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Sleek hair is pretty elusive. Most of us manage it maybe once in our lives, never know how it happened and spend forever chasing the dream in pursuit of it. Our nineties poster girl was Jen Aniston (in the Friends days) and today it’s Mila Kunis and… dare we say it… Dawn French, whose hair is so shiny it is basically holographic. Your ticket to The Shine Show starts here and whether you combine all of the tips below or just pick one or two, dreamy hair is just a little effort away.
So we’re going to throw a little something out there, which sounds like a massive, time-wasting ball ache, but is one of the easiest ways to revolutionise the texture and quality of your hair: the double wash. Instead of just shampooing once, do it twice and it’s as easy as that. This way, you ensure that every little bit of grime, pollution and oil that dulls your hair - and renders it useless at dancing the shine dance - is completely removed. The less that’s on the hair, the better it will reflect light.
The best shampoos are those that clarify or tame frizz - we love Christophe Robin’s Clarifying Shampoo, Aussie’s Frizz Miracle Shampoo and Oribe’s Shampoo for Brilliance and Shine. If you get your hair coloured, stick to colour protecting shampoos instead, otherwise watch as your colour whirlpools down the drain.
For supercharged shine, massage an oil into hair and scalp during your first wash; oils do a great job of dissolving other oils (grease, product and so on) so super clean hair will prevail, and you’ll also have really nourished locks. (Try Mauli’s brilliant Grow Strong Hair Oil, Sister & Co’s Raw Coconut Drink for Hair and Windle & Moodie’s Shine and Smoothing Oil).
And a quick and useful FYI: that old myth of ‘rinse with cold water to help hair shine’ is completely untrue, so don’t put yourself through it.
Hydrated hair is happy hair and hair that’s happy radiates light. It’s science. A weekly mask will do wonders for dry, dehydrated locks and is an easy, quick fix pre-party. Make masking a ritual every Sunday evening and your hair will be on fleek for Monday morning – this cheers up beginning-of-the-week blues no end. The ultimate mask is Philip Kingsley’s Elasticizer, which was originally created for Audrey Hepburn who, I think you’ll agree, had pretty great hair. It revives shine, softness and gives you a bounce like no other - apply it onto dry hair, leave for half an hour, then shampoo as normal. The new Coconut Breeze formula smells like a beach holiday too. We also adore Ouai’s Treatment Masque sachets which are perfect for travel.
If you’re someone who will brush your hair with anything that has prongs, you probably already know that it’s not good for your hair. When wet hair is at its most vulnerable; water weakens the bonds in each strand and makes them susceptible to breakage, so the gentler the better when it comes to bristles.
Forget stiffer nylon prongs and go for boar bristles that help distribute the scalp’s natural oils down the hair, while buffing off any accumulated dirt. The less breakage you have, the smoother the hair’s surface.
The very best we’ve come across are Denman’s Boar Bristle Grooming Brushes.
There is a whole world of shine products out in the beauty universe, but it’s knowing the ones that actually work that makes the difference between lank and lustrous. Shine serums are an easy way to boost gloss without accidentally overloading hair with product. Color Wow’s Pop & Lock Crystallite Shellac is one of the best as it forms a crystal-clear, colour-enriching, gloss-making outer layer on hair – not bad for one product – and GHD’s Smooth and Finish serum reduces frizz and split ends while acting as a heat protectant too.
Sprays are equally effective - Australian brand EVO’s Touch Shine Spray is great for day-to-day and we challenge you to find any brand with funnier labels (a case in point being the normal person daily conditioner: ‘for all those short-tall-skinny-fat-slow-fast-rugby-playing accountants, and any other normal souls who don’t fit this definition’). Oribe’s Shine Light Reflecting spray and Tresemme’s Keratin Smooth Heat Protect Spray are two more great shouts – mist both over hair post-blow dry.
And, naturally, the way you blow dry too makes a huge difference. Angling the nozzle of your hairdryer downwards helps flatten cuticles, creating a smooth, reflective surface. “Use a brush and focus on one small section at a time,” says Jen Atkin, Kim Kardashian’s hair stylist and shine pro. “A medium temp heat, instead of having it turned up all the way, also helps protect hair from heat damage.” If you can afford it, Dyson’s super lightweight Supersonic hair dryer controls heat distribution so well that damage is vastly reduced – and it’s as quiet as they come. For something a little more in everyone’s price range, try ghd’s brilliant Aura Hairdryer which is quieter than the norm (60 per cent if you’re asking) and makes hair 38 per cent shinier. With stats like that, what’s not to love?
In the same way, straightening hair also encourages cuticles to sit in the same direction, so using a pair of straighteners is a quick fix transformation (Babyliss’ Smooth Vibrancy Straighteners work really well). Avoid straightening too much because it’s the very worst for hair breakage. No one said this was easy, guys.
These treatments really up the ante, but they’re the more expensive route in the quest for glossy locks. However, they do have longevity; once you’ve had one of these treatments, you will wake up with glossy hair.
John Frieda offer a great 30-minute gloss treatment that essentially glazes the hair in shine. Choose from the clear (£30), which can be used on any colour, or the coloured (£50), which boosts existing shades, tones colour up or down, as well as elevating shine. They’re also highly conditioning, so it’s brilliant for all-round hair health.
For something more hard-hitting, consider a keratin treatment. It’s a process that combines heat with one of hair’s protein building blocks, keratin, to de-frizz, relax and therefore amp up natural shine. The more keratin used, the more curly hair straightens out, so depending on your hair, there are different options and results, but your hairdresser will be able to advise. John Frieda offers these too or try George Northwood – Alexa Chung’s go-to hairstylist.
May the gloss be with you.