Monday, 20 December 2010

Are You Suddenly Getting Frizzier Hair?

This weather is crazy, isn't it? If you've got any texture in your hair, whether a wave or a curl, then I'm sure you've experienced how changeable weather can lead to changeable hair! One minute your hair is doing what you want it to do, and the next it's either frizzing or falling flat.

Now, for this time of year, you might be seeing another kind of frizz, though. And this has to do, interestingly, with an annual cycle of shedding that humans go through.

Why am I losing so much hair?

Some research indicates that humans experience shedding periods in spring and autumn, when we lose more hair on average. You might notice more hair coming out on your hair brush, or generally more hair falling out in the shower when you shampoo during this period.

For some women, the shed is so noticeable you can see your hair thinning at spots, which can be quite upsetting.

Female pattern baldness does occur and it is linked to your hormone levels and unfortunately there isn't a lot you can do about it. However, often this thinning is often temporary.

Typical Early Stage Hair Growth

When a hair falls out of its follicle, normally is has actually been pushed out by a new hair growing up underneath. This new hair often starts fairly fine, like the baby hairs many women see along their hairline. But most of the time you may not even notice this new growth until the hair is about two to three months old and has a stiff enough structure to unfortunately stand up from your head.

Now, if you experienced a big shed in September or October, then your new growth will be coming in strong now. And if you've got any natural texture to your hair then you've got, yup, frizz making a little halo around the crown of your head.

How To Handle The Frizz

The best way to smooth these hairs down, particularly during the day if you are fixing your hair, is to wet your fingers and then lightly dampen your hair. Then use a very little bit of mousse, styling cream or leave in conditioner to help "stick" your new growth down.

If the hair has a very kinky texture, this might be due to the age of the follicle. Follicles collapse and rebuild themselves for every new growth cycle and older follicles can take longer to get their hair-growing act together as they reform. This can result in new hair with a slightly harder structure and uneven texture. Usually the follicle is functioning normally after about 12 weeks or so and any unusual kinkiness will have grown out.

If this bothers you, just trim the kinky end away with a good sharp pair of scissors. Don't make yourself neurotic about trimming your ends, though. You could spend all day and accidentally give yourself a terrible layered haircut!

Scarf style headbands are, of course, a good alternative to obsessing about frizz and they will help the hair around the top of your head to lie down smoothly.

Or you can disguise the increased texture at the top of your head by adding volume with either a quiff or bouf type hair style, smoothing with a light misting of hair spray.

As these young hairs lengthen, they will blend in and lie down nicely of their own accord. You just need to be patient.

Warm Stone Bridge Headbands To Handle Winter Frizz
Couture Velvet Scarf headband. Beautiful plush silk velvet with a crocodile texture.
Crushed Silk Velvet headband. A rich dark red subtly shot with gold threads.
Parlour Wool and Silk Scarf headband. Perfect whether you're out in the snow or curled by the fire.
Classic Silk Velvet skinny headband. Lightweight and comfortable. A classic.

Browse all Stone Bridge headbands

Saturday, 11 December 2010

How to Do a Messy Side Bun

An Easy Long Hair Style for Christmas or New Year's Parties

This week I kept seeing a messy side bun style sported by a number of teenaged girls. While I'm always interested in new trends that can be cleaned up and tweaked for full grown women, I thought for sure this was look that would be too young for me.

Messy Side Bun Hairstyle
But intrepid explorer of all things hairstyle related, I had to give it a go. And I was very surprised to get a good result.

This messy side bun is exceptionally easy to create and as an updo it is suitable for any semi-formal to formal event you might have in your diary.

To make this style even dressier, in the centre of the bun you can tuck a small crystal hair clip. A delicate crystal side comb at the edge of your bun can also look very nice.

I understand there is a little-known holiday called Christmas coming up. Maybe you've heard of it? So if you've got a party to attend, the messy side bun could be a fun new way to wear your hair.

As with all new styles, you must be willing to experiment and practice a bit as you will very likely have to adapt the method to suit your hair weight and texture.

Here's your video showing you how to make a very basic messy side bun style for long hair.

How to Make a Messy Side Bun

Stone Bridge Hair Clips Perfect for Tucking Into Your Messy Side Bun

Portofino Crystal Small Barrette
Grand Emperor Butterfly Slide
Éclaircissement Crystal Slide
Debut Knot Small Barrette

Visit Stone Bridge to see this week's new hair accessories

Friday, 10 December 2010

Winter Static

How Hair Clips Can Help When You've Got Static In Your Hair

Surpised by static? Sort it here...
In winter when the air is dry, static in your hair can become a bit of a nuisance. What is static and how can you get rid of it?

Static electricity is created when two different materials with odd numbers of electrons come into such close contact that the unpaired electrons temporarily escape.

So a wool hat or scarf that has been on your hair is pulled back (or that balloon you’ve been rubbing on your hair is held slightly away – something we do all the time, I know).

Your hair picks up the escaped electrons, temporarily giving the individual hair strands the same electrical charge, and they repel each other.

To reverse this, you simply need to earth the rogue electrons with a conducting material, the most conductive being steel, copper or water.

So the next time you walk into a shop or work and your hair is standing on end, you just need to run your keys or a few pennies through your hair to get rid of the static. 

Alternatively, go wet your hands and then run your damp fingers through your hair. That’s it.

If static is a real recurring problem for you, there are chemicals that diffuse static electricity which are commonly found in tumble dryer softening sheets.

These products also contain chemicals that you find in normal hair conditioners.

You can lightly run one of these sheets over your dry hair after you finish styling it in the morning in the places where static tends to be a problem, such as the ends and along your hairline.

If that is too weird or the softening sheets make you smell like a laundrette, experiment with using a leave-in conditioner just at your usual trouble spots.

Many of these main brand products contain an anti-static agent in them.

Good quality hair clips can help too, of course.

All our French barrettes and hair claws use steel mechanisms, placing an earthing material very close to your hair.

Also, the simple act of putting your hair up so that the ends are protected will preserve moisture around your head and minimise static.

