“Paint gun” hair- the most colourful trend of 2019 yet

It’s no secret that we love a hair trend- the crazier, the better. When it comes to scouring the web for the best trends out there, Instagram is our number one go-to place to find the real gems that we just know we have to talk about.

Our latest find from the photo app is one of our favourites so far, and certainly the most colourful trend of the year: “paint gun” hair. First debuted by married couple and hairstylists Andrew Collett and Kat Collett, “paint gun” hair is, literally, as it seems. Small water guns are filled with paint and carefully squirted onto the hair, creating a multidimensional colour explosion.

Andrew and Kat are calling the look “Splash Kaleidoscope”, which, when you see the pictures themselves, makes a lot of sense. Since their first post to Instagram, the popularity of the look encouraged them to post similar “Splash Kaleidoscopes” to their accounts, using all manner of vibrant colours, from vivid indigos, to bright turquoises and hot pinks.

And Andrew and Kat aren’t the only ones to have given the look a go, either. Since sharing their first image, many other hairstylists have posted their own versions of the look on their Instagram accounts, using paint guns to experiment with visual effects.

It seems the couple have always had an interest in the brighter hair looks. Kat herself, who has racked up an impressive 62,000 Instagram followers, boasts an account bursting with her vivid and mesmerising hair projects, and seems to have been experimenting with multiple colours for a long time. While Andrew’s account is a little more toned down, it’s still very much on the rainbow scale.

So what was it, other that love for colour, that encouraged Kat and Andrew to give “paint gun” hair a go? Speaking in an interview with Allure, Kat said: “We were inspired to create something both Andrew and I could fully plan and apply together.”

Apparently, Andrew found the water guns at a local Walmart. Kat explains: "We chose them as a way to express our inner child while living an 'adult life’. You are never too old to have fun."

They were a good find, too- in the hairdressing world, it makes sense why using paint guns would create such an enthralling visual appearance to the hair. The overall almost three-dimensional effect of the “Splash Kaleidoscope” hair, the deep, detailed texture that is created, would be fairly difficult to do with the usual brush method.

Initially, the Colletts decided on three different paint-gun looks: the first was a simple rainbow-inspired creation, while the second focused on the warmer orange and pink tones, and the third combined purples and blues.

In her interview with Allure, Kat said that they chose to initially experiment with rainbow colours because: “We had the 'go-big-or-go -home' mentality, so a rainbow seemed fitting." We have to agree that in a look as experimental as the “Splash Kaleidoscope”, going big is probably the way forward.

So, how achievable is this look? It’s certainly possible, but this is no at-home dye job, before you jump onto Amazon to purchase your own paint guns. You’ll need a hairstylist who’s incredibly talented in the colours department- make sure they have some evidence of this for you to take a look at- and who’s willing to test out an, er, unusual new method of application.

As with all brightly-coloured ‘dos, the dazzling effects of “paint gun” hair will fade fairly quickly- and that’s where things get a bit tricky. You can’t just touch up the roots when needed, either, so it may not be the most practical hairstyle in the world. Still, there’s no doubting its captivating appeal, and while it may be a little too bright for some people, we’re not sure we’d say no…

Laura Shallcross
Autumn 2019 Runway-Hair Trends

You might be thinking Autumn 2019 is still months away- but may we remind you that we’re already nearing mid-March, and it feels like we were only drinking our cheeky New Years’ tipple yesterday.

Time goes quickly, there’s no denying that, which is why we’re letting you know this year’s hottest autumn runway hair trends while they’re still at their freshest.

We’ve seen New York, London, Milan and Paris fashion weeks, and with a little help from Vogue, we’ve got a pretty good idea of which new, imaginative looks have been rocking the runways over these past few months. For early autumn hair inspo, take a look at the list below…

Futuristic Shine

We’ve covered the slicked-back hair look several times already, and it’s clear to see that there’s a love-hate divider when it comes to the look. While some people might think applying copious (and expensive!) amounts of hair gel and literally slicking your hair into any wet-look style that takes your fancy looks terrible, other people- the biggest designers included- seem to love it.

This year’s Autumn 2019 runway saw an explosion of futuristic slick-backs, with Alexander McQueen and Fendi opting for high-shine ponytails, Burberry showing off wet-look knots gelled to models’ foreheads, and Richard Quinn defying gravity with the ever-popular gel-styled quiff.

