Post-summer Hair Repair

As your tan fades and fall approaches, chances are your sun-streaked summer hair could use a little TLC. Follow these hair-resuscitating tips from industry pros and you’ll make autumn the season of gorgeous hair days.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
“Summer hair damage isn’t going to just repair itself,” says West Hollywood stylist Mauricio Ribeiro, who operates his own namesake salon. He suggests treating parched manes with a moisturizing shampoo followed by a moisturizing conditioner. Be sure to apply the conditioner where sun-damaged hair needs it most--from the mid-shaft to the tip. “Hair isn’t as dry at the roots thanks to its natural oils, so condition there more sparingly,” says Ribeiro.

Handle With Care
To baby your stressed tresses, apply a leave-in detangler. This will add an extra boost of conditioner and also gently smooth and separate strands, so you won’t have to tug at snags with a comb. That kind of rough handling can add further damage to your hair. “When your hair is wet, only use a wide-toothed comb to prepare it for styling,” says Pantene senior scientist Jeni Thomas. “Even when it’s dry, you want to use the minimum number of brushstrokes it takes to achieve or refresh your style.”

Get Deep
If your locks still look lackluster after using rinse-out and leave-in conditioners, call in the SWAT team: a concentrated hair-conditioning treatment or mask. To get all the benefits from the nourishing ingredients, apply the conditioner section-by-section to your hair, says Dani Hauflaire, a stylist with Maxine Salon in Chicago. Start at the tips and work toward the roots. Then, leave it on for a few minutes while you buff your skin with your favorite body scrub. (Your skin can also use some extra care now!) “The steam from the shower will help the product really penetrate the hair shaft,” says Hauflaire.

Tweak Your Color
Sun exposure can leave your hair looking dull and brassy, especially if it’s color-processed. And the streaks that looked glowing against bronzed skin will wash out fall’s paler complexion. Maintain a flattering balance by adding rich tones to your hair. That means auburn, chestnut, chocolate and coffee if you’re a brunette; caramel, gold and toffee if you’re a blonde. An at-home or salon gloss will also restore shine to your hair so it gleams on even a cloudy fall day.

Cut Your Losses
Chlorine, sun, salt, ponytail elastics -- all can lead to frayed and fried ends. “Left alone, those split ends are going to continue to split,” says Hauflaire. A half-inch trim will make a world a difference -- leaving you with well-defined, healthy ends that will show off your hairstyle, whether it’s a bob, a pixie, straight and sleek or long, sexy waves.

Photo: Corbis Images

Know Your Hair Type: The Secret to Healthy Hair!

Here’s all that’s standing between you and your most beautiful, most manageable hair: a tiny bit of self-knowledge. Simply knowing your natural hair type will help you achieve smooth hair that holds its style through the whole day (curls that are defined and controlled, fine hair that doesn’t flop midday, etc.).

“If you understand your hair,” says Jeni Thomas, a research scientist on hair and scalp health for Pantene, “you not only know what it is capable -- and not capable -- of doing, but how best to work with it as well.” 

The Science of Hair Types
Think Avatar is the most important 3-D breakthrough? Consider this: The same kind of 3-D technology used in medicine to image and measure bone density is also being used to study the way multiple hair fibers interact. What researchers have discovered, says Thomas, is that different types of hair texture create different kinds of 3-D structures. This revelation is leading to customized product lines that can spell the end of bad hair days. 

We now know that the same shampoo and conditioning ingredients and formulations that keep curly hair shiny and healthy won’t give fine hair the body and volume it needs. Curly hair fibers form an intricate network that can act like a filter, trapping ingredients from shampoo and conditioners; what’s needed to prevent damage are products that minimize the friction between strands.

Fine hair fibers, on the other hand, arrange themselves in a parallel pattern that acts more like a funnel, so ingredients that moisturize and condition slip away rather than stick. The fix is a formula that helps those reparative ingredients grab on and stay.

