Beauty Review: Hair

29 May

The mane attraction.

There are three fundamental  elements to your look: 1. Make-up, 2. Clothes and 3. Hair. Style is all about successfully balancing these three elements.

1. We have to take each item of make-up step-by-step. The world of make-up and beauty is extremely complex so each product type will have their own blog post.

2. Fashion is ever-changing so clothing  is also extremely complicated. We’ll take each component within the fashion arena and un-pick it by looking at style choices for specific cases (occasions, body types, age, seasons), a review of fashion brands, and a selection of the best stylish pieces around.

3. However, hair is relatively simple. So we’ll aim to conquer this element in just one post therefore, by the end of this reading you’ll know all of the secrets to achieving the perfect mane.

Shampoo

Shampoo is used for the removal of oils, dirt, skin particles, dandruff, environmental pollutants and other contaminant particles that gradually build up in hair. It’s the first and most crucial part of your hair-care routine so make sure you get it right.

You should aim to wash your hair every other day. The longer, thicker, curlier, and more processed your hair, the longer it can go between washes. Do not wash it every day as this wills strip the hair of its natural oils. Because of this lack of oils, your scalp will respond by oil over-production, meaning that you then really do have to wash it every day.

You don’t need loads either. A quarter-size blob of shampoo is usually enough to for a good hair wash. When shampooing  hair never use hot water, always luke warm. Hot water can strip the protective oils that act as a natural conditioner, and your hair’s natural shine can disappear.

Consumer Reports tested products on 1,700 hair samples and found that pricy shampoos were no better than cheaper ones. So, what should you buy? Choose shampoos and conditioners designed for your hair type. I have thick, dry, long, dark, dandruff prone hair. My favorite shampoos that I’ve tried are:

1. Leo Bancroft – Gentle Care. Sulphate free shampoos don’t contain chemicals which damage your hair and therefore they don’t lather up as much as the shampoos which are brimming with harsh formulas but they do a much better job of providing you with clean, soft and healthy hair. You can grab this bottle for £5.00 and it’s just as good as the expensive ones.

2.  Neutrogena – T/Gel. Dandruff is a minor skin disorder in the scalp.  T/Gel is the best one I have found which treats and relieves itchy, flaky scalps while being gentle and pleasant to use, leaving hair shiny,manageable, clean and beautiful. Prices start from £4.89. Do not use head and shoulders. Ever. It’s so abrasive and harsh that it completely strips your hair from colour, nutrition and essential oils.

3. Lush – Rehab. Lush products are completely natural, hand-made using fresh and organic ingredients using no gimmicks in their packaging or marketing. Just simply, pure good-stuff using only vegetarian ingredients and telling you exactly when and where they were made. We’re always told chemicals are bad for our body, so we steer clear from smarties and head for the lettuce, it shouldn’t be different for our hair. Move away from the long words of L’oreal and head to Rehab from £5.10.

For those in-between days use dry shampoos (an essential) that contain cornstarch and/or silica to absorb sweat and oil. Apply to the under layers of your hair, your hairline, and the roots. Massage it in like you would a normal shampoo, then brush through, and voilà! Washed hair without washing. It can also be used to volumise your bouffant and there’s no damaging side-effects, so go on, spray away!

Conditioner

The use of shampoo opens the hair cuticle. What the conditioner does is close it over again so it stays hydrated and nourished; it coats strands with separate ingredients to support, nourish and protect. It’s best to go for the same brand as you used for shampooing, so if there’s a BOGOF offer go for a shampoo and a matching conditioner every time. I always condition my hair without fail, if you’ve got time to shampoo, you’ve got time to condition, your hair with thank you for it.

Look for conditioners with protein. They sink into the hair shaft and repair split ends. The fix only lasts until the next shampoo, so you’ll need to use them regularly.

Don’t go too heavy with conditioners they will leave hair limp. Just apply a 50p sized amount from the ears to the ends. I normally work it through the ends of my hair, comb, and leave it in for about 2 minutes while I see to my other bath duties (shaving legs, scrubbing toes, that sort of thing, zzzzzzzz)

Leave-in conditioner is also a must-have for me. My  favorite ones:

1. Aussie – Miracle Hair Insurance.  At £4.49 this spray is one of the best around. Australian Jojoba Seed Oil is a key ingredient in this vitamin-enriched leave-in conditioner that strengthens and detangles the hair. Just spray through damp hair before blow drying and your hair will feel beautiful for longer. There’s no sticky residue, hair feels light, and manageable.

2. Vitapointe. I found this little gem while I was waiting for my prescription in Boots. I always think if a product has stood the test of time it must work. I’ve not heard of Vitapointe, there’s no adverts or viral marketing campaigns, and they’re clearly not bothered on making it stand out on the shelves to grab new buyers. For me, that intrigues me even more, they must just rely on knowing that their product works, they don’t need any fancy graphics. At £2.09 I gave it a go and I’m pleased I did, my theory was right. It works like a dream. Most leave-in conditioners have to be applied when wet/damp but this is used for dry hair. Work a pea-sized amount of the cream into dry hair and you get beautiful, revitalised and weightless hair within seconds.

