Our five favourite fixes are not only great hair-helpers, they're fast and foolproof.
There are times in life and, more specifically, times of the year, when you just feel bored with yourself. Hair, in particular, can be a terrible bore. And at winter's end, it is often a tedious mess. The cold and wet and wind will have taken their toll, particularly on our national hair type, which is frizzy and given to looking frazzled at the best of times. But at this time of year, it is at its worst, worn out by the winter and ready for a break.
You may need to smooth, soothe or spritz up your colour, but give it a bit of love and you'll see your entire look given a lift. The complexion, especially, looks that bit better when it's framed by unharried hair.
In these times, however, when weekly blow-drys are a thing of the past for many people and salon treatments are slightly beyond the budget, hard-working home-use products are a must.
They'll even improve the head on you and buy you time to think about where you're taking your tresses for the warmer months ahead.
Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Shine, €5.59, available nationwide
We are already fans of the Aussie range and its 3 Minute masks, which work fast, do what they say and come in a shower-friendly bottle. And the brand is not dear or hard to find. This deep treatment is from its new Shine collection -- which also includes shampoo and conditioner -- and it promises gleaming, light-catching shine without slipperiness. "This does what it promises," said a panellist. "My hair is thin but frizzy, so it can't take any extra weight, but I get the gloss without grease using this."
Best for Colour Crisis
Shu Uemura Colour Lustre Shades Reviving Balm, €40, for stockists tel: (01) 604-5910
Before recommending this product, we need to emphasise that you should do the recommended patch test first to check for any reaction to this hair-colouring product. That said, it's a wonderfully effective product and available in five shades, which neutralise brassiness and unwanted warmth in dyed hair. "Colour is revived and condition is vastly improved," said one panellist. "It gave a great lift and postponed an expensive salon visit for that bit longer."
Best for Frizz Heads
Rich Haircare Pure Luxury Argan De-Frizz and Shine Mist, €14.90, available at selected pharmacies or see www.beautyfeatures.ie
With argan oil -- regarded as a miracle worker in Morocco -- olive and linseed oils, this is a find for those with thicker hair that needs a bit more taming. It has a lovely, slightly nutty fragrance. "The fact that this sprays as a fine mist means that it's an extremely light touch of oil and not a slick," said a panellist. "It's great for flyaways and curl definition."
Best for Time-Starved Tresses
Joico Instant Refresh Dry Shampoo, €16.95, tel: (045) 856-490, or see www.xpertpro.com
Many of us have mixed feelings about dry shampoos, which can leave hair looking and feeling a bit dusty but this product might change your mind. From the haircare offshoot of Shiseido, this aerosol dry shampoo does an impeccable job of absorbing excess oil invisibly. "There is no white residue," a panellist said. "You don't have to wait for it to settle for ages after spraying it on. It feels dry instantly and doesn't look greasy if you comb it through straight away, unlike some other dry shampoos."
Best for Savaged Scalps
Kerastase Sensidote Bain Riche Dermo-Calm, €19.75, and Mask, €33.50, for stockists, tel: (01) 604-5935
At winter's end, your scalp, like your complexion, can feel uncomfortable and itchy. This comes in two varieties -- one for dry hair, one for normal hair -- so the latter gets healing, but no unnecessary richness. With willow extract, an aspirin ingredient, for soothing and glycerin for some moisturising, it's a balm for the season. "This is tingly then cooling," said one panellist, "and the after-effect is a wonderfully un-itchy head."