While the wet-look shine is yet to make trends off the runways, perhaps come September this year we’ll be seeing every other person causally sporting the look. As for us, we’re not so sure about the trend ourselves. It’s a little reminiscent of the high school days, when twelve-year-old boys would go mad with a tub of wax and come to class with their hair sticking up at all odd angles. Still, maybe this year will finally be the year to convince us otherwise.

Sky-High Ponytails

The high pony might be a look you only reserve for days your hair’s at its greasiest, but judging by the fashion week runways, it’s set to make its return this autumn. Models at Emilia Wickstead boasted sky-high ponytails at New York Fashion Week, accessorised with equally out-there red velvet bows.

Hairstylist Benjamin Muller, parted the models’ ponytails into two sections, then smoothed the ends along either sides of the models’ heads, tucking the ends of their strands behind their ears.

It’s a look anyone can replicate, certainly, although you’ll have to get creative with how exactly you achieve the pony tail’s height. It seems Muller used more than just a thick bobble to pull off the sky-high affect. An empty loo roll holder might do it?

 Hair-rings

We had to end it with the most bizarre fashion show trend of the year, courtesy of Ports 1961, whose models donned earrings made out of (luckily) synthetic hair on the runways. This, er, interesting accessory was the brainchild of hairstylist Guido Palau, who also debuted a few necklaces that mimic thin ponytails of the real stuff.

While we’re not exactly certain hair earrings will be the most popular look of Autumn 2019, if you fancy getting creative with your leftover cut-offs and a bit of metal, we say go for it. Maybe there’s potential for an Etsy store for the more entrepreneurial of us out there?

Image credit: Vogue

Laura Shallcross
How your hair can benefit from your Shrove Tuesday indulgences

Ah, Pancake Day. If it isn't the perfect example of how the British can get weirdly excited over a "celebration" dedicated to a certain food, we don't know what is. We'll definitely be jumping on the pancake trend, and, even though we're not sure our pancakes will be exactly Instagram-friendly, that's okay, because we'll be smug in the knowledge that the staple food of the day will be doing wonders for our hair. That's right, we're talking about pancakes for hair growth, strength, health and all that other important stuff. 

Bear with us on this one: you're probably wondering how scoffing your face with pancakes can make the slightest difference to your hair. And we're right there with you. It won't. But even if your actual pancakes (homemade or from-the-packet- we won't judge) don't exactly contain those hair-strengthening nutrients, you can get really creative with your toppings... and that's where you've got the chance to munch on the ingredients that your hair really loves. Who wants boring old sugar and lemon these days, anyway? 

Chia seeds

You've probably seen these in the healthy section of the supermarket recently and thought, WTF? But trust us when we say that even though Chia seeds look like the black bits in the fat balls you feed to birds, they actually taste pretty nice- and they're loaded with nutrients, antioxidants and all that other good stuff. Specifically, they’re high in protein, known for promoting healthy hair growth, as well as essential minerals zinc and copper, which prevent hair strands from splitting.  

With chia seeds, a little goes a long way. Including just a couple of tablespoons in your recipe is enough to meet half of your dosage recommendations for the day. You can choose to sprinkle chia seeds on top of your pancakes for a nice crunch, but we'd suggest actually adding a spoonful to your batter mix.

Chia seeds are incredibly absorbent, and are actually used as egg substitutes in vegan recipes, so they're great for thickening a runny batter- a potential Pancake Day disaster, we're sure you'll agree. And don’t worry, they won’t compromise the flavour of your pancakes. In fact, if anything, they’ll make them taste better. They have a subtle, nutty flavour that works well to compliment sweet and savoury dishes, but if you’re anything like us, you probably won’t even notice you’ve added them.

Honey

You might be more familiar than using honey in homemade hair masks than eating it for hair-growth purposes, but it turns out adding honey to your pancakes might just be the way forwards when it comes to healthy, strong hair. Unlike many artificial pancake sweeteners out there, honey is rich in antioxidant properties, which prevent damage to the hair and keep your scalp healthy. It is also an emollient, and seals moisture in hair, keeping it hydrated and conditioned for longer.

We don’t really have to tell you how to add honey to your pancakes, do you? The easiest way is to drizzle a little on the top- don’t worry about adding it to your batter mix or anything fancy like that. Top with some nuts for extra hair-based brownie points. Remember, although honey is a natural alternative, it’s still high in sugar content, so we suggest using it in moderation (although we can’t be certain we will follow our own advice come Shrove Tuesday).

