The perm has returned! What to know about the 80s hairdo

We love it when trends from the past come back in fashion. Admittedly, some things, like fluorescent leg warmers, handlebar moustaches, socks with sandals and male rompers, never deserved to resurface for a second time, but there are plenty of past reincarnations to celebrate. Double denim, leopard print, flares, dungarees, thick rimmed glasses… yes please. And perms? Things just got exciting!

It’s almost too good to be true: perms are back. The throwback hairstyle first got popular in the 80s, and at the time, it seemed like every high schooler had one. Apparently, the reason for the sudden popularity was that girls were finally starting to grow their hair long, after it had been a trend to keep hair short for such a substantial period of time.

At the height of its fame, the perm was seen on many famous celebrities, including American actress Sarah Jessica Parker, and, of course, Sandy after her glow-up in the last few acts of Grease. Sadly, by the 90s, the perm has already run its course, and was replaced by crimped waves, the high ponytail, feathering, and questionable half-hair braids.

While it seemed like perms might be a, well, permanent thing of the past, now, nearly thirty years after their big debut into the fashion spectrum, they appear to be coming back. Hair salons are offering them to customers once more, catwalk models have donned the look on the runways, and even a few celebrities (Spider Man’s Emma Stone included) have been seen showing the look off.  

So, for those of you who aren’t old enough to be sure of this, what exactly are perms? Put simply, they are essentially a permanent way of keeping your hair wavy or curly- ideal if you’re sick of brandishing the curling iron every morning, or worse, wearing rollers to bed, just to achieve your desired look.

You can expect a perm to last for a few months, after which it’ll take another trip to the hairdressers to get a touch-up. Back in the day, perms broke down the hair using chemicals that reform it into a different shape. Definitely not the healthiest process for the hair, but as with hair dye, sometimes things have to be done in the name of looking good.

These days, something called sodium thioglycolate is used instead of the nastier chemicals, but other than that, the process hasn’t really changed. Unfortunately, the price has changed with the times- you can expect to pay around £70-150 for a decent perm job lasting several months. But you can expect a more bespoke treatment than you could have got back then, which should tailor the perm to your hair type as much as possible.

Wondering what the rules are once you’ve had your hair permed? Looking after a perm takes some work, but shouldn’t be too different from your usual hair care routine. You should aim to avoid washing your hair for at least two days after the perm, and don’t comb your hair for the first 24 hours. After that, it’s just a case of treating hair like it’s naturally curly, moisturising it to prevent dryness, and using oils as leave-in conditioners to keep it healthy.

If you’re thinking about dying permed hair, it’s best to consult your hairdresser first, just to check that it’s okay to do so. You can use heat styling tools on permed hair, so it shouldn’t limit you in any way. You can’t wash your curls out, either, so don’t be afraid to take regular showers- in fact, we insist!

The future of the perm, and whether the style really will take off as the next big trend of 2019, is uncertain as of yet. But what’s really important to remember, if you’re considering a perm, is that it is incredibly damaging to your hair. Think about it- the process breaks down every single bond in your hair, then reforms it into something unnatural. Some hairdressers will simply refuse to do perms because of the damage they would be doing to their clients’ hair (and there really is no avoiding this damage, no matter what you might have heard). You’re entitled to treat your hair however you want- just as long as you know what you’d be putting it through with a perm!

Laura Shallcross
Do hair colouring policies put a stop to self-expression?

It wasn’t so long ago that if you dyed your hair the slightest shade of unnatural, you were assumed a societal outcast and given a wide berth by nearly everyone. Luckily, some much-needed progression has led to hair colours all across the rainbow spectrum not only being respected but adored- and often, it’s a case of the brighter, the better.

These days, you don’t have to label yourself as anything out of the ordinary if you want to dye your hair a non-natural colour: you can simply do it because you think it looks cool, or you fancy a change. More and more people are requesting more vibrant, less natural looks at the hairdresser’s, and the semi-permanent and permanent market for more “unusual” shades like silvers and pastels is expanding by-the-minute.

