Drink your hair healthy (the super-easy, expert approved way)

While I have become pretty good at eating my hair healthy, the super-lazy super-busy side of my personality much prefers an easy shot of liquid nutrients that can be prepared in about 60 seconds. So, when I chanced upon the Instant Energizer at the iconic Juice Bar in Hari’s salon, it was like all my hair dreams come true at the same time.

Time then to play detective and figure out what’s in this and other hair-expert-approved drinks that are popping up in the poshest salons across the world. Two discoveries made the quest sweeter: each of these potent, hair boosting blends are divinely delicious and their ingredients are probably already sitting in our refrigerators. Added bonus: smoothies and juices are much easier to digest, hence the body absorbs their nutrients more rapidly. The payoff? Thicker, shinier, healthier hair from the inside out… painlessly and effortlessly.

how-to-drink-hair-healthyHari’s instant hair energizer

Ingredients: 1 apple, 2 carrots, half a stem of ginger

How-to: Roughly chop all ingredients; then blend or juice them together. Drink up!

Why it works: Apples contain Procyanidin B-2, a natural compound that metabolizes proteins in a way that makes new hair grow. They are also rich in antioxidants, making them great at cell renewal. Similarly, carrots are loaded with beta carotine, which helps the scalp produce sebum (natural oil) that keeps strands moisturised, preventing breakage and brittleness. Beta carotene also promotes blood flow to stimulate hair growth. And then there is the ginger, which has traditionally been used to protect and condition hair, reduce dandruff and speed up hair growth because of its stimulating qualities.

Neville’s biotin booster

Ingredients: 1 cucumber, 1 apple, 6-8 almonds, quarter bunch of spinach, quarter cup of wheatgrass juice or 1 tablespoon of wheatgrass powder

How-to: Blend or juice together all the ingredients; then drink up!

Why it works: The ‘Biotin’ in this Neville’s Salon hair booster comes from almonds, which are rich in natural biotin – a strand strengthener that will make tresses less prone to split ends and breakage. Cucumbers contain pantothenic acid, while spinach is rich in beta-carotene, both of which promote healthy hair development. And then there is wheatgrass for protein, vitamin E and other nutrients that can help repair dry, brittle or damaged hair.

Which of these hair-healthy drinks tempts you the most?

Chillies and vodka… for longer, stronger hair?

jalapeno hairWould you dare to try this hair mask? Mexican fashionistas swear by its hair raising benefits! And it’s simple – chop one jalapeño pepper into tiny pieces and place in a small ceramic bowl. Pour half a cup of vodka over the peppers and let soak for several days. Then strain out the jalapeños and rub a small amount of this tonic into the scalp every night for longer, stronger and shinier strands.

Why does this work? Jalapeños stimulate the scalp and boost circulation, thereby encouraging new hair growth.

Vodka, in the meantime, cleanses the scalp, removes product build-up and stimulates the growth of healthy tresses. It also de-frizzes and closes the hair cuticle by lowering its pH level.

What other miracle recipes do you have for healthy hair? Drink a little vodka every night, while flipping through my Kindle?

How to look like a Victoria’s Secret Angel (from the neck up, at least)

Through many a gut-wrenching confrontations with reality, I have realised that trying to look like a Victoria’s Secret Angel from the neck down is simply not going to happen. This kind of superhuman feat requires some sassy genetics, a starvation diet (remember Adriana Lima confessing that she ate no solid food for 9 days before the Victoria’s Secret show and then had no liquids at all for the final 12 hours?) and daily dates with a bootcamp-style personal trainer.

And the kicker is that after all this military-style approach, even the Victoria’s Secret Angels don’t look like Victoria’s Secret Angels without piles of body make up. As Selita Ebanks once put it: “People don’t realise that there are about 20 layers of make up on my butt alone.”

Thankfully, though, above the neck is a different matter altogether. Think for a moment: when was the last time you saw heavy, theatrical, OTT makeup on the Victoria’s Secret runway. Never, in my memory. Because nobody would want the makeup to steal the show (that’s what the boobs and the butt are for!). And because wearing a deep red lip when you are dressed in just lingerie and shiny sequins would be just skanky. Right?

