Saturday 21 April 2018

The beauty panel: Hair Today

Once, it was enough to just wash and go, but now we're all superstylists with product needs

Pictured, from left, Redken Diamond Oil; Precious Nature Today's Special Oil with Grape and Lavender; Rahua Finishing Treatment; Kerastase Chronologiste Perfume in Oil; Pantene Deep Repair Masque. Photo: Kip Carroll
Pictured, from left, Redken Diamond Oil; Precious Nature Today's Special Oil with Grape and Lavender; Rahua Finishing Treatment; Kerastase Chronologiste Perfume in Oil; Pantene Deep Repair Masque. Photo: Kip Carroll

Sarah Caden

By now, you'd need to be well into your 30s to remember that there was a time when the hair-care advert du jour was all about wanting to 'wash your hair and go'. The ultimate desire was speed, simple efficiency, and the expectation was hair that looked clean. Not smoothed, not straightened, not really styled. Just clean. Oh, those days are long gone.

In the Noughties interim, Ireland developed a bit of a blow-dry habit. The result of this was an expectation that we - a nation blessed with hair that's prone to frizz, and a climate prone to exacerbating it - became very used to looking sleek and polished.

Once the bust came, however, the weekly trip to the salon was an obvious expense to cut. It felt right and proper, but we wanted our hair to feel right and proper, too, hence our complete conversion to hair products. The 80s shampoo ad suggested that all you needed for fabulous hair was one bottle, but many of us have swapped a salon habit for a salon-standard home-styling habit. We have a lot of hair-care products, and the industry response to that is to keep making them better, as you'll notice with our top five today.

Best Overall

Redken Diamond Oil, €33.95, selected salons nationwide

The idea of putting oil in your hair would once have been a laughable concept. Now, almost everyone is at it. And, we assure the unconverted or unconvinced, the right oil won't make your hair greasy. An oil designed for thick, very curly hair will be too heavy for fine, poker-straight hair, but this is a good example of an all-types styler. Oil and silicones combine to create a lightweight product that speeds up blow-drying, smooths and bestows shine. "A tiny bit goes a long way to creating sleek bounce," a panellist said. "This is my new nearly-salon favourite."

Best New Oil Arrival

Precious Nature Today's Special Oil with Grape and Lavender, €21.90, selected salons nationwide

The 'today's special' menu-like theme might seem a bit gimmicky, but the products in this range are worth more serious consideration. This is an example of an oil that works for what it promises - hair that is curly and dense. With grape serum and lavender oil, it smells heady, and it gives an intense hit of smoothing nourishment. "I got a smooth bounce in my curls, but also a bit of shine, which curly hair can lack," said one panellist.

Best Final Touch

Rahua Finishing Treatment, €50, Dylan Bradshaw, 56 Sth William St, D2, tel: (01) 671-9353

This hair-care range - from the Ecuadorian Amazon, via New York - is gluten-free. This may not be an issue for you, hair-wise, but it's also free of stuff like parabens, sulphates and silicone. It's based on rahua (pronounced ra-wa) oil, and promises to give surface-gloss and deep repair. A tiny bit of this waxy finishing-cream goes a long way. "Touches on the tips of my styled hair gave an extra sheen," said a panellist. "It also smells amazing."

Best Salon Scent

Kerastase Chronologiste Perfume in Oil, €39, selected salons nationwide

If the scent of the salon, as it wafts off your hair for many hours after your visit, is half the pleasure for you, then you're going to love this product. It has head-care and hair-care properties - as in, it promises to ease dandruff and a sensitive scalp, as well as providing shine - but the fragrance is its greatest appeal. Myrrh, musk and tea rose combine to a very luxurious effect. "I smelt deliciously pampered, so I felt it as well," said a panellist. "Never has such a feeling been so easily achieved."

Best Real Repair

Pantene Deep Repair Masque, €6.19, available nationwide

Our super-styling habits have consequences, no matter how good our styling products are, so hair masks and treatments can be greatly restorative. Pantene is a reliable hair brand that has weathered time, and, in particular, it does great treatments. This one has an antioxidant damage blocker, which claims to help seal up your strands against various environmental attackers. "This is Sunday-night pampering, at a great price," said a panellist. "I leave it on overnight if I've been over-zealous with the heated stylers."


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