Bananas

We appreciate that bananas are very much a love-it-or-hate it when it comes to tropical fruits, but it’s time we all started loving them- seriously. Bananas are incredibly high in folic acid, which makes hair sleek, shiny and moisture-rich. They’re also a great source of potassium, which has been found in multiple studies to reduce hair loss.

It’s become something of a trend in the fitness sphere recently to include bananas in your pancake batter mix, alongside egg, milk, oil and all the other usual ingredients. Bizarrely, it’s also possible to make pancakes our of just bananas and eggs. This is said to be good for health (high in protein, low in fat, et cetera), and useful for people with food intolerances (gluten free, dairy free and all that jazz). If health and fitness is your thing, give the two-ingredient banana pancake recipe a try for us, would you?

Failing that, it is, of course, totally acceptable to say, “Who’s got time for that fuss?” and simply chop up your banana to decorate your pancake as is traditional. And then drizzle with your honey. And sprinkle with chia seeds. Sounds perfect to us.

Laura Shallcross
Washing your hair in wee? All you need to know about the most bizarre 2019 hair hack

Do you ever wish you could un-hear something traumatic? Well, that was us this morning, when we found out about the latest “secret” to getting the shiny locks you’ve always dreamed of: washing your hair in wee.

Yes, you heard us right. This bizarre trend (we’re not sure we can call it that yet, as unsurprisingly, it hasn’t taken off) was instigated by British athlete James Cracknell’s wife, who, according to The Sun, claimed that her locks had “never been silkier” since she started practicing the habit.

Beverly Turner took to Twitter to announce her unconventional beauty hack plans, saying, "about to get in shower where I will wash my hair in a cup of pee....I'm genuinely not kidding.

"Who needs costly shampoo when you can shower in your own urine?!"

We have so many questions. First of all, what made Bev decide to give the wee-wash a go the first ever time? It’s a bit like the farmer who milked the first cow- what was going through her head? Unfortunately, there’s not yet a single interview with her out there regarding this fascinating subject, so for now, our questions remain unanswered.

Scarily, though, a bit of research has unearthed that while washing your hair with wee isn’t common by any means, people around the world have been doing it for years. From weird hippies, to random reality TV stars, to even a couple of beauty experts, wee-washing has been practiced by them all. But the craze really jumped up a notch when a woman called Miriam was seen washing her hair in her own urine on reality TV show, New Lives in the Wild.

According to Ten Daily, Miriam lives a nomadic lifestyle, and has done so for the past 12 years. Part of that lifestyle includes the regular hair-wee-wash, in which Miriam leaves the, er, product in her hair for up to 20 minutes before rinsing it out.

Despite usually being flushed down the loo and forgotten about, wee apparently has some surprising benefits to the hair and body. A study at the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, found that that urine is rich in melatonin, the hormone involved in producing circadian rhythms. It discovered that drinking a cup of wee first thing in the morning can calm and refresh the system, giving illusion that you’ve had a good night's sleep. Hmm, something says we won’t be trying it, nevertheless.

As for actual benefits to your hair, “urine therapy” for hair growth is a thing, according to the website Beauty Glimpse. They list wee as a “natural hair remedy”, saying that it is “full of essential elements”, and that benefits include:

·         Rejuvenating the hair follicles, which treats hair loss effectively and stimulates hair growth

·         Ridding of a number of scalp problems including infections and dandruff

·         Nourishing hair fibres from all aspects, creating shine and lustre

·         Boosting the volume of hair

·         Helping retain the natural colour of hair and reducing premature greying

Okay, okay, it all sounds very impressive, but certainly more research is needed before we jump on the wee-wash bandwagon. We’d like these benefits to be scientifically proven, please, before we consider saving our own wee to douse our hair with. Still, we’re intrigued to hear more about this and will keep an ear out for any updates.

Until then, we think we’ll stick to our regular shampoo and conditioner.

Laura Shallcross
Shampoo bars: what are they, and are they any good?

Once upon a time, when the hair industry was far more boring then it is today, you only had a choice of less than ten hair shampoos, and all of them came bottled and in liquid form.

