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How To Layer Hair Products The Right Way

photo of matrix and pureology products

If you’re anything like us, you love testing out every new hair product you can get your hands on—and you’ve probably figured out what products work perfectly in your hair care routine. But, choosing the right products is only half the battle. The real question is, are you applying your go-to formulas in the right order? While each hair type is different and you can choose to omit certain products from your routine based on what works best for you, applying hair products is much like applying skin care products or layering your wardrobe—the order matters!

Wondering how to layer hair products the right way? Here’s a basic step-by-step guide you can follow, no matter your hair type or concerns.

What order do you put hair products in?

Pre-Shampoo Treatment

Before kicking off your shower routine, consider an extra step before shampoo and conditioner that can seriously benefit your mane: a pre-shampoo treatment. The way it works is simple: Before getting your hair wet, apply a pre-shampoo treatment to your scalp and strands and massage it in for five minutes before thoroughly rinsing.

If your scalp needs the most TLC, use a hair oil like Biolage R.A.W Scalp Care Rebalance Scalp Oil once a week can help rebalance moisture in your scalp and prepare your hair for the rest of your routine. You can also use a scalp scrub like Kérastase Scrub Energisant Deep Cleaning Fusio Dose Scrub to cleanse away impurities and hair build up.

Shampoo And Conditioner

Before you begin layering hair products, always begin your routine with freshly washed and conditioned hair. Of course, your shampoo and conditioner system should be tailored to your hair type’s specific needs. If you have fine hair, reach for a system like Matrix Total Results High Amplify Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner that’s formulated to boost the structure of fine, limp hair for lasting volume.

For color-treated hair, choose a system formulated to keep your hue looking its best like Kérastase Reflection Bain Chromatique Riche Shampoo and Fondant Chromatique Conditioner. This multi-protecting system for color-treated hair protects and prolongs hair color.

If you’re dealing with a frizzy mane, use a smoothing shampoo and conditioner like Matrix Total Results Mega Sleek Frizz Control Shampoo and Conditioner. Formulated with shea butter, this system helps control rebellious, unruly hair and manages frizz against humidity for smoothness.

If you have damaged hair, reach for a system like Redken Extreme Strengthening Shampoo and Conditioner. This system cleanses, strengthens, and restores distressed hair.

For curly girls, opt for a shampoo and conditioner like Matrix Total Results Curl Please Shampoo and Conditioner. Formulated with jojoba oil, this system helps moisturize wavy and curly hair to help control frizz and define curls.

Hair Mask

If your mane needs extra moisture, add a hair mask like Pureology’s Hydrate Superfood Treatment to your routine once a week after you’ve washed and conditioned your hair. Formulated with coconut oil and avocado oil, this formula helps nourish and soften dry hair. Searching for a hair mask to address your specific hair concerns? Check out this guide to our best hair masks.

Leave-In Conditioner

Wondering what product you should put on your hair before styling? You can’t go wrong with a leave-in conditioner. Leave-in conditioners are meant to deliver extra moisture so depending on your hair type or concerns, you’ll only need to use one a few times a week. If your strands are damaged, color-treated, dry, you’ll want to add this step to your routine at least twice a week to lock in much-needed hydration.

Once you’ve stepped out of the shower and towel-dried your hair, choose a leave-in conditioner formula specifically for your hair type and concerns. If you have color-treated hair, opt for a formula like Pureology’s Colour Fanatic Multi-Tasking Hair Beautifier Spray. This lightweight mist primes, protects, and perfects while delivering 21 essential benefits for color-treated hair.

If you’re dealing with damage, pick up Redken’s Extreme Anti-Snap Split Ends Hair Treatment. This leave-in formula fortifies distressed hair and helps protect against breakage and split ends.

To help tame dry, frizzy hair, use a leave-in conditioner like Redken Frizz Dismiss Rebel Tame Leave-In Hair Treatment. This formula hydrates, detangles, and provides the ultimate frizz control and heat protection up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat Protectant

If heat styling your hair is one of your daily hair rituals, your next step should always be a heat protectant. Heat protectant is a must-have product to help prevent heat damage—particularly if you reach for your hot tools daily. Before you pick up your hair straightener or blow dryer, apply a few spritzes of a heat protecting product like Kérastase L’Incroyable Blowdry Hair Lotion. This reshapable heat lotion provides thermo-protection up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit with frizz control and style memory.

Hair Mousse Or Gel

Next, it’s time to layer on your styling products. If your strands need a volume boost, opt for a hair mousse like Matrix Total Results High Amplify Foam Volumizer Mousse. This product provides full-bodied lift and support for touchable thickness, shine, and lasting volume. If you want to define and shape your natural curls, use a hair gel like Mizani True Textures Perfect Coil Oil Gel.

Hair Serum

If you want to smooth frizz, give your mane instant shine, and add smoothness to damaged ends, hair serum should be applied next to dry or damp hair. For a sleek, polished look, use Matrix Total Results Mega Sleek Anti-Frizz Serum. This serum provides high shine as it tames rebellious, unruly hair.


Whether you want to seal your blowout or lock in your curls before a long day, hairspray should be the last product you layer onto your hair. Choose a strong-hold hairspray like L'Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Infinium 4 High-Hold Hairspray or a formula like Pureology Style + Protect Soft Finish Hairspray for a softer hold.

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