Stone Bridge Hair Accessories to Add Metal to Your Hair

Portofino Crystal Barrette. All our barrettes use high quality French steel clasp, so will do the job earthing your hair for you. But you could be quite sparkly in the process, right? Made in Italy and completely covered in Swarovski crystals. A small barrette couldn't be more impressive.

Grand Emperor Butterfly Slide Dazzlingly beautiful, our Grand Emperor butterfly slide is hard to resist. Like it's elusive namesake, this design is all the more beautiful for its rarity.

Handmade for Stone Bridge in Germany, the 35 swarovski-cut crystals have been individually set by hand, into a durable metal base. The clasp itself is made from a high-grade steel, lined with a small row of teeth, to provide a secure hold you can count on. 


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If you have a friend or colleague who might also find our hair styling tips helpful, please let her know she can sign up for them on our Contact page. Our business depends on people like you spreading the good word about Stone Bridge Hair Accessories, and your recommendation means a lot to us. Thanks!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Snow Versus Stone Bridge Hair Accessories

The Ultimate Showdown Between Mother Nature and Hair Clips

Stone Bridge is fundamentally a mail order business. You phone us up or visit online, ask for some hair clips, pays your money and expect to see in short order a pretty tissue-lined box chock full of lovely silk bags carrying ... hair clips.

Most of the time that is exactly what happens.

But occasionally Siberia plays a mean trick on the Southeast of England and sends a dumping of snow that keeps us from seeing the postman for a few days.

Last week was one of those occasions. Where we process our orders actually received over a foot of snow. The surrounding roads were so dangerous the local post office did not even open its doors for three days.

I personally did my heroic best, carrying huge shopping bags under both arms, walking two miles up to the post office (and then back again, still laden) in the hopes of getting your hair clips to you for three days running.

On Friday we had a bit of a breakthrough. Claire knows someone who works in a Royal Mail sorting office who said she could get our parcels into the system for us.

So, Claire struggled into the office Friday morning, filled shopping bags and rucksacks with boxes, walked the two miles back to the main road to be collected by a friend. She then had help carrying all the orders on foot for nearly a mile to get your hair clips into process with the Royal Mail.

Hair Clips - 1
Mother Nature - 0

You can have victory over the winter weather too, if postal deliveries are at all a worry for you. I recommend virtual gift certificates, which we can send any day you like, to as many people as you like, anywhere in the world.

You don't have to pay shipping. The recipient doesn't have to go to the post office and wait in an angry queue for 45 minutes to collect their parcel. Your gift, which is fully insured by us, arrives on time, every time. Plus, they can choose exactly the item they like best.

Know someone who loves her hair? Click here to order them a Stone Bridge gift certificate!

Or, choose some nice hair clips yourself and have us do all the sending business.

Click here to start shopping

How to Learn the Best Care Routine Specifically for Your Hair

How Does Your Hair Want To Be Treated and How Do You Find Out?

Hair comes in a lot of variety. When you consider the five defining characteristics of your hair - weight, density, texture, porosity and strength - there are something like 32 different profiles that specifically your hair could fall into.

At Stone Bridge, we sit around thinking about all these different variables all day long. Plus we mull over about other qualities that might apply to you and your hair, like how long is your hair or how long would you like it to be; do you work in a serious and conservative environment or not; do you do a lot of sport and what sort of sport is it; do you colour your hair or are you natural ...

And then throw in questions about your personal style and face shape - hang on, the back of my envelope isn't big enough to multiply all these variables together!

Working out your care and styling routine that is best for your hair is not straightforward. Plus most women only have the guidance of their mother's experience (which may not apply at all to your hair, only hers, and might be imperfectly informed anyway), the promises found on the labels of hair care products, and the 10 minutes spent a few times each year with a stylist who has an interest in selling you a couple bottles of their salon shampoo.

Throw in a sprinkling of poorly researched articles from fashion magazines and daytime talk shows and what sort of library of information do you really have?

There is only one real way to find out how you can get the best out of specifically your hair. And that is to learn a few basic facts about hair generally, and then to experiment.

What a Billionaire Can Teach You About Your Hair

I came across a story recently told by John Counsel, a marketing consultant, that was really about business, but I thought it was also very appropriate if you are in the process of trying to learn properly about your hair.

A young journalist was on a flight and had been lucky enough to be upgraded to First Class. When he got to his seat he was quite excited to see he was across the aisle from a famous multi-billionaire, who was quite intent on getting some shut-eye.

The journalist felt he couldn't let this opportunity pass by, and finally worked up the courage to speak to him.

"Excuse me Mr _______, pardon me for disturbing you but would you mind if I just asked the secret of your great success?"

Without opening his eyes, the man replied, "Correct decisions."

The young journalist thought about this, but felt there must be more to it.

"Excuse me again, but how do you know which are the correct decisions?"

Again, the billionaire barely stirred. "Experience," he said.

The young man couldn't resist, and asked "But how do you get the experience to know which decisions are correct?"

The older man replied before turning over, "Wrong decisions."

Applying Experience To Your Hair Care Routine

Once you have enough knowledge about what hair care products are really supposed to do to and for your hair, as well as information about styling that is appropriate to your real hair texture (not the texture you wish you had), only then you can start experimenting.

Even though we talk to hundreds of women directly about their hair, our advice is based on some general rules and then adjusted slightly to take account of your lifestyle and personal style. Even then we often ask for feedback a few weeks on to see how our suggestions are working (or not).

The only way you can land on "correct decisions" that are exactly right for your hair is to experience a few "wrong decisions" along the way. That means if you truly want to learn what is best for your hair, you must expect a few bad hair days in the process.

In this way you can work out the things that do not work for your hair. Make a clear mental note of these things and do not be seduced by marketing or 300 word articles in glossy magazines promising you hair that you are not capable of growing out of your own head.

The oak tree does not wish and struggle to be a weeping willow, spending an hour every morning straightening its branches. That's just silly.

Be proud of your hair the way it is. Have fun with it. Learn which qualities of your hair are envied by other women (or admired by men!) and play those up.

If you want to learn more about how to have healthy, more manageable hair with techniques that cost almost nothing, sign up for my free series of Hair Care Advice articles. You can always unsubscribe, so what have you got to lose?

