Hair cycling: Everything you need to know about the buzzy TikTok beauty trend

Could switching up your products be the key to healthy locks? asks Prudence Wade
Hair cycling: Everything you need to know about the buzzy TikTok beauty trend

Hair cycling is taking off... but what is it all about? We ask the experts. Picture : Alamy

WITH 143.2m views on TikTok, the trend for ‘hair cycling’ is taking off.

Online, beauty buffs are showing off their elaborate haircare routines in a bid for glossier, healthier locks.

It comes hot on the heels of the ‘skin cycling’ trend, which was all about rotating the skincare products you use over a certain time period.

But what does hair cycling actually entail, and is it worth all the effort?

What is hair cycling?

“This trend advocates the use of different products in a weekly or monthly cycle, to create a regular hair (and scalp) care routine,” explains Susie Hammond, consultant trichologist at Philip Kingsley.

According to Diego Miranda, Maria Nila professional ambassador, hair cycling routines are “unique to each individual, but usually consists of a four-day routine through the week”.

Are there any benefits?

Hammond is sceptical about the core principles of hair cycling.

“It’s become a popular idea that your hair can become used to products, if they’re used too regularly, and the idea of hair cycling is that we need to alternate/change them up regularly to prevent this from happening,” she says.

Some people are sceptical about the 'hair cycling' trend. Picture: PA
Some people are sceptical about the 'hair cycling' trend. Picture: PA

“Provided you’re using good-quality products and shampooing regularly you should not get build-up on the hair, nor should your hair ‘get used’ to a product to the extent that it will stop performing for you. 

"If you use the same products under the same conditions, you’ll get the same results.” However, she does suggest there are benefits to using different products tailored to your specific needs.

“Conditions do of course change over time – seasonal changes, the water we wash with, age, and the frequency of colouring are just some of the factors that can affect your hair. Different products are formulated to address specific hair concerns, such as dryness, damage, or frizz. By switching up your products, you can target different concerns as they arise and improve the overall health and appearance of your hair.” And for Miranda, through using a variety of products “you can target a number of concerns throughout the week to achieve your ultimate hair goal”.

Should you tailor your haircare routine to the weather?

Instead of sticking to a strict hair cycling routine, it might be a good idea to consider the products you use at different times of the year.

“Different seasons and weather conditions can affect your hair’s health,” says Hammond.

“For example, cold winter weather can cause dryness and static, especially with central heating. Central heating can affect our hair and scalp in the same way as it affects our skin, making it dryer during the winter months. Your hair strands may feel dryer due to this loss of moisture causing them to become brittle, and you may experience more breakage and frizz as a result.” 

Susie Hammond. Picture: Handout. 
Susie Hammond. Picture: Handout. 

What core products should you think of including in your routine?

For Hammond, there are a few products everyone should consider including in their routine.

She says “everyone should use a weekly hair mask” – recommending a hydrating mask for maximum impact – and adds: “Factors such as washing with hard water can leave deposits on the hair making it appear dull, and overuse of products containing a lot of silicones can leave the hair limp and lacklustre” – which can be combatted with a monthly clarifying treatment.

Plus, she recommends tailoring your products to your specific hair needs. “People with oily hair may benefit from hair cycling their preferred shampoo (for example a volumising or hydrating one) with an anti-microbial shampoo, because it can help prevent product build-up and oiliness. By alternating between different types of shampoos and conditioners, you can ensure that your hair is thoroughly cleansed and not weighed down by excessive oil.

“Dyed hair can benefit from hair cycling because it can help prevent fading and damage. By using products that are specifically designed for dyed hair and alternating between different types of products, you can help preserve your colour and keep hair healthy.

“Curly or textured hair can benefit from hair cycling because it can help maintain curl definition and prevent dryness.” 

Anything to watch out for?

“It’s unnecessary to overwash the hair,” says Hammond. “Provided you work up a good lather, and rinse thoroughly, it shouldn’t be necessary to use multiple products.” If you do want to try hair cycling – or at least dabble with using different products depending on your hair type and other external factors – Miranda says: “It’s important to consult with your hair professional when creating your hair cycling routine to balance your hair concerns and goals, and fully understand use and frequency.” The bottom line? You probably don’t need to inundate your hair with an excessive amount of products on a strict schedule – just make sure you’re using the right products for your hair type, goals and the time of year.

Don’t know where to start?

Everyone’s hair needs are different, but some of these products might help kickstart your routine… 

  • Maria Nila True Soft Booster Masque
  • Hair Proud Super Hydrating Shampoo
  • Pantene Colour Gloss & Deep Repair Hair Mask
  • Tropic Clarifying Hair Wash
  • Innersense Detox Mask, Cult Beauty 
  • Charles Worthington Sunshine Protect Conditioner
  • Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask, Cult Beauty

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