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
New Year, new hair- the first emerging colour trends of 2019

For many of us, the New Year calls for a new start of sorts- whether that be a new job, the setting of health and fitness goals, or an image overhaul. If you’re considering a hair-related change for 2019, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of emerging colour trends spreading round the internet, and they’re all suitably new- we’re not talking your average-Joe colours here.

Gone are the days of hair colour being divided into four very boring, conventional tones: blonde, brunette, black and grey. Now, thanks to a greater understanding of all things shade-based in the hair and beauty industry, and a general increase in creativity and enterprise when it comes to hair colour, there are thousands of shades to choose from. Including those mentioned below, which have gained a particular popularity this New Year...

Snow Hair

What’s that saying? “If Kylie Jenner rocks it, it must be a trend.” Okay, so we just made that up, but you get the point. Anything Kylie Jenner does immediately trends across all social media platforms, and suddenly it is the Next Big Thing. The usual happened when Kylie dyed her hair platinum for Christmas, although technically, this trend was already beginning to emerge on Instagram in early December.

Snow Hair, as it’s been deemed online, has a distinct absence of yellow, and is completely cool in tone, enabling you to blend in perfectly with wintry weather. As expected, it’s a difficult shade to achieve: if your natural shade is anything darker than blonde, it may take five to ten appointments.

Mushroom Blonde Hair

It seems it’s all about the lighter shades this January, as another growing hair trend across social media platforms is Mushroom Blonde, a shade coined by Maryland-based stylist Yokasta Perez on Instagram.

Just like, well, a mushroom, the shade is not quite blond, but not quite brown, making it a great shade for loyal blondes who only want to dip their toes into anything remotely brunette. Benefits include easier colour maintenance, less obvious root-showing, and an overall natural appearance.

Negative Space Hair

We thought we’d slip Negative Space Hair in at the end, as technically, it’s nothing of a new trend, and technically, it’s not a particular shade. But it is gaining more recognition in 2019, and rightly so, because having a good understanding of what it actually means could provide inspiration for your next hair appointment.

The Negative Space balayage is created by technique: leaving pinches of strands free of lighter colour to create an almost 3D, multidimensional effect, as opposed to the flatness often created by original highlighting techniques. If it’s done right, it’s a great way to allow hair colour to really pop (and not just make you look like you need your roots done). See the Insta-work of jackhowardcolor for inspo.

 

Laura Shallcross
Vegan hair care- what’s it all about?

t’s 2018 (nearly 2019)- obviously by now we are all familiar with the vegan diet. In case you want the word-for-word definition, a vegan diet abstains from all animal products, including meat, fish, dairy, gelatine, and honey. However, many vegans aim to abstain from the use of animal products in general, and similarly, they may look for products that haven’t been tested on animals during production. That’s where vegan hair care comes in.

So, what makes hair care non-vegan? Certain hair products contain ingredients that aren’t vegan friendly, so it’s all about checking the label. Non-vegan ingredients include:

·         Biotin-used as a texturizer in hair creams and conditioners and found in all living cells,

·         Cetyl Alcohol- found in the spermaceti (head cavity) of whales, dolphins, and other cetaceans

·         Gelatine

·         Keratin- found in animal hooves, feathers, horns, and hair

·         Hyaluronic Acid- derived from the synovial fluid surrounding the joints of animals.

Didn’t have a clue what these ingredients actually were? Don’t be ashamed- most people don’t. But it’s certainly interesting information to know. The most logical follow-up question has to be: Is it possible for a hair product not to contain these ingredients? Because, really, a brand wouldn’t include an ingredient if it wasn’t necessary or effective in some way, right?

The answer is yes to both. These ingredients are all effective in a hair product; they aren’t just included for the fun of it. But, also, it is possible to create a hair product without these ingredients. There are alternatives to everything these days, and hair product ingredients are no exception.  

There are a multitude of plant-derived ingredients and herbs that can serve the same purpose, and many brands are jumping to test these out for their own products, realising that demand for vegan products is on the rise. L’Oréal Professionnel, for instance, launched a vegan, plant-based line called Source Essentielle this year, created using 80 to 99 per cent natural origin ingredients. So it’s not just the smaller brands that are branching out in terms of production.

With options now widely available, it is fairly easy to find vegan hair care products in high street stores such as Boots and Superdrug. Because of the appeal of vegan products, chances are it will be somewhere on the packaging if the product you’re looking at is vegan. The same goes for animal testing- if a product doesn’t test on animals, it should make that fairly clear somewhere on the bottle- look out for the cruelty-free bunny logo if you’re unsure.

This leads us to the ultimate question: should you use vegan hair care? The answer is, of course: it’s up to you. Just like with a vegan diet, if it your decision whether you use shampoos, conditioners, sprays, masks and the like, that contain non-vegan ingredients. However, something to bear in mind is that vegan hair products tend to contain ingredients that are sourced more considerably in general, which often means that they are better, and more natural, for your hair anyway. In terms of effectiveness, there is no difference between vegan and non-vegan hair care, so your decision should be based on personal preference only.

Laura Shallcross
3 novelty Christmas hairstyles that AREN’T impossible

Novelty Christmas hair is always quite a big deal each December, and we can see why. A couple of weeks back, we posted about Christmas tree hair, the yearly trend that sees women all over the internet styling their hair into a literal Christmas tree (baubles and tinsel included), and we didn’t think it could get much better than this. But it turns out there are all sorts of novelty Christmas ‘dos out there, and it’s impossible to pick a favourite.