It’s quite clear that non-natural hair colouring is more than just a trend: it’s a choice of self-expression that’s here to stay. There’s something of a thrill that comes from experimenting with a shade that a person can’t naturally be born with- not to mention the gorgeous colours that can be achieved by a hairdresser with the right skills and knowledge. So why, we wonder, are there still rules and regulations as to non-natural hair colouring in the work and education sectors?

Many of us can probably think back and recall the numerous unnecessary regulations regarding uniform, hair, makeup, jewellery and nail varnish at our own schools. In the majority of educational institutes, the somewhat old-fashioned rule that states hair can only be dyed a natural colour still exists.

While it is understandable for a school to want its pupils, as representatives of the establishment, to look smart and tidy, it is confusing how and why hair colour comes into play in this. A student with hair of a non-natural shade can represent a school just as well as a student who has dyed their hair blonde or brunette, surely. Non-natural hair shades do not decrease a person’s smartness.

In the workplace, the situation is slightly better, although the rules do tend to vary from one workplace to another. Largely, if you work in the retail, entertainment or food industry, and perhaps in some office environments, there may not be any rules concerning hair colour of too much of a suffocating nature.

However, those that work in careers related to law, finance, teaching, and some customer-facing jobs, may be expected to “tone down” hair colour as part of their job role. It is understandable that professionalism is an important aspect of any job, but it’s a shame that even today, there are strict rules on what is and isn’t considered professional, and non-natural hair falls into the latter.

There’s been some debate about whether being told by your workplace how to wear your hair is considered discrimination or not, and there have even been cases taken to court regarding the subject. Unfortunately, though, while it may seem unfair, being told you need to keep your hair a natural colour is not discriminatory- especially if it is mentioned in the contract you signed when you started your employment (and it most likely is).

Different businesses have different regulations, and it may not always be obvious to you what these are until you are working within a company. If you consider your non-natural hair-colouring as a form of your self-expression, all that can really be done on your part is to ensure you select a workplace that is accepting of all hair colours, even ones that are considered “extreme”.

Workplaces have come a long way since the days of no tattoos, no earrings, minimal makeup and hair tied back and not dyed, which gives hope that attitudes will continue to evolve to a much more liberal approach to hair colour, and a re-evaluation of what is and what isn’t considered “professional” will take place.

As with schools and other educational establishments, it doesn’t seem likely that the “uniform policy” will change anytime soon, which, in many cases, you could argue will only encourage a resentful relationship between pupils and their teachers. Perhaps one day in the very distant future, children will be celebrated for embracing their own appearance and stylistic choices, but for now, the rules must be obeyed… ridiculous as they may seem.

 

Laura Shallcross
Dry shampoo sheets: the latest hair revolution?

We've recently talked about keeping your hair hydrated and healthy over the coming summer months, especially if you've got a trip away planned. But we can appreciate that hair maintenance is hardly ever quick and easy. To really give your hair the TLC it needs, you need plenty of time on your hands, for a start- so not ideal if you're on a long-haul flight or out and about seeing the sights all day.

There are a few hair-boosters, so to speak, that exist on the market today. One of them, dry shampoo, is up there with the most popular, but let's face it, it's not the most ideal hair product out there. For a start, it leaves white patches in your hair, and gives it a funny texture- not to mention that it's been linked to hair loss and all sorts if used excessively.

With a lack of any really decent portable, travel-friendly hair product at the present, it was only a matter of time for something to swoop in and claim to be the solution to all of our out-and-about hair issues. Meet dry shampoo sheets. Kind on your bank card and easy to slip into your handbag, these little wonders promise to tackle static, frizz and grease while you're on your travels (or just whenever you fancy using them, really).

As with all new products that claim to be the next best thing, research has to be done to see if they're worth their word. For us, the first step was to understand exactly what they are, and what makes them different from what's already available in our local beauty stores. In short, why should we give them our attention?

