So it’s all over bar the few stray pine needles in the carpet, which are as frazzled, dried-out and sapped of colour as your poor hair, post-Christmas.
All that styling and blow-drying, straightening one night and then curling the next, takes a terrible toll, and now it’s time to give a little back to your crowning glory. Think of it as the first of your New Year’s Resolutions and one that, with our help, won’t be too hard to keep.
If you went to town on your hair over the festive season, an extra dollop of your day-to-day conditioner just won’t do it. Straw-like hair needs a good mask — all the better if you use one of the January nights in to leave it on while you watch telly — and if you need to keep using the hair dryer, then you need a heatprotection product, too. Think of both as insulating layers for your locks and get them restored to sleek and shiny by the time you’re ready for a night out again.
Redken Extreme Strength Builder Fortifying Mask, €28.50, salons nationwide
All of the products in the Extreme Strength range are very impressive, but this mask is the ultimate hard worker. Aimed at distressed hair, it’s free of silicones — which can leave hair more lank than enlivened — but high in ceramides and proteins. It worked well for fine and thick hair alike. “My hair felt supple after one use, when I had imagined that the scissors was the only answer to the scalded head on me,” said a panellist, “but the bounce is back after a serious bout of seasonal straightening.”
BEST IN-SHOWER SALVE
Joico K-Pak Revitaluxe Bio-Advanced Restorative Treatment, €20, salons nationwide, tel: (045) 856-490
This is a treatment product, in that it works more intensely than your average conditioner, but what’s great about it is that it’s suitable for daily use, and can be used in the shower on wet hair, instead of on towel-dried hair. Based on patent-pending keratin peptide technology, it repairs damage and provides a seal against any ongoing wear and tear. “I love anything easy to use, but there was more to like about this than just that,” a panellist said. “The results were really good; my hair was bouncy and shiny and not weighed down.” BEST OVERNIGHT OIL Kerastase Elixir Ultime, €34, Kerastase salons nationwide, for stockist info, tel: (01) 604-5935 This hair oil is pure luxury in a market that became flooded with the stuff in the latter part of last year. Combining maize, Amazonian pracaxi, camellia and argan oils, it’s very rich, but works well on most hair types, with very fine hair probably tolerating it best as an overnight treatment. “Given it’s an oil, this goes on remarkably dry and doesn’t make your hair greasy,” said one panellist. “I loved a double dose as a treatment, and my hair smelled gorgeous afterwards.”
BEST BLOW-DRY BUDDY
L’Oreal Professionel Mythic Oil, €15.20, L’Oreal Professionel salons nationwide, tel: (01) 604-5910
With smoothing silicones and avocado and grapeseed oils, this sensuous-smelling serum promises to transform all kinds of hair — weightlessly. We liked it as a styling product, offering protection from the heat of tongs or straighteners and leaving hair super-shiny, even when it has been overworked, such as of late. “It gave my frazzled barnet a healthy sheen, and that rarely happens,” said one panellist. “It makes blow-drying much easier and gets rid of any trace of bird’s nest.”
BEST POST-TONGS TREAT
Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Take the Heat Deep Treatment, €5.99, available nationwide
A twist on the classic 3 Minute Miracle deep conditioner, this contains jojoba-seed oil, which has healing properties that, one hopes, transfer to heat-damaged hair. Eminently smoothing, it also promises to strengthen hair, and do it all in three minutes. It comes in knacky sachets for travel or the gym bag. “A great weekly treatment that boosts silkiness; it made my hair smooth and my colour look enlivened again,” said a panellist.