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What is Hairdress?

By Del Sandeen
Updated May 21, 2024
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When finishing off that perfect hairstyle, a hairdress may be just what's needed to provide control and conditioning. Typically, hairdress products are designed to be applied to a finished style. They may be slightly oily in composition and are often used by people with curly and tightly coiled hair to add sheen and softness. They're suitable for use on men, women, and children.

It may be easier to find a hairdress among products marketed toward people with naturally curly hair. Anyone with fine or thin hair will probably find it too heavy, a hairdress is best suited for thick and/or coarse hair. People with frizzy hair may find it helps control the frizziness and gives their curls more definition.

It may be necessary to experiment with different products to find the one that works best with a specific texture because some products may be thicker than others, or better suited to certain seasons. A thin, more water-based hairdress is more appropriate for summer, while a thick, pomade-like product may be better for winter. During the colder months of the year, when hair may feel drier due to indoor heating, a light application of hairdress can act as a softener for dry, frizzy curls.

A hairdress can provide sheen to hair that doesn't naturally have a high degree of shine, but it should also be moisturizing and make the hair softer and smoother. It may work as a slight texturizer in smoothing curly hair into waves, but this is more likely achieved on short hair that already has a wave pattern. Men with afro-textured hair can use this product along with a brushing routine to create deep waves in a close-cropped hairstyle. Brush a small amount into a child's hair for ease of styling and manageability. It adds sheen and softness to a short haircut, and makes combing through tangles easier.

It is also fine to use a hairdress after the hair is styled. It's better to begin with a small amount and add more as needed; starting off with too much may make the hair sticky and greasy. A small amount of the product should be rubbed between the palms of the hands and applied to dry hair. It's easy to simply smooth it over the hair, all the way to the ends.

When shopping for a suitable product, look for a hairdress that contains natural oils instead of artificial products like petrolatum. Petroleum-based products can clog the pores and coat the hair shaft, making it difficult to shampoo out properly.

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Discussion Comments
By bythewell — On Aug 11, 2012

@umbra21 - I found a book called "The Curly Girl" which goes into a lot of detail and I've found it to be a godsend when it came to my curls. I never realized how beautiful they could actually be and without any more work than I was already doing.

I personally wouldn't use a hairdress unless I was going out somewhere or it was a special occasion of some kind. Putting a little bit of gel into my hair right after washing seems to be enough for my every day wear.

By umbra21 — On Aug 10, 2012

Something that a lot of people don't really understand is that curly hair is usually even finer than straight hair. Curly hair just seems coarse because it often isn't moisturized enough. It's extremely easy to damage it, whether that's through brushing too much, using hot irons or chemicals, or even through washing it with the wrong kind of shampoo.

A hairdress is actually a really good way of making sure that curly hair won't frizz, because it adds an extra layer of moisture. But, if you find you always need one, you might want to look at whether you are doing enough to moisturize your hair in the first place.

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