Good Hair Days
Maintaining healthy hair is like maintaining a healthy marriage: It takes work! Use the right shampoo, avoid colour-related pitfalls and learn how to hack a hair mask and you and your strands will live happily ever after. Beauty director Ingrie Williams shares her “Three C” plan for the ultimate love, er, hair aair.
THE ROAD TO DREAM HAIR starts well before you pick up a styling tool or even set foot in the shower. Selecting the right shampoo can be a game changer. “It’s important because the proper shampoo will target your particular hair issues, such as dryness, lack of volume and colour protection,” says Marie-Pier Lessard, integrated communication leader at L’Oréal Professionnel in Montreal. “It will help you manage your hair and make styling so much easier.”
Finding the right fit can take some experimenting and big-picture thinking. “Your everyday habits play a huge part in the overall health of your hair,” says Marie-Eve Faucher, brand ambassador for Redken Canada. “From how often you hit the gym to how frequently you use hot tools, your lifestyle can affect the look and feel of your hair.”
For Roger Medina, a hair expert for Garnier, focusing on the needs of your roots rather than your ends is the secret to finding a best-foryou shampoo. “You need to exfoliate the scalp,” he says. “It stimulates hair health and promotes growth. But you don’t want to strip all the oils out of your hair.” As a preventive pre-shampoo step, Medina suggests combing your hair to distribute naturally occurring oils, which he calls “the best remedy.”
Keep an eye on labels, opting for shampoos that are free of ingredients that may coat hair or have a harsh drying effect. Avoid waxes, silicones, sulfates and parabens when- ever possible. The same goes for conditioners, which play a key role, too. “Conditioner restores the hair to optimal health, adding shine and hydration,” says Lessard, who applies it from mid-length to ends only and leaves it on for two or three minutes before rinsing. For Medina, this can be a make-or-break moment. “If you’re not rinsing away conditioner properly, you’re going to notice residue, which will eventually cause buildup,” he says. “It’s more forgiving on curls, but fine hair will look stringy.” Your takeaway? Put some muscle into the final act.
WHETHER IT’S USED TO banish greys, enhance a natural shade or achieve a new hue, colouring hair comes with consequences. “You’re expanding the cuticle,” says Medina of the chemical process. “If your hair isn’t hydrated, it’s going to frizz up and look like a mess.” The more extreme the colour goal, the higher the risk. For anything beyond a root touchup or subtle colour shift, it’s best to seek professional help.
“Blonde, in general, damages hair most,” says Faucher. “Make sure that you don’t push the hair too much, too fast. Without proper steps, products and treatments, it could take a long time – or even be impossible – to return hair back to a healthier state.”
With dedication and a proactive approach, you can have your desired colour and keep your hair healthy, too. “You want to target two goals: antifading and moisture retention,” says Lessard. “You want to keep your colour vibrant as long as possible between appointments while giving your hair an extra dose of hydration because it tends to get drier with the use of hair colour.”
Using products designed for colour-treated hair is a nonnegotiable – as is adopting a minimal-shampooing policy. “I wash twice a week,” says Faucher, who changes her hair colour often. “If you have an oily scalp, you can shampoo up to three times. But try to avoid washing your hair every day.”
For those who feel that daily cleansing is a necessity, Lessard suggests using alternatives to traditional shampoos, such as cleansing conditioners. “Even if it sounds like complete torture, using colder water to wash coloured hair is really important,” she says.
To deliver the strongest return on investment, step up to a routine of regular conditioning. Faucher swears by a weekly hair mask to strengthen strands and an arsenal of leave-in treatments prior to styling to prevent breakage and restore hair health. There’s another vital payoff to handling colourtreated tresses with kid gloves: The results have more staying power. “Healthy hair will preserve colour longer than damaged hair,” says Medina. Copy his go-to strategy with a nourishing treatment, such as a hair mask, before the mane event.
WHEN IT COMES TO STYLING YOUR hair, your blowdryer, curling wand or flatiron may seem like the star player, but hair care products are the true MVPs. “Pretty much everybody needs to take the time to do more treatment to their hair,” says Faucher. “We do so much with it, and hot tools have never been more present in our routines. Plus, you have a lot of options to repair your hair.”
Leave-in conditioners, hair oils and masks can help maximize hair health, and it’s easy to customize a routine to suit your needs. “Someone who has fine, straight hair doesn’t need a mask, but using a leavein conditioner and a little bit of oil on the ends is good,” says Medina. “Ends don’t produce oil like roots do, so you always have to bring them back.” He loves the protective properties of a leave-in conditioner, which is beneficial whether you choose to heat-style or air-dry your hair. “It acts like a primer on the skin,” he says. Choose a cream product for thick or coarse hair, and opt for a spray formula if you have a medium or fine texture. If you’re blessed with curly hair, dabble in a little bit of everything. “Curly hair tends to look duller, so go crazy on moisture,” says Lessard.
A weekly hair mask is a must for all dry types, including curly and coloured hair. If you’re faced with a severe, straw-like texture, try Medina’s beauty hack for nextlevel conditioning: Mix a few drops of hair oil into a cream mask before applying it. “Put it on the mid-length and ends of dry hair, but don’t touch your roots,” he says.
“If you want to get more bang for your buck, saturate the hair and massage it in. Push the product and ingredients into the hair – you don’t want them to sit on the surface.”
Medina also relies on the old-school technique of wrapping hair in a shower cap or plastic bag and letting the concoction sit for 20 minutes. “Heat from your scalp will activate it,” he says. Consider your Sunday #selfcare plan looked after.
REDKEN DIAMOND OIL GLOW DRY SHINE OIL, , AT REDKEN SALONS
NEXXUS CITY SHIELD SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER, EACH