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Louise McSharry: ‘The secret to a bouncy blow-dry is the perfect brush — and finding one has changed my life’

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The best hair products to help you pull off the perfect at-home blow-dry

The best hair products to help you pull off the perfect at-home blow-dry

Revlon One-Step, €49.95 at johnstonspharmacy.ie

Revlon One-Step, €49.95 at johnstonspharmacy.ie

Colour Wow Dream Coat, €28 at mccauley.ie

Colour Wow Dream Coat, €28 at mccauley.ie

L’Oréal Elvive Dream Lengths Heat Slayer Spray, €7.99 at boots.ie

L’Oréal Elvive Dream Lengths Heat Slayer Spray, €7.99 at boots.ie

Andrew Fitzsimons oil, €3.50, Penneys

Andrew Fitzsimons oil, €3.50, Penneys

Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil, €27.50 at millies.ie

Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil, €27.50 at millies.ie

Sarah Keary make-up brushes, from €12, sarahkeary.ie

Sarah Keary make-up brushes, from €12, sarahkeary.ie

Chanel Allure, €84 per 50ml Eau de Toilette at arnotts.ie

Chanel Allure, €84 per 50ml Eau de Toilette at arnotts.ie

Sable Nuit, €260 per 100ml Eau de Parfum at brownthomas.com

Sable Nuit, €260 per 100ml Eau de Parfum at brownthomas.com

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The best hair products to help you pull off the perfect at-home blow-dry

You know the old ‘I can’t go, I’m washing my hair’ shtick? I have a friend for whom that excuse is valid. Every week, on the same evening, she washes and dries her hair. It takes two hours. TWO HOURS. Her hair is very thick, and she takes her time, resulting in a professional-looking blow-dry, but still, I have been aghast at the time it takes her since we met a decade ago. Not because I’m judging her, or I don’t think it’s a good use of her time (her time is her time after all), but because I simply wouldn’t have the patience.

While I will happily sit and curl my hair for 40 minutes, there’s something about the actual blow-dry which has always seemed like too much effort. Whether it’s the actual holding of the hairdryer, or that I could never get the knack of co-ordinating a round brush with its movement, even on days I decided to give it a proper go, I’d end up bailing out after about 10 minutes.

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Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil, €27.50 at millies.ie

Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil, €27.50 at millies.ie

Olaplex No. 7 Bonding Oil, €27.50 at millies.ie

Sometimes, when I mention this to people, they look puzzled. I realise then that I’m talking to someone with naturally glossy hair — the kind of people whose hair, even when simply blasted dry, is always sleek and shiny. I have never once gone to a new hairdresser and not had them say ‘Jesus, you’ve a fine head of hair’, which roughly translates into ‘there’s absolutely loads of it, and this is going to take me ages’. If you have that hair, then I’m sure you too have been struggling with the lifelong battle of the blow-dry. Well, my friends, just as I was ready to give up, our problems were solved. The hair-drying brush arrived back on the scene, and it had evolved into a magical apparatus.

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Revlon One-Step, €49.95 at johnstonspharmacy.ie

Revlon One-Step, €49.95 at johnstonspharmacy.ie

Revlon One-Step, €49.95 at johnstonspharmacy.ie

I say back on the scene, because the hair-drying brush has been around since the 1970s, at least. However, just as hairdryers have become more powerful, so have the drying brushes. The one which changed my life (prior to my full-time commitment to curly status) is the (1) Revlon One-Step (€49.95 at johnstonspharmacy.ie), but there are many on the market now and they all essentially do the same thing. They bring together the dryer and the brush, meaning the coordination is no longer necessary. You simply hold the dryer as you would a styling brush and run it repeatedly through your hair until it’s dry. You can achieve a bouncy blow-dry and even light curls in about 20 minutes.

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Colour Wow Dream Coat, €28 at mccauley.ie

Colour Wow Dream Coat, €28 at mccauley.ie

Colour Wow Dream Coat, €28 at mccauley.ie

There are countless tutorials online (I particularly like @theorlacle’s IGTV which breaks it all down), so I won’t bore you with mechanical details, but the key is to use the brush until your hair is totally dry. If you leave any kind of dampness in the hair, you’re simply inviting frizz. Also, never use a heated tool on your hair without a heat protector. I like (2) Colour Wow Dream Coat (€28 at mccauley.ie) which protects the hair from heat as you style it, and from humidity as you go about your life. I find it makes a real difference to the lasting power of the style. (3) L’Oréal Elvive Dream Lengths Heat Slayer Spray (€7.99 at boots.ie) is another good option, and a little more budget-friendly.

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L’Oréal Elvive Dream Lengths Heat Slayer Spray, €7.99 at boots.ie

L’Oréal Elvive Dream Lengths Heat Slayer Spray, €7.99 at boots.ie

L’Oréal Elvive Dream Lengths Heat Slayer Spray, €7.99 at boots.ie

Finish your at-home blow-dry with a little oil through the ends of the hair. This will make it look extra polished and nourish the hair too. Celebrity hairstylist (4) Andrew Fitzsimons’ range for Penneys includes a lovely oil (€3.50), while Olaplex is hard to beat when it comes to reparative properties. The brand’s (5) No. 7 Bonding Oil (€27.50 at millies.ie) acts as a heat protectant too, so can also be used before styling.

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Andrew Fitzsimons oil, €3.50, Penneys

Andrew Fitzsimons oil, €3.50, Penneys

Andrew Fitzsimons oil, €3.50, Penneys

Buying Irish

Make-up artist Sarah Keary’s set of nine make-up brushes (€89 at sarahkeary.ie) is all I take with me when I travel. The brushes are excellent quality, and the case, which folds into a stand, is very handy. However, not everyone needs a full new set of make-up brushes, so I was happy to hear that you can now buy the brushes individually (from €12 at sarahkeary.ie). I especially like the Foundation Brush, which is short and dense and applies product beautifully, and the Contour & Blush Brush, which is a great size. These brushes feel luxurious but are competitively priced — you can’t go wrong.

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Sarah Keary make-up brushes, from €12, sarahkeary.ie

Sarah Keary make-up brushes, from €12, sarahkeary.ie

Sarah Keary make-up brushes, from €12, sarahkeary.ie

Something old...

As we move into cooler weather, you may be considering switching up your scent. Personally, I think you can wear whatever you like, whenever you like, but it is nice to throw on something a little more intense as the nights grow darker. My go-to winter scent is Chanel Allure (€84 per 50ml Eau de Toilette at arnotts.ie), one I’ve loved since I was teenager. According to perfume experts, it’s a floral scent, but what comes through to me are the base notes of vanilla, sandalwood and amber. It’s warm and sexy — yes, I said it, sexy — and never fails to incite a question of what scent you’re wearing.

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Chanel Allure, €84 per 50ml Eau de Toilette at arnotts.ie

Chanel Allure, €84 per 50ml Eau de Toilette at arnotts.ie

Chanel Allure, €84 per 50ml Eau de Toilette at arnotts.ie

... Something new

Armani Privé know a thing or two about making people feel sexy, so it’s no surprise that their new scent, Sable Nuit (€260 per 100ml Eau de Parfum at brownthomas.com), does just that. Inspired by ‘the mysterious night dessert’ (I love perfume descriptions — so dramatic), this unisex fragrance is spicy with an ambery warmth. Aside from the beautiful scent, the bottle is stunning (as you might expect at this price).

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Sable Nuit, €260 per 100ml Eau de Parfum at brownthomas.com

Sable Nuit, €260 per 100ml Eau de Parfum at brownthomas.com

Sable Nuit, €260 per 100ml Eau de Parfum at brownthomas.com


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