Yellow hair- what’s it all about?

It might just be the brightest hair trend of the year- heck, the century- and love it or hate it, fluorescent-yellow hair is now a thing. We know, we know; say fluorescent yellow, think first-timer’s hair dye disaster, but trust us when we say there’s a way to work this colour so it actually looks flattering.

We saw it first on rapper Lil' Kim, who walked the VFiles runway at 2018 New York Fashion Week wearing a yellow dress and jacket combo with matching bright yellow hair, and it seems it went down well, with top beauty and style magazines promising it to be the next big thing.

Next came Nikki Minaj, whose hair, whether real or (arguably) not, is the same shade of yellow during her feature in a music video for Korean boyband BTS’s new single. Okay, so we all know Nikki Minaj is pretty famous for her out-there looks, but we still think this is a trend that’s going to catch on.

Now, the cheery shade, said to represent the sprightly optimism of that generation born between the mid-'90s and early '00s, is popping up all over Instagram, with 777k followers-strong @american-salon posting a pic of a model with dyed-bright locks that received over 1,300 likes.

But where, especially when it’s nearing pumpkin spice latte and jumper season, did our sudden love of such a sunny colour stem from? Apparently, according to the experts, part of the reason is that we’re bored of going blonde. Hairstylist Sophia Hilton, who founded Not Another Salon, says of the trend: "It's just a really fun update for blondes that doesn’t require a huge amount of commitment. Pastels and rose gold have been 'on trend' for what feels like forever, so we're now searching for something quite different."

But just how easy is bright yellow to master? First thing’s first, this isn’t one you want to have a go at yourself- it’s best leaving it to the experts. You should have a light natural base to begin with, so if you don’t, you may need several appointments, and normally several hours at a time, for your hair colour to be lifted. Once it’s at a suitably light shade, that’s where the experimenting with the bright yellows can begin.

Once you’ve got your colour, it’s important to remember that when it fades, it’s going to look more obvious than if your hair had been dyed, say, light brown to ash blonde. To keep your hair fresh, you'll need to remove any conditioners or shampoos that contain sulphates from your routine, as they could strip the colour. In between salon visits—which will definitely become more frequent if you want to commit to the trend—you should use a colour-depositing conditioner every other time you shower.

It’s a big commitment, and it’s definitely not for everyone, but if you’re brave enough to give the yellow hair trend a go, then good on you! As for us, we’ll probably sit this one out, but that won’t stop us admiring the trend from afar, even if we’re not quite daring enough to go the whole hog ourselves.

Laura Shallcross
How to sort out summer-dried hair

Had a bit too much of a good time over summer? If you spent your time off lounging in the sun, swimming in chlorinated pools or salty sea and generally shoving your hair back in a lazy bun and forgetting all about it during the UK's legendary, not-to-be-forgotten-for-years summer heatwave, chances are, it's been left a little worse for wear as a result. If this is you- don't fear, we're here to help you solve all of your summer-related hair issues and help you restore it back to its former beauty come autumn.

THE PROBLEM: Too many dips in the swimming pool

Chlorine is a chemical disinfectant added to the water of most swimming pools, to, y'know, keep things as hygienic as sharing a bath with multiple strangers can possibly be. As much fun as it might be to bob about on a lilo in Tenerife, living your best life, your hair isn't going to love you for it. Chlorine damages your hair when it comes into contact with it, by stripping the natural oils from your hair and leaving it dry and prone to all the horrible things in life, like frizz and knots. Your hair is more likely to have experienced chlorine damage this summer if it's colour treated, thin or fine, or previously damaged.

THE SOLUTION: Revitalising hair masks

Luckily, chlorine damage is only temporary if you know how to fix it, and there are plenty of treatments available for doing just that. Moisturising masks are great for giving your hair that hydration it badly needs. You can either buy them from your local drug store- there are plenty at a reasonable price- or make your own from coconut or argan oil. Simply apply your mask of choice twice a week after showering, leave on for twenty minutes, then wash off. Your hair'll be looking as sleek and shiny as before your pool-dipping in no time.


