Photo: David Tsay

Double Header
You've heard of combination skin, but combination hair? Yes, it's a thing (if you struggle with oily roots and dry ends, or half curly and half straight strands), but don't worry! Help—and hair harmony—is on the way...
oily hair

Photo: David Tsay

Oily Roots + Dry Ends
While this combo can apply to any hair type, it's most common among those with fine strands. "Every hair is attached to its own oil-producing sebaceous gland," says Anabel Kingsley, a trichologist and director of communications at Philip Kingsley. "When you have fine hair, each strand takes up less space, so you actually have more hair—and more oil glands—per square inch than other types." And because the ends are the oldest part, which is true of all hair types, they've accumulated the most damage—hello, dryness.

Wash: The key to choosing a shampoo and a conditioner? Look for the word volumizing. These products give hair a lift by removing oil and buildup, but also hydrate dry ends with light conditioning agents—not concentrated oils that can weigh down your strands, says Procter & Gamble/Pantene principal scientist Rolanda Johnson Wilkerson, PhD. For maximum body boosting, apply conditioner from the midlengths to ends only. Philip Kingsley Coconut Breeze Elasticizer, $53;

Treat: Indulge in some TLC with a weekly preshampoo treatment, says Kingsley. These oils, masks, or deep conditioners are applied to wet or dry hair and left on from five to 30 minutes or more, allowing active ingredients to either remove dirt and excess oil or provide a surge of moisture. (Feel free to alternate or treat the issue that's most troublesome.) Afterward, shampoo to wash away residue and condition.

Style: Avoid oil-based products, which can contribute to greasiness around the hairline, and super-hold hairsprays and gels that may further dry out brittle ends. You may also want to rethink your dry shampoo technique: Apply it preventively rather than waiting until your hair looks greasy, says NYC hairstylist Matt Fugate. (His tip for avoiding chalk-colored roots: Once you've finished your regular styling regimen, spritz your hairbrush with dry shampoo and run it through your roots.) The One by Frédéric Fekkai One More Day Dry Shampoo, $26;
wavy hair

Photo: David Tsay

Straight on Top + Wavy on the Bottom
The shape of your hair follicle helps determine the curvature of your strands, says Kingsley. Ovals yield curly hair and circles produce straight hair. That means an individual strand won't start straight and then become curly—but because the midlengths to ends are the oldest parts of your hair, they've been subjected to the most damage, which can make them unruly and wavy. Plus, the shape of your follicles can vary at different spots on your head, says consultant cosmetic chemist Mort Westman.

Wash: Torn between the products for wavy or curly hair and the ones for straight and sleek? "Pick formulas based on your hair's needs, like hydration or shine, rather than the style you want to achieve," says Wilkerson. And you're not locked into matching your shampoo and conditioner. "A volumizing shampoo, for example, will remove dirt and oil without being too heavy on straight strands, but a more moisturizing conditioner can help your wavier sections, which tend to be drier." To avoid weighing down your roots, apply conditioner from just the midlengths to ends, then run a comb through your hair to ensure every strand is coated before rinsing.

Treat: Once or twice a week, add a moisturizing mask to your cleansing routine. John Masters Organics Hair Mask for Normal Hair, $29;

Style: Want to go wavy all over? Apply an antifrizz spray (for fine hair) or cream (for thick hair), and layer a curl-enhancing cream on top. Wrap one-inch sections of hair around your fingers, and secure the twists with pin curl clips. Once hair is almost dry, remove the clips. If you'd rather play it straight, apply a lightweight, heat-protective antifrizz spray or cream, then massage a dollop of volumizing mousse into your roots. Using a round ceramic brush, blow-dry your hair. "The heat from a dryer is less direct and intense than a flatiron, so it's not as damaging," says New York City hairstylist Lisa Chiccine. Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Zero Smoothing Light Spray, $6; drugstores.
natural roots

Photo: David Tsay

Natural Roots + Relaxed Ends
Both of these textures need serious damage control. "When you chemically straighten your curls, you're manipulating your hair's chemical bonds, making it prone to breakage," says Wilkerson. "Not to mention that every time your natural hair curls, bends, or twists, the protective cuticles are uplifted, weakening the strand."