Appearence-wise, dry shampoo sheets are not actually very sheet-like. They're more like tiny cotton makeup wipes that you essentially rub onto your hair from the roots to the tips as a sort of shampoo that doesn't involve actual showering. There's no need to do anything once you've rubbed the wipes around your hair for a bit; apparently that's all it takes to give your locks a bit of a refresh.

So, the benefits of dry shampoo sheets are probably obvious. They're ideal for using on hair on-the-go, so if you haven't got time for a full wash, you might just have found your solution. Unlike dry shampoo spray, they don't leave a residue, nor do they leave that funny dry shampoo smell lingering about the place (actually, the ones we found online are said to have a "deodorising natural fragrance", which could, to be fair, mean anything).

In terms of how dry shampoo sheets are supposed to improve hair, apparently, they work to absorb excess oil from the hair without weighing it down or leaving a powdery residue. If these do work, that's certainly something to be impressed with- although we do worry that regularly stripping the hair of its oil would only encourage it to produce more oil to make up for it, leaving you in a greasier situation than you started out in.

Would we recommend using dry shampoo sheets every day? Definitely not. In the same way that we'd advise against repeated use of dry shampoo spray, compared to an actual, proper wash, the sheets just aren't going to make the cut. But if you're after a bit of a refresh on your travels, or if you've been swimming or gyming and you fancy giving your hair a much-needed tame to keep it going for the rest of the day, why not? They're the perfect portable size for carrying round with you, so you may as well take advantage of them where you can.

With everything said, there definitely needs to be more info out there about dry shampoo sheets before we go rushing to buy a pack ourselves. So far, only a few limited companies sell them, and not all reviews are fantastic. It seems the sheets are substantially better for hair than the spray, but we'd definitely like for more to be made of this emerging trend before we can fully give our verdicts on it. Right now, we'd say that they would make a good emergency go-to, and nothing more than that.

Laura Shallcross
Packet hair dye vs a salon job: what’s the difference?

We love hair dye. Sure, natural hair is nice, but when there are so many colours to experiment with, the temptation to try out a new shade is often too strong to ignore. That’s why we’re grateful that these days, it’s so easy to dye your hair, whether that means doing a DIY job, or getting it professionally done at a salon.

No matter which hair dying method you go with, the results are marginally the same- or so it would appear. But actually, there can be quite a difference between a quick at-home hair dying sesh with an extended salon treatment. Multiple differences, to be exact. Read on if you want to know what they are…

Hair health

If your hair health is important to you, it may be worth considering that packet hair dyes are often far worse for your hair than salon colouring. PPD, a harsh chemical found in many permanent home dyes, causes toxicity to the hair, and peroxide, used in many blonde dye kits, can cause damage to the hair if you use the incorrect level- which, as a DIY hair-dyer, you probably will.

At a salon, you can relax in the knowledge that you’re letting a professional mix up your hair dye formula for you. Your hairdresser should know exactly which ingredients are in which hair dyes, and how much of them to use, in order to achieve the safest (and more attractive) results. They can use specifically-designed chemicals to achieve a more dramatic colour change without negatively affecting hair.

Lasting length

Many home dyes, especially the cheaper ones, do not last for longer than a month, maybe two months, if you are lucky. After this time, the colour will begin to fade, which means even if you do a root touch-up with the same colour dye, the majority of your hair may look muted in comparison.

Salon hair colour tends to be a stronger formulation, helping the colour to stay bold and vivid for a longer period of time. While your roots will start to show after about 4-6 weeks, you should be able to return for a root touch-up that won’t look noticeably bolder than the rest of your hair.

Cost

Here is why perhaps so many people are put off going to the hairdresser’s for a professional dye job: it costs a whole lot more than a packet dye. However, you get what you pay for. Packet dyes are by no means useless, but they won’t produce results anywhere near as promising as a salon colour can.

When you’re looking for salons to have your hair dyed at, make sure to do your research and read the reviews. Beware of salons that offer too-good-to-be-true low-priced dye jobs. Most likely, there’s a reason for the drop in cost- a lack of training amongst staff, or cheap ingredients for the job. It’s usually better to pay a little bit more for an excellent job from a reliable professional.

