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Tips

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Submitted By anzy
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Hair is the ultimate accessory; it can add to (or detract from) your overall look instantly. Keeping it in healthy condition is the most important thing you can do to help it look and feel fabulous. And, while it seems easy, this isn't as simple as minimizing chemical treatments or slathering on a weekly deep conditioner. While these can make your strands softer and less split-end-prone, what really matters is the daily handling; this is what creates the most stress--and potential damage--to your tresses. To help your locks look their best, we asked top experts from around the country for their advice on how to baby your mane every single day. So whether your concern is dullness, damage, frizz or fragility, we have the answers to ease even the toughest hair-care woes. Read on for tips to achieve run-your-fingers-through-it hair.

1 Steer clear of plastic-bristle brushes. "The proper bristles are key," says stylist Edward Tricomi of the Warren-Tricomi Salon in New York City. "A combination of natural boar bristles on either a round or flat brush are best for dry hair, while soft, rubber-toothed wide-paneled brushes are best for damp hair." Our favorite brushes include the Mason Pearson Boar Bristle brush ($78.50; zitomer.com) and Aveda's Wooden Paddle Brush ($17; aveda.com).

2 Brush before shampooing. A few gentle strokes on dry hair will help remove product buildup and scalp flakes, as well as stimulate the scalp and promote blood flow (which delivers nutrients like oxygen) to hair follicles. For a smoother slide, try Clairol Herbal Essences Let It Loose Detangling Spray ($3; at drugstores).

3 Know your water. If your hair looks dull or is hard to style, the problem could be your tap water. According to Minneapolis-based Gordon Nelson, international creative director for Regis Salons, well water contains natural minerals (called "hard water") that can leave hair lusterless and hard to manage and can impart a brassy, orange hue. Soft water, on the other hand, has fewer damaging minerals. (Ask your local water department if your water is soft or hard, or try using Robert Craig's No More Bad Hair Days Kit, $20; robertcraig.com; with strips to test your water.) To rid hair of mineral buildup, suds up every week with a clarifying shampoo. We like Frederic Fekkai Apple Cider Clarifying Shampoo and Clean Conditioner ($18.50 each; saks.com).

4 Mist your ends with water before home coloring. The ends of your hair are more porous and, as a result, absorb more pigment. "Wet hair doesn't absorb color as readily as dry hair," explains Renee Patronik, a consulting colorist for L'Oreal in New York.

5 Trim your troubles. As the ends of your hair get older and damaged by rough handling, they become prone to splitting, Nelson says. Get regular trims, at least 1/2 inch every four to eight weeks. "Hair grows (on average) half an inch per month, so trim to maintain healthy ends," says stylist Stephen Knoll of the Stephen Knoll Salon in New York

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