Sign up and start taking better care of your hair today!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Do Hair Bands Give You An "Ouch" Behind Your Ears?

Stone Bridge Has Designed the Perfect Hair Bands for You

A designer we work with a fair amount is Tanya Igic, who is a jewellery designer normally and she's quite famous around the world for her work with leather.

It's this expertise in leather that made us choose her to help us develop our Lambskin Leather bandeau.

We wanted to develop this product because normally the bandeaus you find on the high street can be:
  •  the wrong size
  •  too tight
  •  too slippery
  •  don't stay where you want them on your head
  •  generally annoying
But if you have a sensitive head and find that traditional alice bands press on that bone you have behind your ears, the bandeau seems an obvious solution.

Now, Stone Bridge does carry our very soft Super Comfy collection of Classic Headbands. These are very comfortable, but it is because the material we use in these is not as rigid as injection moulded plastic (like the inexpensive headbands you find at the supermarket and other places).

This makes our Super Comfy headbands more comfortable, and they are excellent if you have fine to medium weight hair.

But if you have thick or very curly hair, the Super Comfy headbands are not going to have the hold you need. The band will just flex out under the force of your hair and be basically useless to you.

So we developed the Lambskin Leather bandeau because the leather gives the hold that you need, and with our soft leather ties, you can make this bandeau exactly the right size for your head.

It lies very flat behind your ears, so if you wear glasses, it won't bump up against them.

And best of all, no more "Ouch!"

Here's a video I made so you can see how we designed it.


Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Easy High Ponytail with a Hair Clip

Almost Any Hair Clip Will Work - Just Start With a French Pleat

Earlier this month I had a styling consultation with a customer who wanted to learn how to use some different hair accessories. She had very long (about bra strap length, maybe longer?) hair. And thick. And straight with slippery tendencies. She is an independent consultant, working with senior level corporate executives all over the world.

She has a sporty, creative, high energy personal style and likes to have her hair back out of her face.

10-Second High Ponytail hair style
So one style I taught her was a high ponytail style that looks very grown up, created with a hair clip instead of an elastic.

This is a very versatile style that can be dressed up or down simply by changing the hair clip you decide to use. It also takes literally 10.16 seconds (including checking how you look in the mirror). I know this because Claire timed me, and I wasn't trying to do it uber quick, either.

All you need is hair that is at least past shoulder length, with not too many layers and a single good hair clip.

Here's how you do it:

Start with a high French Pleat
Step 1: Make a high up French Pleat. 
You want long ends, so unless your hair is to the middle of your back, start your initial ponytail at the centre of your head or higher.

Here, I only twisted my hair around once.

If you have very long hair or want to use extensions (so to your bottom rib or longer), start with a more traditional French pleat, making the first twist of your pleat nearer the bottom of your hairline.

To learn more about the basics of the French Pleat style, click this link and scroll to the bottom to watch my video on how to make a French Pleat.

French Pleat using the Fiori Swarovski barrette
Step 2: Secure your pleat near your crown. 
Hold the style with a barrette or close-holding hair claw very high up on your head, near your crown. 

Choose a hair clip that is really strong, particularly if you have long ends. 

The longer your ends, the heavier your ponytail will be, so you need a properly designed hair clip. I recommend any barrette that we call at Stone Bridge a "large" barrette. 

French Pleat with the Estiva Swarovski barrette
Here I have used our Italian crystal barrettes, both the Estiva Swarovski barrette and the Fiori Swarovski barrette

The Estiva is excellent for a very formal occasion or top drawer black tie sort of event. 

Hair claws are best if they can get right around and under your pleat. Here I'm using our Crystal Strand Large volume hair clamp

French Pleat with a Crystal Strand clamp
For a less dressy claw, try the Cadre Rectangle hair clamps.

The downside to using claws for this style is that most types of clamp will stand proud, which kind of spoils the ponytail effect, so really barrettes are easiest. If you have enough hair and are will to experiment, our French Pleat medium comb also works for this style.

Our Stone Bridge Classic Beak clips are also good because they lie flat under your ponytail and also help spread your hair out to create more fullness. 

If you have a lot of hair - either very thick or very long and heavy - I would go for a small Ficcare Maximas clip.

Back view of my High Ponytail
Step 3: Arrange your ends.
Spread out your ponytail just above the clip so the weight is evenly distributed out the top of your pleat.

This gives your hair much better movement and makes your profile more attractive.

Get experimenting, and have fun!

Visit Stone Bridge to see what new hair clips we have in this week

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Our Silk Bags are back!

Store Your Stone Bridge Hair Clips With Love

A Woman's Favourite Thing to See in the Morning's Post
A few years ago we had some wonderful silk drawstring bags made for us. All our luxury hair clips and Ficcare hair clips were shipped in these bags, which we included for free.

After all, if you're going to spend a lot of money on a hair clip, you want to be able to keep it safe and not get it scratched.

But ... sadness ... we ran out. And then the bad news was we couldn't get any more. We searched high and low for a new manufacturer. We looked in England, we rang specialist drawstring bag makers in America, we even contacted people we knew in China. No luck. Strange, huh?

Then, after months of looking we found a wonderful community in Cambodia, the Watthan Artisans, a school and cooperative for people and children who had been disabled by landmines providing training and employment in traditional crafts.

Making so many bags for Stone Bridge was a major undertaking for them. They were concerned they couldn't get enough silk at their local market in Stone Bridge red, for instance. One solution we discussed was that they would build a loom and actually weave our silk for us!

We are delighted that even our bags reflect the Stone Bridge values of quality, durability, craftsmanship and beauty. They are not mass produced, but made by hand by good people we are delighted to call part of our Stone Bridge family.

So, our bags are back, protecting beautiful hair clips and supporting the talented people at WAC.

You can't buy our bags. You can only get them free when you order from the Ficcare collection, or individual items priced over £35. The only way you can start collecting yours is to treat yourself to a few new hair accessories!

Come see all our hair clips new in this week

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Pantene Pro-V's new Aqua Light shampoo review

Does It Really Give Your Hair "Swish"?

As you know if you follow this blog much, I don't just whitter on about really nice hair clips. Oh no. Give me half a chance and I'll yack away about hair care products too. As you can imagine, I'm a right laugh at the old Hill homestead.

