It’s hard to surprise a beauty editor, but when experts told us these out of the ordinary strategies for better hair, we almost didn’t believe them. Read on for their “who knew?” secrets to a more beautiful mane.
1. Brush Up
Wait, haven’t we filed the “100 strokes before bedtime” myth under Terrible Advice To Never Heed? Well, yes, but some brushing can actually be good for hair, says Hollywood hair treatment expert Philip B.
“You should always brush just before you shampoo,” says Philip, who explains that the scalp’s oil is hair’s natural conditioner. “A good brushing helps you make the most of your shampooing: It moves the natural oils off your scalp and down the hair shaft, where they’re needed. It revs up circulation and helps to loosen any dead cells or greasy build-up, so your shampoo can really do its work.”
Even curly hair should be brushed pre-shampoo, says Philip. Use a natural boar bristle brush, such as Philip B.’s Medium Round Hairbrush ($65, philipb.com), which is gentler on fine and textured hair than nylon brushes. And forget the 100 strokes; 10 or 20 should be plenty.
2. Add Color
Yes, the peroxide and ammonia in hair color can damage strands, but as long as you’re not making a drastic change (anything more than two levels lighter or darker than your current color), a fresh hue can actually make your mane shine brighter.
“Processed hair does truly shine differently than virgin hair,” says John Frieda International Creative Consultant Harry Josh, who we caught up with backstage at Zac Posen’s spring 2013 runway show. “Virgin hair can be very shiny and flaxen, but doesn’t hold texture very well. If you wave it, it goes very flat. Once you color the hair, it gives the hair a lot of hold and a lot of shine.”
Josh recommends applying hair color, such as John Frieda Precision Foam Colour ($11.99, drugstore.com), 24 hours before your big event for optimal richness and shine — and he did just that for three models at Posen’s show. If you’d rather put yourself in professional hands, Redken salons offer the oil-based, ammonia-free Chromatics color line, which actually strengthens hair follicles as it colors.
3. Eat Breakfast
You probably know that what you eat affects your hair’s health, but did you know that when you eat is just as important? Elizabeth Cunnane Phillips, who treats hair and scalp problems as a trichologist at the Philip Kingsley Clinic in New York, advises her clients to fill up “early and often.” That means “protein intake at breakfast and lunch are the key times for hair health.”
Why? Think about it: if your body only has a small amount of food energy available, it will use that energy to keep your heart, lungs and other essential organs working — hair is low-priority on the list. You want to send your brain the message that there’s plenty of fuel available to nourish your entire body, including the hair.
Phillips recommends starting the day with a balanced meal that includes complex carbohydrates and protein. Egg whites, yogurt, cottage cheese, fruits, multigrain bread and high-quality peanut butter are a few of her healthy hair picks.
4. Soothe Your Scalp
While most of us tend to fixate on scraggly split ends, the other end of the hair deserves equal TLC. “Ninety-nine percent of hair’s natural strength and beauty comes from the scalp,” says dermatologist Dr. Francesa Fusco, who works with haircare brand Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy. “Just as good soil is to a tree, a well-nourished scalp is the right foundation for strong, beautiful hair.”
Phillips, the Philip Kingsley trichologist, echoes this idea. “A healthy scalp creates a better environment to ensure healthy hair growth,” she says. She’s also a proponent of daily shampoos to keep the scalp clean and clear.
Yes To Carrots Scalp Relief Shampoo and Conditioner ($7.99 each, yestocarrots.com) both feature tea tree and lemon to treat the scalp, plus salicylic acid to promote exfoliation and reduce flaking. With a moisturizing complex of vitamins, nutrients and botanical oils, Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy Moisturizing Dry Scalp Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner ($5.99 each, drugstore.com) treat a parched scalp, an issue that winter weather can worsen.
“I advise my patients to stick with a routine for an absolute minimum of a week to give the product time to work its magic,” says Dr. Fusco. “Of course, the longer you use it, the longer you will see continued benefits.”
What are your go-to habits for gorgeous hair?
A ponytail is the perfect summer hair solution to keep you feeling cool and looking hot. Get inspired by these celebs’ sexy summer ponies that are easy to style at home.
Diane’s Side Pony
A loose and low pony, like this one sported by Diane Kruger, looks effortlessly sexy. You can always jazz up the style with an accessory, like this black beret.
