The truth about your hair

Rhonda Riche rounds up all you need to know to make your mane gorgeous

The Truth About Your Hair
Rhonda Riche rounds up all you need to know to make your mane gorgeous

Stylish women don’t have highlights
When infamous streakers such as Christina Aguilera and Carmen Electra are opting for one tasteful hair shade, change is in the air. “We’re moving away from big bands of bleached [hair] and toward more flattering, multidimensional full-head colour with lots of shine,” say Nicole Dupuis, technical director of the L’Oréal Group. Think of full-on blondes and beautiful brunettes such as Rachel McAdams and Eva Longoria.

2. Coloured hair needs extra care
No matter how gentle a hair colour process claims to be, its job is to alter, and potentially sensitize, your hair. If you don’t apply it correctly, or if you try to go too light by using bleach and overprocessing, you can wreck your locks. To keep your mane healthy-looking, Dupuis recommends using a dye that also conditions, such as Garnier Nutrisse Cream, $10. It has nourishing fruit oils that penetrate the hair at the same time as the colour and it contains extra conditioner to last for six weekly treatments.

3. You can survive on hairspray alone
It’s the perfect desert-island hair-care choice. Spritz a little on wet hair and use it as a setting lotion with rollers. Before blow-drying, apply a little to your ends to prevent flyaways or on the roots to create lift. And once you create a perfect style, freeze-frame it with another spritz. To avoid having your hair turn into a sticky mess, use a light touch and look for a touchable formula such as Tresemmé Tres Two Extra Hold Spray, 430 mL, $6.50.

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4. Fifty percent of us have dandruff
And luckily, we don’t have to treat it with the blue or stinky stuff from the ’70s. “The formulas have been upgraded,” says Cheri McMaster, principal scientist for P&G Beauty and Pantene Pro-V. In fact, Head & Shoulders, 420 mL, $7, is now creamy white and available in a variety of delish scents and formulations to target your hair’s needs. Unlike dandruff shampoos of yore, these new gentler formulas won’t strip away moisture and colour. Once you notice flakes on your black jacket, give your scalp help. Use dandruff shampoo every time you wash your hair until the flakes are gone, then switch to using it once a week to keep them at bay.

5. Hair can survive a chemical curl
But don’t try the kind your mama gave you. “The worst thing about old perms was that they grew out, leaving you with flat roots and curly ends,” says John Donato of Donato Salon + Spa in Toronto and Mississauga, Ont. “Today, it’s all about sexy texture, not about making a curl statement.” Donato recommends a texturizing treatment called ISO Nexture. Like semipermanent hair colour, it washes out in 20 shampoos and sidesteps nightmare frizz and flat roots. For approximately the same price as a texture service, normal-to-fine-haired gals can relish waves without making a commitment.

6. A good hair dryer will change your life
There’s serious buzz over the T3 Tourmaline Featherweight Ceramic Ionic Hairdryer (at low heat, it dried our mid-length hair in less than six minutes). It creates negative ions to balance the hair’s positive charge, breaking up water molecules for faster evaporation, translating to a quicker blow-dry, less heat on your hair and less damage. “This [negative] charge also makes the cuticle lie flatter and leaves hair looking shinier,” says Donato. Weighing in at a mere 13 ounces, this dryer won’t cause your arm to ache after every session. At $250, the T3 is a big investment, so ask your stylist how to make the most of it.

7. Grey hair can look glam
“Call it experienced hair,” says Dupuis. Since grey hair tends to be coarse and dry, Dupuis says that conditioning is key for control and shine. Try Kérastase Resistance Age Recharge, 150 mL, $48. And remember to ask your stylist for a haircut that adds body and bounce so your hair will look as youthful as you feel. If you’ve only got a few silver strands, opt for subtle highlights in the areas where you have the most grey to give your hair a less steely look.

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8. Hair ages, too
By the time your hair reaches your shoulders, the ends are approximately two years old. That’s two years of washing, drying, brushing, combing, styling and processing. And as we get older, our follicles produce less melanin and protein, leaving hair duller and thinner. Considering all the antiaging creams we use to keep our skin looking young, it makes sense to give our tresses extra help to fight the ravages of time. Try PureOlogy NanoWorks Shampoo, 300 mL, and PureOlogy NanoWorks Condition, 250 mL, $64 each, with antioxidant mushroom proteins and UVA/UVB protection.

9. It’s smarter to let your curls win
If you were born with waves and ringlets, rejoice and take a break from potentially harmful and costly relaxers and flatirons. To keep it effortless, choose a shoulder-length cut so you can still pull it back in a pinch. To keep curls manageable, John Frieda Frizz-Ease has introduced Curl Around Style-Enhancing Shampoo, 295 mL, and Curl Around Style-Enhancing Conditioner, 295 mL, $10 each. The shampoo contains silicone to define natural curl patterns, while the conditioner aims to fight frizz by locking in moisture. Let your hair air-dry and use your fingers, rather than a brush, to further minimize poufy locks.

10. Unhealthy hair is your own fault
Appliances and chemicals alone don’t cause split ends and breaks; people do. “Women don’t realize they’re holding 1,800-watt appliances too close. Or that if they use heat on damp hair, they are actually making the water inside boil,” says McMaster. If your hair is breaking, always use the diffuser on your dryer, flatiron only when your hair is dry and don’t dye your hair 10 shades lighter than its natural colour. If the damage is already done, try Pantene Pro-V Restoratives Breakage Defense Shampoo, 250 mL, and Pantene Pro-V Restoratives Breakage Defense Conditioner, 250 mL, $10 each, to help reconstruct tresses and smooth any frizzies caused by bad breakups.

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