After months of neo-grunge under-styling, luxurious hair is back. This season’s hair has a new, velvety texture and glows as though it has a halo. For those wanting a little glamour, get those wands ready to create curls that are full and bouncy. Even bed-head tousles tumble with a more elegant swish. Take it from runway master-stylist Guido Palau, who reinstituted “proper hairstyles” for the recent Ungaro, Bottega Veneta and Céline runways. Palau describes actresses of the ’40s and ’70s, as the 2013 hair muses. “Style is overall very sexy, very glamorous,” he says.
There’s just one small hitch. Here we are heading into the depths of winter – dehydrating, shine-sapping winter – and who has time to wrestle wind-ravaged frizz into film goddess form? The saviour: skincare-inspired regimens that nourish hair into silky submission and treatments that will do all the hard work for you.
Three top hairstylists reveal the products and insider tricks you need to upgrade your locks to luxury status this season.
Keep it clean
As daily shampoos, moisturisers, intensive crèmes and treatment masques become more sophisticated, we have started to look after our hair as we have always treated our skin. So, it’s time to check in for a DIY “haircial” – where, as with pampering of the facial variety, a gorgeous end result begins with the perfect cleanser.
“It’s not a case of one-size-fits-all anymore,” notes hairstylist Mana Dave. “Custom-fitting the right shampoo for your hair type not only improves hair quality, it prepares a better foundation for you to create your hairstyle.”
Matching your hair cleanser to the new season’s climatic shifts is key. “The needs of your hair change dramatically in winter – outside conditions are dehydrating and indoor heating makes it worse,” says Dave. “Thick or coarse hair will stay supple and more styleable with the addition of shampoos that contain naturally derived oils such as avocado or argan oil. Fine hair will maintain fuller body and bounce by incorporating ceramides.”
Soaking up maximum, velvety benefits from conditioners and treatments comes down to not only what products you choose – but also how you use them.
“As a general rule, if hair feels dry and brittle, it needs more moisture; if it is fragile and dull you need more protein,” explains hairdresser Richard Kavanagh.
Go daily or weekly with hydration masks – whatever makes parched tresses feel soft. “Always wring excess water from hair before loading them in or you’ll dilute the ingredients,” Kavanagh says.
Apply daily protein hits until weak, snap-prone hair feels stronger, but keep moisture and protein packs in balance. “Overdo the protein and hair can start to feel hard to the touch,” he says. “To promote strength yet remain silky, use a deep moisturising treatment at least once a week.”
After rinsing out your treatment, squeeze locks gently with a towel, but resist all urges to rub dry – friction will only chip the surface layer of the hair, dimming shine, causing frizz and undoing all that tender loving conditioning.
If flaking, thinning or damage from years of chemical abuse stands between you and the luxury look on your wishlist, it could be time to knock the haircial up a notch.
Meet the skin-doctor-inspired therapies including Ayurvedic scalp-stimulants, exfoliants and even the fillers being billed as “Botox for hair”.
Restoring full, youthful body to thinning hair is not just about pumping in fistfuls of volumiser mousse and blow-waving. Ultimately, it’s a matter of restimulating the scalp to grow thicker, stronger fibres. Luckily, breakthroughs abound.
“The quality of hair is firstly affected by the health of the hair follicle, which is nourished by the blood supply,” explains Josh Barnett, national educator at Aveda. “Scalp tonics combining traditional Indian antioxidant turmeric, ginseng and yeast extracts have been shown to nourish follicles so they can perform at optimum, while vitamin E increases microcirculation to the scalp.”
Exfoliating washes with doses of salicylic acid, which has long been prescribed to purify skin, can then be used to lift away accumulated sebum, excess product and dust that can make the scalp flaky, congest pores and also short-circuit growth.
“A massaging motion will boost microcirculation and effectiveness of any scalp therapy,” adds Barnett.
Try his in-salon technique: Using a paddle brush, brush from the back of the head up to the crown, working in sections until the whole head is covered. Now reverse it, working downward from crown to back. Next, massage small sections in figure-eight patterns before lightly tapping the brush around the bottom of the scalp. Finally, press middle fingers to the pressure points along your hairline – at your crown, above your eyebrows and near your ears – and then at the back of your head.
To rescue tresses prematurely aged by chemicals, environmental exposure and rough styling, filler-fibres made of protein can be “injected” into the hair cortex to seal the “gaps” that cause hair to look wiry and frizzy.
Yes, like lip-plumping jabs and Botox, the restructuring, age-defying effects fade – one L’Oreal Professionnel Series Expert Fibreceutic in-salon filler service lasts approximately 10 washes – but effects can be prolonged with at-home treatments.
Sophisti-straight and uptown curls
Cue the end of tortured-straight tresses and the old stretch-and-burn blow-dry – smarter hot-tool technology, such as settings that adjust to hair type and better heat distribution, are pulling off more sophisticated styles faster and without the sizzle.
“Well-nourished hair also needs fewer styling products to make it shine and hold,” says hairstylist Brad Ngata. “That sense of effortlessly expensive finish and natural movement is the essence of looking luxurious, not overdone.”
When it comes to straightening your hair, Ngata offers a tip: “Make sure hair is 100 per cent dry, then glide the iron over 2cm-thick sections in one fluid motion.”
If you’re bored with straight, go for voluminous curls. After all, a glamorous riot of brushed-out ’70s curls always brings the drama. The right tool plus light product equals soft volume and touchable texture.
Before curling, prep hair with product while damp, then blast hair 80 per cent dry using only hands, lifting and shaking it to create root lift.
For those with thick hair, try the Silver Bullet Super Pod. New heat induction technology infuses curvier shape, and provides lasting hold and shine.
Meanwhile, if your hair is fine, go for a curler like the Remington Hot Wand – the finer tip of a conical tong reaches into roots to amp up volume. It’s also recommended you lower the temperature when curling fine hair.
“Heat makes hair pliable but it’s when it cools that the curl forms. Pin still-warm curls for a few minutes before brushing them out for extra hold without the extra hairspray,” says Ngata.