Holy Grail of Hair: A Round Up of Must Haves

Before we get started, a few disclaimers…

I’ll be perfectly honest. You won’t see many budget friendly items on this list. Hair products and taking care of my hair falls heavily into the “splurge” category. Are there a couple of things I can get by from the drugstore? Yes. But this is one area where I choose to spend my money, for better or worse.

I don’t have the best hair but as I’ve gotten older {41 now, eeek}, it’s one thing I am committed to taking care of. Living in Houston, land ‘o humidity, makes it challenging to have good hair days BUT I have found a few ways to make it work. My hair has been every color under the sun; I have highlighted it, straightened it, grown it out, cut it short, worn extensions, and just about everything in between. Right now I am in this in between phase of growing it long again and begging my stylist to cut it short every time I go. {She has been instructed in my insane moments NOT to do that.} Like most this time of year, you will typically find my hair in a top knot because heat survival and kids. A woman with a top knot taking a selfie in the driver's seat of a car.

I am also not a beauty blogger or anything close to the sort. But I follow a lot of them and I’ve picked up a few things along the way. Basically, I am a copycat and I’ve been #influenced so here are my top products and styling tools for maintaining my hair health AND making it look semi decent. #Fingerscrossed

Hair Prep & Styling Products

Living Proof Perfect Day Shampoo & Conditioner: This is my go to for daily shampoo & conditioner, although I really only wash my hair max 3 times a week. It has a clean fresh scent and it doesn’t weigh my hair down like some conditioners can. I just feel like it gets my hair super clean and maintains the silky-ish. Plus it’s sulfate-free which is a must for my Keratin treatment {more on that later!}

Olaplex 3: I 100% jumped on this influencer bandwagon product. Basically it’s a super concentrated deep conditioner system. I will wet my hair, distribute the product throughout, then put it in a loose top knot for a minimum of an hour, and sometimes overnight. Once I shower, I will rinse it out and then shampoo and condition as usual, or if I am feeling special, I will use the Olaplex shampoo & conditioner. It’s amazing but pricey so I try to use it sparingly. Bonus though, it’s highly concentrated so the little bottles last a really long time and the shampoo lathers up amazingly well.

Living Proof Detangler Spray: Listen, I’ve tried them all. This one is the best for not making my hair feel gunked up. I have fairly thick and coarse, naturally wavy hair, so a detangler is a must for me. My daughter unfortunately loves it too so I’m always trying to hunt it down in the morning.

Moroccan Oil: Yes, yes, it seems extra but a little pump of this moroccan oil is so luxurious. I put it on my damp hair while I am doing my makeup before I blow my hair out. It really tames the frizz, and works especially well after your hair is dry too.

Dry Bar Heat Protectant: I am a sucker for most Dry Bar products but this one is a must have for me. You spray it on your hair after you blow dry and before you apply a straightening iron or curling wand to your hair. I feel like my hair has gotten increasingly brittle as I’ve gotten older {especially since likely I am 50% grey and 100% root color & highlights}, and this makes me feel better about putting heat to my hair.

Oribe Texturizing Spray: This stuff is my numero uno. I use it after I curl my hair to create a piecier texture and give it some lift and grit. It smells amazing, and again not heavy. I use it more as a hair spray to hold my style versus a traditional hairspray. Again it’s $$$, but typically it goes on sale during the annual Nordstrom sale so keep an eye out! One container probably lasts me 4-5 months.

A woman with her hair down taking a picture in a mirror.

Hair Maintenance Between Washes

Okay, so I mentioned above that I only wash my hair three times a week… maybe 4 if there is something special going on. Yes, I do work out most days. And I do get sweaty. But god bless that pandemic life because buns are totally acceptable. That said, I don’t want my hair to look super funky, so here’s what I do to remedy that:

Dry Bar Shower Cap: This is the BEST shower cap that I’ve found. It fits like a dream and doesn’t let water in. It’s also great for putting on to let that Olaplex 3 work it’s magic. That said, I wear this on days I’m not washing my hair but need to get clean. {I know some people sleep in this to protect their blowout. I am not one of those people. My body runs HOT so something covering my head is no bueno.}

Oribe Dry Shampoo: Yes. This brand makes an appearance again. It smells SO flipping good. That said, because of price, I limit to using this when I’m going out, out – not just to the gym out. It’s that good.

Living Proof Dry Shampoo: This is a solid back up. Again, clean fresh scent and the price point isn’t totally insane.

Batiste Dry Shampoo: Ahhhh yes, a drugstore dry shampoo makes the list. It’s good. This is my go to for spritzing on before piling the hair on my head for the gym.

Dry Bar Triple Sec: This is great for day 2 or 3 hair and this scent is perfect for summer!

