Saturday 23 September 2017

The beauty panel: Hair essentials - the perfect products

Embracing the hair we have can be hard to do, says our beauty expert, but a perfect product can help

Pictured, from left, Kerastase Discipline Cleansing Conditioner Curl Ideal; Redken Beach Envy Volume Texturizing Shampoo; Alfaparf That's It Grey Pride Shampoo; Pureology Color Fantatic Instant Deep-Conditioning Mask; Klorane Tinted Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk. Photo: Kip Carroll
Pictured, from left, Kerastase Discipline Cleansing Conditioner Curl Ideal; Redken Beach Envy Volume Texturizing Shampoo; Alfaparf That's It Grey Pride Shampoo; Pureology Color Fantatic Instant Deep-Conditioning Mask; Klorane Tinted Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk. Photo: Kip Carroll

Sarah Caden

The only absolute truth when it comes to hair is that everyone wants what they don't have. The curly squad want it straight, the straight and the fine crowd wish for full-bodied, bouncy tresses. We know that full transformation can never properly be achieved, and yet we try and try. And if you don't believe me, take a look through a family photo album for evidence of this nation's troubled history with the GHD and the perm.

Of course, what we really should be doing is getting to grips with what we have, and making the best of it. Easier said than done, obviously, on both a psychological and a practical level. Our heads are hard to convince, and holy-grail hair products for specific hair types are hard to come by. Or, more accurately, there are so many of them, for all kinds of hair, that you could be hunting forever.

The right product can transform how your hair behaves and how you feel about it - hell, you might even end up satisfied with what you've got. And then, cruelly, thanks to time and age, your hair could up and change on you, just when you've nailed your perfect products. But that is a story for another day.

Best Overall

Kerastase Discipline Cleansing Conditioner Curl Ideal, €26, Kerastase salons nationwide

If you have curly hair, then you're probably aware of the co-wash phenomenon, the hair cleansers that are more conditioner than shampoo. This is a great example, aimed at curly hair that is brittle and lacking bounce. The absence of sulphates means you don't get lots of suds, but that's kind of the point. It's the suds that wreck your curls. "My hair feels properly washed despite the lack of bubbles," said one panellist. "When my mid-length, curly, unmanageable hair was wet, I could brush through it with no difficulty, and the dry curls are light and tame."

Best Rough and Ready

Redken Beach Envy Volume Texturizing Shampoo, €17, Redken salons nationwide

Tousled, wavy, texturised hair isn't quite what most of us achieve after a day at the beach. Ratty, sticking-out hair is more like it, but we know what the hair people mean when they talk about beachy hair, and we want it. This shampoo, along with a conditioner (€19.30) and a styling product (€22.50) lends volume and waves, with minerals and polymers that coat the hair without stickiness. "I got great volume with this product, but no gloss - just-blow-dried volume," a panellist said. "It's more mussed-up sexy, which I liked."

Best Gorgeous Grey

Alfaparf That's It Grey Pride Shampoo, €12.95, Alfaparf salons nationwide

When our hair greys, it isn't just a case of the colour changing. The texture changes, too, and that can be the real problem, along with establishing your grey as a clean, bright colour, as opposed to just the absence of colour. This shampoo and its companion conditioner (€14.95) work on smoothing the hair follicle, while also eliminating dull or yellow tones. A silver star. "Grey hair is often coarse and dull," one panellist said. "With this product, I found that my hair was smooth and shiny and the grey was more appealing, without a hint of the blue-rinse brigade."

Best Colour Rescue

Pureology Color Fantatic Instant Deep-Conditioning Mask, €30, Pureology salons nationwide

Apparently, there are 21 hair benefits to this mask. They range from improving colour and defeating dryness to warding off split ends. In a nutshell, if you've come back from a holiday with a messy nest of dull-looking hair, this might help. It's a true quick fix, restoring the shine that makes your salon colour worth the money. "Three minutes and my hair was back to normal after a week of chlorine and sun," said a panellist.

Best Dry Darling

Klorane Tinted Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk, €11.49, selected Boots nationwide

This brand left Ireland many years ago, and it has been something that people source in pharmacies on holidays. Well, now it's back, and this dry shampoo with a tint is a bestseller. If you have fine hair and you can't skip the daily wash, and you find other dry shampoos a bit ashy, give this a try. "Some dry shampoos leave my hair tacky or powdery," said one panellist. "This was invisibly restorative."

Email thepanel@independent.ie

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