3 Things a Professional Hairstylist Wouldn’t Buy

Do we really *need* a heat protectant spray? (The short answer is no, if you’re using any other styling product—like mousse, serum or leave-in conditioner.) And what about the fifty different kinds of shampoos, conditioners and masks that are out there? With so many options in haircare, it can get very overwhelming, so we asked Wes Sharpton, resident stylist at New York salon Hairstory, for his honest take on what to skip when shopping.

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1. A Separate Shampoo And Conditioner

Good news for any product minimalists (or space-deprived) folks out there: According to Sharpton, we don’t need to keep a separate bottle of shampoo and conditioner in our showers. “Many shampoos strip the hair of moisture, so we use conditioner to try and make it feel soft again,” he explains. In other words, we’re adding a step where it doesn’t need to be. Instead, he recommends swapping in a co-wash or cleansing conditioner to cleanse and condition your strands in one go, and foregoing traditional shampoo.

Shop co-washes: As I Am Coconut Cowash Cleansing Conditioner ($8); Paul Mitchell Lavender Mint Moisturizing Cowash ($28); Hairstory New Wash Original ($40)

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2. Brushes With Metal Cores

“Brushes with metal cores tend to heat the hair up too much, which can cause unnecessary damage,” says Sharpton. Alternatively, he recommends looking for brushes with a wood or plastic core and boar bristles, which give a smoother, shinier finish.

Shop brushes: Fromm The Intuition Glosser Boar Bristle Brush ($14); Spornette Ion Fusinon Boar/Nylon Cushion Brush ($16); Wigo Cushion 100% Boar Bristle Brush ($18)

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3. Budget Blow Dryers

“In my experience, they don’t heat up enough to really smooth the hair out,” explains Sharpton. “They also have a tendency to give out faster. I’ve had a Twin Turbo 2600 dryer for years, and despite how much I’ve used it throughout that time, it still works as well as it did when I got it.”

Shop blow dryers: Turbo Power Twin Turbo 2600 Hair Dryer ($89); BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Dryer ($90); T3 Cura Hair Dryer ($235); Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer ($399)

As for all of those different styling products...

“This is where the grey area comes into play,” admits Sharpton. As he (and most stylists we’ve spoken to about this topic) explains, it’s difficult to give hard and fast rules about whether or not you need any single styling product because it comes down to your individual texture and what you’re trying to accomplish. For example, someone with coarse, curly hair who wants to wear their hair natural may use a cocktail of styling products, whereas someone with fine, straight strands would be better off using less products to avoid weighing down their hair.

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Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...