Change Straw Hair Into Silk

Follow these steps to get silky, smooth hair in just six weeks

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Week 1: Trim, then tame

First up: Visit your stylist. Before starting any reparative regimen, cut off damaged ends, says colorist Jennifer J., co-owner of L.A.‘s Juan Juan Salon. "No products, however good, can hide split ends," she explains. Plus, left to themselves, splits travel up the hair shaft, weakening hair and causing breakage. After trimming, the next step is to smooth frizz and boost sheen. Nearly every stylist we spoke to said for the most dramatic results, you can’t beat an in-salon keratin treatment ($200 and up). This protein-based treatment seals the outer layer of your hair, flattening fuzz and adding shine. Moreover, the formula’s protein molecules reinforce weakened spots, preventing breakage. Results last up to six months, and the treatment is safe for all hair types but one: very fine. If that’s your category-or if the cost sounds excessive-you can opt for a less-intense (meaning it won’t weigh down thin hair), at-home keratin treatment such asthe Neil George Pure Shot Instant Repair Treatment Spray ($55; neilgeorgesalon.com) or Keratin Complex Infusion Keratin Replenisher ($40; keratincomplex.com). Note: The original salon keratin treatments contained high amounts of formaldehyde, a chemical best avoided in large doses. The percentage has been greatly reducedin the newer formulas, but to be sure, ask your stylist. To find a salon near you that offers low-formaldehyde keratin treatments, go to brazilianblowout.com, keratincomplex.com or globalkeratin.com.
Photo: Todd Huffman

Weeks 2 & 3: Give your do some downtime

You know that hot irons and blow-dryers are damaging, but here’s a surprise: So is water. Good old H2O, especially when hot, strips hair of color and oil. So starting this week, Jennifer J. says, shampoo only every two or three days. Using a dry shampoo such as Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo ($18; beauty.com) on your roots will boost body in the morning. And if your hair is wavy or curly, you can reactivate bounce by lightly dousing your hair’s top layer with a little water (the amount’s nominal, so stripping’s not an issue), then gently scrunching. When you do wash, lather up with a super-hydrating formula like Shu Uemura Silk Bloom Restorative Shampoo ($45; shuuemuraartofhair-usa.com for salons) or Garnier Triple Nutrition Fortifying Shampoo ($8; drugstores), followed by a deep conditioning treatment. We like: Pantene Pro-V Restoratives Time Renewal Mask ($5; drugstores) and Nexxus Hair Care Humectress Hydrating Treatment Deep Conditioner ($15; drugstores). Note: After week three, you can revert to more frequent shampooing. But we suspect you’ll be so enamored of your softer, shinier hair (not to mention the time you’ll save not shampooing every day) that you may choose this regimen permanently.
Photo: Todd Huffman

Week 4: Show your hair who’s gloss

After three weeks of TLC, your hair is primed for a shot of color and shine. But rather than a full color treatment, you can minimize potential damage by opting for an in-salon low-peroxide vegetable stain or, at home, either an ammonia-free dye such as Clairol Perfect 10 ($14; drugstores) or a tinted gloss such as John Frieda Luminous Color Glaze ($10; drugstores). Each of these enhances your hair’s hue and ups shine with virtually no risk of damage, says Harry Josh, Gisele Bündchen’s colorist and an international creative consultant to John Frieda. However, if your hair color routine involves lightening your locks more than three shades, these options probably won’t cut it. For best results, head to the salon for a full color treatment and heed these two pro tips: (a) "Ask your colorist if he can use an oil-based bleach, which processes hair more gently than a traditional bleach," says New York City stylist Kevin Mancuso. (b) Look for a salon that uses the new INOA hair color from L’Oréal (inoa-us.com). This formula is free of ammonia, the culprit of most color-related dryness, brittleness and breakage. And if you’re a hair color virgin (and we’re sure there’s at least one), you can add drama to your natural do (and hue) by applying a color- and shine-boosting grooming cream such as Oscar Blandi Pronto Instant Glossing Cream ($19; oscarblandi.com).
Photo: Todd Huffman

Weeks 5 & 6: Make more of what you’ve got

Irons, curlers and blow-dryers all help you fight your natural texture, but the price you pay is a certain amount of damage, says Teca Gillespie, a Cincinnati-based hair care scientist for Procter & Gamble. So what’s a gal to do? If at all possible, try to work more with your natural texture or at least give the hot tools a rest on the weekends. And whenever you’re styling, thoroughly spritz your strands first with a heat-protectant spray such as*John Frieda Frizz-Ease Heat Defeat Protective Styling Spray* ($7; drugstores) or Oribe Royal Blowout Spray ($42; oribe.com). Opt for ceramic tools over traditional metal ones (ceramic doesn’t get as hot as metal, so there’s less strand-sizzling as you style) and continue the twice-a-week deep conditioning treatments you started back in week two. Finally, if you need a little inspiration when it comes to working with, rather than against, your hair’s natural texture, go to more.com/naturalhair. We’re showcasing dozens of celebrities who’ve stopped fighting their tresses’ natural texture-and started, at last, to show it off.
Photo: Todd Huffman

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I just attended the Premiere Orlando International Beauty Event and discovered Peter Coppola's new line of formaldehyde and aldehyde free products called Peter Coppola Keratin Concept, including the Keratin And Ceramide Formaldehyde-Free Treatment and styling products. To learn more about his products go to the Peter Coppola official website http://petercoppola.com

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