Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Truth About Hair Care—A Mane Manifesto

Hair Majesty

There are so many hair products on the market these days, it can seem like an impossible feat to decide which ones are best for your needs. In addition, some of the price points on shampoos and conditioners can devastate your bank account yet don’t deliver results. On the contrary, they can make your hair condition even worse.

Here is my take on shampoos, conditioners, deep treatments, home remedies, and all the other stuff that can make your mane majestic, with contribution by my friend, the incomparable hair genius, Mr. Philip Berkovitz, aka Philip B.

How Do I Love Thee, Philip? Let Me Count the Waves…

supermatte-antishine.jpg

If you can afford the luxurious hair products created by Philip B., then you are off to a great start for beautiful tresses. His products are the choice of celebrities and beauty editors worldwide, and for good reason.

The Houdini of Hair

I have dubbed Philip B., below, The Houdini of Hair because he can make damaged, brittle hair magically disappear. His shampoos and conditioners are truly transformative and no matter your hair’s condition, it will improve with Philip’s products. If you are thinking about chopping your locks off because they are so fried from abuse, just try his products once and you may reconsider.

I really love all of them in every way–how they perform, how they smell (divine), and how they leave my hair so soft and shiny and manageable.

philip-b.jpg

Scrimp and Splurge: Shampoos, Conditioners

It’s important to know that a conditioner can only do so much. In fact, your choice in shampoo is more important than your choice in conditioners.

A lot of women make a big mistake when it comes to hair care and how they spend their money. I cannot tell you the number of times I have heard this familiar refrain: “I’ll wash with anything, but it’s the conditioner that’s really important.”

Wrong. It’s just the opposite. If you choose the proper shampoo, your hair will not end up stripped and brittle and tangly in the first place. You must invest in a quality shampoo. I find that I can skip conditioner (but I usually don’t) if I use a great shampoo by Philip B.

Philip B. Talks About Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

“These days, you’re probably hearing a lot about sulfates and how bad they can be for your hair,” said Philip. “True: Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) alone is very destructive to hair and skin—it’s as harsh as some dishwashing liquids. If you want to burn your hair, destroy your color and get a skin disorder, go right ahead and throw straight SLS on it.”

“Many shampoos containing high concentrations of SLS are indeed stripping and drying,” he continued, “But in our case, because Philip B. shampoos contain such a high level of healing plant oils and extracts, we use a touch of SLS simply as an emulsifying agent, to make the formulas feel velvety and creamy.”

“In some cases,” he said, “SLS can be amazing. It’s all about balance. I buffer down the SLS in our shampoos with such a high level of essential oils that it becomes gentle and creamy—the best possible way to clear away any dirt or build-up while distributing conditioning oils throughout your hair, even to the ends. In some cases, I use so many plant and flower oils that the SLS is rendered all but inactive; it’s just there to carry the oils and help you lather up. That’s because my shampoos aren’t the conventional detergent-water-fragrance mix. They’re made from intensely conditioning oils used at active, therapeutic levels and gathered from exotic places around the world.”

“So, in this case, fear not. The sulfates we do use are specifically designed to deliver nutrients and potent conditioning agents to your hair,” he said.

oud-cleanser.jpg

Philip B.’s new Cleansing Conditioner with Oud essence, exclusive to Home Shopping Network, is free of SLS entirely, yet still lathers up into luscious foamy suds and leaves your hair filled with volume, bounce, shine, and of course a yummy, yummy scent. How does he do it? I’m no chemist and I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do know that every girl deserves to have a bottle in her shower.

How to Wash and Condition Your Hair

shampooing-hair.jpg

The general consensus for shampooing all my life for my super-long hair used to be get in and get out, as fast as possible. Due to the fact that most shampoos contain sodium lauryl sulfate, you’ll want to wash, stat quick, then rinse and rinse again. The less time the shampoo is on the hair, the less drying it is. So concentrate on the roots and give a quick shampoo, letting the suds run down to the ends as you rinse. Never wash the ends or pile your sudsy hair up on top of your head because the ends will dry out and become a brittle tangled mess from all that SLS, right? Well, yes and no. That was before I met Philip B.

Philip actually recommends dragging the lather from his shampoos down the hair shaft, to the ends, and letting it sit in the hair for a few minutes before rinsing. Squeeze it through your hair. Honestly, when I first heard this I thought it was insane. But now that I know how his products work it makes total sense.

Try it once and you will see how the shampoo itself acts as a tremendous conditioning agent, leaving your locks beautifully nourished and tangle-free. If you are using a commercial shampoo high in SLS, do not leave the shampoo in your hair this way. Philip’s shampoos are a glowing exception to this rule.

Many shampoos claim to have essential oils but it really boils down to fragrance or miniscule amounts of essential oils just so they can make product claims, yet not enough to have any redeeming value.