A lot has changed since then. Just like liquid soap and soap bars exist, shampoo bars are becoming something of a trend, and we can see why. With all the worry about how plastic use is damaging the environment, it is now more important than ever that we try to cut down on packaging where we can. Shampoo bars don’t need any sort of packaging- you can simply pop one in your bag and take it home as it is.

But, beneficial to the environment or not, we have to step in to ask the all-important question: do shampoo bars actually work? Are they worth a try, or are they actually worse for our hair than a regular bottle of hair shampoo? Naturally, we had to get investigating. Here’s what we found…

Appearance

Shampoo bars tend to look and feel exactly like bars of soap, and come in a variety of different colours, shapes and sizes. They’re pretty easy to slip into a pocket or a small bag, and are great for travellers wanting to take a non-liquid form of hair treatment abroad with them.  

Scent

Again, shampoo bars know no limit when it comes to scent. You can expect typical, more traditional shampoo flavours, such as lavender, tea tree, chamomile and aloe vera, as well as the more unusual: coconut and lime, orange, and seasalt. If you like a good smelly, you won’t be let down.

Ease of use

It takes a good while to work up a decent lather with a shampoo bar, but perseverance is key. Shampoo bars become slightly more liquid under water, just like bars of soap, so running yours under a tap might help to give an easier application. Just keep rubbing it on your hair until there are enough suds to work through from root to tip.

Price

As with all hair products on the market, there are shampoo bars selling at all sorts of prices, depending on which business you’re buying from, as well as the size of the bar and how may washes it’s expected to give. You can expect to pay more for a shampoo bar from independent businesses, but generally, bars are priced between £2.50 and £5.00.

If you fancy trying out a shampoo bar yourself, you might be curious to know where is stocking them. While the bigger stores are beginning to recognize the demand for the bars, you won’t find a big selection. Your best bet is to shop online, where there are plenty of options available- just make sure you buy from a trusted, positively-reviewed brand.

Another alternative is to nip into your local Lush, which has a plentiful collection of all things good-for-the-environment, including hair bars of a number of scents and flavours (charcoal, anyone?). If there’s anyone who’s been doing shampoo bars the longest, it’s Lush.

So, verdict time: would we choose to use shampoo bars over liquid shampoo? Maybe one day… but perhaps not yet. Having tried both ourselves, we don’t think the majority of shampoo bars quite have the lather to match up to the sudsy feel of liquid shampoo. That said, there is definitely the potential for shampoo bars to make it big in the future. This one is definitely a case of “watch this space”.  

Image credit: Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve

 

Laura Shallcross
3 myths about hair that you need to stop believing

When it comes to hair myths, we’ve heard them all. Worrying makes your hair fall out. Eating your bread crusts makes hair curly. Brushing your hair 100 times a day will make it thicker. Chances are, at least one of these is familiar to you.

We’ve talked about a fair few of them on our blog before, but today we thought we’d focus on a specific few hair salon-related myths, considering this is what we hear the most of. Here’s what crops up again and again when it comes to the mysterious art of hairdressing…

1.       It is possible to go from dark to light in one hairdressing session

Okay, let’s clear this one up. Yes, it is technically possible to go from dark to light in one straight session, but not only will this cause massive stress and damage to your hair, you’ll likely be left with shoddy results.

Most hairdressers will refuse to dye your hair from one colour extreme to another in one sitting for the simple reason that the outcome won’t be up to standard, and nobody wants their name to be attached to a bad job- it’s not good for the reputation.

The reason why dark hair cannot take such an extreme colour change is because its colour pigments require bleach to lighten them. The bleach must eat through all the pigments in the hair in order to lighten the hair, which is no simple task. For hair to take on the desired colour, without ruining the hair with an overload of bleach, you can expect several sessions to the hair salon for a gradual lightening process.  

2.       Regular haircuts make your hair grow faster

We’ve all been told by our mums at one point during childhood that our frequent visits to the hairdressers are helping our hair to grow longer. Unfortunately, there is little truth to this myth. Getting your hair regularly trimmed removes the split, broken ends from hair, giving it an overall healthier appearance. Unfortunately, though, a lack of split ends won’t do anything to speed up hair growth.

If you want to grow your hair, the best thing to do is treat it well. Try not to use too much heat product on your hair, and always use protection if you do. Hair masks and oils are also a great way to keep hair healthy and promote growth at the roots.

That’s not to say that if you’re trying to grow your hair you should completely abandon your hairdressers, though. It is always completely obvious when somebody has attempted to grow their hair without the aid of a regular trim.