Colour accuracy

There is so much secret insider hairdressing knowledge that, as a non-hairdressing human being, you simply won’t have the access to. A lot of this knowledge involves hair colour- namely, the science behind the different shades, and how exactly to achieve a colour on all hair types.

When you buy a packet hair dye, chances are, your hair isn’t going to look anything like the colour on the box. This is because hair dye really isn’t a one-solution-suits-all: our natural hair colour very much determines the outcome of the dye job. Hair dyes often end up being a shade darker in real life than they are on the packet, so most likely, you’re not going to end up with the colour you wanted.

There is certainly more convenience in going to your local salon to have your hair dyed, too. Your hairdresser can make sure your whole head is coloured evenly, which is quite hard to do yourself at home, with only the help of a couple of mirrors. They can also tailor to your specific requirements, such as if you want highlights, and offer professional advice or recommendations based on what you’re after.

The Verdict

While there is nothing horrifyingly wrong with packet hair dyes, it’s clear that parting with a bit more cash for a better job at a hair salon is the winner out of the two. No matter which option you go for, just remember to do a patch test beforehand (your hairdresser should provide this anyway), and look after your hair with plenty of conditioner and colour-specific shampoos in the months following your colour change.

Laura Shallcross
The science behind our hair

We see our hair every day. We style it, we wash it, we moan that our roots are showing or that it's falling out, we dye it, we go grey, we cover the greys, we get it cut, and consider having it all shaved off every other day. But do we really have a clue why we have it?

Truthfully, the question of where hair came from, and why, isn't the sort of thing that keeps most of us up at night. Yet here you are- you're bored, and you fancied a read, so prepare to be educated.

When you think about it, it's a bit weird that we have so much hair growing out of the top of our heads, but a relatively more normal amount growing from the rest of our bodies. Actually, way back in the caveman days, we were covered in an even coating of hair all over, a bit like monkeys. For those early humans, hair was needed for insulation, camouflage, and protection. Clothing wasn't invented back then, so hair was the only thing protecting human skin from the elements.

Over time, though, during the process of evolution, hair became less and less important on the human body. Unlike animals, humans rely massively on sweating to cool off, and having all that hair in the way means it's harder for body temperature to cool as quickly. Scientists believe that we started hunting in warmer climates- so not the UK, then- and as our intelligence increased, thus our ability to make fires, find shelter and whatnot, human hair gradually evolved to be mainly an on-the-head thing.

So, why do we still have hair on our heads? we hear you ask. For the same reason we used to have hair all over- to make heat dissipation easier. When we stand up straight, the top of our head gets the most exposure to the sun. Hair acts as a mini hat, protecting the skin from the worst of the sun's rays, and a bit of head sweat is apparently worth it for that level of protection.

It's also been theorized that we've kept the hair on our heads to stay warm in cooler temperatures. While our caveman ancestors could keep their bodies warm with animal skins and the like, our brains use 20%-25% of the body's energy, meaning it's all the more difficult to keep warm artificially (and remember, this was before the invention of hats). Not forgetting that our brains are one of the most important organs in our bodies- we'd be pretty useless without them. Hair, therefore, made an effective natural insulation for our heads during the colder nights.

Finally, scientists think hair might have stuck around so long through sexual selection. Humans have always, er, bred with other humans that they were attracted to. While women found men with facial hair attractive, men found women with long, glossy hair attractive. Sexual selection led to these features being favoured by either sex, hence why so many men can grow beards these days, and almost all women's hair can grow to long lengths.

History lesson over, all that's left to wonder is why our hair grows at a constant rate, instead of just reaching a certain point and stopping, like animal fur. The answer seems to also lie in evolution... history lesson back on.

As soon as our intelligence involved enough for us to invent knives and other cutting tools, our hair started to grow like anything. Some people argue that it might have been the other way round- long hair before knives- but that's not important. The point is, constantly-growing hair actually worked out well for us.

