Last year one of my goals was to have better hair. Silly as it may seem, I was so sick of bad hair days and it seemed like no matter what I did, it looked flat, limp, and greasy. I spent a few weeks researching, asked a few friends and tried a ton of new products, and immediately wished I’d done all of that years before because I instantly saw improved results.

Now my hair routine is one of the questions I get the most from readers, so I’m excited to share my discoveries and tips that I’ve learned and implemented over the last year, and next week show a day by day look at what I use and how I style my hair so I can go more than a week between washes.

1. Find a good hair dresser. The first step to good hair is a good haircut, and the first step to a good haircut is a good hairdresser. If you don’t have one that you trust and love, find one! It took me years to find a good hair dresser — I’ve bounced around from salon to salon for my entire life, but could never find someone that gave me exactly what I was looking for (not that I really knew what that was…but still). The thing about hairdressers is that they might be great for one person, but not for another, but also it’s hard to tell if they’re a good match for you on the first try. So whenever I’ve tried a new hairdresser, I give them at least two chances to prove that they’re a good fit for me and then either continue the search or stick with them. I’ve also found that knowing some things about my hair is really helpful information to give a new hair dresser at the beginning of your visit — for example, I always tell them my hair pulls very warm when colored, I have a lot of hair but it’s very fine, and I want it thinned at the ends but not with thinning shears because that makes my hair frizzy. The sign of a good hair dresser is one who will listen to those things and also offer advice. My current hairdresser is always taking classes to learn new skills and stay up on trends, and also has been really good about giving me advice on my color to help me get back to my natural color with just a little highlight to brighten up my face.

2. Not all beauty products are created equally. This was the biggest revelation to me. I’ve been buying drug store products for my entire life, but never realized they were the problem. The difference in high quality products is the ingredients…they’re not filled with junk that coats or weighs down your hair — they’re made to work with your hair and keep it healthy. One of my favorite brands is Living Proof. I’ve been using a few of their products for about six months (since I blogged about it here), and just last week I popped into Salon Platinum in Orange County to meet with the owner and LP Jeff Wacker and learn more about their line of products — especially the ones I wasn’t already using. The science and philosophy behind the brand is incredible — if you have an extra minute, read about it here. But they’ve completely re-invented the recipes for all the basic hair products and use ingredients and science that honestly do wonders. Their products do what they say they’re going to do, and they’re amazing. I’ve loved trying some of their products over the past few days and I’ll be sharing more about each product, plus some hairstyles, next week!

3. You get what you pay for.  My philosophy and justification for spending hours of time and loads of money on my hair is that I have to wear my hair every single day. If I had to wear the same dress every day for the rest of my life, I’d be willing to spend a lot of money on it too — wouldn’t you? It’s sometimes hard to take the plunge and purchase high quality products, but the difference from cheap products is incredibly huge. But actually the awesome thing about Living Proof is that not only are they high quality, but they’re pretty darn affordable.

4. Good hair takes work. When I was my quest to figure out how to have better hair, I discovered a really important thing: beautiful hair does not often happen on its own. Yes, there are exceptions to this, but for the most part, if you want good hair you have to work for it. Before, I would wash my hair at night, let it air dry a bit, sleep on it, and then brush it in the morning and maybe curl a few pieces. No wonder it looked like garbage most of the time! Now I wash it in the morning, blow dry it, straighten it, and then curl it (although often I curl it on day two). All of that takes about 2 hours which is a humongous pain, but it’s worth it because taking care of it in the right way like this (plus using quality products) makes my wash last for about a week and a half, and sometimes even two weeks.

I’m excited to share my entire process from wash to wash next week, and I’ll be sharing daily photos of what I do and what products I use to make my hair wash last as long as possible. Make sure to check back!

a huge thank you to Living Proof for sponsoring this post |  photos by rad and happy