Unless you’re into the split ends look, it’s advised that you still make it a routine to get a trim every now and then. If you’re worried about getting too much cut off, simply explain to your hairdresser that you’re trying to grow your hair, and could they please only take off an inch or two- they will be more than happy to take your requirements on board.

3.       Getting your hair coloured will ruin it

How many times have you heard someone say, “My hair is completely ruined because I’ve dyed it so much recently,” or something along those lines? Funnily enough, the idea that hair dye ruins your hair isn’t technically correct. Yes, copious amounts of the stuff definitely isn’t going to do your hair any good, but going for regular root touch-ups at your local salon isn’t going to cause irreparable destruction to your locks, we promise.

It is true that bleach, which is used to lighten hair, will dry your hair slightly. However, no matter what colour you’re going for, the true state of your hair comes down to how you choose to treat it between dye jobs.

Exposing your hair to the sun or pool water, washing it with cheap products, or using heat appliances are all ways that will contribute to the damage of dyed hair. Try to cut down on doing the above and focus on hydrating and nourishing your hair with a good diet, and products like hair masks and hair oils. That way your hair will stay at its healthiest, dyed or not.

Laura Shallcross
This artist’s gravity-defying hair sculptures might just be the best thing we’ve seen

If your hair actually does what you planned for it to do on a daily basis, count yourself as one of the lucky few. Most of us can barely attempt a ponytail without our hair deciding, “You know what, I’m not about this whole following orders thing,” resulting in more faff for us, the high likelihood of swearing, and, eventually, giving in.

Laetitia Ky, on the other hand, clearly doesn’t know what it means to have a bad hair day. Or, at least, the intricate sculptures she fashions her hair into on the regular say otherwise. Laetitia has been posting her looks, all of which involve manipulating her long black hair into various realistic designs, on Instagram since September 2016, when she shared a picture of herself with her hair formed into a gravity-defying tube-like structure. She captioned the image an appropriate, “You can't with #afrohair ☺.”

Since then, 22-year-old Laetitia has experimented with all number of looks, from dancing ballerinas and peace-sign hands, to lightbulbs, motorbikes and emojis, all fashioned out of her thick braids. Most of her pics are shot in front of a plain background in various shades of yellow, but recently she’s taken her crazy hairstyles to the beach, in swimming pools, out on the streets, and even in the bath.

Laetitia’s Instagram account, on which she calls herself “IvorianGoddess” and “Polyvalent Artist” is now something of an art collection. She’s gained massive respect on the online community, amassing just over 167k followers in two years. Now that’s impressive.

Since becoming Insta-famous, Laetitia has been using her powerful position on the platform to share important political messages, with one image depicting the tips of Laetitia’s hair fashioned into a gun, which she captioned, “Against gun and violence use love and art ! 💖💖💖” She also promotes body-positivity, sharing other users’ stories on the subject, as well as mental health awareness, and the #MeToo movement.

It’s not all serious, though. The majority of Laetitia’s hairstyles are cheeky and humorous, such as her twerking lady sculpture, her monkey holding a banana, and her umbrella. And some of them are just downright cool.

There’s no denying that Laetitia has some seriously artistic talent. In an interview with CNN, she said that following earning a degree in business, she became drawn to fashion; and started teaching herself the basics of sewing with the help of videos on YouTube.

Laetitia never expected to move into hair sculpting, but when she came across an Instagram account with photos of hairstyles worn by women in pre-colonial African tribes, she decided she’d try out creating artistic hairstyles herself.

"I did a lot of research and was very inspired by the traditional ways of dressing and doing hair that have been pretty much entirely erased," she said. "Things have come a long way, but even today kinky hair is taboo for some Africans. I want to look back to our traditions and draw from them."

Laetitia started sharing her looks to her Instagram, and it didn’t take long for one of her posts to go viral. When this happened, she jumped from 3,000 to 40,000 followers in a single day. She has received the attention of numerous brands and magazines ever since, and continues to post new looks to her account today.

Of a potential future career in hair sculpting, Laetitia says she’s not interested in trying out her sculptures on anyone else- telling CNN, “It's important that I do it on myself because I want to spread a message of self-love.

“So many artists, particularly women, hide behind their work. I think that implicating myself in each piece, and showing a certain self-confidence, could really help people."

