Seventeen April 13, 2023



9 Expert-Approved Tricks for Soft and Silky Hair


Like, changing your pillowcase. (Not kidding.)

In case you were wondering, you can transform your dry, brittle hair into soft and silky strands. You may be experiencing damage thanks to high temps from your fave curling wand, but there are ways that you can totally revive your hair. Even when your study schedule has you so booked and busy that you skip out on your go-to wash day routine, there are expert-approved tips, tricks, and haircare hacks that can give your mane the TLC it needs in order to thrive. All it takes is consistency and subtle changes (like possibly ditching your beloved pillow case).

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To help, we tapped Creative Director and Maxine Salon stylist Amy Abramite, Stevie Kennedy, Ouidad Certified Stylist and owner of Salon Kennedy, and celebrity hairstylist Clariss Rubenstein to uncover all of the need-to-know deets on keeping your hair ultra-soft. These are their best tips and tricks for helping your hair live up to its silkiest potential.

Don't over-rinse, especially not with hot water

A steaming hot #EverythingShower is a total vibe, but it's not the best choice when it comes to maintaining silky, smooth hair. "Over-rinsing with very hot water encourages the cuticle to become unruly and frizzy because it strips the hair of its natural oils that coat and hydrate them," Abramite tells Seventeen. Instead, switch to a "cooler rinse" to smooth the hair cuticle down, combat flyaways, and keep hair moisturized.

Use a microfiber towel to dry your hair

You're probably in the habit of rubbing your hair dry with a bath towel after a nice long shower, but, tbh, you should stop doing this. The act of towel-drying with cotton fabric creates friction and fluffs up the hair cuticle, which can cause knots and breakage. Instead, reach for a microfiber towel to squeeze out the moisture instead of trying to rub it dry.

"Microfiber towels reduce friction to the hair cuticle caused by rougher bath towels," Abramite adds. "They are softer and help the strands stay smoother by gently reducing frizz and damage. To prevent flyaways, gently blot the water from damp hair and avoid vigorously rubbing the towel against the hair."

Remember to apply a leave-in conditioner

Haircare doesn't end with rinse-out products like shampoo, conditioner, or nourishing treatment masks. Once your hair is cleansed and dried, it's important to go in with additional products for added moisture. "To enhance that silky soft touch out of the shower, I recommend using a light styling product, such as a leave-in conditioner or oil like Trademark Beauty Jojoba Oil Elixir," Abramite suggests.

Trimming your hair is a must

Getting your hair trimmed regularly can improve the overall look of your hair and help you retain length if that's your thing. Clipping dull-looking split ends will prevent further hair breakage and can help keep your hair from being weighed down. Plus, you'll be able to keep that soft feel from root to tip.

Don't know how to tell when your hair needs a trim? Kennedy suggests examining your hair to see if it gets knotted at the tips, has split ends, or has fairy knots (when single strands tangle with themselves) at the ends of the hair. If you're rocking a curly hairstyle, Kennedy suggests getting a trim every 10-12 weeks to modify the shape of your cut. Otherwise, she suggests an occasional dusting, aka a light trim at the very tips of the hair, to keep hair refreshed.

Rubenstein suggests more frequent trimming if your hair is color-treated or is drier in texture and tends to split easily. "Trimming keeps hair looking good and healthy, and stops split ends before they split all the way up."

Get yourself a hair mask

Like your skincare routine, your haircare lineup should include a quality mask. Use once a week (twice if your hair is severely damaged or dry) to keep your 'do fully nourished and silky soft. "A mask or deep treatment can help give hair the hydration it craves," Kennedy explains. Oh, and you can also DIY your own if you don't feel like dropping cash.

Use heat to your advantage

"Applying heat during a conditioning mask will open the cuticle further to allow moisture to penetrate deeper into the hair cortex for longer-lasting results," Abramite advises. Try using a conditioning cap to soak in *all* the good stuff your nourishing treatment has to offer.

Heat protectant sprays are required

Yes, you can still get that super-soft feel, even if you use hot tools every day. Just add a healthy coating of heat protectant spray before you touch it with a curling wand. "Prevention is essential by guarding the curls with a heat protectant," says Kennedy. According to Kennedy, heat protectant sprays like, Ouidad Advanced Climate Control Detangling Heat Spray, provide a barrier between the heat tool and your hair. This helps lock in moisture and combat frizz.

To get the most out of heat protectants, Rubenstein also suggests using hydrating products to "give your hair the support it needs and help defend itself against damage."

Use a low heat setting

Just because your fancy flat iron brags that it can reach 400+ degree temps does NOT mean you have to use it on that setting. Consistently applying extreme heat to your hair can be dangerous. You'll have that Kardashian glass strand look today, but eventually, all that heat will lead to breakage, damage, and split ends. "High temperatures can form cracks and ruptures in the cuticle, making the curls vulnerable to damage," Kennedy says." Play with your tool to find the lowest setting you can use to get your desired look without the risk.

Invest in a silk or satin pillowcase

Want a super-easy way to smooth your strands? Switch to a silk or satin pillowcase. "When you glide your hand on any fabric, you’ll either feel a slippery sensation (glide) or some texture and friction. If your hand can feel the difference, your hair can, too," Kennedy explains. Cotton absorbs moisture and will suck up all the necessary oils from your hair while sleeping. Silk and satin, however, will maintain these oils and the gentle fabric helps reduce friction and snag-age, leading to less breakage. "Reduced friction and dehydration leave hair less frizzy and easier to refresh on non-wash days," she adds. Plus, you'll feel classy as hell sleeping on pure, supple silk.

Brittle & Dry Hair

Keep your 'do bouncy by shopping for a deep conditioner enriched with vitamins and minerals, so it hydrates without adding the heavy oils that weigh hair down.

Color-Treated Hair

Your new bubblegum pink strands look sickening, but dye (especially the shades that come by way of bleach) dulls the shine. Amp up gloss with an oil treatment or at-home hair glaze. These can smooth out brittle ends, too.

Damaged Hair

If your hair needs a little extra love, pick a formula with keratin — it adds shine and strengthens hair to prevent future breakage.