Friday, 10 May 2013

Lighten Up!

Now that the wet weather seems to have subsided, we're met with bright skies and blustery winds.  No longer forced to cover our hair with a hat or pin back into an all-weather bun, it's time to turn up the heat in the Spring style stakes.

Highlights are one of the most popular Spring treatments, and if you want the most natural-looking highlights possible, it’s important to get colour applied in salon. A professional hairstylist has a much better chance of mimicking how the sun hits your tresses than you do squinting into the mirror, trying to smear a mascara-style brush in the right places.  Although it costs more to have highlights applied professionally, the results are worth it, particularly when a visit includes a full consultation process to define your perfect look.

All salon colourists use basically the same formula for hair highlighting: a mixture of peroxide (which opens the hair cuticle) and persulfates- salts derived from persulfuric acid which strip the colour. Peroxide does damage hair, but it’s very important to visit a good salon to limit the amount of damage- too long a development time by an inexperienced stylist could lead to frazzled follicles!

When it comes to applying the highlights, it’s all about location.   In a treatment such as a half head of highlights, the colourist focuses on the areas where the sun would naturally hit, like the top layers, around the face, and the crown.  And, if you often wear your hair up, tell your colourist- they’ll also place a few streaks on the bottom layers, above the nape of the neck.

Regardless if you're a rich brunette or a dark blonde, using foils is the most efficient way to apply bleach to the hair. Your colourist will brush on a highlighting formula, and then wrap the strands in pieces of foil until they reach the proper shade.  While you're sitting in the chair, the metal is reacting with the chemicals in the bleach to create heat, which helps strip out colour more quickly and deeply- perfect for those who have more pigment to begin with.

After the peroxide has lifted the right amount of colour, a good colourist will apply a toner to remove brassiness and blend the bleached areas. Toner will affect only the colour of the lightened strands, leaving your base colour intact.   However, it’s still important to maintain your colour at home.  Personally, I recommend L'Oreal Professional Serie Expert Silver Shampoo: a great product to prevent those brassy tones from sneaking into the hair.

Equally, it’s important to keep your lightened locks shiny and natural-looking by visiting the salon for a touch-up every 6 weeks or so. And, when wet weather returns and the sun fades away, you can always let your blonde streaks do the same!

Here Comes the Sun

Having endured the coldest Spring since 1962, the team at Reds have spent every available opportunity basking in this week's spring sunshine. However, it’s important to remember the drawbacks of the outdoors on the hair- it needs to be 100% dry to fight the frizz.  Spending time outside creates curl and volume in naturally curly or wavy hair textures and leaving the house with slightly wet hair is going to add to the problem. Yet, everything’s not lost- using a pair of GHDs to smooth the cuticle down even further is a double whammy in the fight against frizz. You can also add dry shampoo to the scalp to help absorb perspiration or humidity before it causes the hair to frizz.

Exposure to the direct sunlight we’ve experienced throughout this week can also cause excessive
dryness, so continue your deep-conditioning regimen from winter, and don’t forget to dab a little extra on the ends.  Personally, I recommend using moisture-enhancing products from wash to styling and, as ever,  make sure you’ve got the right haircut. Whilst you can condition your hair and have the right styling products to seal your style, but without the right cut your hair won't fall in the most flattering way.

As well as an effective shampooing and conditioning routine, combat that dryness with L’Oreal Professionnel’s flagship product- Mythic Oil- a nourishing treatment that it is also one of the most effective styling products on the market.  Infusing the hair with both shine and volume, the silky smooth serum doesn’t weigh the hair down. Instead of lying on top of the hair and making it limp like most treatments, the oil is absorbed quickly and nourishes from the inside out. Therefore, even though the product gives shine, it feels matte, avoiding the greasy feel of many oil-based treatments.
But the talents of Mythic Oil don’t stop there. Formulated to interact with the heat of hair dryers and straighteners, it also protects the hair from heat damage and makes it more pliable for styling- perfect for the textured looks that have featured so heavily in Summer collections.

Even if your hair is in tip-top condition, your follicles require the same treatment as your skin, so be sensible and cover up!  Whether it’s with a headscarf, a hat or one of our popular UV filters, it’s important to prevent those harmful rays from damaging the hair.  Kérastase Soleil Micro Voile Protecteur is one of my favourites.  Formulated with Filtre Photo-Defense, it provides the hair with mineral oils, reducing the effects of humidity and protecting the hair follicle from any damage.

As well as using regular conditioner, I always recommend a specially formulated masque to give you that red carpet finish.  L’Oréal Professionnel’s Lumino Contrast Masque does more than just condition the hair- it enhances the brightness of highlights so that your style shines with brilliance. This deep-acting treatment strengthens and conditions by replenishing the lipids in the hair, making it the ideal antidote to the stresses of the sun.

Susan x