A few weeks back my oldest daughter told me off for lingering too long (again) in my favourite haunt which is the shampoo aisle at Boots, doing a bit of comparative reading of ingredients lists.

I may have also been laughing like a drain (again) and embarrassing the bejeezus out of her.

Anyway, I bought a selection of shampoos for a little light reading later.

And I was inspired, so I wanted to do a little review for you of the new Aqua Light shampoo by Pantene Pro-V which has been so much on the telly, promising to give your hair "swish" - whatever that is.

Pantene Pro-V Aqua Light vs. Pantene Pro-V Classic Care

The label reads:

DO YOU HAVE: Hair that can feel weighed down?
BUT DO YOU WANT: Hair that is beautifully nourished with virtually no weight?

Then Pantene Pro-V Aqua Light Collection with virtually no weight is for you!

"Whoo hoo!" I thought. I bet that means there's no silicone in it. And guess what? Running a side-by-side comparison of Aqua Light with Pantene's Classic Care formula reveals ... no silicone derivatives, conditioners in smaller quantities, and a handful of ingredients that basically rinse out of your hair a bit better.

Okay, so Aqua Light is good for fine hair or for straight hair that seems to get oily quicker than you like. However, you can still be weighing your hair down if you follow this with some heavy duty conditioning all over your head. Don't do that. Just use conditioner in the spots where you tend to get tangles and at the ends. Leave the rest of your hair alone.

Then, just for fun and because Aqua Light is more expensive than Pantene's Classic Care formula (about 15% more expensive by volume), I also had a look at Johnson's Baby shampoo (which is so cheap when it's on offer it's not even funny).

Johnson's Baby Shampoo

Baby shampoos are designed not to be gentle on your skin or hair. Let's just make that clear. They were developed when they found a detergent that was less irritating when it gets in your eyes.

This is what is meant by "mild." Johnson's is perfectly clear about this. The label reads, "... the NO MORE TEARS formula is as mild to the eyes as pure water."

However, I am sure they are very happy for people to believe that "mild" means kind to your skin, kind to your hair ... whatever imagined benefit the customer dreams up.

Detergent is detergent and its job is to lift oil and dirt. Its strength is pretty much managed by how concentrated it is in the product. People want clean hair after shampooing, so by and large, detergent makes up about 10% of your bottle of shampoo. (And, yes, nearly 90% of your bottle of shampoo is simply water - imagine the reduction in packaging if we were allowed to "mix our own" at home? But we witless members of the public are not allowed to handle commercial concentrates of detergent, so just forget about that eco-fantasy.)

Saying all that, Johnson's Baby Shampoo could be a great choice if you have fine hair for the following reasons:

1. It works - it cleans your hair, as any decent shampoo should
2. The detergents used could be good alternatives for you if you suffer from eczema
3. When it's on offer, it is very cheap indeed

If you've subscribed to my Healthy Hair Advice articles, then you'll know that if you want a gentler shampoo, the best thing to do is not go buy yourself a more expensive one, but to just dilute the one you've got already. Oh, and only wash once. It's probably all your hair needs.

If you haven't subscribed to these yet, you can get a little preview right here on the blog with the first article about Shampoo.

Which is Better?

Oooo! How do I choose the better shampoo? I actually feel torn here.

Johnson's is so seductively simple. Compared to Pantene, it's got a beautiful short list of easily identifiable ingredients. The labeling doesn't promise to do miracles for your hair, and I like honesty like that.

However, Aqua Light (and Classic Care) have a few added ingredients that are good and will help you have cleaner hair. Tetrasodium EDTA is a good one. It is a chelator, which means it stops minerals in hard water from sticking to your hair. That is really good. And it's got really effective antifungal and antibacterial preservatives, which could be good if you have a mild case of dandruff. They aren't in there for your dandruff, mind, but if you've got an itchy head sometimes every little helps.

And you can't deny that the Pantene line of shampoos does contain more conditioners than Johnson's, which helps keep the hair "slippy" while you're washing it which prevents a lot of damage to your hair.

I think my instinct is if you have fine hair to recommend Johnson's Baby Shampoo and see how you get on. If your hair doesn't get clean enough with Johnson's, then you need a shampoo with more detergent and I would say Aqua Light could be your next port of call.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

A Rolled Under Half Back Style

All You Need are Grips and an Elastic

This is a nice looking style that is an alternative to the normal half-back style that you might hold with hair clips like a small barrette or mini hair claw.

For this version of the half back, all you need are a few grips and a hair elastic. You can then dress this up with a fancy hair comb or a pretty crystal barrette if you wanted to. Or you can leave it just plain for a clean, simple look.

The benefit of this particular technique is that it adds height to your crown with no backcombing, so it can be good if you have long, fine hair. It can also be good if you have a lot of hair and the traditional half-back style brings too much hair to the back of your head and just looks poofy.

In this video, I only had one of our thick knotted elastics to hand, which I wouldn't normally use for this style. Usually for the rolled under half back style I would go for just a regular thin elastic like you might get from the chemist's or the supermarket. However, if you want to create more height than you can using your hair alone, using a thick elastic that is close to your hair colour (so, not Fern Green like I've done here!) works really well.

How To Do a Rolled Under Half Back Hairstyle

Hair Clips to Dress Up Your Rolled Under Half Back

Portofino Crystal Small Barrette
Baroque French Side Comb
Verrou Crystal Side Barrette

Visit Stone Bridge to browse all our French Hair Accessories

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Your hair colour and choosing the right hair accessories ...

Tortoiseshell ... and Nine Other Colours of Neutral

Classic French Extra Large hair clamps
Most hair clips you can buy on the high street are any colour you like as long as it's tortoiseshell or black.

At Stone Bridge, our French handmade hair accessories come in 10 classic colours, chosen to coordinate across the full spectrum of hair tones.

So how do you choose which neutral will work with your hair? Watch this video to find out which hair clips are best for your hair.

Now, for some reason I refer to our palest colour as "Vanilla Cream" through this whole video. At Stone Bridge this colour is really called "French Vanilla" in case you wonder why we would name a colour after a biscuit. We didn't. I must have been thinking about taking a coffee break.