Having long hair helped us to protect our necks and shoulders from the sun's rays. It was also apparently useful for carrying children in, which is a bit of an amusing image. These days, it's more of a statement of self-expression than anything else. Long hair is still favoured in many women, though, proving that sexual selection is still very much a thing.

All of this leads us to wonder what's next in our hair-volution? Will we eventually lose our hair altogether? If that's the case, we're glad to be around when hair still existed. Life would be far more boring without it.

Laura Shallcross
How to protect your hair on a plane journey

This sunny weather's got us thinking about holidays, and if you live in the UK, you know that the best getaways are the ones that involve jet-setting overseas to a location of warmer climes.

While we're secretly like little kids in the airport environment, our bodies are far less excited about the prospect of a several-hour-long plane journey. It's no secret that flights, whether long-or-short haul, can cause all sorts of damage to our hair, skin and bodies. While this damage can't be all-round prevented- unless someone finds a way to turn altitude off- there are things we can do to make sure we're protected on our journey.

What happens to hair on a plane?

First off, let's get to the science behind what really goes down with our hair when we're living our best duty-free lives thousands of miles above the ground. Sitting for several hours on end in recycled cabin air is hardly the healthiest atmosphere for your hair, leaving it flat and frizzy.

The lack of fresh, clean air can cause hair to dry out, and if you're static-prone as it is, expect to leave the plane looking like you've just been electric shocked. You may also find that the staleness of a plane environment causes hair to take on a funny smell, too.

The problem doesn't magically go away once you arrive at your destination, either. Your already-tired hair then gets subjected to a good ol' dose of sunlight, which it's hardly used to, if you come from the UK. A bit of sunlight's good for you, of course, but an excess of UV rays can be incredibly damaging to the scalp and hair cuticles, leading to discoloration, dryness, split ends, thinning and frizziness.

How can I protect my hair on a trip away?

We promise it's not all doom and gloom- there's plenty that can be done to keep your hair happy and healthy on your travels.

There are plenty of ways to prepare your hair pre-flight to avoid too much of the nastiness once you get to the other side. If you want to avoid unruly hair in a location where there's really not much that can be done about it, do the easy thing and scrape it back into a fixed bun for the flight. This should avoid the excessive frizziness of wild hair let loose in a cabin atmosphere.

You can prepare for your hair drying out, too, by giving it a good dose of moisture before your plane journey. The easiest way to do this is to apply a hair mask the morning or night before, which will condition strands, helping them to retain their smoothness and shiny quality.

Alternatively, hair oils are just as effective in keeping hair hydrated- and bonus points to you if you bring a travel-size bottle with you to apply on the plane. If even oils seem like too much fuss, there are plenty of leave-in conditioners that you can apply to your ends to ensure they don't become too brittle in the dry air.

Any post-flight funny hair smells can be dealt with simply by bringing a hair fragrance along with you. Don't be tempted to settle for perfume. Often they contain alcohol, which dries out hair- not what you need right now. Instead, go for a scent that's been designed for use on hair; there are plenty available at your local beauty store or online, trust us. A hair scent should keep you going until you can get to your hotel and give your hair a much-needed rinse-off and wash (remember to always bring your own shampoos and conditioners with you to avoid poor-quality hotel alternatives!)

Finally, hair can easily be protected from too much sunlight simply by covering up with a cap or a sun hat. If you want to go that extra mile, there are special UV-protection sprays made specifically for hair that you can take with you, which should help your hair to stay healthy and fresh throughout your trip.

If you're going away soon, be sure to keep these little snippets of advice in mind- you'll be thanking us later, we promise. Wherever you're off to, happy flying! Us, jealous? Not at all. *Disappears off to cry in a corner*

Laura Shallcross
Chocolate hair benefits- too good to be true?

It's Easter weekend- the only accepted time for scoffing down Easter eggs "just because".  We're obviously all aware that chocolate isn't the best for our health, but hey, it's a one-off (just like Christmas, birthdays, Halloween, weekends, days off work...), and we all deserve a treat from time to time.