The Basic Hair Types

Almost all hair -- 98 percent -- falls into four different structures:

  1. Fine hair has up to 50 percent less protein than thicker hair, so it’s fragile and tends to fall flat.
  2. Medium-thick hair can contain up to twice as many cells as fine hair, making it more rigid and capable of absorbing up to 40 percent more moisture than fine hair, which can lead to frizz.

  3. Curly hair has twists and turns that can cause the cuticle to lift and weaken, leaving hair rough and difficult to control.

  4. Color-treated hair has undergone a structural change in the chemical process that makes it more negatively charged than unprocessed hair -- that can mean hair that’s rough, dull and vulnerable to damage.

Why Hair Type Matters
Products formulated for your hair type will make styling easier; on the other hand, the wrong ingredients and formula will have you waging a losing war with your locks -- struggling to get the style you want, frustrated when it doesn’t hold. For example, as Thomas points out, “thicker hair tends to be more frizz-prone than finer hair, so for medium-thick hair to hold a style throughout the day, ingredients that offer hair some humidity resistance are extremely helpful.”

To keep fine hair from wilting midday, however, prep it with a shampoo containing polymers boosting its cleaning power and allowing these fragile strands to stand up to the weight of accumulated scalp oils, dirt and yesterday’s styling residue. Look for shampoos, conditioners and styling products that are especially designed for your hair type; you’ll find customized lines on your drugstore shelves.

The Right Cut for Your Hair Type

  • Fine hair “Avoid overly razored cuts,” says George Papanikolas of West Hollywood’s Andy Lecompte salon, where you might spot such A-list clients as Madonna and Penelope Cruz. “Opt instead for a layered cut with blunt ends, which will leave the hair looking thicker.”

  • Medium-thick hair Keep your hair at least a few inches below your chin. “You need some length to prevent your hair from getting too bulky,” says Mike Van Den Abbeel, owner of Mosaic Hair Studio in Orlando, Fla. “Long layers will also remove some weight and add definition to your style.” 

  • Curly hair To avoid what veteran hairstylist Don Bewley describes as “curly hair that looks like a topiary,” ask for a cut that imposes some structure and shape on your ringlets. That means long layers -- no shorter than 6 inches -- save for a few shorter face-framing layers in front and a well-defined line at the ends.


From Damaged Hair to Dazzling Hair

Going from brunette to platinum blonde and back again or putting the flatiron, curling iron or blow-dryer into overdrive can quickly lead to lifeless, damaged hair. Top pros reveal how to restore your hair’s health and prevent havoc in the first place.

1. Get monthly trims.

Get your ends trimmed once a month while you’re nursing your hair back to health, suggests Beverly Hills stylist Paul Ohana. “It might take four or five months to get rid of the most damaged hair,” he says, “but you will see a gradual improvement without having to change your hair length or style completely.”

2. Highlight your hair judiciously.
“Be wary of overindulging in highlights,” says Kim Vo, who colors the tresses of celeb clients like Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson. Bleach is typically used to highlight hair, but left on too long or applied too frequently, it can literally fry and damage hair, says Kevin Josephson, a colorist whose clients include Kirsten Dunst and Kristin Davis. The solution: Instead of all-over highlights, opt for a few streaks strategically placed around the face. Repeat only once every two to three months.

3. Condition, condition, condition.

Vo likes to say that you whisper or talk with your conditioner. Consider “whispering” the everyday conditioning you apply each time you shampoo your hair, while weekly conditioner masks are “the talk.” Applying a weekly mask will help quench extra-parched, damaged hair.

4. Brush your hair the right way.

One of the biggest contributors to damaged hair -- and one of the easiest to fix -- is improper brushing, says Ohana. After towel-drying your hair following a shower, a few strands might still be tangled even if you’ve used conditioner. “When you brush from top to bottom, you’re forcing those knots out, and that can cause split ends,” he says. Instead, use a soft-bristle brush to gently brush the ends of your hair, and move up a few inches at a time until you reach the root.

5. Use heat tools safely.

Take the time to section your tresses with clips when you style your hair with heat. Focus on one area at a time, and when that’s done, move on to the next section. “Don’t keep going over the same area,” says Josephson. You’re not adding extra styling polish, just more heat. Sun exposure makes the top layer of your damaged hair especially fragile, so leave that part for last, allowing it to air-dry while you blow-dry the sections underneath.

