From holographic dye jobs to modern mullets to money pieces, we tend to throw around a lot of buzzwords when talking about our hair. The end goal is to look good and feel confident, right? With all that effort we put into doing so, however, it’s just as important to think about ways we can improve the health of our hair—especially with all those dyes, hot tools, and elaborate hairstyles.
One of the best things we can do for our hair is routinely quench those thirsty strands and gently tend to those damaged, brittle ends. It also helps to nurture our scalps, which have a direct role in the overall quality of our hair. For all the ins and outs of how to get soft hair that’s healthy, shiny, and strong, heed the following advice and add a few of our recommended products to your shopping cart.
Reasons Your Hair Isn’t Soft
If you’re questioning how to get soft silky hair, you have to understand the obstacles holding you back. Rodney Cutler, Redken ambassador and celebrity stylist, has seen hundreds of women at wit’s end with their annoyingly dry hair over the years. He says that a general misunderstanding of how to tend to hair is what keeps so many women feeling unhappy with their tresses.
There are two primary reasons why your hair might not be as soft as you’d like. The first is lack of moisture, and the second is damage.
“Dry hair refers specifically to a lack of moisture,” he says, “while damaged hair can include a range of issues, [including] split ends, fragility, and breakage to dryness. When you damage your hair, you compromise its integrity.”
Sometimes you may be dealing with one or the other, while other times it could be a combination of both actually compounding each other.
How To Soften Hair In 4 Steps
Ready to learn all about how to get your hair soft? We’re outlining the four key steps below.
Step One: Use the proper brush
You wouldn’t grab a butter knife to slice an apple, right? The same idea applies to using the right hair brush for the job required. For example, paddle brushes enable quick drying while round brushes hold hair in place and provide tension for blowouts. Picks create volume, but combs detangle. Each tool has a specific purpose.
If you’re in doubt about the brushes needed to maintain and style your cut and hair type, your stylist can be an excellent source of knowledge. Make sure you know what’s needed before leaving the chair. As a general rule of thumb, be gentle with your hair when brushing, too. Start at the ends and work your way up.
Step Two: Use the appropriate hair care products
Any good softening hair care regimen will have a shampoo and conditioner, a weekly or bi-weekly hair treatment to nourish your strands, and styling products that help prevent or treat breakage and damage. Some also swear by using a clarifying shampoo to nix product buildup about once every month or two.
That said, it’s also important to use products formulated specifically for your hair type. For example, if you have fine hair, heavier products are going to weigh your hair down and make it look flat or even greasy. However, those same products can really soften thick hair. Again, if you’re unsure what sort of products are ideal for your hair type, ask your stylist for recommendations.
Step Three: Be strategic when styling
Only rookies think that hair care ends once you’ve stepped out of the shower! Styling is where the real work of changing habits begins.
“Poor styling habits and techniques are the most damaging and distressing for hair,” notes Cutler. “Preventing damage and moisture loss is key [for how to get soft hair]!”
Start by applying a heat protectant, ensuring that it protects up to the temperature you’ll be blow drying at. Then, work with a paddle or round brush to dry your hair. Cutler advocates for a technique called directional styling. It’s more simple than it sounds: Just use the concentrator nozzle on your hair dryer to blow the air down the shaft instead of directly at it. This ensures a closed hair cuticle, which means softer-feeling, shinier-looking hair.
Step Four: Pamper your hair with extra TLC
Cutler is quick to note that not all brittle and dry hair is caused by mistakes you’re making. Some people have naturally dry hair. If that’s the case, a regular deep conditioning treatment can make all the difference in the softness of your strands.
“Dryness is the result of a lack of moisture in the hair,” he says. “A deep conditioning treatment like Redken’s All Soft Mega Mask, is key to both treating and helping to improve the look of dry hair. I recommend using [a product like this] once a week.”
If you need more than just a mask, Cutler recommends All Soft Mega Hydramelt, a moisturizing lotion that leaves hair moisturized without weighing it down. The lightweight formula makes for soft hair and provides increased manageability, control, and shine.
Armed with these tips, you’ll face the world with softer—and more beautiful—hair.
The Best ingredients For Soft Hair
Choosing the best ingredients for soft hair ultimately depends on your hair type. Look for formulations that cater to your specific needs.
Our Best Products To Soften Your Hair
Now that you know how to get soft hair, let’s dive into 30 of the best products out there to get the job done!
Redken Extreme Play Safe Heat Protection and Damage Repair Hair Treatment
We mentioned the importance of protecting your hair during heat styling. This product from Redken not only protects while you use your favorite hot tools, but it doubles down to repair existing damage.
Kérastase Genesis Defense Thermique Fortifying Blow-Dry Fluid
Here's another heat protecting product that multitasks for you. It's a fortifying formulation, making it ideal for weakened hair that's particularly prone to breakage from brushing and styling.
Redken Diamond Oil Glow Dry Blow Dry Shine Oil
You'll achieve maximum shine and heat-protecting when using the Redken Diamond Oil Glow Dry Blow Dry Shine Oil. It's a great way to get soft hair while providing heat protection, add smoothness and shine, and shorten drying time.
L'Oréal Professionnel Serie Expert Absolut Repair Instant Resurfacing Masque
This deeply nourishing, best-selling mask has a buttery texture that restores damaged hair. The result is softer, more manageable locks that are smooth and lightweight to the touch.
