There are two types of in-salon hair services. The ones that you get fobbed off with because your hairstylist is running late and they need to buy time. Awkward receptionist: “Your hairdresser wants you to have this ‘revolutionary’ hydrating masque. It takes just 15 minutes and your hair will be sooo silky soft.”
When you hear that, remember this: your hairdresser is running late and even though you may as well try it, there’s a good chance you’ll see no real difference post blow-dry.
Then there’s the other type, the one that will result in a dramatic improvement. For me, it’s my permanent blow-dry, which smooths out my root to tip kinky, fuzz-ball hair. Long-standing readers will know about this as I and my fellow columnist India Knight both rave about the frizz-busting process. We have very different hair and yet we both book in religiously every three to four months. It’s not quick, but heavens, it’s worth it.
My go-to is a man named Amir Delijani at Hershesons. I sit back for about two hours while he paints a solution onto wet hair, dries it with a hairdryer, then locks the formula in with straighteners. It’s poker straight when I leave that day, but after the first wash, it turns into manageable, loose waves — and the fact that it can relax my hairline flyaways appears to be some sort of mane magic. Remember, for upkeep you need sulphate-free shampoo. OGX has a great affordable option: Renewing + Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo (£7; superdrug.com).
Next is Olaplex (from £35; spacenk.com), which takes up to an hour and is designed to restore damaged, broken hair. If you’ve overdone it with the bleach or too much straightening, then this is for you. There are three steps: a concentrate that fights damage and a cream that revives and rebuilds. The third step is a take-home version of the cream (No 3 Hair Perfector, £26; cultbeauty.com) to use between appointments.
If it’s shine and softness you need, then I recommend Kérastase’s brand-new K Water service, which starts at £10. This is one of the few gloss washes worth taking if said awkward receptionist is stalling. The tinsy amino acids and proteins (they’re 10 times smaller than those found in your usual haircare) smooth the cracks, polish the surface and leave hair exceptionally glossy. It has a light consistency, and even my friends with the finest hair have loved the results.
Finally, if you’re in the market for extensions, the experts say the tape extension method (available nationwide) is the best in the business. You can use them for body and/or length — and they last for six weeks. Hairdressers like Joshua Altback use them for thinning hair and post-partum hair loss. “You can apply just three on each side and people are amazed at the transformation,” he says (joshuaaltback.co.uk).
Get yourself a good shower cap, such as the Shhhowercap (£35; net-a-porter.com), for those first few days when you shouldn’t get your hair wet, and when it comes to brushing, you will need something that won’t damage, such as the So Eco Biodegradable Detangling Brush (£9; soinvogue.com). Indeed, these are the treatments that will change your hair life.
Sarah’s secrets: Three new brands to watch
USP It’s been dubbed an ‘aphrodisiac for afro hair’.
Try Hydration Wash (£20; cultbeauty.co.uk). Deeply nourishes without harsh chemicals.
● We Are Paradoxx
USP It uses recycled aluminium instead of plastic bottles.
Try Hangover Hair Elixir (£30; weareparadox.com). Softens and rehydrates strung-out hair.
USP It wants you to join the anti-shampoo movement.
Try New Wash (£44; hairstory.com). Is said to reboot the scalp and hair in just one step.
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