When you use a flatiron or curling iron, work with a 1- or 2-inch section of hair at a time to avoid going over the same area repeatedly. Keep the flatiron moving through your locks and leave your hair in the curling iron for only a few seconds. Vo adds that heat above 450 F can damage the hair's cuticle, so set your flatiron below that temperature. (If the iron doesn’t have a temperature gauge, use it on the medium setting.)

6. Maintain your instruments.

A few seconds dedicated to tool maintenance every week or two will save your hair from what Alex Roldan, whose namesake salon is a West Hollywood institution, calls “mechanical abuse.”

  • Clean the lint and debris from the vents of your hair dryer to keep a steady flow of air. Clogged vents will prevent the dryer from pulling in cool air, and that can lead to dangerously hot air and even sparks that damage hair.
  • Use the dryer’s nozzle attachment or press the blow-dryer against the brush and not your hair itself. This way, you’ll prevent singed locks.
  • Wipe your curling iron and straightening iron with a slightly damp washcloth before and after each use to get rid of any oil or product buildup, and use a product designed to protect damaged hair from heat.
  • Apply hair spray after you use heat tools or the spray will cook right on your hair.

6 Solutions for Stress-free Hair

When it comes to our hair, we’d all like to be efficiency experts, banishing bad hair days in a flash. Now you can: The best way to keep your hair looking its best in any situation is to think like a pro and prepare. With a few simple styling techniques and some helpful tools and accessories, you’ll be able to solve the most hair-raising dilemmas almost instantly. Here’s how:

1. Need a polished look fast? Build up your accessories wardrobe. With just a small selection of headbands, decorative hairpins and combs, you can add polish to pixie cuts; bobs; long, loose waves; ponytails; and buns. Try this season’s new looks in headbands: narrow and sparkly thin bands, or stretchy head wraps in festive colors. Find them at specialty stores, at drugstores or on accessory counters at J.Crew, Barneys New York and Banana Republic.

2. Locks gone limp? If you find that your fine hair goes flat fast, tweak your products and styling habits. Pantene scientists discovered that fine hair has up to 50 percent less internal protein than thick hair. As a result, fine hair resists holding many styles. To keep your fine tresses healthy and full, select products that are formulated to support your hair’s delicate texture. Don’t skip conditioner, but avoid the crown of your head when you apply. Add volume and lift by blow-drying roots with a medium or large round brush.

3. Want unfussy curls? You can set soft waves while you sleep, says veteran hairstylist Allen Edwards of Woodland Hills, Calif. He suggests pinning not-quite-dry hair into small buns or coils. Using 3- to 4-inch bobby pins, secure half a dozen sections of twisted hair into coils high on your head. For a firmer hold, pretreat strands with a thickening spray, styling cream, mousse or gel.

4. So your favorite look isn’t working anymore? It may be time for a hair care audit, says Kristoff Ball, a Beverly Hills stylist who works with Gwen Stefani and Paris Hilton. Hair care products and tools are constantly evolving. Year after year, your hair also goes through subtle but steady changes in texture, curl and strength. The combination can mean your usual routines and products lose effectiveness. Have a detailed discussion with your stylist about whether it’s time for a new look, a product switch or an update in your heat-styling tools.

5. Want to go from workout to work? Keeping your scalp and hair free of oils and perspiration is the key to reviving your ’do. That’s why Ball keeps aerosol dry shampoo in his mobile kit. His technique: Turn your head upside down, spritz your roots from arm’s length, and shake your head to toss out any excess powder. Then, use a vented brush to redirect hair where you want it. The same method also helps extend a blowout.

6. Need a fast, fun style? Do a topknot, says Tony Chavez, a Beverly Hills stylist. “Topknots are flattering to nearly everyone because they show off your face and make you look taller,” he says. Here’s the easiest way to get the look. Bend your head over, brush and gather up your hair into a ponytail at your crown and twist a large elastic band around the pony once. As you twist the band a second time, pull the ponytail halfway through so the ends are secured in the elastic band, forming a loop. For a looser topknot, just pull a few strands out of the elastic.