Choosing The Right Colour Hair Accessories For Your Hair Colour

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Hot and Cold: Which is Worse?

Temperature and the Health of Your Hair

A question I get quite frequently when I help customers with the health of their hair in a personal consultation, is about the effects of cold and heat on hair.

With winter approaching, the personal care companies will be rolling out their "winter care" recipies of shampoo and moisturisers for you to run out and buy. But do you really need them?

Extreme Weather and Your Hair

As a general rule of thumb, the weather has no effect on the health of your hair. If you can imagine that the cuticle of your hair is as tough as your fingernails, you know from your own observations that very hot and very cold days have no effect on this kind of hard, dead material.

What does dry and cause damage to your hair is intense sun for prolonged periods and being blown around by the wind. It is easy to protect your hair from these elements: put it up (and I, of course, recommend you use hair accessories made in France) or wear a hat.

An exception to this rule about the weather is extremely cold weather - we're talking sub-zero temperatures.

I was told a wonderful story at a dinner party recently about a trip my friends made to Siberia in the winter during the Soviet era. They travelled by train and frequently hopped off to wander around, as much as they were allowed to.

My friend had a moustache at the time and not knowing about the effects of very cold weather, was happily walking around without having his face wrapped up. His wife turns to him and comments that his moustache is covered in ice. He reaches up to touch his face and comes away with half his moustache broken off in his hand.

How did that happen? Our hair is very absorbent and good at holding water. In sub-zero temperatures, any water in your hair will freeze, even if it is lying close to your body. Once frozen, like any delicate structure, it will snap easily.

So when you're off skiing in the Alps this winter, if you can't put your hair up (under your helmet, for example), tuck the ends down inside the collar of your jumper. Your body heat will help keep your hair at a safe temperature.

Washing your Hair

What about the tradition of washing your hair in hot water and rinsing in cold?

This has very little to do with your hair and more to do with whether you want a product to cling well to your hair or not.

The fact is it is pretty irrelevant what temperature water you use on your hair. Warm (not hot) water is best for the health of your scalp, as it will allow you to clean the skin of your scalp without lifting away too much oil and drying out your skin.

Hot water is most effective in helping to lift oil  from a dirty surface. This is why we use hot water to wash our dishes. The higher you can heat oil, the runnier it gets making the detergent's job of lifting it away easier.

Most women (and certainly anyone reading this article) do not have hair that is so dirty that only hot water will help get it clean. Even after exercising, you are only washing away sweat, which is mostly minerals, not oil, and warm water will be sufficient for the job.

Now the point of the "cold rinse" is to allow the conditioning molecules to continue clinging to the hair. It doesn't make the cuticle "lie down". This will happen of its own accord as the hair dries.

Heat Styling

If you've signed up for my free article series about healthy hair, then you know my views on using blow dryers and hot irons for styling your hair.

If you haven't read these yet, the summary of my opinion is this:

We use heat to give us more control during the styling process. However, most heat styling tools are used at too high a heat, to dry the hair more quickly because we are an impatient species. While a low level of heat helps the cuticle to dry harder and flatter compared to air drying, a high level of heat can bring the water in your hair to a boil. The steam created inside your hair then bursts out through your cuticle, not just at the ends, but all along the length of your hair.

So do straighteners damage your hair? You bet.

So these special winter protecting shampoos and conditioners are marketed in quite a cynical way. It isn't the weather that's the problem (unless you're in the Alps or Siberia and showing off your long hair), it's our own vanity and haste to have hair like Cheryl Cole's got on the telly.

Can you straighten your hair using cold air? Sure! If you've got a few minutes to kill, I found a video on YouTube that will show you one way to do this. I wouldn't recommend this method, but it's entertaining to see it done.


Straitening Your Hair Without Heat

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Easy Formal Updo Styles

Sparkly Hair Accessories For Dressy Hair

I made a very quick video for you showing you two types of formal hair clips you can tuck into a French pleat style.

This is suitable for anytime you want your hair to look smart: dinner parties, going to the theatre or for attending weddings. If your pleat is solidly held and secure, you can use these hair accessories to dress up your hair and it takes literally 20 seconds.


Dressing Up Your French Pleat

Dressy Stone Bridge Hair Clips for Your Formal Updo

Antiopa Swarovski Crystal Butterfly hair claw
Golden Hibiscus Swarovski Crystal small barrette

Browse the full Stone Bridge Collection

Friday, 1 October 2010

Do Volumising Hair Products Work?

And Should You Be Using Them On Your Fine Hair?

We have a lot of customers looking for hair accessories that work in fine hair. So we talk to women every day about the issues they have with their hair being so fine and how it looks.

If you've got fine hair you know how frustrating it is to look in the mirror and see your hair clinging to your head or hanging down in an unimpressive curtain. Wouldn't it be wonderful to have masses of swishy hair that actually looked like something when you wore it up or styled it?

The shampoo companies know your feelings of frustration. They feel your pain. So, voila, they found a solution for you. Volumising shampoo.

But how do these work and are they any good for your hair?

Thicker Hair? Or More Magic-In-A-Bottle?

These volumising products do make your hair thicker and they work in one of two ways.

1. They coat your hair, or
2. They swell your hair

Coating the hair

The original volumising products from a few years back, coating was the common solution. Like conditioner, a fine layer of sticky molecules would be deposited along the length of each hair.

So your hair was fractionally thicker. It felt thicker when you touched it. But only by a microscopic amount. You couldn't double the thickness of your hair this way.

Plus the coating weighs your hair down, contributing to the limp feeling that some fine hair has. The end result would be hair that felt thicker, but didn't really look thicker.

Swelling the hair

Now, the most common volumising products work by swelling the hair. This is basically done by attracting and trapping more moisture in the centre of the hair. This sounds harmless, but it isn't.

The structure of your hair is very spongy. You know yourself how much heavier your hair feels when you take a shower and your hair is completely saturated with water. Your hair can hold a lot of fluid.

However, your hair is also very exposed and more susceptible to damage when it is swollen because the cuticle is flexed out and disturbed from its protective closed shape that it takes when the hair is completely dry. To have hair that is dry and "blown up" means your cuticle is roughed up, and its edges are easily chipped and broken.

