When I tell people I work for a hair magazine one of the first things they ask me – after “Can you get me a free haircut?” – is which products I would recommend for their hair.
It’s a great perk of my job getting to try out lots of shampoos, conditioners, treatments and oils, even if my poor flatmate does sometimes despair at the amount of bottles filling up our tiny, slightly mouldy bathroom.
Obviously everyone’s hair is really different and I can’t give a completely accurate prescription to someone with, say, ultra-fine or Afro hair, but there are some universal problems and products I can recommend…
THE PROBLEM: Dry ends
THE SOLUTION: Moroccanoil
I apologise for being predictable on this one but, having tried LOTS of very expensive oils, this one wins every time. It sinks in perfectly without a greasy residue, smells lovely and makes a huge difference to the condition of the hair. I noticed this particularly when I had dip-dyed bleached blonde ends – the only thing that could coax them into good condition was a good dose of Moroccanoil.
RUNNER UP: L’anza Healing Oil
THE PROBLEM: Hair that won’t hold a style
THE SOLUTION: Bumble & bumble Does It All Hairspray
Anybody who knows the frustration of spending hours creating the perfect ghd curls, only for them all to drop out the minute you leave the house, will understand the necessity of a good hairspray. The best one I’ve tried is Bumble & bumble Does It All, which holds hair in place without that horrible crispy feeling (never good when the boy you’ve got your eye on tries to run his hands through your hair).
RUNNER UP: KMS California Hot Flex Spray
THE PROBLEM: Flyaways
THE SOLUTION: U Luxury D Frizz Argan Oil
This is the only oil I’ve come across available in spray form, which is great when you just want a tiny amount of the stuff to smooth down flyaway hairs and polish off your look. A little mist of the argan oil also leaves hair looking shiny and groomed – nice one to keep in your handbag!
RUNNER UP: Moroccanoil (applied pre-drying)
THE PROBLEM: Colour-damaged hair
THE SOLUTION: Montibel.lo Total Repair Shampoo and Mask
Montibel.lo is a new brand to the UK, but is stocked in over a third of salons in Spain. It was introduced to me recently by a PR, who assured me it was the best thing she’d ever tried on her unruly hair (“whatever” I thought, “I’ve heard that one before!”) Well I take it all back because this stuff is amazing – particularly the Mask which can be used as a daily conditioner for soft, detangled, smooth hair. My locks have been through a lot – just a quick browse through my Facebook photos shows I’ve been every colour from dark brunette to blonde – but this stuff makes it feel as good as new.
RUNNER UP: Philip Kingsley Elasticizer (pre-shampoo treatment invented for Audrey Hepburn no less!)
THE PROBLEM: Greasy roots
THE SOLUTION: Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Shampoo
Shu Uemura is one of those brands that just exudes luxury, from the design of the packaging, to the fragrance of the products, to, unfortunately, the price tag. The first ever hair press launch I went to was for the Cleansing Oil Shampoo, and all I can say is – it’s divine. Although you may think that using an oil shampoo to remove grease sounds like a weird idea, the truth is that oil is very effective in removing oil, so if I ever feel a bit like a greasy teenager I turn to this shampoo.
RUNNER UP: Kevin.Murphy Luxury.Wash (gorgeous Australian brand with good green credentials)