If you’re lucky enough to have thick hair (or can afford good extensions), the artfully dishevelled braid that Blake Lively wore at Cannes is a great look to copy. Thick hair tends to hold a curly or straight blowdry very well, but up-dos need plenty of support. Secured high on Blake’s crown and loosely braided down her back, this style reportedly required a generous spritz of L’Oreal Elnett Satine Silkissime Extra Strength Hairspray, €8.89, to keep it in place.
Less is more when managing your fine hair. Experiment and pay close attention to the amount of styling product it can handle without looking greasy or feeling stiff. Use a gentle shampoo (the Jason option mentioned below also suits your hair) and apply conditioner sparingly. Build volume with a lightweight mousse like Living Proof’s, which gives hair healthy, natural-looking texture. Resist backcombing, it damages hair with every stroke.
The daily challenge with an oily scalp, as with oily skin, is to cleanse effectively without drying. Oily hair typically requires more frequent washing in the summer. Dry shampoo can only keep locks from going limp for so long, especially when it is hot. An alcohol and fragrance-free shampoo is best, as irritation causes the scalp to produce even more oil, exacerbating the problem. Jason Naturals is a great choice for both oily and fine hair, as it does not deposit weighty, emollient ingredients.
Dry, coarse hair often stubbornly refuses to shine, but this six-oil blend by Bumble and Bumble should leave a gleam. After a moisturising shampoo and rich conditioner (products labelled for “damaged” hair suit dry hair too) this type can handle the heaviest styling products on the shelf: waxes, oils and luxurious creams. Dry hair is perhaps the most vulnerable to damage, so should be allowed to dry naturally whenever possible.
Curly is the Mariah Carey of hair types — potentially show-stopping and often a bit of a diva. Blot it dry after washing and apply a lightweight styling lotion, such as this cream by John Frieda. Take advantage of warm weather and let it dry naturally. Otherwise, use your dryer on a low setting with a diffuser attachment. The reduced air power helps your curls to better maintain their shape. Scrunch curls with your fingers, gently lifting hair at the roots as you go.
If you start to lose hair suddenly, go to your doctor before shopping. Haircare products that claim to promote hair retention or regrowth are usually unproven by independent studies and a sudden change is likely symptomatic of an internal issue. S/he may suggest an effective minoxidil treatment like Regaine. If your loss is female-pattern or male-pattern, there is some research suggesting that Nizoral Dandruff Shampoo, €11.50, promotes hair retention because of the ingredient ketaconazole. Gentle products for fine hair like Aveda Volumizing Tonic help you look good while researching your options.
I suffer terribly with an itchy scalp. The problem isn’t accompanied by dandruff (or lice!), but the base and crown of my scalp are uncomfortable most of the time. I use natural, organic products and avoid heat-styling near my roots often as possible. What else can I do?
Reverence for all things organic can result in delicious meals but not necessarily healthy skin or hair. Ingredients that irritate our skin and scalp can be 100% organic, just as synthetic ingredients can benefit us. Ingredients to avoid in your shampoo include non-fatty alcohols (alcohol denat is the most common), sodium lauryl sulphate (a detergent cleanser), perfume, menthol (or any other mint oils) and fragrant plant and flower oils. Organic Babies by Green People Scent Free Body Wash & Shampoo, €14.20, is a great choice (fragrance in your conditioner is fine as the ends of your hair are dead).
I find dry shampoos very irritating. They necessarily contain at least some fragrance, so should be avoided in your case. A fragrance-free hydrocortisone cream applied in the evening may also help you ditch the itch.
If your scalp is also dry, consider massaging it with borage or evening primrose oil before bed. These are packed with essential fatty acids yet conveniently light and easy to wash out.