A woman with her hair down posing for the picture.
Select photography by Lifetime of Clicks Photography

Hair Styling Tool Faves

So, once you have prepped and primed your hair, what do you use to style it? Below are my favorite tools hands down. {Disclosure, the T3s I both got on MEGA sale at more than 67% off, so if you can wait for one of those, I highly recommend.}

T3 Hairdryer: It took me awhile to come around to this one. It is definitely a luxury hair dryer, and honestly I’ve used Revlon for years. But I caught it at $79.99 earlier this year and I am so glad I did. Y’all know it gets hot in Houston and the last thing I want to do is blast my hair for 30 minutes to dry it. This dries it so quickly and by some random technology, actually smooths it as well. I spend less than 10 minutes drying my hair, especially I let it air dry for a bit before. LOVE LOVE.

T3 Curling Iron: I have this in both the 1″ and 1.5″ barrel size. Again, price point was skeptical for me, having used the drug store varieties for years. But #influenced. The best parts about it is how it doesn’t catch in your hair when you are going for more of that loose wave effect, and you can use it to also quickly straighten your ends so you don’t look like Curly Sue. The curls actually hold fairly well for Houston. I only wish I was more adept at using curling irons, but I’m getting better!

Chi Straightener: So most days when I wash my hair, I will go ahead and put loose waves in it. But there are just some days when I don’t want to fight it, so I will go for a straighter look. Chi has been my go-to for years and I think this particular straightener has got to be well over 8 years old. I put it on the lowest setting and just use to to smooth the underside and top parts of my hair.

Wet Brush: If you have a daughter and you don’t have one of these, you should rectify immediately. My kid loved mine so much that she stole it, so I had to get another. And then another, because #momlife.

Dry Bar Round Brush: I am nothing if not loyal. I love the way this round brush pulls through my hair without feeling like it’s going to get caught, plus gives it that volume when blasted with the hair dryer.

Wide tooth comb: This one can be incredibly generic but you need one in your arsenal. So helpful to get through those tangles, distribute deep conditioning treatments, and to separate curls after they’ve set. Grab one.

A woman with her hair down taking a picture in a mirror.

Other Random Must-Haves

No bend hair clips: If you have a cowlick, or simply just want to push your hair back from your face while you apply make up, these.are.the.best.

Dry Bar styling clips: I use these to separate my hair when I dry it or curl it, and also to hold it up while I have the Olaplex on it. They are super gentle but surprisingly strong.

Scrunchies: Yup, they are back in style but I use them almost 100% in place of your standard rubber band, with the exception of the gym. So much better for your hair but still gets it out of your face. Amazon has huge bulk sets which is always my go-to.

***Final splurge must-have: Years ago I did Keratin straightening treatments on my hair, probably every 6 months or so. When it got longer, I didn’t need it so much anymore to combat the frizzies because of the weight of my hair. But now that I’m in this gross, in-between stage of growing it, the humidity of Houston kills it. If you have natural wave or frizz, I HIGHLY recommend talking to your stylist about getting one. Mine typically last 3-4 months and my hair feels so much healthier AND dries in record time. And because it dries fairly straight, I have to apply minimum heat on it if I am going to wear it without curls. The one I got doesn’t take away the ability to put curl in your hair, it just makes it frizz free. If you splurge on nothing else in this post, go for this one! Life changing truly.

A professional photograph of five women and one man.
Select Photography by Lifetime of Clicks Photography

Okay, whew! That was a LOT. I hope maybe you found one or five things to add to your hair regimen. Yes, it’s a *tad* extra but decent hair makes me happy. Final parting advice? If you have a family photo shoot or special occasion meal, consider calling your regular stylist for a shampoo and blow out. Honestly as moms, we are running around so much that taking that one hour for yourself and knowing you will have awesome hair even as the kids collapse around you is so worth it.

And since this is my first {and likely last} blog post as it relates to beauty & hair care, may I recommend the following bloggers for much better hair tips than I could ever give?

Megan *Houstonian! – Honey We’re Home

Cassie – Hi Sugarplum!

Sheaffer – Sheaffer Told Me To

Meg *Another Houstonian! – Meg O on the Go

Cristin – Cristin Cooper

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Holy Grail of Hair: A Round Up of Must Haves. A photograph of a woman from behind of her putting her hands through her hair. Logo: Houston moms.

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Meagan Clanahan
Meagan is a Dallas native who has lived in the Katy area for over a decade. She kicked a soccer ball all the way to Louisiana to attend college at her family’s alma mater of LSU, where she promptly fell in love with a Texas Aggie in Baton Rouge for an internship. After swimming back to Texas following Hurricane Katrina, Matt and Meagan fell in love with the Houston area and now couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Following several years of infertility, their miracle twins Ryan and Quinn were born in June of 2010. She believes there is nothing better than a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio, a large Sonic Diet Coke, sushi take-out, Girls Nights Out, and a mindless book to curl up with. Besides playing chauffeur and catering to the whims of her children, Meagan also is the Co-Owner of Houston Moms Blog. You can keep up with Meagan at The Clanahan Fam and on Instagram @meaganclanahan!


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