Celebrity Hairstylist Shares His Secrets for Healthy, Shiny Hair

When the hairstylist who has created innovative and memorable looks for Gwen Stefani and Lady Gaga shares his advice on what makes hair beautiful, we listen. Danilo, a Pantene celebrity stylist, offers tips on instantly improving hair health and keeping your hair looking healthy, shiny, and eye-catching.

ishonest: What makes hair look healthy?

Danilo: Pantene has done studies and tracked what is most attractive to the human eye. What it comes down to is the age-old rule of animal attraction — animals are drawn to brilliant, colored feathers, fur, or hair. I call this the womanimal quality. People are kind of the same way — we like to see shiny hair, and we like it bouncy, and we like it to feel good as well.

Shine is an especially big one — we’ve done eye tracking, and it seems to be the first thing that the eye goes to. If your hair is dull and lackluster, it doesn’t look as inviting. Again, I go back to my “womanimal” kingdom — we are very much animals, and shine and bounce are iconic hair qualities.

And, if you can make hair smell good, you’ve got it made.

EH: What misconceptions do you often hear about what damages hair and what keeps it healthy?

Danilo: Generally speaking, people think that not washing their hair is good for the hair. But particularly in a city, or when you style your hair a lot, you definitely need to keep it clean. It’s better for your hair, it’s better for your scalp, and foundationally, it allows your hair to once again give you the iconic three — the shine, bounce, and touchability. Those things all come about when the hair is clean and well cared for.

EH: If you regularly use heat tools, what can you do to limit damage to your hair?

Danilo: Make sure your tools are state of the art and are operating in a manner that offers you quicker drying time. Look for ceramic, ionic, or infrared tools, which shorten the time that you’re heating your hair so that it dries in a manner that is healthier. It really pays to get good tools.

Also, instead of using a round brush, I love using a mixed-bristle paddle brush when blow-drying. My favorite is the Sonia Kashuk brush made with plastic and nylon bristles. What I find people do is yank on their hair with a round brush, and they burn their hair because they concentrate the dryer's nozzle in one area.

I've been playing with a new brush by Infiniti by Conair. It’s a blow-dryer with a round brush that rotates in two directions. It's an interesting item for women who like to use a round brush, and it really gives you volume. So I’m able to give people a really nice finish, but it's soft, and the air is being moved around in a good way, so it’s less damaging.

EH: Are there any styling steps that are essential if you want to prevent damage?

Danilo: More often than not, people are dancing all over the product range and are using a little of this and a little of that, and they’re overdoing it. It's better if you can achieve more results with less product.

Also, you can achieve healthy-looking hair very simply and effortlessly just by having the right products. And those should be chosen based on the hair texture, but also on the style direction, and the finish you want.

Conditioner is especially crucial because it’s a building block and foundationally supports the structure of the hair. For example, if you have fine hair, you need to condition; otherwise, your style will collapse and your hair will break. Medium-thick hair, on the other hand, needs other things, like a heavier conditioner that’s going to bring more emollients and more moisturizer to control that bulk of hair and the coarseness.

Pantene's Pro-V Aqua Light Weightless Conditioning Shake has become a real styling tool for me on sets. It’s an easy way to freshen up hair without washing it — something you can also throw in a gym bag, for example. I wet hair down with it on a shoot and do what I call a wet shampoo, and it detangles, adds shine, and finishes the hair without needing to washing it.

EH: Why is healthy hair important for styling and getting the look you want?

Danilo: If your hair isn't healthy, you can’t achieve any style. I’ve always said that the biggest trend you want to be on top of is having healthy hair. If the hair is healthy, not exhausted, it’s going to perform better — give you shine, bounce, and touchability. All these elements are going to form an ideal foundation, which is key for long-lasting style. It’s also the key to just keeping the hair on your head and not having it snap off!

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