Dying To Stay Natural? How To Keep Unprocessed Hair Looking Great!

how to make my natural hair look shiny

When you think about all the things that can make good hair look bad, your thoughts might automatically go to color and chemical processing. In fact, we’re often told to give our strands “a break” and go au natural.

But, what if your natural hair doesn’t look that great? And is natural hair automatically healthier?

Natural hair can sometimes wind up looking dull and ashy. That’s why most people tend to tweak their color—or change it all together. As much as I personally like naturally ashy hair, depending on your skin tone, you might not. Even with ashy undertones, it doesn't have to look dull or lifeless!

Also, you’d be surprised: Just because hair hasn’t been dyed or processed, doesn’t mean it’s always healthy.

For example, a new client recently came in with all natural, “virgin” hair...and it wasn’t in the best shape. Her hair was extremely dry and suffered from heavy breakage at the bottom.

At first I was so surprised! After all, I’ve been lightening my own hair for the past 17 years, but it still feels heaps healthier.

I asked how she cared for her hair and then I understood just why it felt so damaged. The truth is, there are lots of things you can do if you choose to keep your hair its natural color! But to do so...

It’s All About How You Take Care Of It

If your hair is all natural, it doesn’t mean you catch a break on caring for it. Sure, you might not get damage from constant color, but that doesn’t mean daily life is gentle on your hair!

Check out some tips that can make it so much more healthy, shiny, and vibrant:

Turn Down The Volume

If you use heat on your hair, then I absolutely recommend using a heat protector. Also, if you use a flat iron or curling iron, I recommend turning down the heat to a lower setting—especially if your hair isn’t super curly or coarse.

Remember, heat dries out hair! That goes for the shower, too. If you use scolding hot water when washing your hair, try turning it down for healthier locks, as well.

Amazing Products That Work vs. Cheap Stuff

Did you know that there are products out there that will make your hair 100X better?

The client that I mentioned above ended up getting a partial foil as well as a trim. Despite the color, she was shocked how healthy her hair felt! That’s right, even after we lightened it.

If I can get her hair to feel that way with products, then you can, too. But, hair that feels amazing every day starts with buying the same quality products as your stylist uses—especially if your natural hair that hasn't been damaged by being chemically over-processed.

Here are some great products that help your hair stay healthy (and work as heat protectors, too!):

It’s a 10 Miracle Potion: For medium to thick hair.
Apply to damp, clean hair and style as usual. It has a nice creamy texture. If I let my hair air dry with it, it looks wavy and less frizzy but also repairs hair and protects from heat damage.

Loma Repairative Shine Serum: For any hair type, from thin to thick.
Apply to damp, clean hair and style as usual. If you like, you can reapply it to dry hair as well. Don’t worry, this oil won’t make your hair oily. It’s lightweight but does an amazing job repairing your hair and protecting it from heat damage.

Additional Treatments for Natural Hair


The trendiest hair treatment right now is Olaplex; this stuff repairs your hair like no other. Your natural or colored hair can feel so much better instantly! If you want to know more check out my article, Save Your Hair With Olaplex.

Hair Masks

Hair masks are amazing. You can get them done at a salon or you can do them at home with the same results—just buy the professional stuff that’s made to repair your hair. You can pick up a few good brands from stores like Ulta.

Why would I give you this information? Wouldn’t stylists rather have clients come to them for this treatment? Yes of course!

But truthfully, the healthier your hair is, the more your stylist can do with it. And our whole goal is to get you your dream hair.

Personally, I would rather have you do something simple like a hair mask at home, than you not do it at all and end up dealing with breakage due to heat damage. (Since this article is more for people who don’t color their hair, I assume that’s the main reason you might have damage.)

If you’d like to learn more about how to do a hair mask at home, check out my article “Do It Yourself Professional Hair Mask.”

Hair Gloss

If you want to keep your natural color, but you don’t mind doing an extra treatment that can add shine, you can always get your strands glazed with a clear gloss!

Usually, your stylist will use a developer to help infuse extra shine into your hair. However, this isn’t permanent or damaging at all.

And if you are firmly against using a developer on your hair, you can ask for a cellophane treatment. These add a semi-permanent shine to the hair, as well.

Finally, if it’s your natural color that you like best but want the benefits of a color process, don’t forget there is always the option for coloring your hair closest to its natural color.

Why would someone color their hair the same color that’s on their head? Colored hair feels fuller, thicker and healthier in most cases. Some people do have very nice natural hair texture, but for many clients with thin or fine strands, color adds an extra layer of thickness and shine.

Follow these tips and treatments for natural hair that looks like you just stepped out of a salon.

Got any questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below—and don’t forget to enjoy your hair!

Photo credit: Luigi Morante

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