We're not going to tell you otherwise: when the whole point of going on holiday is to spend a week or so in the sun, there's no real avoiding it. But if you'll admit to maybe not wearing a hat when you could have done, or spending hours on the deckchair with your hair sizzling under the sun's rays, it might be fair to say that your hair has suffered from your actions. With prolonged exposure to the sun, UVA and UVB rays can damage the outside cover of the hair strand, causing discoloration, dry and brittle strands, broken or split ends, thinning and frizziness.

THE SOLUTION: Condition, condition, condition

You need a good moisturising conditioner for this- anything that contains argan oil is a good one, as well as honey, coconut oil, and shea butter. These ingredients are all natural, and so won't fall out with your hair once they're applied, and they're known for helping restore hair to its former glory by repairing and re-hydrating strands. Regularly conditioning the ends of your hair should help bring some life back to your locks. It may also be a good idea to visit your hairdresser's for a touch-up if you feel the sun has faded away some of your colour.

THE PROBLEM: Salt water + hair = a match made in hell

Salt water never usually gets a bad rep: after all, how bad can something that detoxes the skin, reduces swelling and treats wounds really be? But your innocent dip in the sea might not have been so innocent after all, as all that salt in the sea actually leeches water out of your hair, leaving it dry, parched, and brittle. Not a winning combination, we're sure you'll agree.

THE SOLUTION: Oil it (and avoid heat!)

Once the salt water damage has been done, the best solution is to grab your nearest oil- coconut, almond, argon, it doesn't matter which one, get applying it on your ends. If your hair feels really dry and brittle, apply a good helping of the oil and lather all over. Leave the oil in for at least half an hour before washing off and shampooing for good measure. The oils contain plenty of vitamins that will deposit in your hair, helping to re-nourish it and replace whatever has been lost from your frequent ocean dips. Try to avoid using any heat products on your hair, too, as they'll only dry your hair out even more.

Laura Shallcross
The easiest hair hacks you need to know

It’s getting to the end of summer. You’ve spent all your savings on that holiday to Malaga, and you’re back to wearing last year’s Christmas jumpers already. The last thing you can think about is buying all the new A/W products that promise to be the next best thing for your hair. But do you really have to? We’ve put together a list of hair hacks that cost next-to-nothing, and might be the answer to what your hair needs now it’s getting colder- without you having to blow the bank…

Sleep on a silk or satin pillow

If you’re sick of waking up to a head full of hair-frizz, switch your cotton pillow case for a silk or satin one- chances are, you already have one in a cupboard somewhere, without realising its night time benefits to your hair. Whilst cotton pillowcases create friction between your hair and the surface of the pillow, which can lead to hair breakage, satin pillowcases are very smooth, which means your hair won’t get tangled up while sleeping on them.

Forget about the curler- it’s all about braiding

This is an old hack that most of us probably haven’t considered since childhood. Simply plaiting your hair in multiple braids before you go to bed means that when you wake up and unravel the strands the next day, you’re going to be left with a head full of bouncy, heat-free curls. Not only are you saving spending unnecessary money on a curling iron, you’re doing your hair good by avoiding the heat, too. Just make sure you don’t tie the braids too tight- that would make for an uncomfortable night’s sleep and wouldn’t be the best for your hair, either.

Keep bobby pins in place with hairspray

Fed up of losing all your bobby pins and having to buy more? If you can get into the habit of spritzing them with hairspray before sliding them into your hair, that will be a thing of the past. With a bit of hair spray, a bobby pin should stay in place all day, meaning less hair-patting and re-adjusting for you, and a bobby pin collection that lasts longer than a couple of weeks.

Dry your hair with microfiber towels

Regular terrycloth towels do more damage to your hair than it’s worth, so if you usually scrub your hair from wet to damp with one of those, it’s time to switch up to a microfiber towel. Not only do they absorb excess moisture faster than a towel, but they also reduce blow-drying time and are much kinder on your hair in general.

Tame frizz with a toothbrush and hairspray

Who needs the latest frizz-taming product when you can DIY it on the cheap? Simply grab a toothbrush (a spare one, obviously) and a can of hairspray. Spray the toothbrush and run it over your flyaway strands, flattening down. The hairspray should hold them in place for a few hours at least. Warning: make sure you don’t spray too much hairspray onto the toothbrush! No one likes the feeling of dry-snap hair.

