Fed up with hair breaking but can’t bear to be without your signature style or colour? So were we...
With most of us addicted to changing up our hair colour, it begs the question of how to stop hair breaking once and for all.
When I started colouring my hair 10 years ago, colourists warned me that once I’d started, not only would I be unable to stop, but, as with all addictions, I’d need a bigger hit each time.
Cue frenzied visits to the hairdresser to say things like: ‘I just want it to look brighter – it does great things to my face,’ or ‘I feel like I look much younger when it’s white and I’ll have so much more fun.’ Basically: give me the bleach, I need my fix.
Which goes to show what I know, really – when my fiancé encouraged me to try backing off the balayage, I realised that my hair was breaking less frequently, had grown much more in six months than it had in six years and looked generally healthier. I was also pleasantly surprised to find the colour suited my freckly face.
If you can’t bring yourself to dial down the blonde, take comfort. James Galvin, Kerastase’s new hair ambassador, says: ‘You can still colour your hair but if you look after it with treatments and the right aftercare it’ll be OK.’
With that in mind, here are 11 ways to do just that.
SOS hair kit
When my hair is about to go into brittle-and-break mode I do three things: practice yogic breathing, find a salon stocking Kérastase, and book myself in for a Fusio-Dose Treatment, £20. The Vita Cimente Concentrate reconstructs the most sensitized parts of the hair and rebuilds the proteins.
At home, I stock my bathroom shelf with L’Oreal Professionnel Solar Sublime Shampoo, £11.49, and Solar Sublime Masque, £14.49. These products are my winning formula – my hair instantly becomes super soft (no crunch) and they halt the breakage.
A protein-rich diet = stronger hair
Make sure you’re getting enough protein – load your plate with eggs, fish and lean meat and snack on nuts. This is a fundamental nutrient in keeping hair healthy. Omega-3, Vitamin B, Zinc and Iron also have a significant impact on hair growth, thickness and shine. I dose myself up with Viviscal Hair Growth Supplements, £49.95, viviscal.co.uk – they have made a dramatic difference in thickening up my wispy ends.
Have a Vitamin C treatment
This is like a hair detox. At the midway point between colour appointments, check in to Daniel Galvin for a Detox Miracle Solution treatment, £17. It removes pollution and product build up deep within the cuticle before sealing in fortifying Vitamin C to lift the colour by 10% and leaves it with serious gloss. I would go every week if I had the time.
Go easy on the blow dry
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Use a heat protection mist like to fortify, then don’t blast the heat too close to the hair for too long (holding the hairdryer on the brush will fry the hair). The heat should skim the hair shaft. Never pull the hair hard when blow-drying or over dry a section. Lots of people suffer breakage on their fringes as they go over it again and again to make it perfectly straight. Once is enough – just blast it as powerfully as possible.
Use a silk pillowcase
If you wake up and find your hair particularly tangled you might want to swap your regular pillow for a silk version. This will prevent friction damage to the hair shaft. Invest in a Gingerlily Silk Pillowcase, £39.95, gingerlily.co.uk.
Say no to the back comb
If you are suffering from damaged hair you might see backcombing as a good method of disguise. But really this is only a short-term option that undoubtedly leads to further breakage. Instead use root lift or texturising sprays.
Ditch the shoulder bag
I used to carry around a bag rammed with magazines totally oblivious to the fact that every time I swung it over my shoulder I was ripping off the right side of my hair. Elementary though it may sound, this is one of my top beauty tips: switch to a tote with short handles, and don’t carry as much. Same goes for scarves – once I swapped my scratchy woollen number for a cashmere version everything became better and my hair stopped snapping at the back.
Use a natural brush
A ceramic or metal hairbrush is like using an iron on your hair. It gets hotter and hotter throughout the blowdry. Use a natural boar bristle brush like these by YS Park. They’re not cheap, but they are worth the investment as they last for years.
The two month trim
I know – I hear this all the time and ignore it, too, but if you want thicker ends you need to give them a bit of TLC which means a trim every two months. (OK, every three will do…).
Colour with Olaplex
Damage-free colour – you heard right. The Olaplex hair treatment first hit the headlines after Kim Kardashian used it to save her hair after bleaching it blonde last year. The treatment helps repair damaged disulphide bonds in the hair, which allow you a lot more flexibility when colouring your hair how you’d really like it without damage.
Available at Daniel Galvin, Paul Edmonds and Neville Hair and Beauty salons, if you are sticking to your usual colour either ask for not as harsh chemicals, or for the colour to be taken off the weakest parts of your hair first. Follow @Olaplex on Instagram and you’ll never be stuck for hair colour inspiration again.
The de-frizz trick
Hair is always frizzier on the top layers as it’s the natural way to fall so the best way to smooth a curl is by taking a small section of damp hair, twist it until it turns back on itself and leave it to rest until completely dry. This trick works wonders on curly hair too. James Galvin invented this nifty trick – watch the above video to see it in action.