I love to accessorize my outfits with cuffs, bangles and rings. Here are my favorite picks that will surely add some serious style and edge to your look:
Eddie Borgo Bear Trap Bangles, BUY NOW, $490
The set of three silver-plated brass bracelets are a perfect balance of rebellion and luxury. I love their versatility and they can be worn interlocked as one piece or reversed for added edge. The Eddie Borgo collection began with a request from designer Phillip Lim to create jewelry for his runway show and has since boomed. The collection retails in over 90 stores worldwide and has a huge cult following including celebs such as Blake Lively and Katy Perry.
Alexander McQueen Snakeskin and Brass Wrap Bracelet, BUY NOW, $315
I am a fan all things McQueen including the fab jewelry line with his signature skull detail. This midnight blue and black snakeskin wrap bracelet make it perfect for pairing with other gold accessories and really stands out against neutral palettes. The Swarovski crystal skull charm adds a pop of rock and roll.
Alexis Bittar Sugar Dust Bangle, BUY NOW, $295
These hand sculpted and hand painted Sugar Dust Bangles are gorgeous and have just the right amount of sparkle to dress up any look, day or night. Bittar got his start by selling antique jewelry and vintage clothing on the streets of lower Manhattan and is now collaborating with Burberry, Michael Kors and stylist Patricia Field. He also recently custom designed a lucite mask for Lady Gaga. No wonder he won the prestigious CFDA’s Accessory Designer of the Year award in 2010!
Kara Ross Pyramid Ring, BUY NOW, $290
From the Pyramid collection, this Sterling Silver ring boasts a geometric style with sleek lines and smooth detail that reflects light with every move. They are also made with a variety of gemstones (I personally love the Mother of Pearl version). Kara Ross is an expert jewelry designer, certified gemologist and has recently added wood crafter to her impressive resume; having been asked to create exclusive gifts for President Obama and First Lady made out of Magnolia wood that originated from the White House lawn! A pyramid ring by Kara Ross was recently worn by Golden Globe winner Jessica Lange, and other celeb fans include Hilary Swank, Anne Hathaway and Oprah.
One of my fave places to shop on the Upper East Side is Edit New York – I live in all the clothes I buy there! They carefully “edit” the best styles from designer brands like Alexander Wang, Rag and Bone and Phillip Lim and offer great personalized service. One of my favorite go-to dresses is a T by Alexander Wang black dress that I bought there last season. I paired it with a the cutest fur vest by Rebecca Taylor, also from Edit. For fall, I love this gorgeous Proenza Schouler dress and the sand-washed ruffle side dress from Thakoon, two of my favorite designers. Shopping in Edit’s gorgeous and townhouse is just divine. I am not alone here–Gossip Girls Blake Lively and Leighton Meester were just spotted shopping there recently!
Mother’s day is approaching fast which brings with it the task of finding the perfect gift for Mom. There are plenty of new products out there that are sure to suit even the pickiest of mothers. I have something unique and special for every type of mom:
1. Foodie Mom Gwyneth Paltrow’s New Cookbook – “My Father’s Daughter”
I went to Gwyneth’s book signing at Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago to pick up a copy of her new cook book to review. Thanks to Glee, we all know superstar celeb Gwyneth can sing, but did you know she can cook? In “My Father’s Daughter” she shares her recipes that celebrate family and togetherness. With a foreword by master chef Mario Batali, you know the recipes must be delicious! They are also remarkably easy for even the most gastronomically challenged Mom. Plus, there’s something for every palatte from the exotic tuna and ginger burgers to chicken and dumplings to wood oven pizza. I literally want to try every recipe in this book.
Buy Now – $30
2. Fashionable Mom
Rich Rocks Jewelry
Rich Rocks is a fabulous costume jewelry line with a celebrity following that appeals to women of all ages. The cast of Gossip Girl certainly loves their baubles–Blake Lively, Leighton Meester and Kelly Rutherford to name a few. The selection is carefully edited and there is something for everyone. For the classic mom, I love the elegant pair of silver clover hoops (very Van Cleef). The boho Mom will adore the leaf earrings with champagne crystals and the hip Mom would enjoy the oversized hanging smokey dangle earrings. Also, all of the jewelry looks luxe and the pieces have a nice weight to them.