Laura Shallcross
Compulsive hair pulling- what it is, and how to treat it

I’m sure all of us at some point have used the expression “I want to tear my hair out!” when we’ve been particularly frustrated about something. We’re obviously not being literal, of course- but actually, pulling out your own hair is a real disorder that affects a small percentage of the population. It’s called trichotillomania, and involves irresistible urges to pull out hair from your scalp, eyebrows or other areas of your body.

What are the symptoms to look out for? As hairdressers, we’re used to hair of every kind possible, and it’s usually obvious when we treat a client who suffers from trichotillomania. Pulling hair from the scalp often leaves patchy bald spots, which can be distressing for the individual suffering from the disorder. For some people, the urge to pull out the hair can be overwhelming, while for others, it is generally manageable. The symptoms include:

-          Repeatedly pulling your hair out, typically from your scalp, eyebrows or eyelashes,

-          An increasing sense of tension before pulling

-          Noticeable hair loss

It’s common for trichotillomania to cause feelings of shame and low self-esteem. Those affected may try to keep their condition to themselves.

You are more at risk of experiencing trichotillomania if you have a close relative with the disorder, suffer from other mental illnesses, or are undergoing a period of stress. The actual cause of trichotillomania is, frustratingly, unclear, and symptoms may come and go for weeks, months and years at a time.

If you believe you may be suffering from trichotillomania or a related disorder, it’s important that you seek help from a professional. You might feel embarrassed having to do this, but trichotillomania is a mental illness, just like anxiety and depression, and you shouldn’t be ashamed to admit that you need support in helping yourself feel better. Your doctor can work through your triggers with you and help you to reach the source of the problem in order to fight it.

As well as seeking medical help, it may also help you to start making a real effort to look after and pamper your hair. This may help to resist the urge to pull the hair, and give you a ‘reason’ not to do so. For example, treating it to a weekly coconut hair mask and shampooing and conditioning with nutrient-rich shampoos and conditioners may help to fight against the desire to pull at your hair. You could also try replacing hair pulling with another action, like squeezing a stress ball.

Trichotillomania might not be a common mental illness, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be made aware of it, especially those who work in the hairdressing industry. Victoria's Secret Angel Sara Sampaio recently opened up about suffering from the disorder, saying about her eyebrows on Instagram: "Well I try not to touch them, but unfortunately I suffer from trichotillomania and I pull on them! 😭 so I have lots of gaps in them, I just use a eyebrow pencil to fill out the gaps!" We hope that this will encourage others to come forward and realise that they’re not alone in their struggle.

Laura Shallcross
Why going natural will do wonders to your hair

We get it: everyone loves making their hair look good. What would be the point in having it, otherwise? Whether you're a serial straightner, a lover of the curling iron, or can't live without your hairdryer, it's all too tempting to use heat to mould your hair into whichever style you think is the perfect outcome. And even if you don't plan to use heat products regularly, it can be all too tempting to do so when your morning bedhead is proving all too hard to tame. But what about if you gave your hair a break from the heat? What would happen, other than the obvious? Here's what to know:

  1. Your hair health will massively improve
    If you refrain from using heat products regularly, your hair will be stronger and more durable, meaning it will look healthier and grow faster. Too much heat can make your hair feel knotty and brittle to touch, because it removes water that is bound to the hair, which is called water of hydration. The protective keratin layer of hair degrades, the nutrients are lost, and virtually every hair becomes rough and gets split ends. Just a couple of weeks of not using heat on your hair should improve its quality, and if you're really dedicated, you should get your ends trimmed and watch how much faster it grows when you're not using heat on it. 
  2. You can spend longer in bed
    Let's take a moment to talk about just. How. Long. It. Takes to perfect hair with a heat product. And who's got time for all that hair maintenance when you could be spending it doing other, more important things (i.e. sleeping?). That hour-long curling session can be spent far more wisely, trust us. You'll be doing yourself and your busy schedule a favour more than anything else by cutting it out.
  3. Your confidence in your natural hair will (eventually) return.
    You can get all too used to seeing your hair in its straightened/curled/blowdried form as 'perfect', rendering any other texture or appearence boring, or even ugly. It's worth remembering that actually, perfect hair looks different for everyone- you might spend ages every morning straightening your hair, while someone else thinks their straight hair is visually unappealing, and goes out of their way to give it a bit more bounce and volume. The point? Embracing your hair in its natural style is easier than you think. Even better, if you don't show off your natural hair a lot, you'll probably get loads of compliments when you do. Go on, try it. We dare you.

