FYI: Julianne Hough Just Told Us All of Her Best Healthy-Hair Secrets

Even in an era when screenshots reign supreme, I still carry an ID-size photo of Julianne Hough's head in my wallet. I've always identified as a blonde, and the dancer, singer, and actress has played the role of the ultimate hair muse in my life. Having been in the beauty industry for years now, I know my admiration (and maybe slight case of hair envy) isn't rare.

Aside from the times Hough dabbled in hues like red, brunette, and even pink, the signature bright and buttery variations of blonde she's known for have served as my go-to color reference whenever I'm sitting in the salon chair awaiting fresh highlights (hence my aforementioned wallet photo). Even when she's been brave enough to experiment with the colors, styles, and cuts that might make many of us skittish, her adventurous approach to beauty is what makes Hough one of the most exciting celebrities on our radar.

As any beauty lover or perpetual color addict will know, one can't maintain Hough's chameleon-like hair tendencies without a little bit of magic. And by magic, we mean A+ treatments, products, and experts that provide color-weakened hair with the TLC it needs in order to remain soft, strong, and lustrous rather than dry, damaged, and brittle. Regardless of how many times Hough has switched up her vibe over the years, her hair has maintained its trademark shine and thickness and seems to bounce back faster post-bleach and -tone than we do after a night of one too many tequila shots. So what's her secret?

Photo:

Courtesy of Joico

Working in tandem with Riawna Capri and Jill Buck—the amazing colorists Hough routinely collaborates with at West Hollywood's Nine Zero One Salon—are the game-changing product potions comprising Joico's newest innovation, Defy Damage, a haircare line of six products total, two of which are administered in-salon, and four of which can be used to maintain the results at home. Think a protective shampoo ($19), conditioner ($20), masque ($22), and leave-in shield ($22) (Hough's fave).

The Defy Damage Pro Series (which is what Hough has been getting in-salon to keep her strands in tip-top shape) is a two-part system that works both before and after a color or blowout service to protect the hair from the inevitable collateral damage of heat styling, UV exposure, and environmental factors like pollution. The system is specifically designed with prevention in mind and to restrengthen hair bonds for a super-healthy, visibly noticeable hair transformation that's pretty much pivotal for anyone who regularly inflicts strand terrorizers like color, curling wands, and the like.

Photo:

Courtesy of Joico

I was offered the chance to see Joico's Defy Damage work its charms firsthand during Hough's own color transformation (she recently made a drastic color change from red to blonde) and also to try it out myself. Unlike Hough, I didn't get a color service at the talented hands of Buck, but she did give me an epic blowout, first priming my dry strands with the Joico Defy Damage Pro Series #1 and then, after washing, applying the second step, Pro Series #2, which just has to marinate in the hair for a few minutes before being washed out.

Ahead, a sneak peek into Hough's own color transformation using Defy Damage (we have her must-see before-and-afters, plus step-by-step photos), in addition to our conversation about all things hair. Keep scrolling!

The Before and After

Photo:

Courtesy of Joico

The Process

Step 1: Apply Pro Series #1

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Courtesy of Joico

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Courtesy of Joico

Step 2: Apply Color

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Courtesy of Joico

Step 3: Apply Pro Series #2, Shampoo, Masque, and Conditioner

Photo:

Courtesy of Joico

Photo:

Courtesy of Joici

Step 4: Apply Joico Defy Damage Protective Shield to Damp Strands

Photo:

Courtesy of Joico

Step 5: Dry and Style

Photo:

Courtesy of Joico

Hough on her current color routine:

Photo:

Courtesy of Joico

"I am a blonde by birth, but how often I'm coloring and lightening my hair really depends on whether or not I'm on camera! Usually, when I have a busy schedule, my color appointments are pretty often, and I'm in the salon roughly every four to five weeks. Because of all the close-up shots, interviews, and all of that, my color needs to be fresh! Luckily, both Riawna and Jill have really trained me to treat my hair at home and to keep it super healthy. Lately, I've been rotating between the Joico K-Pak Color Therapy Luster Lock Spray ($21) and the Defy Damage Protective Masque ($22)."

On her day-to-day hair routine:

Photo:

Courtesy of Joico

"Basically, I just use everything Riawna and Jill tell me to! If I'm traveling, I use the Defy Damage Protective Shield, which I use on damp hair regardless of whether I'm air-drying or blow-drying. I also love it because if I’m working with a hair team I don't usually work with, I know my hair is still being protected. When it comes to my hair's health, I have certain needs that I need to make sure are met, so using products like this regularly on my own and bringing them with me makes it so I don't need to rely as much on people who are doing or styling my hair to protect it for me.

"In general, I'm a big air-dry person. So most days—if I can—I'll just let my hair dry on its own, and right now I have bangs that are growing out, so they're kind of shaggy and cool. It's almost like the dirtier, the better for me. I'll have it down for a little bit, have it in a low pony, messy, and then when it gets really greasy, I just slick it back, and it's perfect. Three hairstyles in one week, and you don't even have to wash it!"

On her favorite hair moments past, present, and future:

Photo:

Courtesy of Joico

"Riawna took me red almost a year ago, and then Jill has gradually been taking me back to blonde. My go-to for hair color is blonde because that's the way I was born, and it always just feels the most me. I always come back to it. You always come back to your roots, right?! But I would say that aside from blonde, the red hair has been my favorite color moment.

"That being said, I'd love to try going super, super dark—like almost black—even though I would probably have to shave my head after [laughs]. No, I could probably go back, but it would take a long time. I just don't know if I want to do that. That’s what a wig is for! Honestly, I've gone through so many stages in my life. Your 20s are all about exploration and discovery, and I think I've done that! I've gone through so many renditions and versions of myself and figuring out who I am internally and externally, so I feel pretty grounded right now. I'm pretty good.

"I've been on this big transformational kick, and I've literally done about every color and every shape and cut and length. And because I've gone through so much transformation, my hair was just getting shorter and shorter. People always say to cut off that old energy in your hair if you want a change, and so I literally was like, I think I just need to shave my head and start over [laughs]. But you know, maybe next time. I think I'll definitely do it in my life at some point. It's on my bucket list."

On her top 3 hair tips:

Photo:

Courtesy of Joico

"I know I already mentioned this, but honestly, since I'm constantly getting my hair done, just letting it air-dry whenever possible is probably my number one tip. Also, if you can just let it go for a few days without washing it [laughs], then do that! Okay, so air-drying, not washing it every day, and then finding products that work well and that keep it healthy. You know, we work out for our bodies; we wash our faces; we read books for our minds. We have to protect and care for our hair as well!"