Whether you want longer, thicker or shinier hair, ANJANA GOSAI finds out how to achieve healthier looking tresses...
Growing out your hair can seem like a long process, but with the latest products and treatments it can be easier. Studies show that a healthy scalp is crucial for hair growth. ‘Our hair grows approximately half an inch per month - that is six inches a year,’ says trichologist Philip Kingsley (philipkingsley.co.uk). ‘However, it is possible to stimulate growth by massaging the scalp with a kneading action, for two to three minutes before shampooing,’ he advises.
When massaging, use a product like Kerastase Initialiste (£32, lookfantastic.com), which is designed to nourish the scalp and provide the right environment for healthy hair growth.
Similarly, the Grow Gorgeous Hair Serum (£29.99) is loaded with potent ingredients like bio-active pea sprout to stimulate hair at the root, acetyl tetrapeptide-3 to boost collagen production in the scalp, plus Chinese skullcap, soy and wheat sprout to improve thickness – the makers claim it can give you 13,000 more hairs after four months of use.
It is also worth investing in a growth stimulating shampoo such as LA Science Follicle Stimulating Shampoo (£15.99, boots.com), which helps increase blood flow to the scalp and speed up growth. According to experts, our diet can also influence hair growth. ‘Hair is protein, so it is important to eat proteins for strength. Up your intake of fish, chicken and eggs, to increase the production of keratin, the protein in your hair,’ advises Kingsley.
Naturopath Dr Deborah McManners suggests supporting a wholesome diet with additional supplements. ‘Because the hair follicle is a non-essential tissue, it is one of the last to receive nutritious substances from the body. Good nutritional support can help natural re-growth.’ Try the supermodel favourite Viviscal Women’s Max Strength Supplement (£39.95, viviscal.co.uk) – the capsules contain zinc, biotin and fish oils to promote growth. It may seem counterproductive, but regular trims – every six to eight weeks will keep locks healthy and free from split ends, which can travel up the hair shaft leaving the hair looking unhealthy.
If the Big Day is only a couple of months away and you have not achieved your desired hair length, it is worth considering hair extensions. Advancements in application and processing methods means that results are more natural than ever. ‘If you’re looking to have longer or more voluminous hair just for the wedding day, go for clip-in extensions, as they are temporary and more cost-effective,’ advises hair extensionist of the year Inanch (consultations with Inanch are free, extensions start from £400, inanch.com). ‘Just be sure to pick 100 per cent human remy hair, which will look and behave like your own,’ she adds.
For those after a long-term option, Inanch recommends pre-bonded keratin hair extensions such as Great Lengths or Gold Class – these are applied to your natural hair using a unique cold bonding method that involves no hot glue, knotting or welding. But before booking in for any extensions, make sure the technician is qualified. ‘Hair extensions are a cosmetic procedure and to minimise the risk of damage to your own hair and scalp go to a qualified hairdresser who also has been certified in hair extension application,’ advises Inanch.
LET IT SHINE
If you want to leave your hair down for an event, ensuring that it appears glossy is probably as important as a radiant complexion. ‘Moisture is the key for shine,’ says Gustav Fouche, senior stylist at the Michael Van Clarke salon in Mayfair, London. If you want shiny locks for a specific day, Fouche recommends starting your shine-boosting regime at least six months before. ‘Book a professional in-salon conditioning treatment every eight weeks up until the event to get your hair into the best possible condition,’ advises Fouche.
He suggests using a product like Michael Van Clarke 3 More Inches Pre Wash Treatment (£29, vanclarke.com) at home, every second wash. The added cashmere protein and amino acid blend penetrates the hair shaft to repair damage. It is important to wash away shine sapping impurities and styling product residue with the right products. Try Organic Surge Shine Boost Shampoo and Conditioner (£5.99). Dry hair appears dull, so keep it nourished with a moisture-enriching mask once a week, this will help to smooth the cuticle and enhance shine. We like Keratin Revolution Keratin Infused Deep Conditioner Masque (24.99, keratinrevolution.com) – it contains hydrolysed keratin, green tea extracts, collagen and jojoba oil that work in tandem to provide intense moisture and restore shine.
In addition, try a leave-in product like new Aveda Dry Remedy Daily Moisturising Oil (£17.50, aveda.co.uk) that comes filled with Brazilian buriti oil to drench hair in moisture and restore shine. A week before the wedding is the ideal time to book in for a professional treatment, which will really make the hair glisten. Try the Micromist Hair & Scalp Treatment (from £50, vanclarkecom), which emits tiny steam particles that draw nourishing ingredients deep into the hair shaft to repair, rejuvenate and add shine. Try to avoid potential shine killers such as perms and colouring. ‘These procedures tend to lift the hair’s cuticle, thereby deflecting rather than reflecting light,’ warns Kingsley.
‘Monitor use of heated styling tools too, these can break down the hair cuticle [the protective layer] and leave the fibrous cortex exposed at risk of breakage.’ When using these tools, remember to spritz on a heat protective spray like Philip Kingsley Daily Damage Defence Conditioning Spray (£22, philipkingsley.co.uk).
PUMP UP THE VOLUME
Limp, lifeless hair is a big wedding day no-no, but, by heeding some insider tips, you can give your locks more body than a model in a shampoo advert.
While conditioner does a great job to nourish the hair, it can also weigh it down. ‘To avoid limp locks, keep conditioner away from the scalp as it is formulated to be applied to the hair – use it on the mid-lengths and ends only,’ shares Kingsley.
Shop for a light conditioning formula to avoid a flat finish. New Swell Advanced Volumizing Masque (£9, swellhair.co.uk) has a virtually weightless texture with rich active ingredients to nourish the hair without making it drop. Alternatively, L’Oreal Elvive Fibrology range (boots.com) contains filloxane – an ingredient that penetrates the hair fibre and expands the strands from within.
For good measure, try new Rapid Hair Volumising Formula (£69.99, rapidlash.co.uk) after washing. The leave-in foam conditioner uses tiny nano particles to deliver thickening and strengthening ingredients into the strands, giving the illusion of thicket locks. The right cut can also make a difference, especially on those with fine hair, which is prone to falling flat. For a fuller looking mane, stylists recommend a one-length chop or including some long layers to add texture and movement. For a volume boosting cut book an appointment at the George Northwood salon (georgenorthwood.com) – a favourite of Alexa Chung and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
You may also want to consider getting some highlights applied, which can add dimension to limp tresses. When it comes to styling, we all know that a good blow-dry can add tonnes of volume, but if you are doing it yourself, don’t over do the heat, which can flatten the roots – a lower heat setting is best. ‘For lift at the roots, remove the air concentrator nozzle from the hairdryer, which will roughen up the hair while it dries and adds texture,’ says Fouche. But before blow-drying, spray the roots with a lightweight body boosting spray such as, Color Wow Raise the Root Thicken+ Lift Spray (£16.50, spacenk.com) to pump up the strands on fine hair. Those with thicker locks may be better off using a mousse such as Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Hydrocream Whip (£14.95, amazon.com) to add bulk to the roots without weighing them down.