Alison Young’s Beauty Commandments: Hair


Scalp support
Many people concentrate on the condition of their hair on the mid-lengths to ends and forget that this hair is one to five years old, and that the quality of the hair is controlled by the health of the scalp. Scalp care is crucial in both the balance of the oil, therefore giving better lift and scalp coverage, as well as in the quality of the structure of the hair coming from the bulb and the blood supply.

Scalp treatment does not need to be complex; it just needs to be done. It can be as simple as consciously making an effort every time you shampoo your hair to ensure that the hair at the root on the scalp is soaking wet (not just the ends). Also that shampoo is thoroughly massaged in, especially along parting lines or problem areas around the crown. The fingertips cause deeper penetration through the layers of the hair and more stimulation of the blood supply rather than massaging with the flat of the hand.

For thicker areas of hair, even on fine hair which can often have more follicles, try lifting up sections of the hair and applying the shampoo underneath to get direct root contact. This should become a regular good habit and you should reap the rewards in hair staying cleaner for longer. The scalp will always benefit from once every 4/5 washes, which maybe for a fine or greasy hair, once a week, or if you are only washing once every week to 2 weeks (ie: thick or African Caribbean hair) then every other time you wash, do a pre-scalp treatment to the hair before you get in the shower.

WEN by Chaz Dean Cleansing Conditioner Trio - 204667

Normal to dry sensitive or flaky scalps will benefit from a few drops of oil such as your shea butter oils, your argan oils and camellia oils. Massage in sections along the scalp and then leave for 5 – 10 minutes. This acts as natural cleansing and exfoliation and then when you shampoo and condition, this will come away with your correct stimulating massage (which you now know how to do).

For those with a very oily and sometimes spotty or problematic scalp, apply either a scalp mask or a slightly watered down version so that it’s easy to get between the hair layers. This will give a much more aerated look to your hairstyle and balance your scalp so that it stays cleaner for longer – this is really good for pre-wedding and special occasions.

For those that have reduced or weakening hair growth, then obviously the scalp is crucial for your application of hair serums, like Hair Fix Follicle Plus, and your laser treatments like the HairMax.

Hair tools for you
Hair tools and accessories, even your brushes are designed differently for different hair textures and types and lengths. For example, with brushes, thick, coarse or curly hair requires a smooth blow dry finish and a double bristle brush which is one that has both long and short bristles to grab and hold the hair. But, if you use this sort of brush on fine hair, it will grab too much and split and pull hairs out. A fine or thinning hair texture is better with synthetic brushes with wider gaps that glide through with no drag or tear.

The same can be said of your electrical appliances in that the heat settings are generally needed only on the highest settings for thicker and coarser hair and on the lower settings for finer and thinning hair. This even includes your hair dryer. Try to work at as low a temperature as you can depending on how long it takes, as this will help your hair health in the long run.

Model brushing hair

Hairdresser’s rule
Your hairdresser should be your hair’s best friend and if they’re not, change them! They are the only person that is going to root through every millimetre of your scalp and be able to discuss and tell you if there is any damage, breakage, hair loss or scalp problems.

A regular appointment with the same hairdresser is always most beneficial and will help you to become aware of problems before you notice them yourself as they have a birds-eye view. Get into the habit of asking them to check what your scalp looks like or asking them if you have any hair breakage or thinning because many hairdressers, even if they notice it, may not wish to tell you in fear of upsetting you.

Talk to them, not just about styles that you want, but ask them to be honest and open about whether your hair texture and optimum length will work in a particular style and what the home maintenance will be.

Whether your hairdresser colours your hair or not, you should also be able to talk to them about home colour and ask them for their advice regarding the tones in your hair to be able to adapt or choose a different home colour that you can do yourself. When you have the same hairdresser, it is easy to discuss with them any healthcare issues.

Hair salonFor example, things like pregnancy and menopause will affect your hair quality and obviously medical treatment including serious pain killers, long term medication etc. will all have an effect your hair. If your hairdresser is aware of any issues you may have, they will be better able to advise you on whether your hair can continue to be coloured or cut in the way that it has been.

If you are contemplating a change of hairdresser, then either go for a consultation first if they offer it, or if you can, for your first appointment just have a blow dry or a light trim to make sure that you are happy before jumping into a complete restyle.

It is important to realise that what you say is not always what they hear and that is why a little bit of time getting to know each other will reap the reward in the future as you both understand what is being said and what is meant.

The sign of a top hairdresser is always a busy appointment book. The good ones are worth waiting for. Also, check out the brands that they stock in their salon, the more high profile brands they stock and display, usually the better they are. Perhaps they have some awards, or have been shortlisted for salon of the year or an area competition. It’s a good idea to do your research first.

Hair moisturisers
Hair has become dryer for lots of different reasons; styling, stress, lifestyle and climate change, but hairstyles will always dictate silky, shiny finishes. The only way to achieve this is with constant moisturising.

This involves a conditioner that is normally put on mid-lengths to ends but try to get into the habit to getting the best value for money by really pushing and squashing in the moisturiser to the ends of the hair rather than just laying it on top. This will aid the penetration and get better results.

To prevent frizz, even on a fine and oily hair and of course, on thicker and textured hair, a blow drying treatment is essential. Just like your skincare, you can choose by texture and result – finer hair will prefer either sprays or gels, thicker hair will prefer serums and oils. Nowadays because of their advanced formulas, hese can be used both before blow drying and styling and applied afterwards as finishing sealants.

Intensive hair masks are essential and act as a checkpoint to get rid of any build-up of dryness, brittleness or split-end lifting. Think of your hair masks like a hair facial and you should see instant, dramatic improvement.

You can choose these depending upon when you prefer to wash your hair and what time you have available to you. For example, some hair masks can be applied in the shower for five minutes, others are put on 20 minutes before you wash your hair and some need to be put on overnight and washed out the next morning. Shop by the technique that you know will fit in to your routine.

Hair model

Handbag heroes
Hair perfection is a 24/7 technique and very much means today, that you need to carry with you some essential problem solvers that you can grab at work/after work/before going out etc. so you have control of your style and texture all the time.

This involves a mini version of your perfect hair brush as previously discussed. A glossing or smoothing serum for the ends; water or fluid-based for finer hair or even in a mist spray, and a cream or oil-based formula for thicker hair – and the ultimate must-own? A dry shampoo.

Dry shampoo can be used in several different ways. Yes, they will give you a cleaner look, if you haven’t had time to wash, but also if your hair becomes greasy or sweaty because of stress, a job interview, illness, pain management, lifestyle, a cycle helmet or working out at the gym.

They are used by session stylists, sprayed not just into the roots but all over the hair by lifting up the layers or spraying upside down, and then using your hands to massage through and scrunch to give a more tousled look and actually a more full-bodied or thicker look to the hair. This overall technique can create more texture and can be used even on clean hair for the fashion finish.

Take a look at our wide range of haircare.

Check out the rest of our Beauty department

1 Comment

  1. mandy chamberlain September 21, 2014 at 11:29 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison
    I have short fine wavey blonde hair.
    Since going from highlighted to dyed hair
    two years ago, my hair lank and flat.
    I blowwave my hair back in curls, but can’t
    get my hair to curl anymore. I now wash it
    everyday try to blowwave it, then put rollers
    in it for a couple of hours. Please help. Thank you. Mandy x

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