|Hair courtesy of FourEighty, Shenfield earlier this year!|
First lets get one thing straight. Hair is essentially dead, the part that is alive and processing is the part we don't see, the hair follicle and the work that's going on beneath it. However, once the hair reaches the visible eye it's pretty much dead but that's not to say it has to look it! Check out these tips to get your hair into great condition and restore hydration.
- Choose a shampoo formulated for your hair type. If it's dry choose rich, creamy formulas, and try to stay away from harsh, stripping detergents such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate.
- Pre-shampoos are great as can be left on overnight for deep conditioning before washing off, or applied for 5 minutes before shampooing. They just give that extra hydrating boost.
- Many hairdressers and trichologists disagree on this, with many saying hair must be washed every day. However, if hair is brittle and dry then every 2-3 days will suffice. If it feels dirty give it a rinse and if dry just apply a conditioner after.
- Always rinse with luke warm or cool water to seal the cuticle, which in turn adds shine and make sure you rinse for that extra minute to get rid of any shampoo or conditioner, as any residue can lead to a dulling effect.
- Dehydrated and dry hair lacks water and so you need to add moisture not oil!
- Always use the pads of your fingers to wash your hair, if you use your finger-tips this will rough up the cuticle making hair more prone to breakage.
- Check your hairdryer settings - never blast with the hottest setting, choose a medium setting then set your style with a blast of cold air.
- Don't over-brush - twice a day is fine and always use a natural bristle brush as this distributes the oil better and stops snagging.
- As with above use a wide toothed comb for combing through damp hair - or a Tangle Teazer.
- Feed your hair in a diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as flaxseed, iron & vitamin B12 think green leafy vegetables and protein such as nuts.
- Look out for changes in your hair. If it's falling out this could be a deficiency in zinc and selenium - stock up on Brazil nuts!
- B vitamins contain folic acid and biotin, which help transport carbon dioxide to the blood, thus increasing cell turnover and could therefore help with hair health.
- Hormones create havoc with your hair condition so make sure if you are taking any hormone contraception or replacements you keep an eye out for changes.
- Always use a heat protective spray before running through straightening irons or other heated appliances. Make sure it's specifically targeted for use with heat as some oils mixed with heat equals fried and frazzled!
- For extra shine when blow-drying use the nozzle attachment as this distributes the air flow to flatten the hair structure. Make sure you point the nozzle down!
- Always hold the hairdryer about 5 centimetres away from the hair to avoid burning!
- If you want to colour your dry hair, always see a hairdresser as you don't want to over-lap any bleached areas - if you do, expect breakage.
- If you enjoy swimming, put a pre-conditioner/oil on your hair and then wrap it up in a swim hat. This gives a bit more protection against the damaging chemicals found in chlorine.
I also went on the radio recently to chat about dehydrated hair and live show case some great products! To see the link go here m.facebook.com/groups/8484080…
Here's some of my picks.
Mane N Tail £6.99 Shampoo £6.99 Conditioner www.boots.com
Having used this for years when it was originally launched as a human hair product I can safely say that it has remained a firm favourite. I had read many moons ago that Jennifer Aniston was a fan (when she was on Friends), but at that time it was only available across the pond. Luckily we can now get our mitts on it and you can see for yourself what all the hype was about. It was developed for show horses using a special protein formula used to enrich manes and tail hence the name! I like it as it smells incredible and leaves my fine hair full of body however, I haven't tested this particular colour formula just the original!
Christophe Robin Shampooing Purifiant Shampoo £28 www.christophe-robin.com
I colour my hair every 6-8 weeks with a home dye and I do a lot of swimming, and so I often feel my hair is in need of a really deep cleanse. This shampoo did the job just as I had hoped (well it is £28), and left it feeling in better condition than it had done in ages. The range is focussed on scalp health in particularly flakey dandruff caused by a dry scalp and sticky dandruff due to oilier scalps. This particular product is ideal for an oilier scalp but through chemicals and sun etc has become drier at the ends. It contains Jujube Bark Extract (a natural alternative for Zinc Pyrithione), known for its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties as well as being self-regulating and able to control excess sebum (oil). The all natural ingredients are kind for even the most sensitive of scalps and is ideal with anyone who suffers from itchiness or dermatitis. Cherry Blossom Extract is also added for it's moisturising properties.
On the radio chat above you can hear me talking about the salt scrub, which I've been testing. Stupidly I didn't take a picture and I've used it all up now - but it's absolutely brilliant! The salt textured shampoo is like an exfoliator for the scalp, ridding of dry flakey dandruff and any chemicals left from dye or products. Check it out on my radio chat!
