Your Mane Course: We’re Dishing Out the Right Way to Care for Your Locks
Your hair has an appetite all its own, depending on its texture, weight and colour. Do you know how to satisfy its cravings? We checked in with the experts for their pro advice and then we tapped our staff for their IRL advice. Here are their ideas to noodle over.
Today’s most stylish curl cuts are rooted in a ’70s silhouette, says Justin German, a consulting stylist for Pantene. “I’ve never had so many clients embrace their curls and not be afraid to wear it big,” he says. “It’s that shag feel with big fringe, but leaving it more broken up. That’s the key: Don’t cut it straight across.”
Give curls what they crave. “First and foremost, curls need to be hydrated,” says Jason Lee, owner of the Jason Lee Salon in Toronto, “A moisturizing shampoo and conditioner create a good foundation.” Using a rich hair mask on a weekly basis will also help promote shine and reduce frizz, says German. (Also, here's how to bring your curls back to life.)
For a smooth finish, Lee thinks outside the linen closet. “Traditional towels have ridges that can cause more frizz and rough up the cuticle, while cotton T-shirts have a gentler surface.” Your texture will determine a suitable styler: Choose a cream for extra moisture, a mousse for definition or a gel formula, like Garnier Fructis Curl Treat Jelly Shaping Leave-In Styler, $8, for hold. Ideal application, though, is universal. “On wet hair, you want to apply the product from root to end, section by section,” says German. “It’s a bit more work, but that’s the best approach.”
Our Pick for Curly Hair
A thick whip of coconut, avocado and sweet almond oils, plus shea butter, tends to coarse curls.
Aveeno Almond Oil Blend Hair Mask, $9, shoppersdrugmart.ca
The Staffer Dishes
“Big hair, don’t care – what a time to be alive! After a childhood of cropped cuts and my teen years dedicated to relaxers, it’s taken decades for me to step into my supersized curl power. I’ve been au naturel for more than 10 years now, but I’ve needed that period to get into the groove. Years ago, I spent time and effort putting my hair in twists to unleash a more uniform texture and shape. But today, I’m in a place where I can style it wet, let it air-dry and be pleased and confident with the resulting volume of various coils. Ooh, and I have bangs now, too! Curly bangs are a game-changer." —Ingrie Williams, beauty and style director
Regular trims are a must to keep colour-treated hair in a healthy state. Avoid split ends because they travel upwards damaging strands, says German. Both pros are big fans of the natural-looking results of multi-tonal techniques. “The word mushroom keeps coming up,” Lee says, noting a secondary effect, “Colour brings texture to your hair, it helps swell the cuticle, and every look right now has more texture.”
It’s important to know what’s happening at the dye bar in your salon: ask your colourist if they’re using a bond builder. “Hair colour has changed so much over the past couple of years and at the forefront of this is bond builders,” says Lee, “When a colourist goes in to colour or highlight we’re breaking hair down, taking the pigment out, and bond builders help re-build the structure. They’re essential.”
Anything with a drying effect makes it easier for hair dye to slip out, says Lee, hence water, cleansing and heat styling can all work against you. If you’re blow drying be sure to use a protectant, like L’Oréal Paris EverSleek 10-in-1 Blowout Oil, $16. German’s line-up deals out heaps of hydration with colour-safe shampoo and conditioner, a daily nourishing oil plus an intense weekly treatment. (Here are other ways to keep your coloured hair looking fresh.)
Our Pick for Coloured Hair
Free of silicone, sulfates and parabens, this new vegan formula maintains vibrancy and boosts shine.
Redken Nature + Science Color Extend Shampoo, $26, and Conditioner, $27, ulta.com
The Staffer Dishes
“I used to feel guilty about colouring my hair. Not only was it pricey, it felt like I wasn’t being true to my natural self. But, the fact is, two things that make me happy are colourful things and the idea of change. So, colouring my hair is really just an extension of how I express myself. Over the years, I’ve been a ginger, a brunette (dark and light) and now I’m dabbling in blonde tones. Every change opens my world to new possibilities. Even more than that, when I leave the salon I fall in love with my hair all over again and that feeling invigorates and inspires me. How do you put a price on that?” —Beth Thomson, editor-in-chief
This bob’s for you! “A classic one length hair cut is the way to go for fine hair,” says German. “A bob or lob is the easiest way to make it look thicker, while an overly layered cut can make it appear really thin.” Lee agrees. “A blunt cut is perfect for fine hair because it just needs to fall into place,” he says.