Using volumising products on a daily basis will damage and weaken your hair.

Saying all this, fine hair with a roughed up cuticle can be less slippery and easier to style. If you don't have ambitions to have very long hair and the shininess of your hair isn't important to you, then volumising products (or indeed any styling or treatment that ruffles the cuticle, such as perming or dying) might be the solution you are looking for.

However, if you want to grow your hair past shoulder length and you want your hair to be naturally shiny, then you must protect the cuticle of your hair. In this situation, I would not recommend volumising products for your hair.

Learn More About What Damages Your Hair

Did you find this article helpful? Sign up here for my free series of articles about taking care of your hair. Having healthy hair is cheap and easy. I can show you how.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Using a Hair Fork for a French Pleat style

Hair Forks Now in Stock

We've got a new French handmade hair fork just in, and also back in stock is the very lovely Ficcare Rockstar hair fork (featured recently in the Evening Standard).

Do pop by the Stone Bridge Hair Accessories website and have a look at them.

And to show you how to use these beauties, I've made you a little video.


How to Use a Hair Fork

Hair Forks Available from Stone Bridge Hair Accessories

Allegro French Handmade hair fork
Arpege Hair Handmade hair fork
Allegro Brights Handmade hair fork

Monday, 6 September 2010

Tired of Colouring? Going Natural

The Art of Being Naturally Grey

We women are funny about our hair colour. Either we dye because it's fun and we like the artistry in playing with our hair colour, or we are worried that our natural hair colour will make us look old.

The Evolution of Melissa's Hair

I first started going grey in my late 20's. This disturbed my stylist at the time, though perhaps in hindsight she was just dredging up a new client for the salon's colourist. In any case, it started a cycle for several years of highlighting and colouring.

I asked the colourist once could she just tone in the grey hair to my natural colour. She gave me a disagreeable look and pulled out a colour card with the "natural" pigments I could choose. She pointed to a dull, slightly greenish looking brown and said, "Well, this is your natural colour."

Ugh! Who would want hair that colour?

Of course what I know now about the colours you can acheive in a salon is that you cannot actually create natural colour. The pigment that naturally occurs inside your hair can't be easily recreated, particularly for the colder browns and blondes that in reality aren't that dull at all.

By my mid-thirties I was having trouble with my hair. After three pregnancies I had lost a lot of hair (turns out I have a sensitivity to oestrogen - lucky me!) and my heat styling, dying and straightening were not doing my hair any good at all.

Fed up with fighting with my hair for up to an hour every morning and still feeling that my hair looked terrible, I decided to go natural. Cold turkey. I knew I would probably look awful for a few weeks, if only because I had a head full of damaged, weak hair that I had no idea how to style properly.

Going Cold Turkey

I stopped all heat styling entirely. I stopped colouring. I used very basic shampoos and conditioned my hair a lot. I told people I was "giving my hair a rest" which they seemed to accept as a reasonable thing to do. But I can say that no one was handing out compliments on how wonderful I looked!

I'm quite a determined sort of person, and I was very curious to see what my natural hair was like. I consoled myself on the days I hated my hair and hated this process, that when my curiosity was satisfied, if I didn't like it, I could always go back to colouring my hair. No problem.

This period lasted about two months. I used lots of hats and alice bands while my roots grew out. It became completely clear as the weeks passed that my coloured hair really had no structure, while the new hair coming in was very strong and healthy. Most surprising of all, my hair started curling in large loopy, "boing-y" ringlets.

Cutting Out the Coloured Stuff

After about six months I made the fateful trip to my stylist. It was time to cut the "dead stuff" off. My stylist was not impressed with my experiment in going natural. This was clearly not a behaviour she wished to encourage. It also became clear that actually she didn't have much idea of how to cut curly hair. Our relationship did not survive my transition.

Initially, my hair was mostly brown and auburn, with strong white streaks around my face, and some random grey appearing on other parts of my head. As my curls grew out, I started to enjoy my new look. I began to get compliments on my hair colour and on my texture.

Life Naturally Grey

Now I love my hair. I like to see new sections of my hair going from dark to absolutely clear white. I like to wear my hair as big as it will go. I especially like that my hair is incredibly easy to care for, the ultimate wash-and-go style.

My hair and I now live separate but harmonious lives. I've accepted that because my texture responds to the humidity in the air, that my hair will make it's own plans for  the day. Sometimes it is long, soft and wavy, and other days it is mad curly. Just as I cannot control the weather, I can't control my hair. But I can help it look its best by taking good care of it.

My hair no longer makes me feel bad about myself, but because my hair is fundamentally healthy, it always looks just fine. And sometimes it looks absolutely marvelous. But it never has anything to do with me.

And if worse comes to worse, I wear a nice hair clip!

Find Out More About Your Hair at The Girly Day Out

Claire and I have been putting a lot of work into our Girly Day Out , which is now finalised.

We are meeting up on Monday, 15 November in the very heart of the beautiful city of Bath at the incredible Thermae Bath Spa .

An Event Only If You Want To Know What Your Future Holds

If you are in your forties, fifties or sixties and are wondering about what the coming decade has in store for your skin and hair, the Girly Day Out is the event you want to attend.

This event is not for women who want to look like fashion models. We can't help you. There are lots of great courses and seminars available to cover that sort of information.

The Girly Day Out is only for women interested in real beauty and how the skills you need progress as you age. We will be working with just 10 women, teaching you how to work with your natural features, your real hair texture and showing you how you can easily and without fuss look your natural best every day.

How Much Do You Spend On Your Basic Beauty Routine?

The average woman spends up to £600 a year on just her hair, and at lleast £250 per year on cosmetics and skin care. Much of this money is wasted on products that don't work or that end up sitting in a drawer unused. Doesn't that bug you when that happens?

You know here at Stone Bridge we are not into bogus sciency sounding explanations that Beauty Industry is so fond of using, along with their drawings of skin layers and cross sections of hair.

Stone Bridge Does Not Sell Beauty Products

If you've ever wondered if the claims are true in the glossy magazines about all these things which will supposedly hold back time, we will be going deep into which products really are effective and which ones are just pretty, nice smelling bottles.