Buy Now – Clover hoops – $75
Buy Now – Leaf earrings – $40
Buy Now – Smokey dangle earrings – $75
Jennifer Miller Jewelry
Another great costume jewelry line and designer who is always on trend is Jennifer Miller. I am crazy about their dog tag necklace engraved with the sentiment, “LUV U MOM.” I like this one for the cool Mom who lives in jeans and t-shirts. It also has a yellow gold-plated cut out heart charm disk to add to the style. Made of sterling silver on a 30” stainless ball chain, the necklace looks very substantial and is the perfect Mother’s Day gift for Mom from the kids.
Buy Now – $175
3. Pampered Mom L’Occitane Sparkling Verbena Skin Care Set
If you’re mom loves the spa, pamper her this Mother’s Day with this Sparkling Verbena set from L’Occitane. This kit has everything Mom needs to relax including shower gel, body lotion, a delicious verbena scented sachet, shea butter hand cream and shea butter soap in milk and verbena scent. It even comes with a Mother’s Day card. I am a huge fan of these products and use them regularly. It is SO nice when someone buys them for you!
Buy Now – $55
4. Beauty Junkie Mom “All About My Mother” Make-up Gift Pack
Celebrity make-up artist Napoleon Perdis “All About My Mother” gift pack comes wrapped and ready to go in a lovely gift box. The make-up kit includes a cute vintage-inspired coin case with universally flattering shades of eyeshadow, cream blush and lip color. I love the lip color because it is shiny but not sticky and the four color eye shadow palette has the hottest colors of the season. Cream blush is super easy to use and all of the makeup in the kit comes with “how to” instructions (available in two different color palettes).
Buy Now – $49 ($100 value)
5. Techie Mom PhotoOp Ipad Case
If your Mom is anything like me, she never goes anywhere without her iPad. Luckily, PhotoOp makes an iPad case that you can personalize with an adorable photo of the kids. All moms appreciate personalized gifts! Just email PhotoOp the picture you would like to use as a jpeg, and they will send you the ipad case. Available in leather or fabric.
Buy Now – Leather – $150, Fabric – $120 (Call the studio at 212-362-1911 to place an order)
6. Eco-Conscious Mom Recycled Windshield White Wine Decanter from Gifts.com
A sophisticated and modern wine decanter made from recycled auto-glass is the ideal gift for the eco-conscious Mom. What’s really cool about this decanter is that it has an open ice chamber that chills wine without diluting it. Every decanter is unique and handmade in Colombia making it a special gift that any Earth-friendly mother will love to have in her home. I would use it as a decorative piece and for chilling ice tea or lemonade!
Buy Now – $55
7. Sentimental Mom TinyPrints.com Personalized Mother’s Day Cards
A refreshing break from the ordinary drugstore greeting card, TinyPrints.com offers personalized cards that they even send for you. No need to remember to mail a card on time or waste time trying to choose the right card. TinyPrints custom-made cards are heartfelt and special. Choose the photos, colors, fonts and text to create a card Mom will cherish. Tiny Prints also offers personalized stationary as a gift for Mom. Celebrity fans of TinyPrints include Gwyneth Paltrow, Kelly Ripa, Rachel Zoe, Reese Witherspoon and Brooke Shields.
Buy Now – $1.99 – $3.99 per card
8. Organized Mom (or one who wants to be) PurseN Purse Organizers
Whether your Mom loves to be organized or if your Mom is the type who can’t find anything in her purse (sound familiar?), the PurseN purse inserts are a fashionable and functional gift. These organizers make it easy to change from purse to purse without leaving behind any of your go-to items and keep bags clean. The inserts make Mom’s life easier with compartments for everything from her phone to her lipstick and wallet–and the rest of the “stuff.” Good-bye black hole!
Buy Now – $58
9. Charitable Mom Love Quotes Scarves
Loved by celebs like Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Hudson, and Jennifer Aniston for their luxe fabric, chic colors and charitable cause, Phyllis Wiener’s “Love Quotes” scarves make a perfect gift for the chic Mom who wants to give back. The scarves, available at lovequotesnyc.com, come in an array of gorgeous colors and can be worn around your neck, as a shawl, or on the beach as a cover up. They also happen to be the perfect size and are amazingly soft. I want them in every color! Plus, 10% of the proceeds are donated to international children’s charities. Each scarf comes with its own special quote, making it a truly heartfelt gift. P.S. Did you see Sofia Vergara in the new Pepsi commercial sporting the Regatta blue one as a pareo?
Buy Now – $75