From shampoos to dry texturizing sprays, fine hair thrives with lightweight conditioning and soft hold. “What people don’t realize is that fine hair is really fragile, so you have to approach it like silk,” says Lee, who likes anything with protein to rebuild the cuticle. “It doesn’t have the same structure as thick or medium-density hair to withstand heat, brushing or being pulled back, so you have to be really gentle with it.”
Try German’s hairspray hack to keep delicate hair in place. “Fine hair can be fluffy,” he says. “I love using Pantene Smooth Airspray Hairspray, but not on hair directly. Spray it on a finishing brush and run it over the top layer to tame flyaways and static.” Look for any formula that promises light hold, like Nexxus Comb Thru Design & Finishing Mist, $18.
Our Pick for Fine Hair
This spray is formulated with minerals and rice starch to build long-lasting volume while absorbing dirt and oil.
Amika Un.Done Volume and Matte Texture Spray, $33, loveamika.com
The Staffer Dishes
“Ever since my feathery blonde hair started to grow, it’s been my mission to make each timid little strand as voluminous as possible. I’ve slept with my hair in braids to wake up with texture. I’ve spent mornings in hot rollers pinned all over my head. I’ve become a total wiz with a curling iron. After exhausting all forms of waves, curls and every kink in between, I became exhausted myself. I craved something effortless, less sweet and more chic, so I decided to do like the French and leave my naturally stick-straight locks alone. I used to believe voluminous hair was more beautiful, but I realized that was just some silly idea stuck in my head. Confidence is beautiful! Hair is just the cherry – or feathers – on top." —Renée Reardin, digital editor
(Craving long locks? here's how to grow out your hair.)
It’s been swell, colourist! “Choosing your natural grey is the ultimate freedom,” says Lee. “You no longer need root touch-ups every few weeks. And if you get the right cut, it’s a very unique look – it becomes quintessentially yours.” Structured shapes tend to shine brightest. Texturizing grey hair with thinning shears or a razor is a definite “no-no,” says German, as it can make grey hair appear fluffy.
A lack of pigment gives grey strands a wiry reputation. To soothe the situation, German recommends hydrating formulas in and out of the shower. “To get a smoother finish, the more moisture in your hair, the better,” he says. For glass-like results, Lee also encourages the use of a flatiron with a thermal protectant.
The most gorgeous greys boast clarity, but natural elements can play interference. “Grey hair tends to pick up a lot of pollution,” says Lee. “It can look yellow or muddy from the environment or a mineral buildup from water can make it look stained,” says Lee. A purple shampoo or treatment, like AG Hair Sterling Silver Mask, $26, will help cancel out undesirable tones.
Our Pick for Grey Hair
Applied to wet hair, this leave-in treatment is designed to detangle, smooth and soften brittle hair.
Pantene Pro-V Conditioning Hair Mist Detangler, $8, amazon.ca
The Staffer Dishes
“For decades, I’ve had a recurring event in my calendar: hair colour appointment. I looked forward to it because it meant time with my identical twin sister, Sandy. But our date every seven weeks soon became every four weeks to manage developing greys that were dramatically thinner and fuzzier. Who knew these two things could exist together? Enter Emily, our talented, trusted colour technician. With a little of my courage and a lot of Emily’s expertise, authenticity and kindness, I took the leap. Our game plan included a lighter base, highlights and a fresh bob cut. Now, nearly a year later, I’m 80 percent through this journey. Sure, I take a deep breath when meeting someone I haven’t seen in a while, but that’s getting easier. Today, I really like what I see, and I’m happy with it. My hair feels healthier and I’m having fun and making the most of it to keep me feeling young. The best compliment of all: Sandy has stopped colouring her hair now, too!” —Jackie Shipley, art director
Next, check out the everyday mistakes that are aging your hair.