 

 

Laura Shallcross
Troll doll hair might just be the weirdest trend of 2019- here’s what you should know

We thought we’d seen it all with hair trends. From the festive Christmas tree hair, to autumn-inspired colours and every shade of pastille possible, vintage hairbands and the slicked-back look, 2018 was quite an eventful year in the hair industry. But, by the looks of the latest 2019 trend- troll doll hair- the world of all things nonconformism knows no limits.

In case you’re too young to know what a troll doll is, it’s a plastic doll with furry up-combed hair that was big in the nineties, but has continued to prove popular today. If you’ve seen the 2016 movie, creatively named Trolls, you’ll have a good idea of the hair type we’re talking about.

We were never huge fans of the sticking-straight-up electric-shock hairstyle ourselves, but apparently, Chanel are, because all of the brand’s models walking the runway at the Paris Couture Fashion Week were sporting variations of this exact ‘do.

We’re not sure whether to be impressed or appalled by the zero gravity look, which must have taken impossible amounts of hair gel and spray (and potentially upside-down head-hanging) to keep everything in place, and yet somehow looks completely effortless.

It’s not just Chanel showing off their intense leaf blower effects, either. Designer Thom Browne also introduced the style during his Paris runway show, although his model’s styles had a slight difference: the coiffed hairstyles all leaned deliberately to one side or another. Oh, and Thom’s models were all male. Yes, this is a look for all genders, it seems.

So, the only appropriate question to follow up our observations with is, how can we achieve the look ourselves? Purely hypothetically, of course- somehow we don’t think this is a look designed for showing up at the office on a normal workday.

Although there is no solid step-by-step instructions on exactly how to master the anti-gravity hair, it’s fairly obvious what you need to replicate the look successfully: a back comb, a willing friend, and several bottles of the best quality hairspray. If you’ve ever wanted to hang your head upside down while an accomplice backcombs your hair to within an inch of its life and nearly chokes you to death with hairspray fumes, please feel free to give this look a go, and let us know your verdict.  

Troll doll hair is a bizarre trend, undeniably, and can we see it taking off? Probably not. As with many sights you see on the runway, troll doll hair is probably a look best not replicating on yourself. This is a style that hasn’t even made it onto Instagram, which everyone knows is the real test of a trend’s potential for popularity- although we will, of course, keep an eye on the #trolldollhair hashtag for any posts that pop up after 2013.

Our verdict: Sometimes it’s easier for everyone if certain things aren’t brought into the public sphere.  

Image credit: Pedestrian

Laura Shallcross
How to combat cold-weather hair damage

Winter is officially in full swing, and dreams of tanning on a beach somewhere tropical are at the forefront of our minds. But, while the weather’s so cold it feels like going outside should be illegal, most of us aren’t lucky enough to be jetting off anywhere remotely warm and sunny to sit out the rest of the season. Which means having to cope with what we’ve got.

Even if you are suitably prepped to emotionally handle the impending big freeze, here’s a newsflash: your hair isn’t. Exposure to the cold can significantly damage hair over time, and it is important to know what these signs of damage are, and how to treat them. If you want to give your hair a surviving chance this winter, read on…

THE PROBLEM: Cold weather can make your hair dry

You know how icy, bitter temperatures can turn your hands into dry, shrivelled red things? Well, as it turns out, it can have a similar impact on your hair, too (just without the shrivelling or redness, obviously). Research suggests that harsh weather dehydrates hair, making it brittle and more prone to breakage- in other words, those pesky split ends.

THE SOLUTION: Rehydration station

The only way to give your hair some hydration is by, well, giving it some hydration. The easiest way to hydrate hair is to apply oil, such as coconut, almond or argan oil, especially focusing on the ends. It works well to leave it on overnight as a hair mask, and wash it off the next morning in the shower.

Aside from oils, get yourself a good hydrating conditioner and try to use it twice a week. There are specific conditioners developed to treat dry hair types, so have a shop around your local drugstore and see what you can find.

THE PROBLEM: Winter makes hair dull

There’s a bit of obvious science behind this one: there’s a distinct lack of sun in the winter, which means your hair isn’t absorbing those essential vitamin D nutrients that it so badly needs. It’s no wonder hair loses its glossy summer shine as the winter months plough on. Even worse, as vitamin D is needed to stimulate new and old hair follicles, it has been proven that a lack of the nutrient can lead to hair loss in extreme cases.