Leonor Greyl l'Huile De Leonor Greyl £28.80 www.selfridges.com
Another product I bought many years ago and have used on a regular basis is this pre-conditioning oil. It was one of the first of its kind on the market to focus on conditioning the hair before shampoo. I loved its ease of use as I simply massage into my hair and leave it in for as long as I wish before I shower to go out. It's a solidified oil so needs warming in a sink first and you only need a small amount to cover the hair. Often I will apply a few drops before I go to sleep for a really deep condition or sometimes I will place the bottle in the bath and then slather it on whilst I'm in the bath before shampooing under the shower! It's excellent for dry, dehydrated and brittle hair especially if you have been or are on holiday. It is even waterproof so will stay on your hair and protect it during swimming. The magic ingredients include oils of coconut, sesame, jojoba, sunflower seed and hazel seed!
Aquis Hair Towel £30 www.aquishair.co.uk
This ingenious towel gives perfect a gentle solution to drying hair as hair is at its weakest when wet. The unique absorbent fabric wicks away water without the need to rub the hair as this in turn can create split and fragile ends. It's a great towel to put in your gym bag or take on holiday however, I use mine every day as it cuts down on the drying time for a busy mum!
KMS California Moist Repair prices from £13.70 www.lookfantastic.com
Again another product I was recommended many years ago by my hairdresser was the KMS range. Formulated for salon use and as such use only salon quality ingredients, the results have ensured that it's stayed a strong contender on the high end market. I love this range as it's not overtly expensive and really does give my hair that much needed drink it needs. The products smell amazing and leave my fine hair feeling smooth but not weighed down, which other products can do. It's good for frizzy hair types and those that have been abused by heated appliances. A little note worth mentioning - a small internet search revealed I'm not alone in loving this brand - the reviews from customers are amazing!
Sachajuan Hair After The Sun £20 www.groomingclinic.com
This product is what an after-sun does for the body but for the hair. The reason why I picked this one out of the many I tested was I liked the fact it can be left on or rinsed out. Often being so busy I, like many others just want to apply a product without the hassle of having to rinse it out, knowing that our hair is being conditioned and treated whilst we get on with our day. This especially is perfect for holidays as it treats sun-damaged hair with a cocktail of potent 'silk technology' that ensures every strand is conditioned.
Sukin Protein Hair Treatment £10.15 www.feelunique.com
A conditioning mask that is full of ingredients to help calm and soothe the scalp, and repair and strengthen weak fragile hair. Aloe Vera calms and soothes whilst hydrolyzed wheat protein helps nourish and strengthen the hair shaft. The all natural product is free from harsh chemicals and is 100% vegan. It's ideal for those that have suffered any hair trauma or loss as it's so gentle on the scalp. My only little gripe is the pot isn't that big so for very long hair you may only get a couple of applications. However, it smells amazing and left my hair feeling nourished.
Phil Smith Hello Moisture Intensive Conditioning Treatment £3.50 www.sainsburys.com
I wanted to test a budget brand as I've tended to steer away from them in the past on the advice of hairdressers. However, this range contains Shea Butter known for its enriching properties and so I put it to the test. I was sent the shampoo and conditioner as well and have to say that I did really like them both - however, I'm not a huge fan of chemicals in shampoos purely as my own hair is so fragile from testing so many heat appliances etc. So I probably wouldn't continue to use them on a long term basis however, the Intensive Conditioning Treatment I would. I loved the rich consistency of the mask and it made my hair look so glossy afterwards. I left it on for the full 15 minutes and it really gave some shine and oomph back to my flat, dull hair. So for a budget brand its a definite thumbs up from me.
Umberto Giannini Over Indulge Nourishing Hair Mask £8.50 www.umbertogiannini.com
3 minutes is all it takes for super shiny and soft hair thanks to this little wonder product from Mr Giannini. I've been testing some of the products given to me by the wonderful PR and have to say I'm impressed with all of them however, this one fits into this feature best. Firstly let me say it's always the little extras that make a product stand out, and this one contains a shower cap to help retain head so the mask can really penetrate into the hair shaft. This makes it a doodle to use in the shower as I washed my hair, quickly soaked up some excess water (with my Aquis towel) and then applied the mask. Whilst it was working I washed the rest of my body, shaved armpits etc and then rinsed it off - this eliminated the need to jump in and out of the shower as I do with other products (so frustrating). The treatment left my hair silky soft and all those wispy, frizzy ends were banished.
Okay putting in an update here - my daughter washed her hair last night and used this on her very long thick, dry hair and it has been transformed - all my 13 year old kept saying this morning was 'mum feel my hair it's amazing'! To which my 8 year old added - 'it's really soft Phoebe'.