‘I’ll be up in a minute, darling – I’m just cling-filming my head.’
Bleached hair is high maintenance. Since peroxiding mine within an inch of its life, it’s so fragile I’ve had to start caring for it as one would a delicate pet with special needs.
Here are the top 5 things that help make my ravaged hair look less like that of a WWF wrestler:
1. Go to a good colourist
It may sound like elementary stuff, but go to someone who knows their way round a bottle of bleach. The most expensive aren’t necessarily the best, but choosing someone because they’re cheap is a massive false economy. I’m lucky enough to have Fudge in-house colour expert Tracy Hayes on board to tackle my hair, but Amie at Michael John is also highly recommended.
2. Pre-shampoo treatments
Coconut Oil, £4.60
Yes, yes, yes, we’re all sick of hearing how miraculous coconut oil is. But it really is a brilliant pre-shampoo treatment for dry hair.
Melt it in your hands and just massage into the ends and mid-lengths of dry hair. Then wrap your head in cling film. This looks insane, but it gently warms your head (not unpleasant), which helps the oil to penetrate the hair more effectively.
I keep the coconut oil in for as long as I can, often sleeping in it, before shampooing and conditioning/using a hair mask. It rinses out easily and helps protect the hair from the rigours of washing. I find the smell of coconut a bit nauseating, but my hair always feels noticeably softer as a result.
I alternate between using coconut oil and Philip Kingsley Elasticizer before washing (below).
Elasticizer is the absolute business for brittle hair. This mega-award-winner by Philip Kingsley is worth investing in.
Apply it to wet hair for 10-20 minutes then shampoo and condition as normal. With regular use it does make a difference.
Legend has it that Philip Kingsley invented Elasticizer for Audrey Hepburn. I’m not sure if this is apocryphal or not, but who cares. It really does work.
QVC sell it by the litre, which is best value once you’re ready for that level of commitment.
This treatment is specifically for over-processed hair and it smells divine. It’s pricey but it lasts, it’s so rich that a little goes a long way.
Apply it to clean, towel-dried hair (if your hair’s too wet it dilutes the mask). You can keep this treatment on for as long as you like, I often sleep in it (cling-filmed, of course).
Kiels range of color [sic] preserving hair products are all really lovely, but this is the must-buy item.
4. Fudge Clean Blonde Violet Shampoo, £9.95
It’s not good to use violet shampoos too frequently but once in a while is okay, and it neutralises the yellow tones like some actual magic.
I’ve tried several different brands and I think the Fudge Clean Blonde Violet Shampoo is the best in terms of its nice smell and its abilty to de-yellow your hair.
5. Blow dry, £20
Avoid hair straighteners at all cost if hair is particularly fragile. No product can truly negate the detrimental effects of exposing your hair to this kind of heat.
Sometimes in emergencies I treat my hair to a blow dry at Johnny’s on Chatsworth Road. I turn up saturated in coconut oil or Kiel’s Recovery Pak (sometimes still cling-filmed) and, with minimal heat and no fuss, Johnny makes my hair look shiny and healthy and poker straight.
Happily, because my hair is so chronically dry, a Johnny blow dry can last a whole week.