For better or for worse, your hair is probably one of the first things people notice when they see you. (And it’s probably one of the first things you see when you look at yourself in the mirror. Particularly if your hair cut and texture lend themselves to the kind of epic bedhead that makes us realize nobody posting an early-morning selfie on Instagram really #wokeuplikethis.)
You can spend tons of money on the latest and greatest hair products, but that doesn’t guarantee you won’t accidentally pick up the kinds of products that you really shouldn’t use on your hair. The predicament is the same whether you have long or short locks.
Getting great hair can seem difficult if you don’t have the time or the money to follow the elaborate routines and regimens touted by celebrities and their stylists. But here’s where the internet comes in. Over the years, beauty bloggers and hair-obsessed columnists alike have shared their tips for cheap and easy ways to get better hair. And if you choose the tricks and techniques that are right for you, you’ll have great locks in no time. Read on to check out our favorite foolproof ways to achieve great hair.
1. Wash your hair less often
Everybody has different priorities when it comes to washing their hair. That includes how often they wash their hair. Fortunately, Into the Gloss has been asking its interviewees for years how often they wash their hair. And the publication collected the best tips culled from these interviews. From the looks of things, you may want to try washing your hair less often if you’re washing it every day or even every other day. Washing your hair less often is a great way to save time. It also saves you product and, therefore, money.
2. Air-dry instead of using a dryer
You may be an expert at blow drying and you’ve probably nailed your post-shower routine, but if your hair is looking a little less great than it could, don’t be afraid to switch things up. We won’t lecture you about embracing your natural texture, though we would suggest you think about air-drying your hair instead of blow drying. A product recommendation that comes up repeatedly (and that this writer seconds, personally) is Bumble & Bumble Don’t Blow It. Lindsay Colameo reports for Allure, “this tube will get you one step closer to that air-dry fantasy where you toss your hair-dryer into the depths of your closet.”
3. Start using dry shampoo
It seems everybody uses dry shampoo these days. But in case you haven’t started yet, consider this a sign you should pick up a bottle. (Which, incidentally, you can find for as little as a few dollars at your corner drugstore or your favorite grocery store.) Dry shampoo is perfect for reviving your hair style when you don’t have the time or energy to wash it and start from scratch. And it’s also a useful tool for adding texture and volume, whatever your preferred look. Naomi Nachmani reports for The Coveteur that “dry shampoo, when used correctly, is your savior,” and has a few recommendations for the right dry shampoo for every hair type.
4. Get your hair trimmed
A tried and true way to get better hair is to get a hair cut. A good cut will remove split or damaged ends and add a new shape to your hair, making it easier for you to achieve the look you’re after. Especially in big cities, a brand-new hair cut can be expensive. But chances are good you can get a trim without spending a huge amount of money. Some salons will dust your ends or trim your bangs at a discounted rate. You can even trim your hair yourself if you’re short on funds but have a steady hand.
5. Chop your hair off
It’s not for everybody (there’s nothing wrong with loving your long hair), but if you’ve been wanting to try a shorter do, now’s your chance. The Man Repeller‘s Haley Nahman hypothesizes that “all of us secretly want to chop our hair off. Maybe forever, maybe for a day, but certainly long enough to know and appreciate the ease of a quick shower.”
Going for a short hair cut — whether that means buzzing it off, trying a pixie, or chopping it into a bob — is the perfect move to find a new look you’ll love. Plus, it’s a great way to get rid of length that may not be looking so healthy after all.
6. Head to the kitchen
It’s not always a good idea to follow the internet’s advice by applying products you’d find in the kitchen to your skin. (Please don’t put lemon juice on your face, people.) After all, well-formulated skin care will always be more effective and offer more benefits than random household products. But there are a few common kitchen products that are cheap and effective ways to take care of your hair. Refinery29 reports fractionated coconut oil makes a great hair serum. The story also says apple cider vinegar makes a great hair rinse, since it seals the hair cuticle and balances the scalp, and a combination of raw honey and coconut oil make a great deep conditioner.
7. Upgrade your tools
If you’ve been using the same $5 brush from the drugstore and the same styling tools you bought for $10 each at Target years ago, it may be time to upgrade. There’s no need to spend a fortune on the priciest tools at the department store (though a Mason Pearson brush does sound like a pretty worthwhile investment), but perhaps picking up a round brush that’s actually the right size, or a flat iron that allows you to control the amount of heat you’re applying to your hair will make it easier for you to get better results out of your usual routine.
8. Overhaul your product regimen
As with any category of beauty product — serums! sheet masks! sunscreen! lipstick! fragrances! — there are cheap products and then there are very, very expensive ones. No matter your budget or your level of tolerance for paying high-end prices, you can make some changes to your hair product lineup without breaking the bank.
We are very big fans of a pretty pragmatic approach. Find a blogger whose style (hair and otherwise) you love and see what they recommend. Instagram celebs are also a great source for product recommendations. Some of the products you encounter may be out of your price range, but even the products you could only afford in your most materialistic dreams may point you in the right direction of a new formula you wouldn’t have thought to try.