Obviously, natural hair isn't for everyone, and it's always fun to style it every now and then. But if you can try and cut it out from your daily routine- maybe make it an every-other-day thing to begin with, before going down even more- you'll notice that your hair will love you for it.If you do regularly use heat on your hair, make sure you're using heat protectant products at the same time, to reduce damage to your hair. There are plenty of products out there, but if you're unsure what to use, ask your hairdresser. They have the knowledge of all the best and latest hair styling products, so you're best following their advice if you're a lover of heat on your hair. 

Laura Shallcross
Iced coffee hair is the new colour of the season, and here's how to achieve it

It's been a long, hot summer (not that we're complaining), and we've drank a lot of cold beverages, including, of course, the humble iced coffee. You might be the same- in which case, you're a lot more used to seeing it go into your mouth through your straw than you are in people's hair. But it turns out you might just start seeing the latter... well, not people with literal coffee in their hair, that would be weird- but people with iced coffee coloured hair, as it's been dubbed as the new colour trend of the season.  

This most recent hair-colour craze originated, where all good things arguably do, in America, and has been sweeping New York and L.A., according to Refinery 29. Coffee hair- warm, brown tones with a hint of cocoa- was first brought to our attention by Pop Sugar, when the Instagram account @behindthechair_com shared a picture of @hairby_kimberlyy‘s client. It’s a rich, toffee-coloured shade that screams autumn. 

If you're keen to jump on the trend before your friends, your best chances of achieving the look are to visit a hairdresser (not, unfortunately, doing a DIY at-home dye, which, let's face it, could produce disastrous results). An NYC hairstylist, who claims she was the inventor of the cold coffee colour, explained to Refinery 29 exactly how to achieve the look at a hairdresser's:

  • The key is to ask your stylist to ribbon rich highlights and lowlights through your hair for dimension. 
  • Golden and neutral tones need to be swirled down the hair for the cold coffee effect-just like when you pour a little bit of milk into your coffee, for the sweet-toothed of us. 

Just like your coffee, you can customise the trend to suit your preferences. So, if you prefer, you can go darker with richer tones for a more classic look. Or you could up the milk factor and go lighter and warmer in certain areas. You could even add a dash of caramel highlights- syrup, anyone? It really is up to you.

The coffee colour seems to work best on long, layered hair, and we'd suggest that unless you're prepared for lots of work to be done (and money to be spent), that you only take your idea to the hairdressers if your hair is light-medium brunette or dark blonde already. Unless you really want the colour, of course, or if you're after more of a black coffee look, in which case we say just go for it. 

Image credit: Salon Magazine

Laura Shallcross
What’s the deal with… chia seeds for hair growth?

If you’ve ever tried chia seeds, you probably won’t have thought much of them. They have a slightly nutty taste, a bit like a poppyseed when dry, and frogspawn-like when soaked (apologies to anyone who likes them, but this resemblance springs to mind every time we eat the stuff). They do, however, have a plethora of health benefits, which is why we’ve been reluctantly adding them to our porridge, yogurt and shakes of recent. But we’d been eating them without actually knowing of their full benefits- and it turns out, like many superfoods, that chia seeds are also brilliant for hair growth- and you don’t even have to eat them to see the benefits!

So, what can they do? Chia seeds are made up of about 23 percent protein, so whether you’re ingesting them or whipping up a simple hair mask from them (our preferred option), they work to give you a stronger cortex, which, in simple terms, means your hair will be less likely to break or form split ends. This means a healthy and regular absorption of protein from chia seeds should aid hair growth, strength and thickness.

Chia seeds are also loaded with all the essential amino acids, and contain antioxidants, vitamins, omega-3 oil, fiber and minerals, which combine to give your hair that envious Beyoncé glow. While the amino acids bind to damaged sections of the hair’s cuticle and form a protective layer, the antioxidants will neutralize free radicals to keep hair healthy and strong. Sounds like a good mix to us.

Let’s finish up with a rumour: apparently chia seeds can delay your hair from greying because of the copper they contain, which inhibits the production of melanin, which is known for bringing your hair back to its natural colour and delaying any greying. We have to say, we’re hesitant to believe that the aging process can be combatted by something as simple as a chia seed- we’ll believe that one when we see it.

