Haircare is a funny beast, and having the proper regimen requires some patience and a lot of know-how, which is why most of us leave the tough stuff up to the experts. What kind of products should we shy away from? What can we do to resurrect damaged hair? How do you prevent split ends? We asked Nashville hairstylist Kim Hunter, of True Blue Salon, to give us some insider hair secrets to help us better pamper our locks. Here’s what she had to say …

Kim Hunter of True Blue Salon

Nashville hairstylist Kim Hunter of True Blue Salon shares her insider hair tips. Image: Instagram

1) First things first: When prepping for a salon appointment, should we bring along photos of hairstyles we love, or does that set difficult expectations?

We love to see pictures of what you like — especially with hair color. It is so much easier to have a consultation around photos of what you love than it is to guess about what you are actually asking for. Most people don’t have the same vocabulary as a professional hairstylist, so having pictures clarifies expectations. Pictures also make it easier for us to let our clients know what is and isn’t possible. I would say always bring pictures.

2) DIY hair color — how bad is it really?

DIY hair color is generally terrible for your hair, for a variety of reasons. First, although the box colors from the grocery and drug stores have gotten better than they used to be, they will not come out of your hair. So, if you do your own color at home and then decide you don’t like it, or you want to change it, we can’t get it out very easily — or sometimes at all. So, the money you saved by doing your own color ends up costing you a small fortune. Another reason is that most people can’t apply the color correctly and end up with bands of darker color and spots that they missed. This is also a bear to fix. Also, most of the box color is really drying, and you end up with a damaged and dull result. DIY is always a risk.

3) What are the most common mistakes people make that damages hair?

I see so much hair that has been compromised from heat. People burn their hair with straightening irons, curling irons and even blow dryers. Heat-protecting products are really important for healthy hair. Aveda makes a great spray-on thermal protector called Heat Relief. And turn the temperature down! Putting 400-degree irons on your hair over and over will burn it off!

4) Is it damaging to wear a ponytail every day?

Yes, if it’s too tight. I actually see a lot of breakage when people wear really tight ponytails — right at that ponytail line. Scrunchies are back “in” big time, and they’re so much better because they’re not tight on your hair.

Woman wearing ponytail with scrunchie, an insider secret to keep ponytails from damaging hair. Image: Kristoffer Jensen

Want to wear a ponytail? Use a scrunchie — your hair will thank you. 

5) What products should we avoid?

Products with high amounts of sulfates, such as shampoos you can buy off of the grocery store shelves, strip all of the natural oils from the hair and cause the cuticle to be exposed. This can really cause damage to the entire hair strand, resulting in breakage and split ends.

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6) How often should we wash our hair, and does it make a difference based on whether or not our hair is colored?

How often you shampoo your hair is really very personal and should be considered on a case-by-case basis. Some people need to shampoo every day, and some only once a week. For example, people who have really oily hair may need to shampoo daily. Using a good professional brand of shampoo is key, especially if you are shampooing daily.

7) How often should we be using a conditioner?

I would do some sort of conditioning every time you shampoo — even if you’re using a “leave-in” afterward. Because you don’t really want to comb through your hair if you don’t have something to keep it from tangling; it breaks when it’s wet.

8) Do we need to stick with matching shampoo and conditioner?

I think systems are made to go together, but I do have clients who have different needs, and they might use a “damage” shampoo and a “moisturizing” conditioner. So, matching is not always necessary.

9) Should we stop brushing our hair when it’s wet? Does it really make a difference if we use a wet brush?

You can totally use a wet brush — that’s the best thing to use. My answer to that would be that you should get a wide-tooth comb or use your wet brush in the shower with your conditioner, and then brush it after you get out of the shower. Plus, it helps the conditioner get all through your hair instead of just on the outside, top layer.

10) What hacks do you have for when there’s no time to wash your hair?

Dry shampoo is the savior for days that we don’t have time to shampoo and style. It also really helps with oily hair. Aveda’s dry shampoo is a powder and non-aerosol; it gives your hair body and gets rid of the oil. After you put it on, you can use the heat protectant on the ends and use the blow dryer on dry hair to refresh! You can put it on either the night before or even after you style your hair the first time, and then it doesn’t get as oily when you wake up the next morning. It’s kind of a preventative measure.

11) If we don’t have time to get into the salon to have our color done before a big event, what products (if any) do you recommend to get us through?

I believe you should never leave the salon without having your next appointment in the book. That way, you avoid hair emergencies. But if you have something come up and your roots are in need of attention, there are temporary spray-on products that you can put on your part and around your hairline to get you through. They have a blond one, a brown one … it’ll just kind of camouflage your roots. It washes right out. It’s a powder, and it shampoos out right away. It doesn’t stain or anything.

Woman with long hair showing dry shampoo hair secret; Image: Konzel Creative,

Dry shampoo can breathe new life into unwashed locks.

12) What’s the best product on the market for dry scalp issues, and can we still use it even if we color our hair?

I would say that the Aveda Pramāsana™ is the best product for scalp issues that don’t rise to a medical concern, and it’s okay for colored hair. It actually just goes on your scalp; it sort of exfoliates the dry skin off that would make your hair feel itchy and dry. It doesn’t really go on the rest of your hair like a scalp treatment. We also have beautifying oil that can be applied to your scalp at night that will really moisturize dry scalp issues.

13) Are there any secrets to making our hair grow?

Nutrafol®. It’s this new vitamin. We have it here, or you can buy it online — it has a proprietary blend of natural ingredients, and we are having crazy good results! Like, people who have thinning hair, it makes their hair grow back in. Even men. There are different formulas for women, men and then post-menopausal women. I have a client who has never been able to grow her hair past the top of her shoulders because it’s so fragile, and her hair is almost to her elbows now. And it’s thick! Like twice as thick as it was before.

14) What hairstyle trends can we look forward to in 2020?

Hair color will be warmer this year — honey blondes, strawberry blondes, warm browns, etc. It looks like fashion is trending towards the ’70s. With haircuts, we are looking at really blunt bobs and long hair. Shags are going to be big this year too, and some really short pixies. I think hair will be fun this year.

15) Which trends are out?

Gray and really platinum hair is out. Thank goodness. It was so damaging.

Thank you, Kim. Learn more about True Blue Salon at truebluesalon.com, and find them on Instagram at @truebluenashville.

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