Matrix Total Results So Long Damage Break Fix Reconstructing Lotion
For an extra boost of softness and shine, apply this leave-in lotion to towel-dried hair and then style per usual. It helps hydrate strands that've been damaged from heat styling or chemical processing.
Redken All Soft Shampoo And Conditioner
If you’re dealing with fine or medium hair that’s brittle, you’ll want to stick to the All Soft family. This award-winning shampoo and conditioner system detangles, replenishes, and provides intense softness thanks to its exclusive RCT Protein Complex, which treats hair from the root to the core to the tip.
Redken All Soft Mega Shampoo And Conditioner
Dealing with perpetually dry hair that just seems to repel moisture? Redken has a fix. The All Soft Mega Shampoo and Conditioner are formulated for severely dry, medium to coarse hair. When used as a system of shampoo, conditioner, and All Soft Argan-6 oil, you’ll get silky soft hair.
Redken All Soft Argan-6 Oil
You might hear hair oil and think "too heavy for me," but this formulation is incredibly lightweight. It seriously softens and replenishes strands via omega-6 fatty acids, soy protein, and argan oil.
Redken All Soft Mega Mega Deep Conditioning Treatment Mask
Treat yourself and your mane to a luxurious deep conditioning treatment. Redken's All Soft Mega Mega Deep Conditioning Treatment Mask boosts moisture and caters to parched, damaged hair for major softness.
Mizani True Textures Curl Enhancing Lotion
Those with curly hair should seek out products made specifically for their hair type, such as this lotion that enhances ringlets from Mizani. It fosters a soft and bouncy curl versus one that's stiff-looking or crunchy.
Mizani Thermasmooth Anti-Frizz Shampoo
Every texture should be able to tend to their hair without dealing with tons of wild baby hairs, which is why Mizani launched Thermasmooth Anti-Frizz Shampoo for wavy to tightly coiled manes.
Biolage R.A.W. Recover Shampoo And Conditioner
If your hair is stressed, sensitized, or otherwise in full "recovery mode," this shampoo and conditioner can help. The pair is formulated with 86 percent naturally-derived ingredients and helps replenish, soften, and boost shine.
Pureology Hydrate Soft Softening Treatment Mask
This nourishing treatment softens and hydrates dry, color-treated hair while the brands exclusive AntiFade complex ensures that your salon color stays vibrant and fresh.
Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo And Conditioner
Brunettes with highlights, hear us out! If you’re dealing with ends so dry that they basically look like ramen noodles, using Matrix Total Results Brass Off Shampoo and Conditioner can help. The system is formulated with vitamin-rich hair oil to volumize and smooth damaged brunette strands, leaving them soft and touchable.
Redken Acidic Bonding Concentrate Shampoo And Conditioner
Those battling hair damage should make hair repair their number one priority. Redken’s Acidic Bonding Concentrate Shampoo and Conditioner system is an all-in-one solution for all types of hair that repairs and rebalances. Formulated with citric acid, the system reinforces weakened bonds to help build hair’s strength and resiliency.
Biolage Advanced Keratindose Strengthening Shampoo And Conditioner
A bond-strengthening shampoo and conditioner can also help repair existing damage and foster healthy locks. This system is formulated with keratin, a protein known for its ability to strengthen over-processed hair.
Shu Uemura Art Of Hair Silk Bloom Strengthening Hair Mask
Damaged hair doesn't stand a chance against this deep conditioning treatment. It helps repair hair via restorative ingredients while infusing moisture for touchably soft locks.
Kérastase Elixir Ultime L'Huile Original Hair Oil
Consider this a magic potion for your locks. It contains five precious oils that work wonders on hair, boosting shine, nourishing strands, and preventing breakage. You can use it before, during, or after your blow-dry to reap the rewards.
Shu Uemura Art Of Hair Essence Absolue Overnight Serum
Hello, sleeping beauty! This overnight serum is meant to be applied on dry or damp hair just before hopping into bed. While you sleep, it works its magic to create soft, shiny, frizz-free locks.
Redken Extreme CAT Anti-Damage Protein Reconstructing Rinse-Off Hair Treatment
All you have to do is spritz and walk away when using this leave-in hair treatment from Redken. It targets distressed locks and helps prevent split ends and future breakage to keep hair soft and shiny.
Biolage Hydrasource Detangling Solution
Brushing tangled hair is a recipe for breakage, so don't even think about it. This detangling solution will help your brush glide through with ease to ensure strands stay happy and healthy.
Redken Extreme Anti-Snap Split Ends Hair Treatment
While you’re in between salon visits, don’t let the split end monster disrupt your good hair days. This intense split-end treatment from Redken is an award-winning, leave-in product that protects from chemical, heat, and styling damage to prevent breakage by up to 75 percent.
Redken Extreme Length Hair Primer Treatment with Biotin
Enriched with biotin, this treatment acts as a primer that promotes healthier, shinier hair from root to tip.
Shu Uemura Art Of Hair Tsuyu Sleek Blow Dry Oil
After towel-drying, spray this product to your strands and then blow dry per usual. It'll help deliver the sleekist, shiniest, softest blowout while also cutting down on your blowdry time.
Interested in more hair care tips? Use our salon locator to book an appointment at a salon near you.