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 


  1. Sia Foch says:

    Love these tips, they’re so easy and useful. Great work!

  2. AMM says:

    In your opinion, how often should one get a haircut (from a health perspective, not style-related)?

    • Merrick says:

      I’m not an expert by any means, so I’d ask your hair dresser. But I take good care of my hair and only have to get it cut about every 6-7 months (and it helps that I have a very low maintenance color). But I don’t know what’s actually recommended in terms of health…I’d guess it varies from person to person depending on your hair type and length!

  3. Valerie says:

    Would love if you could share your current hair color/application! Is it highlights or lowlights throughout, or just in the front to frame your face? I want to give it to my stylist so we can try to replicate it…so gorgeous!

    • Merrick says:

      It’s hair painting to add highlights throughout and lighten it up in front. Then she tones my whole head to add some shine. But no lowlights. hope that helps!

  4. Erin says:

    Hi! Can you please share who your current hair dresser is for those of us that are in the OC? Thanks!

  5. Val Marie Fidanzo says:

    My problem is I do not have 2 hrs to get ready in morning before work. I have about 1/2 hr. So I wash at night and put up on hair in bun to dry. It is still damp in morning so I pull it down and let it dry. In summer it was not so bad but now in winter it looks frizzier after it dries. I need to find something I can do as I am not happy at all and very frustrated with how my hair is looking.

    • Style Unstructured says:

      Try washing a little earlier in the evening and letting it air dry to about 70 – 80%. Then while it’s still slightly damp put it in a top knot. It should be completely dry in the morning and considerably less frizzy! Hope that helps!

  6. michenn says:

    Your number 1 is the hardest. Finding a good hairdresser is SO HARD, someone you can trust all the time. I’ve had instances where I’ve been with one hairdresser for over a year or two and then they messed up my hair and the trust was broken. Or they moved and I’ve had to find someone else. I’m glad you got into a groove with your hair and it honestly looks great!


    COFFEESLAG For Love & Lemons

  7. Mary says:

    SHUT UP!!! We go to the same salon?! My girl Jenna works there!

  8. Sierra says:

    How does your hair handle that much heat on it? I swear I’m straighten or curl my hair maybe 2-3 a month and I feel like I always have split ends. And I use Moroccan oil for heat protection.

    • Merrick says:

      Yikes! I’d ask your hair dresser about that. You shouldn’t have crazy split ends just from 2-3 curls/straightens a month. Maybe they can tell you a shampoo or repair serum that will help? I straighten my hair after washing it every time (although that’s only every week and a half or so), and then curl it almost every other day and I have no trouble with split ends. I’m sure there’s a way to fix it. Good luck! xx

      • Sierra says:

        What do you use as a heat protector? Maybe that is my problem!

      • Merrick says:

        I use Living Proof’s Prime, but that’s only in the last few months. Maybe try switching your shampoo? I’ve used the purple pureology for the last year and I majorly love it and it’s completely changed my hair. Good luck!

  9. Benjamin says:

    Thank you for your recommendations. You’re right, all hair products are made differently. First of all, you need to find the tool that will help you best.
    The second that I recommended is to keep your head and skin in frequency. I think that all know a healthy scalp is the Foundation of healthy hair. I use skin cream to get rid of skin problems and pimples.

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