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We’re all guilty of being less-than-kind to our locks but follow our pro tips and you can leapfrog into healthy hair territory again…
1. Get the snip
See that solid line between healthy hair and ends that have become transparent and straggly? That’s where you want to cut. If you don’t, hair can split up the shaft and break off even though the follicle is still in the growth phase.
‘For fine hair, keep the back one length – only layer through the front to create shape,’ says A-list favourite, stylist Larry King. ‘Curly and Afro hair should be cut dry and blunt to keep the curl’s definition.’
2. Break up with tongs and straighteners (for now)
Too much strong, dry heat can weaken the hair shaft. When going cold turkey for a few weeks, try a straightening conditioner like Toni & Guy Smooth Definition Conditioner, as it contains a high level of Babassu oil to weigh fuzzy hair down.
Toni & Guy Smooth Definition Conditioner, £7.19, Boots
Statement hair clips will also coax unruly strands into submission – or distract attention away from them!
Versace Gold and Silver-Tone Hair Slide, £142, Net-A-Porter
3. Add in a 10-minute pre-wash treatment
Typically these are oils, conditioners or masks, applied to wet hair before cleansing, which help to restore moisture and protect against frayed ends caused by massaging in shampoo.
Sisley Pre-Shampoo Purifying Mask with White Clay, £71, Space NK
4.Only blow-dry on a low setting
It may sound counter intuitive but don’t leave hair to dry naturally – tresses are weak when wet. ‘Blow-dry sections on a low heat and speed setting then give them a blast of cool air at the end to ensure the hair’s internal bonds are remade and the style is sealed in place,’ says Adam Reed, ghd’s Global Ambassador.
5. Try braiding
‘Protective styling gives Afro hair an opportunity to rest and transition from chemical treatments,’ says natural hair specialist Charlotte Mensah.
‘My favourite is box braids, created by attaching synthetic hair to your own, as you can wear them loose or throw them back into a ponytail. Then you are free to massage a few drops of Manketti Hair Oil into your scalp for healthy hair growth.’
Charlotte Mensah Manketti Hair Oil, £48, Space NK
6. Start bonding
It can be hard to squeeze in extra hair maintenance. So thankfully bonding treatments, designed to rebuild the disulphide bonds that make up hair from within, now come in the form of a leave-in styling cream to tame frizz and flyaways. So even coloured hair can be healthy hair.
Olaplex No.6 Bond Smoother, £26, Space NK
7. Boost your protein intake
‘It ensures hair remains strong and in its anagen, or growth, phase for as long as possible,’ says supremo hairstylist Luke Hersheson. ‘Animal proteins like eggs and fish are good or, if you’re veggie, add plenty of beans, lentils and pulses.’
8. Snack on sunflower seeds
They’re Hersheson’s hair hero by virtue of containing vitamin E, omega 6, biotin, potassium, zinc – basically everything healthy hair needs. ‘Hair cells are the second fastest-growing cells in the body so need a near constant supply of energy,’ he says. ‘Sunflower seeds give follicles the best source of fuel.’
9. Speed up your blow-dry
Less heat equals less damage. Cut your blow-dry time with Aveda’s Speed of Light Blow Dry Accelerator, £21, which uses naturally-derived lactic acid from sugar beets to lower the hair’s pH and separate strands for better airflow. Pretty clever, no?
Aveda Speed of Light Blow Dry Accelerator, £21, Lookfantastic
10. Upgrade your brush
According to trichologist Anabel Kingsley, one of the most common causes of cuticle damage is boar bristle brushes. ‘These can tear away sections of the hair cuticle, increasing porosity and moisture loss,’ she warns. ‘Use a brush with rounded, plastic prongs and a vented, cushioned base, instead.’
Philip Kingsley Vented Paddle Brush, £25, Lookfantastic
11. Make your colour stay truer longer
Purple shampoo for blondes has been around for ages. Enter blue shampoo, the equivalent for brunettes and those with balayage who want to prevent unwanted warm tones creeping in. A bit like colour-correcting make-up for hair, it will deposit blue pigments that help neutralise brassy orange tones, leaving your colour looking fresher and brighter for longer. Bonus: you can put off a visit to the colourist’s chair for longer.
Redken Progressive Colour Depositing Shampoo, £18.95
12. Build up a shampoo wardrobe
‘Your hair isn’t the same every time you wash it,’ says King. ‘So just using one shampoo won’t cater to all its needs.’ Your main shampoo should be tailored to your hair type – fine, thick or curly – then add in a supporting cast when needed.
For dry mid-lengths and ends, look for formulas loaded with keratin.
Virtue Recovery Shampoo, £36, Net-a-Porter
For greasy roots choose mildly exfoliating salicylic acid.
Kerastase Energising Scrub, £43, Lookfantastic
For weak, porous strands, choose a biotin-based daily shampoo to reduce hair loss.
Pantene Pro-V Miracles Grow Strong Shampoo,£5, Superdrug (in-store only)
The result? Hot hair, not a hot mess.