Which bodes well for us mere mortals since even if we can’t emulate those lithe (strangely cellulite free) limbs and sensuous curves, at least we can pull of an Adriana Lima or Candice Swanepoel with the trademark sultry brown eyes, rosy-bronze cheeks and a balmy nude pout.

Let’s do this! @alessandraambrosio, @angelcandices & rest of the Angels are ready to fly. Watch the #VSFashionShow Dec 9 on #CBS! 💋✌️

Una foto pubblicata da Victoria’s Secret (@victoriassecret) in data:

Prepping the base

Makeup artists always take a couple extra minutes to massage the face and get the blood flowing. This also works to bust puffiness, especially when you need to step out early in the morning. You can easily do it at home, with moisturiser. (Hilary Rhoda)

Glow… naturally

For the prettiest and most believable flush, makeup artists dabbed on a touch of red cream face paint by Kryolan (popular in children’s theatre) BEFORE blending foundation on top. Finally, he added just a tiny bit of bronzer. The result? Healthy, alive, youthful-looking skin. (Makeup maestro Dick Page)

Soft focus eyes

Makeup artists illuminated eyelids with highlighter on the inner corner of the eye – this catches the light and makes eyes pop with a soft focus effect. (Dick Page)

ALWAYS use eyelash curlers

Eyelash curlers really open up the eyes. Sometimes, you can even skip the mascara afterwards! (Jessica Hart and Doutzen Kroes)

Faking fake lashes

Skip the falsies. Instead, place a credit card or a playing card behind your lashes when you apply mascara and push against the card – this will give you thicker and longer lashes, naturally. (Jourdan Dunn)

Photo: Getty Images / Samir Hussein

Photo: Getty Images / Samir Hussein

Colour it right

Bronzer works in every season – yes, including winter. And it’s not just for contouring. Models apply a soft bronzer to eye sockets and cheekbones to look “more fresh, awake and refined”. (Hilary Rhoda)

Light it up

Another Victoria’s Secret Angel makeup must-have: highlighter. Put it high up on the cheeks, under the eyebrows and on the nose. (Toni Garrn)

Lip love

As for that signature pout – that’s kissable without being tacky – Page layered a lip gloss over a pink Victoria’s Secret lip stain. To replicate, use a balmy lipstick that’s just a shade or two lighter or darker than your natural lip color. Nix anything that’s too shiny or shimmering. (Dick Page)

Hydration is important

You will always see the Victoria’s Secret Angels chugging away at bottles-full of water because keeping skin hydrated is an important part of any beauty regime. (Lindsay Ellingson)

Hair oils: Exactly which one is right for you?

With benefits ranging from conditioning and adding shine to treating dandruff and stimulating growth, hair oil has become like liquid gold for our tresses. And forget all those drippy, sloppy, sticky after-effects: the big beauty players are creating a completely new generation of oils for the hair. They’ve swapped sachets for sleek pumps, heavy textures for featherweight silkiness and potent blends that do a zillion things at the same time. In fact, I would contend that hair oil is the new hair serum.

choose-hair-oil4How? While it creates a glossy, swishy shine, the humble hair oil also provides protection and nourishment for your strands. And where serums simply coat tresses with silicone, oils add shine in a far more hair-friendly manner by calling on essential fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants that penetrate the follicles to treat and condition simultaneously.

And that’s not all: hair oil tames frizz and leaves strands manageable, while also protecting against the harshness of heat styling. Plus, it speeds up drying time as the oil reacts with heat to repel water from the hair. And the good ones even create a barrier against the environment: slip some on to protect your hair from sun, salt water and chlorine, or use it as a mini-shield against the effects of pollution.

However, before you dive into the world of hair oil, it’s vital to know exactly which one will work for your strands. There is a hair oil for all textures and types – including the most baby-fine heads of hair. You just need to pinpoint your best fit!

Hair oil for coarse, dry or chemically processed tresses

Hair becomes coarse and dry when it’s damaged, hence you need nourishing oils to repair its structure. One of the top hair oil choices here is virgin coconut oil, which penetrates the hair shaft to patch and protect it from the inside-out. Besides this, it is also lightweight, non-greasy (making it great for fine hair) and helps prevent dandruff.