But what if we said to you that you can indulge in your favourite cocoa treat without feeling completely guilty afterwards? What if chocolate was actually proven to have numerous health benefits, including benefits to the hair?

Before you dash off to stock up on all the chocolate you can get your hands on in celebration, stop and listen: your standard Dairy Milk bar isn't the sort of chocolate we're talking about. Milk chocolate is loaded with sugar and other nasty stuff that helps it to taste so sweet (ironic, huh?). White chocolate, our personal favourite, is even worse. It countains around 60% sugar, which is a bit crazy, when we think about how easily we can get through a crate of it.

Dark chocolate, on the other hand- that means anything containing 70% cocoa solids- is actually very good for you in sensible portions, in the same way that a handful of almonds of a spoonful of nut butter is. The darker the chocolate, the better the health benefits, with dark chocolate being a proven good source of antioxidants, improving brain function and reducing the risk of heart disease.

Curious to know how dark chocolate can specifically benefit the hair? Here's how:

High in antioxidants

As mentioned above, dark chocolate contains a wide variety of antioxidants. These include polyphenols and flavanols, which have been proven to promote hair growth and protect the scalp against UV damage. 

Rich in magnesium, zinc, selenium and iron2

Chances are, the minerals magnesium, zinc, selenium and iron2 do nothing more than bring back vague memories of high school chemistry, but trust us when we say they're vital for the healthy functioning of our bodies. Magnesium in particular, of which dark chocolate is a good source, helps to nourish and sooth the scalp, preventing dandruff and ultimately encouraging hair growth. 

Contains minerals for hair quality-boost

The minerals in dark chocolate don't only encourage hair growth. They can also improve hair quality by strengthening hair strands, reducing breakage and split ends and giving hair a thicker, shinier texture. 

Proven anti-inflamatory benefits

Another benefit of dark chocolate's antioxidant content is its anti-inflamatory agents. These prevent infections from forming, reducing dandruff, greasiness and itchy scalp, and ultimately preventing hair loss. 

Boasts copper to maintain natural hair colour

Copper, aside from providing energy to the brain and improving the functioning of the nervous system, has been used extensively in the past and present to treat hair loss. Not only do copper peptides increase the size of hair follicles, therefore increasing strand thickness, they also help to produce melanin, which prevents the graying of hair.

If you really can't get enough of chocolate to the extent that you're not happy with just consuming the stuff, you'll be happy to know that chocolate shampoo is a legitimate thing that actually exists. We don't literally mean shampoo made from melted chocolate- although that would be cool- but the stuff contains cacao bean extracts that are said to boost circulation in the scalp and encourage hair to grow. 

While we probably won't be running to the shops to purchase all-organic, 80% cocoa Easter eggs any time soon, it's good to know that chocolate in its less processed form is actually pretty good for you. But for now, we're off to enjoy our highly-processed Creme Eggs, Malteaster Bunnies and other giant hollow things. We hope your weekend plays out just the same.


Laura Shallcross
Easter Basket Hair- the latest holiday-themed hair trend

In today’s world, one of the most important questions is this: if it wasn’t for Instagram, would half the people actually bother to do the things they do? Whatever the answer to this question, we’re glad the photo-sharing app exists- namely because it means we can pick up the good, the bad, and the downright weird hair trends.

As many parents may know, Easter’s on the horizon, which means (aside from breaking into your child’s Crème Egg multipack in a moment of weakness) the dreaded school Easter bonnet making. This has become pretty popular recently, and essentially involves the “child”- i.e., mostly the parents- making an Easter bonnet and bringing it in to parade around school on the last day of term.

It’s no surprise that these events can often get competitive. And it seems that alternative ways to stand out are already being practiced on our good old go-to social media platform for inspiration. Meet: the Easter bonnet hair trend.