That said, there are clearly shine and growth-related benefits to chia seeds that make them worth having in your cupboard for when you hair’s feeling in need of a pamper. If you don’t fancy eating them, chia seeds can easily be used to create a hair mask by simply mixing two teaspoons of chia seeds in a bowl and slowly adding water until the seeds absorb it and it becomes a paste. You should leave it for around 10 minutes so that it gets a gel-like consistency, and then you’re ready to add the next ingredients.

You’ll need milk for the mask, but not dairy- almond or coconut work best, as they contain unsaturated fat that’ll repair the dry hair shaft, moisturise hair and give it a healthy shine. If you want to go all-out, you could also add a teaspoon of lemon juice, which will help cleanse the scalp, remove dandruff and keep it from getting greasy.

From this point all you have to do is apply the mask from roots to tip, making sure to cover all the hair, and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing off with shampoo. Don’t worry about conditioner- the chia mask will be oily enough to leave your hair soft and shiny. If you repeat this once a week, as well as making sure to eat a vitamin-rich diet (we know, what dedication!), you should notice that your hair is softer, healthier, and growing at a faster rate.

Picture credit: Organic Facts

Laura Shallcross

There will come a time when your hair goes grey, and it’s up to you whether you choose to run for the hair dye, or (what we believe you should do) embrace it. If you have chosen to embrace your grey hair for what it is, you might be wondering whether there’s anything you should be doing to look after your new colour. Here’s everything you need to know about how hair changes when it goes grey, and how to keep it looking its best.

So why does hair go grey? As we get older, the pigment cells in our hair follicles gradually die, which means your strands of hair will no longer contain as much melanin and will become a more transparent colour, like grey, silver, or white, as it grows. People can go grey at any age, but it is more common to notice your first grey hairs in your 30s or 40s. Here’s a fact: it’s usually down to genetics, so if you can remember when your parents went grey, you’ll probably go grey around the same age.

At the same time as greying, you might notice some hair loss. This is because your hair is lacking in the protein that once made it strong and thick. Hair may become fine and wiry in texture. This is nothing to be worried about- it’s as natural as the aging process, but if you want to maintain healthy hair once you go grey, there are a few things you can do:

·         Use purple shampoo

You know, the stuff you’re supposed to use if you dye your hair an artificial “silver” colour? Well, for the same reason why it works on dyed grey hair, purple shampoo is fantastic for the natural greys, whites and silvers. The shampoo contains a deep purple pigment that acts as an anti-yellowing agent to counteract hair brassiness. This in turn will prevent discolouration, and make your colour more vibrant, rather than dull and tired-looking.

·         Protein is your friend

We tend to eat less protein as we get older, when we actually need more. It’s quite simple to eat a protein-rich diet- even if you’re not a bit fan of meat, nuts and seeds, and eggs, leafy vegetables, beans and pulses, oats and brown rice will all contribute to a high-protein diet in the long run. Alternatively, you can buy products which have been specially produced to add protein to the hair- Lee Stafford does a lot of protein-based hair growth treatments which, from our experience, are fairly effective.

·         Switch up to argan oil

We know, we know, everyone has their favourite styling products, and chances are, yours doesn’t contain a healthy dose or argan oil. But trust us when we say it’s worth looking out for products that contain this beneficial ingredient, as it works brilliantly on aging, grey hair and prevents it from getting too brittle, simultaneously giving it an enhanced shine. This is because argan oil is extremely rich in beneficial nutrients including fatty acids and vitamin E, which hydrates the hair, giving it that glow.

If you’re feeling nervous about going grey, or have already gone grey and feel uncomfortable with your colour, following the above advice should help you to embrace going grey and learn to love your hair. Because when treated right, grey hair can look beautiful, and it’s really nothing to be ashamed about.  

Laura Shallcross
Champagne in your hair? No, we’re not making it up

We didn’t think anything could get weirder than treating your hair with mayonnaise, but now something even more extra has been trending on Instagram as the next big thing for hair health. We’re talking about champagne. Yes, the stuff your mum usually reserves for Christmas, the stuff you only ever drink at formal work dos and the odd wedding.