Claire has teamed up with some of the world's top luxury brands, such as Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, so you can have the opportunity to learn hands-on about proper cosmetics, using proper application techniques along with the colours that are appropriate to your complexion as your skin matures over time. She will also be introducing you to some high street products as well as some very small, specialist companies who really know their stuff when it comes to mature skin.

But we aren't here to sell you cosmetics, so Claire will tell you the real deal about which products, brands and colour ranges are right for you.

To attend this event, the regular price is £650. But if you book now we're taking 25% off. Or you can pay by installment in two payments of £250 each, and still get the benefit of booking early.

But early booking ends 24 September, and we only have 10 places availalble for this very special day.

Click here to find out more about the day's events (which includes a 2-course buffet lunch and a free 2-hour luxury spa session at the beautiful Thermae Bath Spa , plus many more goodies).

I do hope you can join us for what will truly be an amazing and eye-opening day.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Adding Height to Your Hair Without Backcombing

All You Need is a Grip!

You don't need any hair clips really for this one. This is a technique I've been wanting to share with you for ages, so I just decided to sit down and take a bunch of pictures showing you how to do it.

A Posh Bouf 
I've had so many requests for an alternative to backcombing. Backcombing or teasing the hair is so damaging to your cuticle. If you've got fine hair, this bumping method is perfect for you.

Here I show you how to add height to a modified bouffant (what we call a "bouf" here at Stone Bridge) which is so fashionable at the moment. I'm doing a basic half-back style, but you can combine a bouf with a ponytail, an alice band, a pleat ... just experiment and see what you can come up with.

Step 1

Step 1: Take a section from the centre top of your head.

This will cover your bouf in the last step. Let it fall forward or clip to one side.

Step 2

Step 2: Take a second section from the back of your crown.

This will form your bump.

Step 3

Step 3: Fold the section half.

Basically, depending on how long your hair is, you want to get it to a manageable length. My hair is just past my shoulders, so I fold this section just in half.

Step 4

Step 4: Place your grip across the middle of the section.

Keep your hair spread out through the grip. Again, this isn't rocket science. The grip just helps to keep your hair under control for Step 5 ...

Step 5

Step 5: Fold the section again and start rolling your hair under.

Keep the hair to the front of your roll sort of smooth. Whatever happens to the back isn't important. Messier rolling should produce a bigger bump, but if you practice and have a play you'll see what works for your hair.

Step 6

Step 6: Secure your bump at the bottom with another grip or two.

At this stage you can either hair spray or not, depending on how naturally slippery your hair is. I don't need any hair spray for this to hold its shape.

Step 7: Nearly Done!

Step 7: Pull your front section back to cover your bump.

You can make this nice and tidy with some hair spray and a comb, or leave it a little messy for a casual, beachy look (very fashionable right now, especially if combined with a sharply styled fringe)

Step 8

Step 8: For a half-back, secure with a small hair barrette.

If you have thicker hair, you can try brushing your hair over the bump and then hair spraying the bejezus out of it so it doesn't move. This just gives you bigger, slightly messy-on-purpose hair.

I generally see younger women holding back this top bit with more grips, but if you are over 26 years old and have plans to go out in public please do not do this. It looks too unfinished. And PLEASE do not opt for bendy clips. No no no.

And that's me done.

This little version took me five minutes to do and that was because I was photographing each step for you. In real life, with the help of a mirror this should take you about 30 seconds. And it should stay in place all day for you, no problem.

Here's how the bouf looks from the front.

A back view

And here's a back view. You don't have to use a barrette for this. You can use a French comb, or even a Classic Mini hair claw.

The cool thing about this method is you don't have to worry about anything "showing through" the top layer of your hair because it's your own hair underneath. Plus you don't have to buy anything, except maybe grips if you've not got any lying around already.

Bouf from the side

Also, your bouf can be all shapes and sizes. You can pull up more hair from the sides to pull back. You can place your bump higher or further back on your head. It all depends on your headshape and what flatters you best.

Go on, go have a play. If you've read this far I know you're not busy right now!

Browse All Stone Bridge Small Slides And Clips

Friday, 13 August 2010

Negative Ions: The Ultimate Hair Fix?

Why Have Ordinary Straighteners When You Can Have Ionizing Ones!

Brookhaven Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider: The Future of Hair Conditioner?
Step into any high street retailer selling hair dryers or straighteners and you can buy your cheap but cheerful bog-standard ones or you can get some fancy schmancy "ionising" ones.  All the celebrities use them, so they must work.

So what is this magic that negative ions bring to hair styling? Fear not. Google has the answers. I found a brilliant bit on on-line wisdom about why negative ions are so excellent for your hair.

The Hype

Apparently "research" shows that negative ions break water molecules down into "micro fine" particles which then get into the hair and restore the moisture balance of your hair. It's all natural and will solve frizziness problems. Isn't that great?


Oh, brother. I don't know where to begin with this load of nonsense. I guess we can start with the concept that if you break down H2O (water) you get a couple H's (hydrogen) and an O (oxygen). You can't reduce a water molecule into some micro form of water.

Maybe they meant the molecules get compressed? Well, the only way to do this is to use a relativistic heavy ion collider, and there's only one of them ... in New York. Somehow I don't think this technology is being used in the hair care industry, but I could be wrong.

Okay, and anyway water gets into your hair in its full-molecule wet form already, no problem. Just stick your head under the shower and Bob's your uncle. "Moisture balance" restored, right?

More Hype

Apparently your hair is unruly and needs help because it carries a positive electrical charge from the friction of your hair rubbing together. This makes your hair dull and unhealthy. Using heat styling with negative ions cancels out the positive ions, giving you smoother, straighter and healthier hair. The negative ions actually rebuild and repair your hair.

Whoa! That's amazing! And so bogus the mind boggles.

More Reality

Negative ions in an electrical field are attracted to positive ions, and positive ions are released by hair that has a damaged cuticle. The negative ions are attracted to the damaged sites and help the chemicals used in conditioners to bond more strongly to the site.