The source of the creation could stem from anywhere, as is the case with most things you’ll find on the internet. But the woman who made it big is Erin Balogh, hairdresser, mum of three and the woman behind the @braidboxbyerin, a monthly box subscription for all number of children’s hair accessories.  

Erin posted a tutorial video to her account right in time for the Easter bonnet preparations. The video, which has made it to 423 likes and 79 comments already, demonstrates the lengthy, but surprisingly simple, process of making the hair Easter basket.

First, the hair is separated into two equal high bobbles and braided. Next, a plastic headband is rooted into the top of each high bobble, and hair is wrapped around it, to create the “handle”. Finally, the braids are wrapped around the head, halo-style, then secured in place, and the accessories (Easter eggs, et cetera) are added for the final touch.

If you want to take a more in-depth look at the tutorial yourself, Erin suggests you visit her YouTube channel, where the full-length video can be found. We have to say, the end result is impressive. It’s certainly a look that requires some skill, and lots of practice, to get it looking as polished as Erin does.

If have a daughter of primary school age and can just master how to nail the ‘do in time, you’re guaranteed to win the Easter bonnet comp with this inventive alternative. It’s just mastering it that might be the difficult part.

While Erin may be the first person to showcase this particular hairstyle in 2018, there is evidence on the ‘gram to suggest that she’s not the only one who’s tried out the look in the past. @missys_braids tried out a similar version in the same year, except with a narrower, taller basket, and @hairdesserts shared a stunning version of the basket with pastel-tone hair and no handle, the creation of an account that unfortunately no longer exists anymore.

And who said Easter basket hair was the only Easter trend circulating the web? We’ve also come across a fair few Easter bunnies, hats, egg-incorporated braids, and even the outline of a rabbit parted into the hair. We say keep the creations coming!

Laura Shallcross
DIY hair masks- 5 ingredients or less

In case you hadn't heard, hair wellness if officially a thing. It's not actually as crazy as it sounds, either: when wellness is defined as "the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal", it makes sense that hair wellness- actively maintaining good hair health- is a thing.

The worst of the winter seems to finally be behind us, and there's no better time than the present to give our hair some much-needed TLC as a thank-you for getting through the difficult season with us. The harsh winds and icy temperatures of winter can leave hair dry, brittle and dehydrated, and you can combat this with the honourable hair mask.

There are plenty of hair masks available from every respected brand out there these days- in fact, there seems to be a hair mask for every hair type, colour, tone, mood... you name it, there's a mask for it. But here's something you might not know: DIY at home-hair masks are not only just as effective (sometimes *gasp* even more effective) as their shop-bought alternatives, but also cheaper.

We get that nobody has the time to faff around brwwing bits and bobs like a witch over a cauldron- which is why you don't have to. We've found three of the most beneficial hair masks you can make at home that are just five ingredients or less. Now that's what we're talking about.

The Mask: Coconut Oil and Honey

The Benefits:

What doesn't coconut oil do to hair? Namely, it stimulates hair growth, promotes scalp health, prevents dandruff, adds shine and softness the hair, and prevents breakage and split ends. The antioxidant properties of honey prevent damage, strengthening hair follicles and maintaining hair health.

The Need-to-Knows:

We're starting simple with a basic two-ingredient hair mask for giving hair that ultimate shine. Combine 2 to 4 tablespoons of coconut oil with 1 tablespoon of honey (make sure the oil is melted to liquid form for the sake of convenience), then apply to damp hair. Leave in for 30-60 minutes and then wash out, followed by your usual shampoo and condition.

The Mask: Egg Yolk Olive Oil

The Benefits:

Eggs are a good protein source, full stop, whether you're eating them or applying them directly to an area of your body (in this case, your hair. Anywhere else might be a bit weird). The idea of letting your hair anywhere near egg yolks might not be super appealing, but it's worth it: they work as a hair superfood, adding moisture and strengthening strands. Olive oil revitalises the scalp, nourishes the hair roots and promotes the growth of hair strands.