3.  Bed Head – Ego Boost Split End Mender. This is a light-weight watery serum that is non-sticky and makes your hair soft and tangle-free. I’ve had this product for months and use it pretty much every day as it can be used on either wet or dry hair. You only need a little pea-sized amount, so you really get a lot for your money at £10.50. Apply on the ends to keep split-ends at bay and to maintain a healthy and strong mane. It’s not greasy at all and is able to mange frizz while improving condition on a long-term basis.

Treatment 

Once a week treatments or hair masks are also perfect for bringing your locks back to life and to make your hair feel soft, look shiny, and be healthy. Treatments can come in a variety of types (sprays, creams, serums..), to be used in a variety of ways (before shampoo, after shampoo, on dry hair, overnight..) Make sure you read and follow the instructions to the T. I always aim to have one pamper day a week, when I can have a nice soak in the bath, and get all my beauty bits done without any hassle. Home alone for the night? Get into your jammies, put a hair mask onto your hair, eat ice-cream, watch a Rom-Com, and enjoy!** Ahh no annoying, stinking boys, fabulous!

My favorite treatments are:

1. Umberto Giannini – Beauty Secrets Moisture Mask, £5.61. This is easy to use and lasts for ages. Scoop a handful out and apply all through the hair. This intensive, rich treatment deeply nourishes and strengthens hair, transforming it from feeling dry and flimsy to feather-light, strong and silky soft. You’ll notice the difference after just one use and your dry/damaged hair will be a thing of the past. Hello luscious locks.

https://i0.wp.com/images-its.chemistdirect.co.uk/LOreal-Hair-Expertise-EverStrong-Nourishing-Intense-Mask-186365.jpg 2. L’Oreal Hair Expertise  – EverStrong Nourishing Intense Mask, £6.99. This is a new range by L’Oreal using gentle ingredients specially designed for different hair needs. The EverStrong range is for fragile and brittle hair, enriched with botanical rosemary and juniper oils.  The mask is free from harsh sulfates and works to strengthen hair, helping it become more resistant to breakage. The smell is absolutely gorgeous and improves hair condition almost instantly.

3.Ojon – Damage Reverse Restorative Hair Treatment Plus, from £16.00. Yeah, okay so this is a lot more expensive than the other two but oh my, it’s heavenly! This has been reformulated with a new lighter scent and fortified with Rouge Oleifera, as well as nature’s golden elixir, Ojon oil. After just one use, it restores vibrant health to even the most deeply damaged hair. It also helps increase hair’s strength against breakage, so hair is soft, silky, and manageable with loads of volume and shine without being greasy or heavy. You’re getting a special product here so forget about the price tag.

You can also go for homemade options such as:

1. Coconut Oil – Apply a handful of coconut oil to your hair, concentrating on the tips. With your fingertips (never your nails) massage the scalp for about five minutes; this will stimulate the blood vessels there making the production of its natural oil more effective. gather and clip hair at the crown, and leave oil on for 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

2. Gelatin – Dissolve a packet of gelatin  in a cup of hot water. Massage the gel-like liquid through hair and leave in for about 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. Alternatively, stir 1 tablespoon of gelatin powder into 1/2 cup of cool water until mixed. Add 1/2 cup warm/hot water, 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of honey to create a thicker mixture. Pour into hair and massage through hair and scalp. Leave on for at least 5 minutes and rinse with hot water. Shampoo as normal.

3.Eggs – Packed with vitamins A, E and D that nourish hair, while the fatty acids add moisture and improve condition. Whip up a couple of eggs along with their yolks with two tablespoons of water and massage them into your dry tresses. Wrap some cling film round your hair, leave it on for 15 minutes and rinse out with cool water. Be careful your shower water isn’t hot so that you end up cooking some scrambled egg in you hair. That’s not the aim here.

Other remedies that I recommend include VO5 Moisture Soak Hot Oil Treatment as well as the increasingly popular Argon/Maroocon oil.  This is a rich emollient that adds moisture to your hair, with hydrating vitamins A and E. Simply apply it after you shower and before you blow-dry (the oil doubles as a heat protectant). It leaves hair glossy and silky to touch. You can also get these in treatment forms such as Lee Stafford’s Argan Oil Deep Nourishing Treatment.

Serums are also great to tame hair – Frizz Ease by John Freda, £6.29, is one of the best ones going.  You can also get this as a treatment form too – John Frieda Frizz – Ease Overnight Serum, £6.99, is easy to use and allows you to wake up frizz-free. Miracle.

frizz
I am also currently using Umberto Giannini Frizzi 3 Day Frizz Free Hair, £5.99. This also helps to tame hair away from frizz, especially on those warm summer evenings when your hair refuses to enjoy the sunshine but instead protest against the humidity by flinging up hair stands like you have thousands of little antennas implanted on your head. This little beauty acts like an invisible shower cap to repel moisture and humidity.