THE SOLUTION: Supplement, baby

Of course, no vitamin D supplement beats the real thing, but when the real thing is in short supply, we have to make do with what we’ve got. Vitamin D supplements aren’t overly expensive, and they’re easy to find in your local health store. If you’re after a way to bring back some natural shine to your locks this winter, supplements will certainly help.

Supplements aside, there are plenty of shine-boosting hair masks and mists that you can apply on a regular basis over the colder months to give your hair a bit of TLC.

THE PROBLEM: Cold weather causes split ends

Blame lack of hydration for this. Dryer, more brittle hair is more prone to splitting, which can be frustrating if you’re currently willing yours to grow to meet your seemingly impossible standards (we’ve all been there).

THE SOLUTION: Oil it up

The best solution for split ends is to apply oil to the ends of your hair regularly. Coconut oil, being one of the most popular hair treatments, is very moisturising, and applying it regularly will help keep your hair soft, nourished and hydrated, minimising the formation of split ends.

Be warned, though, the only way to completely banish your split ends is to cut them off, so oil is no miraculous hair-saver. We would advise that you visit your hairdresser’s regularly over the winter, so they can snip off the bad bits, which will encourage your hair to grow at a faster rate and give you a neater ‘do.

Laura Shallcross
Rice water for your hair?! We get to the bottom of this crazy new trend

Okay, we’ve got a question: since when did water stop being, well, plain ol’ water? We’ve got so many types to choose from these days, from coconut water, to cactus water, to the new, latest craze, rice water.

Weirdly, rice water isn’t some fancy bottled thing in the expensive fridge in Tesco. It’s simply the starchy water left over from when you’ve boiled rice in a pan. I’m sure you’ve never looked at the murky, cloudy stuff as your poured it down the sink and thought, “You know what, it’s got some appeal to it.” But apparently someone did, because otherwise, we never would have learnt of its benefits.

Said benefits include moisturizing and anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin, and, of course, hair growth. According to the internet, rice water has been used as a hair treatment for centuries by women in China, Japan and Southeast Asia, while the UK remained oblivious (hardly surprising, as we are usually the last to jump on any trend worth following). And it’s not just a word-of-mouth thing either: there’s scientific research to back up the results.

So why is rice water so beneficial, you ask? Simply because it is said to contain just as many vitamins and minerals as those in rice, including amino acids, B vitamins, antioxidants, vitamin E, and minerals. The high good-stuff content helps detangle and smoothen the hair, increasing shine whilst strengthening follicles and encouraging hair to grow long.

Although a lot more research is needed to prove the benefits of rice water to hair, various studies have been carried out that suggest something in the water is a real do-gooder in the hair department. A research facility in Japan, for example, proved the positive effects of inositol- which just happens to be an ingredient in rice water- on hair.

If you fancy brewing up your own rice water for potential hair benefits, here’s how to do it:

1.       Consider making a curry (waste not, want not, you may as well use the rice if you’re going to boil it).

2.       Boil your rice for the time stated on the packet, then drain the water into a bowl, eat your curry, and return to your rice water when cooled. Alternatively, soaking rice in cold water might make more sense if you’re not bothered about eating it, and will still infuse the water with the same Vs and Ms.

3.       Rice water is most commonly used as a conditioner, so you should wash your hair with shampoo as normal, then pour the rice water onto your hair, massaging it into the scalp.

4.       It’s advised that you leave it on for 20 minutes, before thoroughly rinsing the hair with hot water.

If you’re sceptical, we don’t blame you. There is a whole wealth of supposed “hair growth remedies” all over the internet, and it’s hard to know what to believe. But, considering rice water has such a historical popularity- unlike, say, the recent, far more costly trend of washing your hair with wine- we’re willing to give it a try.

In the name of research, we’ve found two YouTube videos about rice water for hair, one which is a THIS-STUFF-IS-A-MIRACLE-type speech, and the other which is a more general personal review. Judging by the comments, it seems many people have tried rice water for themselves, and are impressed with the outcome.

All of this leads us to the ultimate question: is it worth giving rice water a try? We would answer with, never say never. As is with all home hair remedies, if you’re particularly bored one day and have plenty of time on your hands, why not? Especially if you discover it’s actually a miracle hair-growth instigator after all. And as for whether we’ll be trying it? Just watch this space…

Laura Shallcross