We should make this clear first of all: not everybody is claiming champagne has hair benefits. Notably, it’s Instagrammer Madina Shrienzada, who happens to be known for her weird and wonderful beauty hacks, and previously claimed that potato peelings could help reduce the appearance of bags under your eyes, who’s making such claims. She shared a video in which she rinses her hair with champagne, claiming it resulted in noticeable benefits.

In the video, Madina, who has a whopping 291k followers on the app, separates her (admittedly thick and shiny) hair into separate bobbles, before liberally pouring shampoo over her ends. She writes in the caption: “Sooo I TESTED THIS THE 👑OTHER DAY TO SEE IF IT WORKS AND HONESTLY IT GAVE MY HAIR AN EXTRA LITTLE VAMP OF SHINE ❤️ & TAMED SOME FRIZZ I’ll give this 8/10.” (sic.)

The question on everyone’s lips, after, of course, “How could you waste your champagne like that?”, is: “Does this actually work?” Surprisingly, our research leads us to believe there might be some truth into Madina’s claims. According to Allure, alcohol in general is beneficial to hair, as it contains proteins that are great for making your hair look extra shiny. Suddenly, we’re not feeling too bad about all the times we’ve ended up with beer-hair at festivals.

And there’s even a hair-care brand out there, Cuvée Beauty, which blends champagne extracts with plant proteins for healthier hair. The brand was the brainchild of Rachel Katzman, who, after a playful dousing of Champagne on her 21stbirthday, at the end of the evening, realized her hair had in fact never looked or felt better. Rachel spent the next three years researching ways to bottle Champagne as a hair treatment, and eventually, Cuvée Beauty was formed.

So what exactly does champagne do to your hair? Unfortunately, it won’t get rid of your split ends- but it will protect against harsh sun rays that break down proteins and damage hair.

We have to admit, this doesn’t have us rushing to the nearest wine cupboard to try out this DIY remedy ourselves. We would advise that if you want to see how your hair can benefit from champagne, you buy champagne infused products such as the Cuvée Beauty ones, rather than wasting good money (and a perfectly good drink) on your experiment.


Laura Shallcross
Everything you need to know about “wet-look hair”

Remember a couple of years ago, when models and celebrities alike were photographed with slicked-back, wet-looking hair that gave them that “just stepped out of the shower” appearance? Well, it seems it hasn’t run its course yet, with actress and model Shay Mitchell being the latest celebrity to rock the look for her new Lifetime show ‘You’. Despite looking achievable (you just wash your hair, right?) you’d be surprised at how much work actually goes into this hairstyle, and we’re here to spill…

Want to give the look a go yourself? The wet-hair look is amenable to any hair, so don’t worry about whether it will suit you- it’s worth just giving it a go. You’d be wrong to think it’s created by water, though, despite how it looks. Water may make hair look wet, but the effect is only temporary. If you have straight hair and you’re going to style your hair from wet, here’s what to do:

·         Start with damp (not super-wet) hair. If you can’t be bothered to shower and wait for the drying process, take a spray bottle full of water and mist your locks until they're damp all over.

·         Next, either use a conditioning mousse, or a soft gel, and work the product into your hair from roots to tip.

·         Finger-comb the product through your hair and scrunch it slightly, and then leave your hair to set for ten minutes or so. When the product dries, you should be left with a high shine, wet look all over.

·         Spray with hairspray for extra support and you’re good to go!

If your hair is curly, the tip is to not use a gel, as the water in most gels will take straightened hairs right back to their curly state. Instead, use wax- use enough of it to completely wet the hair and then scrunch the strands slightly into light waves.

So, now you know how to use it, how about some product recommendations? If you’re a fan of the well-known brands, it might interest you to know that L’Oréal have a new range of wet-look products called Wet Domination, including “Extreme Splash” and “Shower Shine”. But if you’re after something less specific, there are plenty of hair gels and waxes to choose from that will do the trick.

Unfortunately, no matter what your texture, your wet-hair look won’t last more than a day. So if you’ve got a date in mind where looking sleek is at the top of your priorities, remember that you can’t just sort your ‘do the day before- and imagine the state of your pillows if you tried to sleep on it! The wet look might not be for everyone, but if you’re uncertain, give it a go. You might just be surprised with the outcome.  

Picture credit: Her Campus

Laura Shallcross