Beauty Clinic: First Aid for sun-dried hair
Q. I’m just back from a sun-and-swim holiday – all lovely but my hair has suffered a lot: it looks like a haystack and feels like candyfloss, with little body and no shine at all. Advice desperately needed please.
A. We’re right there with you – or rather Sarah is (Jo seems to have taken a more care of her trademark blonde tresses though she says they have gone feral lengthwise). So – it was Sarah who asked trichologist Anabel Kingsley, daughter of the late and much lamented trichologist Philip Kingsley, for expert advice. Which, Sarah is delighted to report, truly works if you stick to it.
Anabel comments that UV rays and chlorine from swimming pools oxidise hair in a similar way to bleach and weaken hair, leading to the protein structure degrading. Salt water removes moisture. So, not surprising that come September hair is often dry, dull and brittle with a bunch of split ends. So that’s where to start, says Anabel. Here are her recommendations:
• Removing split ends will improve the overall appearance of the hair and help the mid-lengths and ends look thicker and more substantial. If they’re ignored, split ends can travel up the hair shaft, causing more damage.
• Put back the moisture. The most effective way to improve elasticity and strength is to use a weekly pre-shampoo conditioning treatment. We make one called Elasticizer/£32 for 150 ml, that we originally formulated for Audrey Hepburn. You apply it to damp hair at least 20 minutes before shampooing, cover with a bath cap (or wrap up in cling film) and then shampoo and condition as usual. You can even leave it on overnight, or work out with it on.
• Smooth the cuticle to combat dullness and add shine. During summer, the hair’s protective outer cuticle can become raised and damaged. A raised cuticle does not reflect light well, so the hair can look rather dull come autumn. To help close the cuticle, use a post shampoo conditioner formulated for your hair texture every time you wash your hair. I recommend our Body Building Shampoo and Conditioner.
• When blow-drying, help guard strands from heat damage with a heat protective conditioning spray (PK Prep Perfecting Spray/£20 for 125 ml). But even the best heat protective product will only protect your hair to a certain extent – so turn the heat off when your hair is ‘just dry’ – blasting a dryer over already dried hair can burn and break it.
• Nutrition has a huge impact on hair health. A poor diet can be the sole cause of excessive hair fall and hair not growing to the desired length. Hair is composed primarily of protein, so including it in your daily diet can be very beneficial to its growth. We recommend eating approximately 120g in weight (roughly a palm sized portion) of protein with breakfast and lunch. Iron, which is found most abundantly in red meat, is essential to hair growth as it aids in the production of hair cell protein. Improve your iron levels by eating red meat once or twice a week. [If you don't eat meat try a gentle iron supplement such as Spatone/£11.99] Omega-3 essential fatty acids are just that ‘essential’ so eat plenty of oily fish, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds. Philip Kingsley has also just launched Root Complex with key nutrients including omega 3, silica, vitamin D3, plus vitamin E and other antioxidants.
• Finally, look at your hairbrush. It’s worth getting an especially gentle one that won’t pull out hair as you brush it. We like the Wet brush-pro range, which detangles gently. Around £11.99 for full size, £6.99 for handbag size.
Oops! We nearly forgot. Because hair is so vulnerable when it’s wet and towel drying tugs and tangles hair that has reached any length, you might want to consider investing in a special AQUIS Hair Towel/£30. It’s made of some smart fabric so just ring out your hair, then wrap up and let the towel take the strain. Once all the surplus water has been absorbed, we let it air dry for a little while before using a hair drier on warm.