Gorgeous Hair: Getting the Most From Conditioners

Maintaining that healthy, manageable hair you get from hours at the salon requires work at home. So how can you keep that high shine? Conditioning your hair regularly will improve its strength, shine and keep hair damage to a minimum, though it can't actually repair damaged hair. "Conditioners smooth the cuticles, reduce static electricity, protect against UV damage and enhance overall appearance," says Dr. D'Anne Kleinsmith, a dermatologist in West Bloomfield, Mich.

Conditioners also help keep the hair's cortex hydrated. "Dry, out-of-condition hair lacks moisture, and without enough moisture, the number of hydrogen bonds may be reduced," explains John Gray, author of The World of Hair. "Conditioning allows reestablishment of the hydrogen bonds and improves the moisture content of the hair by improving the weatherproofing of the cuticle."

Your hair's length, the amount of chemical processing it endures and the frequency with which you use hot styling tools are all factors to consider in your conditioning regimen. "Ask yourself what kind of hair you have," suggests Steve Lococo, co-owner and style director of Borrelli Salons California. "Volume conditioners have ingredients that will plump up the hair, usually with grapefruit or some type of citric ingredient. Smoothing conditioners have a tendency to have more oils or lanolin to help coat the hair shaft."

Fine Hair
Thin hair typically cannot support a high level of conditioning ingredients. To prevent weighing down delicate tresses, consider conditioning just the middle and ends, where your hair is most susceptible to damage. A light volumizing conditioner will moisturize your hair and provide thermal protection for blow-dryer use. If your hair is extremely fine, you may want to replace a basic conditioner with a leave-in conditioning spray, which boasts a lighter formulation and will help strengthen the hair shaft.

Thick Hair
The right conditioner is a fundamental component of an effective hair care regimen if you have thick, wild tresses. "Unlike fine hair, hair that’s thick can support a lot of conditioning ingredients," "explains leading hair care research scientist Steve Shiel, a Pantene hair care expert who holds a doctorate in organometallic chemistry. "I would recommend more intensive conditioning products; for example, one designed for straight hair or dry, damaged hair. Conditioning masks can also help to tame unruly hair." While a leave-in conditioner doesn't provide enough conditioning for thick hair, Shiel suggests using it as a detangling aid, especially on days between shampooing.

Curly Hair

“Condition, condition, condition” is the mantra for curly tresses. Hair experts suggest you condition your locks every time you shampoo. On the days you don't shampoo, run a conditioner through your corkscrews if they’ve gotten bulky and unkempt to help them relax and detangle easily. Rinse your scalp thoroughly but leave a trace of conditioner in your strands.

To avoid dehydration and frizz, use a deep-conditioning mask every two weeks. Maximize the results by applying the mask, then covering your hair with a shower cap or plastic wrap and running the heat of a blow dryer a few inches above your head for five to ten minutes. If your hair is extremely dehydrated, use a basic conditioner to detangle, followed by a leave-in conditioner to sustain moisture.

Colored and Highlighted Hair

Coloring your hair can remove some, or all, of the lipid layer on the surface of each cuticle, depleting your hair's natural waterproofing qualities. And since a basic conditioner is formulated to deposit on waterproof hair, it becomes ineffective on color-processed tresses. Conditioners specifically made for colored hair contain different polymers designed to work on a non-waterproof surface. Quick tip: the night before a color treatment, prep and protect your locks by coating with a leave-in oil, suggests Claudio Lazo, owner of C the Salon in Studio City, Calif.

Conditioning Tips for All Hair Types
Dispense the conditioner into the palm of your hand and rub your hands together.  Using your fingers almost like a comb, apply the product from the midsections of your hair down toward the ends. "You should concentrate on these areas, as they are the most damaged parts of your hair," explains Shiel. "When you rinse your hair, enough of the product will then deposit on the parts of your hair closest to your scalp." You may also want to use a paddle brush or wide-tooth comb in the shower to distribute the conditioner throughout.