair - this is because silk doesn’t create friction, so it won’t tug on your hair through the night like cotton.
10. Love the hair you have. Someone else’s Holy Grail could be your Hair Hell. That’s ok! It takes time to learn what your hair needs. Straight, wavy or coily, your hair makes you you, so start treating it with some TLC.
The best hair care ingredients (and where to find them)
As a salad dressing or a hair treatment, olive oil is pretty great. It’s rich in antioxidants, vitamin E and Omega-3 fatty acids, which help repair split ends and add shine. Because it coats every strand, it also helps your hair retain moisture. Proceed with caution if you regularly use heat on your locks. For the same reason you shouldn't cook a stir fry in olive oil, you should never mix olive oil with heat on your hair. The burn temperature is around 190°C, which is easily exceeded by most good straighteners.
How to use olive oil on hair:
- Great for naturally curly or kinky hair
- In pure form, it might be too heavy for fine/straight hair
- Don’t apply before using hot tools
Coconut oil has been used as a healing remedy and beauty treatment for thousands of years, particularly in South Asia and South America. As far as oils go, coconut oil is one of the best for preventing damage - it’s clinically proven to reduce protein loss and one of the easiest oils for your hair to absorb. It also treats head lice and offers natural sun protection.
How to use coconut oil on hair:
It’s pretty versatile, but it works great in a heat protection spray or as a conditioner because hair is most susceptible to damage when wet. The Matrix Total Results Miracle Creator is loaded with coconut oil to leave your hair super soft and protected from heat. The ingredients are almost identical to the Redken One United Multi-Benefit Treatment, but it’s half the price! If you want to use pure coconut oil, apply a small amount to detangle locks or use it as a hair mask.
- Best protection from damage
- Smells amazing
- Too much coconut oil can lead to protein build-up
Let’s face it, argan oil is pretty great and, like most beauty hypes, it actually has a long, rich history. Native to Morocco and used by Berber women for centuries, argan oil is packed with fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamin E which help moisturise and condition your hair and scalp. This wonder oil is also anti-inflammatory, so it can aid scalp conditions like dermatitis or dandruff, while also providing natural sun protection.
How to use argan oil on hair:
You can purchase an argan-oil infused conditioner like the LOOKFANTASTIC OGX Renewing Argan Oil conditioner or as an oil to use as a hair treatment. The Moroccanoil Treatment can be applied to wet or dry hair to detangle and enrich your hair with nutrients. Add a small amount to damp hair, focusing particularly on the ends, before or after blowdrying to add a bit of shimmer.
- Protects against damage from heat and free radicals
- Restores elasticity
- Can lead to greasy hair
Don’t let TikTok fool you; as a hair care practice, rice water is actually really old. It dates back to the Heian period in Japan, when noble women let their hair grow naturally into a hairstyle called osuberakashi, which was combed with rice water to get that mirror-like glitter. Rice water works because it's high in starch, amino acids, antioxidants and vitamins B, C and E. This is the perfect vitamin cocktail to repair damaged hair and nourish the scalp.
How to use rice water on hair:
You could replicate this at home and enjoy a delicious rice-based meal afterwards, or use the Grow Gorgeous Volume Bodifying Leave-In Serum, which contains extra hair goodies like amaranth seed extract and pea peptides. Creating your own rice solution is super easy: add 1 cup water to 1 cup of rice and let sit for 12 to 24 hours. Drain the rice water into a bottle and keep it in the fridge for up to one week. Apply the solution to your hair for a couple of minutes after your normal hair care routine.
- Packed with vitamins
- Nourishes the scalp
- Can lead to flakiness/breakage if you have fine hair
- Limited shelf life (when making your own solution)
There’s no solid proof that it speeds up hair growth, but it does stimulate the Prostaglandin E2 receptor, which increases blood flow to the follicle - so theoretically, it’s all there. It also has natural antifungal properties and reduces inflammation, which could help treat scalp conditions like dandruff. Applying it regularly keeps your hair conditioned and shiny - reducing the chance of breakage.
How to use castor oil on hair:
It works best in a hair mask, like the Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Masque, which also contains keratin for strengthening, shea butter for conditioning and peppermint for that tingling sensation. You could also use pure castor oil massaged into your scalp.
- Antifungal and anti-inflammatory
- Overuse can lead to oil buildup
Keratin is a protein and the main substance of our hair, nails and skin. It naturally breaks down over time from heat, UV rays or wind, so applying keratin products can help make hair stronger and thicker. As a disclaimer, these products are NOT suitable for vegetarians or vegans, so it’s worth weighing up the environmental impact before reaching for your bank card.
How to use keratin on hair:
Keratin-infused hair products are different from the keratin treatments offered in hair salons. It works well in a shampoo as it helps repair damaged or brittle hair. The Kérastase Bain Force Architecte shampoo gets a lot of hype because it works so well on coloured hair, but you might see more benefits from a leave-in spray like Kérastase Discipline Fluidissime Spray.
- Replenishes keratin protein in your hair
- Smooths down overlapping cells (resulting in glossy hair strands)
- Not suitable for vegetarians or vegans
This is a tricky one. There’s no real benefit to using products with sulphate, but they do clean your hair - maybe too well. Sulphates are foaming agents which create a lather and draw away oil and dirt from your hair and skin, which works well for those with greasy hair. Sulphates are a lot harsher than natural alternatives, so if you have an especially sensitive scalp or frequently dye your hair it’s best to avoid sulphate products. Expect less bubbling from sulphate-free products, but they will help your hair maintain its natural oils.
Sulphate-free shampoos to use instead:
Shea Moisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Shampoo is free of sulphates, alcohol and most other ingredients that could upset sensitive skin. It’s also vegan and it contains our trusted coconut oil.
Ways to save on LOOKFANTASTIC hair care products
- LOOKFANTASTIC vouchers. This brand is super generous with discount codes and freebies. Have a look at our LOOKFANTASTIC discount codes, which we update every day with the best deals.
- New customer discount. It might be worth putting together a wish list, because if you’re a new customer you’ll save 20% on your first shop over £70! Your discount gets a bit of a dent if you spend less than this - you’ll get 15% off instead of 20%. Still worth it.
- Friend referrals. Referring a friend is a quick way to both get a bonus. Log into your account and send your friends a referral link. They’ll save £5 on their first shop over £25, and if they make a purchase, you’ll earn £5 credit to put towards that hair care haul!
- Student discount. Create an account using an email address ending in ac.uk or log in to your Student Beans account for 20% off orders at LOOKFANTASTIC, which occasionally increases to 30%. If you love the idea of a gift that keeps on giving, you can save 30% on your first Beauty Box too.
- Rewards Lounge. Join the rewards club for the chance to earn exclusive LOOKFANTASTIC perks as well as discounts at brands like French Connection, Paperchase and Cocktail Delivery.
- Supersize it. If you find your Holy Grail product, purchasing a large bottle is far better value for money, e.g. you get a bonus 25% of product in the large bottle of Moroccanoil Treatment Light!
- Check out the sale. LOOKFANTASTIC often runs promotions on hair care brands like Grow Gorgeous and Kérastase - plus, you’ll usually find an extra saving in seasonal sales and around big events (think Black Friday or bank holidays).
- Free delivery. The minimum spend for free delivery is really low - just £25 - and because this brand offers so many products under one roof, you’re unlikely to find it cheaper elsewhere. You can also opt to pick up your order from an InPost locker, which costs only £1.95 if you’re spending less than £25.
- Get the app. Download the LOOKFANTASTIC app and you’re at the front of the queue when it comes to exclusive offers and the latest product drops.