Whether you’ve got a Christmas party to impress at, or you want to win some parent-points with your appropriate-hair-lengthed children for such an endeavour, we’ve made it our #ChristmasMission to source out some of these most creative of hairstyles, and find out how exactly you can achieve such festive looks. From Christmas puddings to halo wreaths, we promise you’ll be entertained. Not only that, but these hairstyles are super-easy to achieve, and manageable for even the least creative of us- we promise.

1.       The Pudding Bun

You need:

-          Hair donut

-          Thin, white felt

-          Sprig of holly & berries (ideally fake, unless you’re feeling really fancy)

-          Strong glue

Girls across the world, listen up: it’s time to get out your long-forgotten donut (nope, not the food kind), for its first use since your seven-year-old ballet days. To achieve the pudding bun look, simply scrape your hair back into a smooth pony, then wrap hair around the donut, as per your usual donut-bun hair styling. Make sure the bun is high up on top of your head, almost sitting on top of it, so the pudding itself can be seen in all its glory.

Next, the fun part: cut your white felt into a circular blob with wavy edges, making it just big enough to sit on top of your bun. Make a tiny holes around the outside, so you can stick hairpins through and attach the “cream” layer on top of your bun. Finally, stick the sprig of holly and berries in the pudding’s centre with the strong glue (avoid hair! Repeat: avoid hair!) and voila! You’re good to go.

2.       The Rudolph Bun

You need:

-          Hair donut

-          Big, red pom-pom

-          Big goggly eyes

-          Brown pipe cleaners, formed into reindeer antlers.

Here’s a different take on the pudding bun: repeat the steps in the first paragraph above, but replace the white felt for sticky reindeer eyes on the top half of your bun. In the centre of the bun, stick the red pom-pom (you may need the help of hairpins if you don’t think it will stay), and attach your pipe cleaner antlers to the very top of the bun. A cute look for your children- or yourself, if you’re an admitted child at heart.

3.       The Halo Wreath

You need:

-          Plenty of hairpins

-          Sprigs of holly and berries (again, fake is best- EBay and Amazon sell them)

-          The patience of a saint

Watch out, this one’s a step up from the other two. To attempt the halo wreath hair, you have to first master plaiting your hair into a Dutch halo braid- you know, the one that makes a full circle around your head, halo-style. If you’re unsure where to begin, we’ve found a fab tutorial, including video, on the Schwarzkopf StyleStudio.

Once you’ve mastered the braid (and hopefully not given in!), all that’s left to do is add your sprigs of holly and berries, hairpinning them in for extra safety. We sort of wish it was acceptable to rock this look all the time, it’s so pretty.

Picture credit: Kidspot

Laura Shallcross
The Christmas foods your hair will thank you for

Christmas is not really a time to be thinking about eating well, let’s be honest. From the early advent calendar chocolate-binge, to eating our bodyweights in Christmas dinner, and saying yes to that second helping throughout the whole of the “festive period” (read: from December 1st to late January, when the Christmas chocolates have finally ran out), it would be rude not to indulge, really.

We wouldn’t, of course, encourage you to miss out on what is arguably the best part of Christmas. Instead, we’re here to bring a nice surprise. Because, as it turns out, there are plenty of Christmas foods that are good for our hair- so it’s a win-win all round! Here’s a list of some of our favourite Christmas staples, and their surprising benefits to hair health:

Nuts

Whether you’re roasting chestnuts, salting peanuts, or shamelessly scoffing from the bag of caramelised cashews, you are, believe it or not, doing your hair a favour. Nuts are a great source of biotin, a vitamin known to help promote hair growth. Yes, most “sharer” bags of nuts do admittedly contain sugars, salts, and the occasional artificial sweetener, but it’s Christmas, and you’re trying your best.

Sweet potatoes

We’re glad sweet potatoes are so on-trend lately, because not only do they taste delicious (if you are yet to try them out of general fear of eating something such a vivid orange, we urge you to give them a go), they are also proven to be beneficial to hair. Sweet potatoes contain beta carotene, the precursor of Vitamin A, which helps to keep hair from becoming dry and brittle. So it’s definitely worth piling up those roasties on your Christmas dinner plate...

Christmas pudding

Okay, we had to stretch it with this one. We just want to be clear that there are no proven benefits of custard, or cake, or ice cream, or brandy, or anything remotely Christmas pudding-related… other than raisins. The raisins in your Christmas pudding are full of biotin, a B vitamin that promotes hair growth and overall scalp health. That more than justifies a second helping, right?

Sprouts

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, sprouts are a Christmas staple across many a household. If you’re going to try and force down a couple of sprouts this year in the name of “Christmas spirit” (or because your mum/nan/auntie is insisting you have some), try to find comfort in the knowledge that sprouts are, in fact, very good for your hair. Selenium in sprouts helps ward off dandruff and lets the scalp produce natural oil that promotes healthy hair growth. Okay, I suppose we can take just the one…

Eggnog

Again, work with us on this one. As well as being high in protein, eggs- as in, a key ingredient in your eggnog- contain biotin. Biotin is a B vitamin which is essential for scalp health and hair growth… meaning technically, there are some benefits to your Christmas tipple. Just don’t be downing them like water on a hot day because we’ve said that.

The cheeseboard

Ah, the cheeseboard- because after a day of eating, opening presents, eating, socialising with family members, eating, watching questionable TV, and- you guessed it- eating again, there is no better way to end the day than by settling down in bed with a good old plate of your favourite dairy selection. Luckily, as it turns out, certain cheeses are filled with protein, and a rich source of calcium, which is useful to maintain healthy, shiny hair.

Laura Shallcross