Wash: While you may be tempted to go a week between shampoos, you should aim to wash every three days. "If you're not cleansing your scalp regularly, oil and dead skin cells accumulate, which can lead to flaking, itching, and eventually even hair loss," says Kingsley. Plus, a healthy scalp nourishes the hair follicles, so they'll produce stronger, thicker strands. Apply a scalp exfoliator to help remove buildup, and follow with a hydrating shampoo and conditioner. (Look for moisturizing humectants, like glycerin, and natural oils, like avocado.) For extra moisture, you can also add a mask twice a week. R+Co Crown Scalp Scrub, $38;

Treat: Post-shower, use a detangler. The leave-in treatment smooths the hair shaft, so it's less likely to build up friction and form knots—both of which can lead to more damage, says Wilkerson. Pantene Gold Series Leave-On Detangling Milk, $8; drugstores.

Style: The easiest way to create uniform curls? Use rod sets, which are flexible, foam tubes in various sizes. (To pick the correct one, choose the thickness closest to the curl size of your new growth, says Matrix artistic director Michelle O'Connor.) Keep it heat-free, and therefore damage-free, by wrapping one-inch sections of wet hair around each rod and allowing them to set overnight.
fine hair

Photo: David Tsay

Fine + Damaged
Even though fine strands are smaller in diameter than their thick counterparts, they have a higher percentage of cuticle, which can provide extra protection from chemical damage, says Westman. But fine hair often doesn't hold a style as well, so you may rely heavily on straighteners, curling irons, and blow-dryers. Over time, that heat can deplete your strands of moisture, causing dullness and breakage.

Wash: To treat damage without weighing down your strands, reverse your cleansing process: Condition, then shampoo, says Fugate. This allows the conditioning agents to penetrate the strands and coat the cuticle, protecting hair from any harsh cleansers.

Treat: To step up your defense, you can also apply a deep conditioner weekly. "When choosing any product, make sure it's labeled as weightless or for fine hair," says Wilkerson. "Otherwise your strands could look limp and lifeless."

Style: While healthy hair can handle the pull of a stiff boar-bristle brush, brittle strands may be too delicate. "The bristles can scratch the cuticle, making weak strands more vulnerable to damage," says Kingsley. Use a paddle brush, which has large bristles gentle enough for any hair type. .Wet Brush Galaxy Detangler, $10;

The best body-building routine? Apply a heat protectant, then a volumizing mousse or spray to the roots, says Chiccine. Blow-dry on low to medium heat, or air-dry and wrap sections around hot rollers, which are typically less damaging than curling irons. Pureology Clean Volume Weightless Mousse, $28; Pureology .com
salt and pepper

Photo: David Tsay

Salt + Pepper
Melanin—the brown, black, yellow, or red pigment that tints skin—also informs your hair's hue. At a genetically determined point in time, the follicles produce less melanin, eventually stopping altogether. That's when your hair turns gray, then white. Despite popular belief, gray hair isn't actually coarser—everyone's hair usually gets finer with age, says Kingsley. But as we get older, oil glands tend to produce less sebum, causing dryness, dullness, and roughness, says Westman.

Wash: Gray hair is prone to staining from dirt, smoke, and pollution, says Kingsley. For bright, brilliant strands, cleanse with a violet-based shampoo and conditioner to counteract yellow or brassy tones. KMS Color Vitality Blonde Shampoo, $21.50, and Conditioner, $23.50; for salons

Style: Keep your silver polished: Prep damp hair with a leave-in conditioner, then add a heat-protective blow-out cream, which will help seal the cuticle, making it easier to take your strands from wiry to smooth. Blow-dry with a round brush, paying extra attention to gray sections. Finish by spritzing shine spray from roots to ends. Living Proof T.B.D. Multi-Tasking Styler, $26;