Q.I have lots of thick, curly hair with a big tendency towards frizziness. What can I do and what products can I use to make the curls as defined as possible? I work in an office and the only way to look ‘smart’ is to straighten my hair/put it up – I would really like to be able to wear it down and curly, partly because heat/highlights and all the rest leave my hair dull and easily broken.
A.Hair straightening definitely takes its toll on hair and is not to be recommended on a daily basis. (Be sure to slather on hair packs at least weekly to undo some of the damage.) The man who probably understands frizzy hair better than any hairdresser is our friend John Frieda, so have you tried his Frizz Ease Curl Around Shampoo and Conditioner). What we recommend is sweet-talking your own hairdresser into showing you how to use them. He or she may be resistant to this if their salon is linked with a different brand, but remember: you’re the client, you call the shots. A personal ‘tutorial’ from a hairdresser with your curl-enhancing choices will really help you get the best results, as you’re not used to ‘going with the flow’, making the most of your natural curls. (One last tip, from another friend – L’Oréal ‘face’ Dayle Haddon: ‘always pack a silk headscarf to cover up your hair the minute it starts to drizzle’.)
Q.I have long coarse hair that tends to frizz. I colour my hair, so to keep it in good condition I use Kérastase products and very rarely use heated styling products – but my hair always looks a mess because I don’t straighten it. When it dries naturally it just looks frizzy or at best wavy/messy! As I work in an office environment I tend to just tie it back in a bun. Would you be able to recommend a product which would allow me to wear it loose without blow-drying or straightening it as I quite like the wavy look without the frizz? Of course if such a product does not exist could you tell me the best way to keep hair looking good while using heated styling products.
A.You know what? We think maybe you should just go for the straighteners. They have transformed life for millions of women, helping to create a more groomed look. We have never heard of a product which basically does the job of styling hair for you – wish there was! If you do go down the straightening route, though, you’re right to use a protective product: there are plenty about, but we’d suggest looking to the experts in hair straightening, GHD (theirs are the best-selling straighteners), for their Thermal Protector range, which is hairtype-targeted.
But straighteners do – well, straighten. (If you straighten thick hair with them, though, it can look terrific. In fact, we’d say they work best at taming thick hair.) If you’re really after waves, the only suggestion might be if you ask your hairdresser to demo a way of using large Velcro rollers to style your hair, and prescribe the relevant styling product; you could then apply product, wait till hair is just damp, put the rollers in while your hair dries naturally – or use a drier. This should create waves, but we can’t tell 100% without seeing you and your hair.
OR – and it depends on finances – you may find that having your hair blow-dried once a week will keep it looking great. There’s a huge tendency for women to wash their hair daily, which is just too often. (Even with oily hair, all that happens is it sends the oil glands into overdrive so you have to wash it every day.) The shampoo industry has done a fine job of persuading everyone they need to wash their hair as often as possible. Just not true. We will own up to weekly blow-dries, and our hair stays just fine, sleek and shiny in between with minimum daily maintenance (basically, a brush-through if we’re lucky). Having said that, we both live outside London and it’s true: city hair does get grubbier.
Q.I am 37 and for as long as I can remember I have struggled with my very curly and very, very frizzy hair. I have tried a range of products over the years, including some of the market leaders, but nothing seems to work. I have just spent this summer fighting the frizz (unsuccessfully) and have just about given up ever having hair that I don’t hate!
A.You may hate your hair, but you’re also going to hate us at least a little bit. We learned, a long time ago (and from just about every hairdresser we’ve ever met!) that to get the best results from your hair, you really have to ‘go with the flow’. Which means not fighting nature. If you really, can’t do that, then you have to be prepared to put in the time (and investment in products) to conquer your curls and frizz. Award-winning frizz-busting products which feature in our Beauty Bible Beauty Steals iPhone App of the same name include TommyGunns Smooth & Finish Créme and Lee Stafford Climate Control Protection Spray, (in fact, the whole Climate Control range went down well with our testers). If you haven’t tried those ranges, they’re worth a shot. In addition, we have the following advice.
• Avoid short cuts. If hair’s very curly, short styles don’t work as they create a ‘poodle’ factor’. Wearing your hair in long layers will help add extra weight and avoid ‘mushrooming’. • Add moisture, whenever you can: we recommend weekly hair masks, but in addition, whenever you moisturise your face, just skim your hands over your hair afterwards. That extra moisture will not go amiss. Try creamy styling products, rather than gels or drying hairsprays. • Wash less frequently; textured hair is easier to manage a few days after washing. Sebum actually helps fight frizz, giving curls more definition. • Diffuse and tong. If possible, dry hair naturally, but if you do use a drier, make sure you use high heat and low speed, and use the diffuser attachment. You can use tongs to create sleek, manageable, defined waves afterwards (though beware of drying hair – see above – with too many heat steps).