Thursday 14 December 2017

The beauty panel: the mane event

Thinning or greying hair can be a major headache, says our beauty expert, but don't let those failing follicles defeat you

Pictured, from left, Viviscal Hair Fibers in Blonde; Color Wow Root Cover Up in Platinum Blonde; Alfaparf That's It Blonde Parade Mask Every Blonde; Redken Stay High 18; L'Oreal Hair Touch Up in Light Brown. Photo: Kip Carroll
Pictured, from left, Viviscal Hair Fibers in Blonde; Color Wow Root Cover Up in Platinum Blonde; Alfaparf That's It Blonde Parade Mask Every Blonde; Redken Stay High 18; L'Oreal Hair Touch Up in Light Brown. Photo: Kip Carroll

Sarah Caden

Hair is an issue right the way through women's adult lives. Women spend a lot of their young lives battling body hair, and then, later in life, what's on their head becomes the problem. Or what's not on their head. Thinning head hair isn't just a problem for men. For women, after having a baby, due to hormone imbalance, or cancer, or post-menopause, there's a real problem with what can only be called balding. And unlike men, women don't really have options on how to handle it. We can't shave it all off, Patrick Stewart-style. Bring back the turban-hat of the 1970s, some might suggest. Or investigate a hair transplant, Louis Walsh-style.

Or, perhaps, we can find ways of disguising the thinning, which is not just loss of hair, but loss of hair density, too. Not to mention the fading of natural hair colour, with ridges of grey roots appearing,that make one's thatch look even thinner. Colouring one's hair is all very well, but, really, who can afford the time or expense to attend a salon every time the silver ridge appears again?

Sometimes, it feels like a losing battle with your barnet, but it doesn't have to.

Best Overall

Viviscal Hair Fibers in Blonde, €24.95, selected pharmacies nationwide

Viviscal is better known for its hair-growth supplements, but these new-launch "fibres" are a short-term solution to thinning and thinner hair. Available in six shades from grey through brown to black, this is a powdery product made of keratin, that you shake on to sparse areas of growth for cover and volume. Volume is achieved as a "patent-pending electrostatic coating" makes the powder cling to each hair. "This is really impressive," said one panellist. "Even if just extra-fine hair was your issue, you'd get a boost; but it made a big difference to my post-baby depleted hairline."

Best Root Rescue

Color Wow Root Cover Up in Platinum Blonde, €38, Space NK, Dundrum Town Centre and Grafton St, D2, or see

This is regarded as one of the best root touch-ups around, probably because it was a forerunner in the market. Available in four shades, it looks, for all the world, like an eyeshadow, but with a larger-than-average brush. You brush it on at the telltale points - such as the temples and along your parting - to cover greys or dark roots. The platinum-blonde shade is particularly good if you are a coloured blonde with snow-white roots. "It's extremely easy to apply, and it's great when you realise your roots are too far gone, but you just can't get to the hairdresser. It totally masked the now-white hairline," a panellist said.

Best Wash Wonder

Alfaparf That's It Blonde Parade Mask Every Blonde, €14.95, selected Alfaparf Milano salons nationwide

Dullness is the enemy as we age, and on so many levels. This mask is part of a new range to infuse blonde shades with light and life. There are two shampoos - one is for warm tones; one is for cool tones - and also a shampoo and mask to liven up grey and white hair. "A bit of shine can give the impression of better, more abundant hair," said a panellist. "My hair looked less world-weary."

Best Big Hair

Redken Stay High 18, €23.99, Redken salons nationwide

A fine-haired panellist with no volume and a lack of density around the hairline swears by this product for the illusion of volume and density. It's a gel-to-mousse product that squirts out like a thick gel and massages to a frothy mousse. It feels very thick when you apply the gel-mousse to your hair, but it blow-dries to a non-tacky, soft and full finish, and the effect lasts all day. "This is a bit disgusting to handle because it's so thick, but it's worth it," a panellist said.

Best Spray Saviour

L'Oreal Hair Touch Up in Light Brown, €14.99, L'Oreal salons nationwide

This spray-on root touch-up comes in four shades, with two varieties of brown - a light and a dark - and also a dark blonde. This means there's no very light shade, which is its only drawback, as an awful lot of women dye their hair lighter as they age. Aside from that, though, it's great stuff. The small nozzle delivers the colour just where you want it and it dries super fast to a lasting cover-up. "The fact that it's a liquid scared me," said a panellist. "I had visions of it dribbling down my forehead, but the advantage of a spray is that you get good scalp cover as well as tinted roots."


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