It’s nearly summer and your hair is sending you an SOS. Follow these professional tips for restoring healthy locks, says Elise Wilson.
So, you’ve received the distress signals: dull colour, brittle ends, frizz, and breakage. Was it the cold winter months that have been cruel to your once luscious locks or has your obsessive chemical treating or over-styling taken its toll? Either way, you can rest assured there is a way to treat your dry, damaged tresses quickly, with the help of the experts.
Fight the frizz
Summer is all rosé, carefree garden parties and picnics, and then your hair starts to turn against you. We’re talking frizz and otherwise unwanted volume that seems product-resistant and humidity-controlled. Unfortunately not all hair is created equal, and when it comes to frizz, some locks are harder to tame than others — curly hair, we’re looking at you.
“This is mainly because curly hair has a courser texture and more dehydration in its strands,” says Mathias Te Moananui, L’Oréal Hairdresser of the Year 2016. “Frizz is created when the cuticle layer is raised, allowing moisture to get in and swell the hair fibre. This is what leaves your hair looking dry and dull,” he says. Although humidity is the main culprit, Te Moananui says it could also be the result of a bad cut and damage from chemical processes, such as colouring or perming.
So, should certain cuts and styles be avoided? “When your hair is cut evenly all around without layers, it can sometimes create too much volume at the bottom, especially when it comes to curly, thick or coarse hair,” says Samantha Snow, from Auckland’s Snow Salon. “Think about trying a medium-to-long styled cut with layers,” she says. “These layers should start around your lip and gradually angle back.”
Beauty tip: No more towel-drying. A cotton towel can rough up the hair’s cuticle so it won’t lie flat, making it look frizzy. Swap to a microfibre fabric that absorbs more moisture.
The fix: When it comes to helping tame wayward, frizzy hair it’s not always clear if hairdryers are friend or foe. Te Moananui recommends leaving your locks to air-dry naturally wherever possible rather than blow-drying it. It might be quick and convenient, but he warns that when used every day, the heat of a dryer can suck the moisture out of hair. Air-drying takes minimal effort and leaves that much-needed moisture in the hair.
However, he understands that blow-drying can save vital minutes if you are in a rush in the morning. “For curlier hair, ensure you have a diffuser and you’re using a ceramic ionic blow-dryer,” he says. “These are designed to compress the cuticle which locks out external moisture.”
As a tip, keep your dryer on a cool setting when using a diffuser — too much heat is one of the easiest ways to allow humidity to wreak havoc on your hair. For straighter hair that is frizzy as a result of damage, Te Moananui recommends using the nozzle on the dryer and aiming the air downwards. Team this technique with a ceramic brush to help seal the cuticle. “Lastly, to really lock your style in place, use the cool shot on your blow-dryer to seal your ends and promote shine,” he adds.
When it comes to products, both stylists swear by oils. “Oils are designed to help retain moisture in the hair,” says Te Moananui. Look for ingredients such as almond, argan, avocado and grapeseed oils that are rich in antioxidants to nourish and enhance shine and tame flyaways.
“If it’s a quick fix you’re after, you can always fake it,” says Snow. “Humidity sprays contain ingredients to coat the hair fibre and block external moisture from getting in, and shine sprays give your hair extra gloss.”
TRY: 1. L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Crystal Gloss, $35. 2. Matrix Oil Wonders Egyptian Hibiscus Colour Caring Oil, $24. 3. Joico Moisture Co+ Wash Whipped Cleansing Conditioner, $34. 4. Remington Silk Ceramic Hairdryer, $150. 5. L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Liss Control+ Smoothing Serum, $35. 6. ghd Limited Edition Platinum Electric Pink Styler, $360.
Do you want longer, thicker, shinier and healthier hair? Of course you do. That’s why you’ve ditched your course bathroom towel, switched your cotton pillowcase for a silk one, and committed to using a deep nourishing treatment once a week. But how much effort have you put into improving the condition of your scalp? Great hair stems from a healthy scalp but it’s often overlooked. “The scalp is the garden that grows the hair, so you should feed and nurture it as often as you can to greatly improve its quality,” says Grant Bettjeman, Kérastase ambassador and owner of Bettjemans Salon in Auckland.
The fix: Getting a diagnosis on the state of your scalp can be a great start to transforming your hair. “Every time you’re in the salon having your colour or cut done is the perfect time for a scalp treatment,” says Bettjeman. “The Kérastase Fusio Dose In-Salon treatments [from $35] are great,” he says.
More than a massage: “A massage is important therapy for the whole body, especially your scalp,” says Bettjeman. Relaxation is important for basic wellbeing and Bettjeman says it also allows time for products to gently penetrate the area in need. “Massaging increases blood supply which is important to feed the hair bulb and this, in turn, allows rich, oxygenated blood to flow and promote plump, healthy hair.”
