The Latest TikTok Craze: What To Know About Hair Cycling


Image: PhotoAlto/Frederic Cirou for Getty

Last year one of the major social media driven beauty trends was skin cycling – a less is more approach to skin – 2023 is seeing that trend expand to haircare. In fact, at the time of writing this article there are about 6.5 billion views for videos tagged with “hair cycling” on TikTok!

So, what exactly is hair cycling?

“Hair cycling is alternating the cleansing and conditioning products you use to address the specific needs of your hair more strategically,” explains Steve Waldman, the artistic/technical director and a product consultant for Hair Cuttery. “Instead of using a jack of all trades/master of none product every time you shampoo or prioritize one hair need over the others, cycling allows you to comprehensively address the health of your hair in steps to ensure it feels, looks and is its best in every way.”

He goes on to explain that the first step in the cycle is usually a detox and clarifying shampoo or scrub to get rid of product that builds up on the hair, dulling it over time. This allows you to start fresh. Next, Waldman recommends a shampoo and conditioner that repairs any damage and adds strength to maximize its structural integrity of the hair. Opt for one formulated for your daily styling needs (think volumizing, smoothing, etc.). Finally, he says, moisture is essential in the third part of your cycle for shine, softness and manageability, so you’ll want to opt for a hydrating leave-in product.

Image: Romilly Lockyer for Getty

Is hair cycling actually expert approved? Spoiler: Yes!

While TikTok has put the spotlight on hair cycling, it’s actually a practice that has been around for awhile. “It’s a great way to address your hair’s multiple needs without ‘over-correcting’ a single issue with one product, while neglecting any other conditions that might need attention,” says Waldman. “It’s also perfect for people who like to shampoo their hair frequently.”

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