My hair lost its virgin status in 2014. It was summer, and I wanted that blonde dip-dye look that people had only just been given the mysterious and French-sounding name ‘ombre’. Everything about it felt chic and grown-up, which is what I definitely wasn’t, living with five other girls in a townhouse in Lenton, Nottingham, where denim hotpants and navel-grazing halter-necks were the university equivalent of ‘jeans and a nice top’. It took two trips to the hairdressers to come away with blonde balayage after round one had been barely visible. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that my never-been-kissed-by-dye hair didn’t want to take the colour first time around. To think how pure and silky soft it must have been then that even hair dye wouldn’t stick… those were the days.
Since, my hair has weathered years of dying dark brown: at first in the salon, later on in the bathroom with a box of L’Oreal Casting Creme Gloss (the Cheryl Cole colour, might I add). This transition from professional job to propped-over-the-bathtub regime coincided with my moving out of my family home and paying rent: aka, getting a major financial reality check. On top of all this chemical carnage, I’ve straightened and curled my already curly (therefore naturally dry) hair with countless ghd tools, diving in with reckless abandon and not giving one thought to heat protectant. I can feel the collective shudder of any hairdressers who might ever read this.
Now, it’s no surprise that my hair isn’t happy. Looking in the mirror and seeing split ends, broken flyaways and the odd wiry grey (yep, let’s chat about THAT another time) I realise that my foolish youth is over. It’s time to try and undo the hair damage I’ve inflicted or else it’ll probably always look a little bit shit. And that’s not something anybody wants, really.
My Hair Routine
The sad but true fact is that spending more on hair products is a must when it comes to repairing hair damage. Switching to Kérastase hair products – along with a few other goodies – has made such a drastic difference to my hair already that I honestly don’t think I can ever go back. Here’s my new hair routine and my very amateur but hopefully somewhat useful opinions on the products used.
Step 1: Shampoo and Condition
The shampooing and conditioning phase of your haircare routine is just as, if not more, important as the treatments you put on after washing. Use the wrong shampoo and you could strip your hair of its natural nourishing oils and even risk stripping your expensive colour too (I’ve been told by my hairdresser that Head & Shoulders and Tressemme are particularly bad for this, fyi!). Use the wrong conditioner and you could coat your hair in silicones that fake that silky soft feeling while doing nothing beneficial for your hair. And we’d rather have the real deal, obviously. I tend to flit between shampoos as I remember being warned that your hair can get used to formulas and stop reaping the benefits (if that’s just an old wives tale, I stand corrected!) but I’ve really been enjoying conditioning with the Kérastase Nutritive range. Specifically for dry and damaged hair, the collection has a whole host of products for different hair types – I’ve personally been loving the Nutritive Masquintense for thick hair. Yes, it’s technically a mask, but given the state of my hair and the fact that I’ve lowered my hair washes, it works as a great conditioner for me. The effects are honestly instant, and I just know that once my hair is back on track I’ll continue to slot this into my routine now and then for an extra boost of nourishment.
Step 2: In-Shower Treatment
After shampooing and conditioning, I’ve been using a hair treatment that works to improve the elasticity and strength of your hair – much like the iconic Philip Kingsley Elasticiser – which I’ve nabbed from Beauty Pie as part of my membership. I didn’t really know what to expect from the Super Healthy Hair Elastic-Repair Treatment, but after a few uses I’m definitely noticing a difference in breakage and the feel of my hair. And seeing as this cost me less than £5, I’m very happy that I’ve added the extra step into my hair washing routine!
Step 3: Hair Serum
Here comes the priciest but most potent product in my quest to repair my damaged hair: the Kérastase Initialiste Advanced Scalp and Hair Concentrate. If I was only allowed to keep one product from my haircare line-up it would absolutely be this. A small amount through the ends of my hair leaves it feeling so soft and shining – actually shining! – again. It retails at nearly £50 which is obviously STEEP, but it’s always on offer on websites like Feelunique and Lookfantastic and you really don’t need much of it to make a difference.
Step 4: Heat Protectant
I’m sure many people will tell me that where I’ve gone wrong with hair damage is not using a heat protectant. Well, that’s changed now thanks to Beauty Pie’s Super Healthy Hair Blowdry Spray, which contains coconut water and proteins to hydrate, strengthen and protect the hair ahead of heat styling. Needless to say, I’ll dutifully be spritzing this when hairdryers and hot tools are in the vicinity…
Step 5: Drying
I know that heat does more harm than good for your hair no matter what, so while we’ve been locked down and enjoying the sunshine, I’ve let my hair dry naturally at every opportunity. It leaves me looking a little frizzy given my wavy hair texture, but that doesn’t bother me one bit when I’ve barely been out. As we go into autumn, I’m making sure to keep that heat setting low when I do have to whip out the hairdryer, and finishing with a blast of the cool-shot setting to seal the hair cuticle.
Step 6: Tying
I never even considered the damage that my hair tie might be doing to my hair until I discovered pure silk scrunchies. Mulberry silk is so gentle against the hair and doesn’t leave harsh kinks when you take your ponytail down, whereas the cheap black elastics I’d always turned to were actually adding to my breakage woes and leaving tight kinks and indentations behind. Needless to say, I’m fully converted to silk now.
If you have any recommendations to help me on my quest to healthy, split-end-free, glossy hair, please let me know!