DIY saviours: Whether it’s dryness, dullness, damage or hair loss, there’s now a treatment to suit. “Kérastase Densifique [$160] is great for adding density and fullness to fine, thin hair,” says Bettjeman. “Applied to the scalp once a day for three months, it shortens the ‘dormant phase’, tricking the dormant hair follicle into growing another hair sooner than it might,” he says. Another of his favourites is Kérastase Initialiste, $70, an advanced scalp and hair concentrate that feeds the follicles a dose of vitamins. Other treatments that get our tick of approval include Dr. Hauschka Strengthening Hair Treatment, $53, and Kiehl’s Magic Elixir Hair Restructuring Concentrate, $70.
Super support: Adding a supplement to your diet with the right balance of vitamins can help you achieve maximum hair and skin vitality. Look for formulas specific for hair, skin and nails, such as Go Healthy Go Hair Skin Nails Beauty Support (50 capsules), $30, that have biotin, silica, vitamins B, C and E, and selenium.
TRY: 1. Kérastase Densifique Hair Density and Fullness Programme, $160. 2. Kérastase Initialiste Advanced Scalp and Hair Concentrate, $70. 3. Dr. Hauschka Strengthening Hair Treatment, $53. 4. Kiehl’s Magic Elixir Hair Restructuring Concentrate, $70. 5. Go Healthy Go Hair Skin Nails Beauty Support (50 capsules), $30.
Whether your hair is dry from chlorine, sun exposure, bleaching or just split ends, a deep conditioning treatment could be its saviour. “Doing an at-home treatment and always having an in-salon treatment with the change of each season can help you keep on top of dry, dull hair,” says Duncan Richards, Joico education manager. “Conditioning treatments are formulated to go right to the damaged areas of the hair cuticle,” he says. “They instantly fill in lost amino acids, restoring elasticity, strength and shine with a powerful combination of antioxidants.”
Beauty tip: Avoid using your fingernails when scrubbing your scalp – this aggressive technique can lead to scabbing or irritation. “Just use the pads of your fingers to rub in product,” says Bettjeman.
The fix: Did you know your hair gets bored with products? Well, not really, but it certainly gets too used to the same day-in, day-out products and treatments. “When choosing to treat dry locks, think protein and moisture,” says Snow. Protein can help strengthen the hair and moisture hydrates it. “It is important to not use too much of either. Excess protein can leave hair brittle, and too many moisturising products can weigh it down,” she says.
So how often can we intensely moisturise parched tresses without overloading them? To stay on top of your hair’s health, Snow suggests deep conditioning once or twice a week. “Your hair gets dried out by shampoo, straightening and blow-drying, so you have to add nutrition back into it,” she says.
TRY: 1. Living Proof No Frizz Leave-in Conditioner, $40. 2. Joico K-Pak Deep-Penetrating Reconstructor, $33. 3. Kérastase Nutritive Masque Magistral, $65. 4. De Lorenzo Intense Hair Moisturiser, $24. 5. Living Proof Timeless Pre-Shampoo Treatment, $30. 6. Joico IronClad Thermal Protectant Spray, $27.
When it comes to grey hair, the biggest challenge can be learning to tame and style it. “Our hair goes grey due to a loss in pigment which can be caused by genetics or age,” says Steve Cockle, owner of ASC salon in Auckland. The tone can be brightened by a purple shampoo, but many report their hair texture tends to be more wiry, dry and brittle. As we age, our strands naturally lose elasticity and strength, making them prone to breakage. “With a decrease in pigment cells, less melanin is produced, which means the hair gradually becomes more translucent, eventuating in a grey tone,” says Cockle. “It’s with this loss of melanin that our locks lose their softer texture.”
The fix: Grey hair requires a healthy dose of nourishment to stay soft and manageable, so this means overhauling the products in your stash to favour deep conditioners and lightweight, moisture-rich options. Look for rich, hydrating formulas made for colour-treated hair. “I recommend the Davines Love Smoothing range,” says Cockle. “They formulate their products with conditioning properties that further enhance and tame the condition of grey hair.”
If you want to dye grey hair without the potential chemical damage, Cockle recommends doing it in small doses so you don’t ruin the condition. “A good place to start is to tone some warmth into the grey,” he says. “If you’re originally fair-haired, it’s a good option to scatter blonde highlights through the grey so when they grow out, the greys blend in.” If you are dark-haired, he recommends using a permanent colour on the roots and, if need be, refreshing with a semi on the ends. “This means your hair is only getting one dose of the permanent colour on the area that needs it.”