 

Styling

olsen

So, it’s a fact. Women do not wake up looking like Rachel from Friends (massive hair envy). Even Jennifer Aniston doesn’t wake up looking like Rachel from Friends, it takes a f*cking long time to look good. You can have the cleanest, most nourished, healthiest hair going, but if you don’t bother styling it then essentially, it means nothing. You’ve put all that effort into preparation, now the finishing, yet fundamental, step is just in the styling. It isn’t as hard as many think, you don’t have to be Nicky Clarke to get your hair ready for the day ahead, you just need a few good tools and you’re set.

Straighteners – The easiest way to style your hair is to straighten it. Section your hair by working from the under-layers first. Clip the top half of your hair and divide the bottom half into segments that are 1-2 inches wide and only about 1/2 inch thick and straighten bit by bit. Then repeat the process with the upper layer of your hair. The best straighteners by far are GHD’s – a great investment, and an essential. Whatever you do don’t use an actual iron!***Also, remember to clean your straighteners when cool, and never, ever use on wet hair!

Curling tongs – You can also use GHD’s as curling tongs by clamping a small segment of hair right at the root, twisting the iron, and then pulling it down the length of the hair. Alternatively, invest in a curling tong if you aim to create this look regularly. The size of the curling tong barrel will determine how much curl or volume you want. The smaller the barrel, the tighter the curl, while larger barrels will give you more wave or volume. You want to choose a size according to length of your hair and the desired result.

When you style your hair with the above always properly prep your hair by making sure you use a heat protection spray. In order to prevent hair damage and breaking, it is crucial to apply some sort of heat protecting hair care product like a spray, serum, mousse or cream before subjecting your strands to high temperatures. There are loads available to choose from and (I think) they pretty much all work in the same way.

Rollers – To get a looser curl and to achieve big Hollywood hair, all you need is old school hair rollers. Their easier to use than curling tongs, and you get a longer lasting curl with more volume and less damage. If you’re using hot rollers, you should take them down after they are completely cooled. Velcro rollers should be first hit with the heat of a blow dryer then let to cool – usually about 15 minutes. Wet set should be taken down when the hair is completely dry. I normally wash hair and pop some rollers in before bed and then I wake up looking like Sofia Vergara**** without any effort required.

Ponytails and Buns – For glamorous up-dos create a sleek pony tail by flipping your head over, spritzing hairspray onto your comb and gather hair up by brushing through from your hairline to the base of the ponytail ensuring there’s no lumps or bumps, and secure with a hair band. Use a hair doughnut or a sock to create a gorgeous vintage looking bun and pin into place by using hair grips/bobby pins to secure. However, don’t secure up-dos too tight as this causes breakage and damages the roots.

Head bands, fascinators, clips, brooches, tikkas, Alice bands, claw grips, etc… There are endless amounts of hair accessory options to keep your style perfectly in place and offer a great and easy way to add some glamour to your hair with an extra little touch of detail, and complement your overall look.

Tips

Some other advice for hair heaven:

* Get hair cut every 6-8 weeks

* Don’t just protect against heat styling products, protect against the heat from the sun too. Sun exposure can dry out hair, especially if it’s colour-treated. Use a light hair spray with SPF protection, or wear a hat when the sun is strongest.

* Avoid chlorine damage by rinsing your hair before and after swimming. If your hair is already saturated with water, it won’t absorb as much from the chemical-laden pool. Use a pH-balancing hair product to further protect your hair.

* Want to highlight your hair? In the summer, drizzle some lemon juice on your hair.

* After you’ve washed your hair, rinse with cold water. This helps to seal the cuticle, making it harder for moisture to enter the hair follicle, which can cause frizz.

* Make sure your hair is completely dry before bed. If you blow dry, use a heat protection spray and make sure it is already 80% dry before blow drying. Never go for the hottest temperate on your hair dryer (mid is good), use it no closer than 30 cm, dry your hair in a downwards motion to avoid frizz, and blitz with cold air to finish.

* Bloat dry, not roughly towel dry. Drying your hair roughly with a towel will damage the structure of each individual hair, producing frizz and breakage over time. Leave your hair loose after you shower and dry it in sections, holding the towel on both sides and pulling down vertically but gently.

* Too much brushing will snap off hairs. To keep from losing any more hair than normal, use a brush with ball-tipped bristles. And never brush wet hair, use a comb instead.

* Do you know how to use bobby pins correctly? Make sure the grooved side of the bobby pin is facing down, against the skin. The ribbing is designed to grip hair and lock it in place, and you will capture more hair with the pin in that position.

*And, for the love of Christ, don’t do this to your hair, there’s just no need:

Or this:

Or this:

And definitely not this:

** Yes this is a massive gender stereotype but if you don’t like doing this then sorry, but frankly we just can’t be friends

*** Indeed I have done this. Me and my sister used to wake up at 6am to iron each others hair before school. And yes, I did end up singeing half her hair off and severely burning her neck. Not advisable!

**** Not strictly true.

~x~

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4 Responses to “Beauty Review: Hair”

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