Then there is avocado oil, which is rich in proteins and amino acids, along with high levels of vitamins A, D and E. All these are vital for hair’s health: for instance, proteins help fill in the cracks in the cuticle, so each strand becomes stronger. However, since avocado is a heavier oil, it works best on medium to thick hair.

Argan fruit and oil

Argan fruit and oil

Argan oil is loaded with vitamin E, omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids that provide rich nutrition for your hair. It also contains linoleic and oleic acid to moisturise the strands. Plus, argan oil’s small molecular structure allows it to penetrate the hair shaft, repair damaged hair follicles and restore lost moisture. Using it as a hair oil puts back lost lustre from hair straightening and other chemical treatments, helps keep colour vibrant, prevents dryness and acts as a shield against harmful UV rays and environmental pollution.

Hair oil for dull tresses

Sweet almond oil has high amounts of vitamins A, B, and E. As a hair oil, it heals split ends, improves scalp circulation and adds shine to dull hair. The fatty acids provide UV protection by reflecting harmful rays, while vitamin E makes strands grow longer and stronger.

Or try pomegranate seed oil, which contains punicic acid to revitalise dull strands and increase flexibility. It also safeguards your tresses against environmental pollutants, thereby helping keep them in optimal condition.

Hair oil for thick tresses

While everyone is reaching for argan oil these days, the exotically fragrant oil is more suited to thicker heads of hair. It is sticky and can be hard to get out of fine hair – you’ll need to shampoo two or three times to fully rinse it out, or else you’ll get build-up. Yet for richer locks, argan oil can strike the perfect balance of shine, scent and manageability.

Hair oil for fine tresses

Thin or fine strands get weighed down very easily, so look for a light oil that can give them some texture. The structure of jojoba oil is closest to that of our scalp’s natural oils. This allows it to absorb immediately, making it the lightest and most non-sticky of all hair oils. Yet it also packs a hefty nutrient punch with anti-bacterial properties to keep the scalp healthy, stimulate hair growth and moisturise the strands.

choose-hair-oil2Oil for hair loss

Extra virgin olive oil is rich in high levels of mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which are terrific for moisturising, protecting and nourishing the hair. It also has B vitamins (niacin and biotin), vitamin D and vitamin E to help banish bald patches. If that’s not enough, olive oil helps in battling dandruff, which can be one of the reasons for hair loss. Other benefits include deep conditioning, sealing split ends and strengthening hair from the inside out. However, because of its heavier texture, olive oil is more suited to thicker hair.

For fine hair, there is coconut oil. This is made up of saturated fatty acids that soothe the scalp and keep it hydrated. A hydrated scalp promotes hair growth because there are no dead or dry skin cells to clog the hair follicle. Coconut oil also helps reduce hair breakage by strengthening the hair shaft.

Or try out rosemary essential oil. It contains over a dozen antioxidants, vitamin B, iron and calcium, so its application works to strengthen brittle hair and treat scalp problems that hinder hair growth. At the same time, it easily penetrates follicles and delivers the essential nutrients, thereby making hair grow faster and thicker.

Hair oil for dandruff & itchy scalp

Thyme essential oil is antimicrobial, so its usage as a hair oil can help treat itchy scalps plagued by bacteria and fungus. It is best used with grape seed oil as a carrier, since the former also contains Vitamin E and linoleic acid to nourish the scalp and help prevent dandruff.

Thyme oil

Thyme oil

Oil for ALL hair types

Still a bit puzzled? You won’t go wrong with rice bran and hemp seed oils, which suit all types of hair. Rice bran contains vitamin E and creates a harder shell around the cuticle so your strands suffer less breakage; while hemp seed oil is packed with amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, proteins and minerals that make hair stronger and healthier.

Mix-and-match your hair oils

You can also custom-blend various hair oils according to your needs. For example, if you have coarse hair that’s also afflicted with dandruff, mix coconut oil and thyme essential oil. Similarly, you can use a nourishing oil for scalp and a light oil for hair strands. So, use your own experience of your hair and create a personalised oil blend for yourself. Or pick a blend off the store shelves – just read the ingredient list to know whether it suits your strands.

Do you use a hair oil? Which one? And will you be making any changes after reading this post?