Reviving the Shine
The first order of business in Operation Bring Back the Shine is to look at your at-home hair-care rituals. Levac says that you need to moisturize your scalp just as you need to moisturize your skin and so should look for shampoos and conditioners that are rich in vegetable keratin. When using these products, Levac says, you should massage them into the scalp and follow each with a cold-water rinse to smooth down the scales of the hair. Using a keratin-rich hair mask once a week will give your hair an intense and long-lasting boost.
If you’re a fan of the flatiron or curling rod, you need to start using a thermo-protective product before you style, as this will create a protective barrier on the surface of the hair, limiting damage and breakage while preserving shine. These products are widely available in serum or spray form, and you’ll see an immediate difference when you add one to your styling routine.
What you eat can also affect the condition of your hair. “You see a lot of shampoos that contain vitamins, but it’s more important that these things are taken internally because ultimately hair is dead cells, so there’s not much life you can give back to it,” Dexter says. “Taking natural oil supplements and eating foods rich in those oils will definitely help your hair and skin.”
A regular trim at your stylist’s salon will also help your hair look healthier.
“If you have a style, you should come in at the six-week mark in order to look your best,” Dexter advises, “but if you have long hair and just want an end-trim, you can push it to eight weeks.”
Visiting your stylist is also a good first step in tackling dullness; you’ll find a range of treatments available for whatever hair trouble you have. An enriched protein mask can make a huge and immediate difference. “We can also suggest products such as hair thickeners and plumpers that will help your hair look fuller,” Dexter says.
If hair loss is your biggest concern, there are products to help counter this. Nioxin, for example, has a range of products that cleanse the scalp and provide optimum conditions for new hair to grow. “They stimulate hair growth by cleansing the scalp surface so blood flows to the scalp properly. They remove anything that builds up over the scalp and causes thinning and hair loss, and then treat the scalp with antioxidants, botanicals, and herbs that balance and inhibit the hair-loss hormone called dihydrotestosterone,” says Christopher Marrello, Nioxin expert and creative director of Raffaello Salon in Toronto. “The consistent use of the products prevents weakness and loss and actually amplifies texture and thickness, as well as helping prevent the degeneration of the scalp to cause thin hair.” These treatments will take a few weeks before you see results, but you should see thicker, healthier-looking hair if you keep them going.
Dexter agrees that cleansing the scalp is vitally important in encouraging new hair growth. “An exfoliating shampoo will unblock the follicle and help ensure that you’re getting all the hair that you should be,” she says. This is a good idea even if you aren’t worried about hair loss. “A clarifying shampoo used every once in a while will help remove buildup and environmental pollution, dirt, and oils. It helps your hair start fresh again, because even the stuff that’s good for your hair isn’t great if it builds up.”
Whatever concerns you have about your hair, a trip to your stylist could be just the tonic, as he or she will be able to tell you how you can get the hair you want.
Everyone’s hair changes over time, especially if there have been major life events such as menopause or illness, and this can mean that a once-manageable mane becomes more tricky to deal with. Getting professional advice will help set you on track to more good hair days.