The Need-to-Knows:

Again, this is an easy mask to put together, and you probably already have the ingredients in your cupboard. Blend 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 egg yolks in a bowl, then apply to damp hair. Leave on for 30-60 minutes, rinse off, and continue to wash and condition your hair as usual.

The Mask: Avocado and Banana

The Benefits:

Being high in vitamins B and E, avocados help to repair damage to the scalp and strengthen hair from the roots. They rejuvenate and moisturise dry hair, leaving it soft, shiny, and smooth. Bananas are rich in potassium, natural oils, and vitamins, helping to soften hair and prevent dandruff. Apple cider vinegar restores the natural pH level of the scalp, preventing moisture loss.

The Need-to-Knows:

Combine half of an avocado, half a banana, and 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a food processor and mix until a delicious, gooey-looking substance forms (add water if not liquidy enough, but be sure not to make it too runny). Massage the mask into your scalp and leave on for at least 20 minutes before rinsing and conditioning.

Laura Shallcross
Should I Change My Spring Haircare Routine?

The blossom's out, the birds are tweeting, and we're even getting the odd semi-warm day here and there. Yep, spring is officially on us, and about time, too.

It's no secret that winter temperatures, icy cold winds and the occasional sleet storm don't make for the kindest hair experiences, and spring is all about re-nourishing your locks and getting things back to maximum health. With the spring sun comes additional hair protection, too, so don't be afraid of slightly switching up your hair care routine to cater for this.

If you want to know how you can bring your hair back to its pre-winter glory, whilst helping it to adjust to the new season, read on below for inspiration.

The Spring Trim

The cold winter temperatures can often cause a decrease of moisture, leaving your hair on the dry side. Without enough moisture, hair will struggle to retain its elasticity, and there's a good chance your ends will snap and break easily.

It usually only takes a post-winter trim to get your hair looking thick, neat and healthy once more. Ask your hairdresser to cut off the bottom two or three inches of your hair, which tend to suffer the most damage from dryness, and you'll be good to go again.

Brightening Things Up

If you live in the UK, your winters most likely consist of mainly clouds, and very little sun. Our hair needs sunlight to stay healthy and strong, and without it, colour can become dull.

If you're looking to boost your shine, spring time is the best occasion to liven up your colour with a dye job- a balayage is a great sunny shade that's ideal for the warmer season.

The Essential Hair Mask

After all that winter dryness, your hair is likely in high need of a decent moisturising hair mask. Hair masks are very effective in conditioning hair, giving it shine, and leaving it clean and strengthened.

There are plenty of high-quality hair masks available to buy from the popular drug stores, but it's easy to make your own, too. Common cupboard ingredients that make great hair masks are coconut oil, eggs, avocado, honey, bananas, and apple cider vinegar. While we feel a bit funny about rubbing egg yolks into our hair, the health benefits are aplenty.

Remember That Sun Protection

It might seem a bit dramatic to suggest protecting your hair from the spring sun's rays, but in the same way that even the smallest hit of UV rays can do damage to our skin, our hair can be affected, too.

Exposure to UVB radiation is actually responsible for multiple changes to the hair, including hair protein loss and colour changes. Similar to the drying effects of winter, prolongued time under the sun can lead to brittle strands, broken or split ends, and thinning and frizziness.

If you're outdoors for long periods of time, make sure you've got a hat or cap to put on. There are also plenty of hair products available that have been specifically designed for sun protection, such as sprays and oils, which you can use to keep your hair and scalp safe from the worst of the sun's rays.

Prepare For Spring Showers

Okay, nobody is really ever prepared for when April showers hit, but it's wise to keep a hair band in your bag for in case the occasion arises. It's easiest to scrunch your hair into a neat bun to prevent the inevitable flatness and tangles that results from a free-haired dash through a storm.

It's common for some hair types to frizz in the rain, and if you want to avoid this from happening, it's all about locking in hair's moisture in preparation. Again, applying a hair mask the night before your busy day outside will help nourish dry tresses and keep them frizz-free should the heavens open.

Laura Shallcross