In these articles, I have covered the fundamentals of the kind of hairstyle that will help make you look younger and thinner. However, clients ask many questions that I think need a bit more elaboration.

The most frequently asked question is, “Why is some people’s hair more shiny than others?”

I’ll try to give a basic explanation. You probably have seen a picture of a magnified strand of hair in a magazine advertisement for some miraculous shampoo or conditioner. To the naked eye, the hair appears to be a shiny, cylinder-shaped strand from the head to the tip. It is not.

Rather, a single strand of hair is a tube comprised of layers (cuticle) that lay on top of each other from the root to the end. When your hair is healthy (no chemicals, no sun damage, etc.), those layers lay down tightly on top of each other, giving the impression of one long, shiny strand.

The light reflects off it much like the sun’s reflection shining on the surface of a pond unruffled by the wind, and you see shiny hair.

When your hair has had chemicals, such as color, highlights and perms, or you don’t use the proper shampoo and conditioner, or you spend a lot of time in the sun or in the pool, a lot of those layers will lift.

They get roughed up by brushing your hair and by pulling on the tangles. There are many things that can keep the layers from not laying down tightly.

This causes a lack of reflection, again like that pond but with the wind blowing, so the sun doesn’t reflect evenly. Therefore, you don’t see shiny hair.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to use the proper hair care products. Chemicals and inexpensive shampoos and conditioners affect the pH of the hair. This causes the layers to lift and not retract, hence the lack of shine again.

When the layers stay lifted, hair looks dry and fuzzy. If it’s continually abused with improper care, there is nothing we professionals can do to repair the damage besides give you a good haircut. Some treatments might help give the impression of healthy, shiny hair, but the effect is cosmetic and temporary.

You are only in the professional’s chair for a short time. The rest is up to you to maintain.

You do get what you pay for. Spend more on the right stylist with the right products, and I guarantee you will have shiny, happy hair, your hair color will last longer, and you’ll be happier in the long run.

Joy Ross is owner of Style It Salon in Old Town Bluffton.