The Role of Conditioners

Even the best deep conditioners are usually simply a cream rinse more than they are some type of restructurizing treatment. Their mission? To make the hair more manageable and tangle-free. A good conditioner will temporarily smooth the hair shaft, also known as the cuticle, for extra shine and manageability, but it usually will not make a lasting difference in the condition of your hair. Using a good shampoo, however, will.

Beauty magazines preach that you should never apply conditioner to your roots because it will make them greasy. Instead, target the drier, more tangly ends. I guess everyone is different, but when I apply my Philip B. conditioners, I always work from root to ends. They rinse clean but leave my hair more resilient and less kinked and prone to tangle. Tangling leads to breakage, so I treat the entire length of my hair.

Home Remedies

If you cannot afford the luxe Philip B. products, you can still achieve really good results with home remedies. There are two books in my beauty library I’d like to share with you, and I’ve referred to them often over the years.

The first is Blended Beauty, Botanical Secrets for Body & Soul, written by Philip B.

blended-beauty-book.jpg

Philip includes a bevy of exotic beauty recipes that you can make at home for both skin and hair. It’s a great resource and all you need is a few ingredients and a blender to make countless preparations that deliver real results.

Due to the fact that these recipes are homemade, they lack the preservatives and chemicals that are unhealthy and the result is a strong concentrate of highly beneficial, naturally-therapeutic ingredients.

natural-beauty-at-home.jpg

Natural Beauty at Home, by Janice Cox, is another incredibly informative and helpful book. This book was originally published in 1994, and revised again in 2002.

Just like Philip, Janice has many great recipes–recipes for massage oils, nail treatments, lip care, creams and lotions–but my favorite remedies are those for hair.

Janice taught me all about hair masques, shampoo enhancers and pre-shampoo conditioning, and to this day I still use her recipes, or derivations thereof.

Pre-Shampoo Treatments

Have you ever tried a pre-shampoo hair masque? If your hair is really fried, or if you want to add super shine and maintain the health of your hair, you must try a pre-shampoo hair pack.

I thought everyone knew about pre-shampoo packs by now but was surprised the other day when I was talking to a friend who had never tried one. You can buy pre-shampoo treatments in beauty supply stores and salons, but the first time I heard about them was from a girl in my high school who used to sleep with mayonnaise on her hair at night, covered with a shower cap, and she would shampoo it out in the mornings. Her hair was very long and thick, shiny and lustrous, and she told me that the ingredients in commercial mayonnaise included eggs and oil, two great conditioning agents for the hair.

eggs-and-olive-oil.jpg

Egg yolks, in particular, are full of fat and protein, which is good for hard keratin (your hair), and the oil was a lubricant that would further condition and moisturize.

Nowadays, there are so many crazy ingredients in mayo that I prefer to make my own preparations in the blender, whizzing together a few egg yolks, a bit of olive oil, and maybe a tablespoon or two of coconut oil. The combination makes my hair glisten and basically costs nothing. Put it on before you wash, leave it in for 15 minutes up to overnight, and it will buffer any strong cleansing agents so your hair is not stripped and brittle.

You can experiment with different oils, but a word of caution: when you go to rinse a homemade pack that contains eggs, start with lukewarm water until it runs clear because hot water will literally cook the egg yolks on your head and you will end up picking scrambled eggs out of your hair! Not fun.

Brush Up

I love my Mason Pearson boar and synthetic bristle brushes, and I must admit that they do last, with proper care, for years.

sonia-kashuk-brush.jpg

Makeup artist Sonia Kashuk has designed a Mason Pearson look-alike, available at Target stores, for only 15 bucks–economical enough to have one in your purse, one for your desk drawer, and one at home.

pb-brush-cleaner.jpg

I also love Philip B.’s cleverly-engineered hair brush cleaner, $15, which certainly makes the cleaning process easier. It lifts the hair instantly from even your most clogged brushes and prepares it for cleaning, which should be done in a mild shampoo solution.

tangle-teezer.jpg

And of course every girl must have a Tangle Teezer, above, for getting out all the crazy knots that sometimes happen with long, curly, or highly-teased hair. They’re only $15.99, with free shipping, and you’ll wonder how you lived without one. The Tangle Teezer makes a great gift, and it will save your hair from unnecessary breakage. It also works beautifully on all types of wigs and extensions.

A Word About Supplements

biotin-and-gelatin.jpg

Biotin is a water-soluble B vitamin that actually increases the hair growth rate and prevents certain types of hair loss. The combination of biotin and gelatin work magic on hair, and fingernails as well, because your hair and nails are both hard keratin. It’s an inexpensive way to make sure your crowning glory remains that way. Here’s to beautiful healthy hair!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>