Your hair will feel smoother immediately after straightening because it is more heavily coated with styling product. This does not actually help your hair very much and the heat styling itself is probably causing more damage along the length of the hair.

Negative ions are not “neutralising” anything in your hair, they are only attracting clumps of styling product to the weakest points along your cuticle to make your hair feel nice to the touch, but it is a very temporary fix. It is not – I repeat, not – making your hair healthy.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Do Straighteners Damage Your Hair?

If We Ever Found the Best Straighteners in the World, We Still Wouldn't Sell Them

I often wrestle with the idea that Stone Bridge ought to carry more styling tools, like brushes and straighteners and so forth, and not just concentrate only on great quality hair accessories. Straighteners, in particular, are a huge market. So, if I ever came across the best straighteners in the world, would we sell them?


Because they will probably damage your hair. And I'd feel guilty about that.

I want to tell you exactly why straighteners work and what they do to your hair. I hope you will stop using them except on very special occasions.

How does heat styling work on hair?

When you straighten or curl your hair using heat  you are temporarily resetting the chemical bonds that give your hair its natural texture. Inside, your hair is dotted with sulphur "points" that pair up adn bond together as your hair dries, pinching your hair up into it naturally occurring wave or curl.These bonds break apart when your hair is exposed to water.

The number of sulphur bonds in your hair is different all over your head, and it of course varies from person to person as well. The amount of sulphur in your hair determines not only how wavy or curly your hair is, but also how well your hair can held a set hairstyle. Naturally straight hair, for example, can have a tendency to refuse to hold a curl if it's sulphur content is very, very low. Permanent wave treatments simply "lock" your sulphur bonds together, so hair that is already low in sulphur may not take a permanent treatment either.

For most women, though, all that is needed to set a curl in your hair (or to straighten it) is for the hair to be shaped when damp and left until it is completely dry. The sulphur bonds will hold the set shape until exposed again to moisture, whether it is in your shower, perspiring on a hot day, or simply humidity in the air. Once water is introduced back into the hair, the bonds break and reset themselves along their natural alignment.

We use heat in the styling process mostly because it helps the hair dry faster, which give you more control while styling. There is also an added benefit that a low level of heat can help the cuticle dry flatter, smoother and stronger.

Done properly, you can use blow dryers and straighteners without causing too much damage to your hair. The way to do this is by using these tools only on damp - not wet - hair, on a low setting. Using a high heat setting can cause the water inside the core of your hair to boil. The steam will burst through the protective cuticle of your hair and cause irreversible damage to your hair.

Heat protection serums can provide a little protection, but only when the heat setting is kept low, not at the 200-degree level many straighteners are pre-set for. Hair which is straightened every time you wash your hair is at high risk of damage. Manufacturers of these tools are not going to tell you this and they will encourage you to believe that if you buy special conditioners and serums (ideally from them) then your hair will be in wonderful, healthy condition.

In my next post I will explain about "negative ions" and the relationship they have with the magic smoothing and heat protecting serums you are encouraged to use with your straighteners and blow dryers.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Top Tips for Serious Hair

How to Style Your Hair When Sexy Is Not The Look You Want

Ficcare Maximas clip
In spite of my heroically feminist mother and step-mother, and a girlhood being told that boys and girls are the same, I have come to the conclusion that men are different from women. That's just my opinion.

Proof No. 1 that Men and Women are Different

I had a conversation about this with my friend Steve, who is very into cars. I was telling him about Polyvore, which is a site pretty much devoted to the female interest in collecting pictures of things you think look pretty and allowing you to make collages online to share with your friends. Whenever I have a bad day, I'll go off and make myself a Polyvore collage.

So, I'm explaining this to Steve who is giving me a completely blank look.

"It's very girly," I say. "Do you know any sites like that for men?"

Steve screwed his face up at me. "None of the men I know make collages on the internet to share with their friends, no."

Okay, so collages are difficult to understand by the typical bloke. My husband still struggles to see why I would want to spend even twenty seconds doing this.

Proof No. 2 that Men and Women are Different

Another thing that makes men different from women is that, on average, men find women with long hair worn down unbelievably, and occasionally mind-bogglingly, sexy.

Whenever I have a consultation with a client and have the chance to speak to their husband or partner, these men almost without exception like their wife best with longer hair, worn simply down or just with an alice band.

Claire and I also, in the interests of science, quiz men on their thoughts about women's hair. Their answers aren't terribly surprising. On average, long hair is sexy. Short hair is not so sexy.

Now, there are plenty of times when sexy is not the look we want to go for, namely for serious business-focussed occasions. This is not a time for men to have their minds boggled by your hair. They need to be boggled by your brainy brilliance.

How to Get Serious Hair

I don't have much advice for achieving brainy brilliance, but I can help you with your hair. Here are my top tips to achieving serious hair:
  • Wear your hair up. Hair down is sexy. We're not going for sexy so let's not distract the men from the business at hand. This, honestly, is true for women at any age, not just for young women.

  • Go for a simple style. The tidier your hair, the greater the unconsious impression you create of being "in control". This is particularly important if you have curly hair. Men can almost uncontrollably judge a curly-haired woman as being "wild" if her hair is not neatly tied back. Unfortunate, but surveyed and tested. You can write to the editors of the papers if you like about the unfairness of it, but there you have it. A French pleat, particularly with your ends tucked into your pleat is the most conservative updo.

  • Choose high quality hair clips in a simple style. Men may claim to be baffled by women's clothing, but that isn't to say they can't recognise quality. Indeed, I hear from plenty of husbands of our customers asking with fascination about the material we use in our hair accessories, it is so obviously different from your average high street hair clip. High quality hair accessories in a classic style give a more serious impression.

  • Select colours that blend in with your hair colour. The more invisible your hair accessories, the less distracting they are and the less attention you call to your hair. If you have brown hair, choose dark colours. If you have blonde hair, gold-toned or cream coloured hair clips will be less noticeable. If you have ash-tones in your hair, consider silver or grey hair accessories, such as our Silver Shell colour.

Hair Accessories for Serious Hair

Rectangle Large Barrette
French Handmade U pins
French Pleat medium comb

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

New Video: How to use side combs

Melissa's Comedy Hair Plus Some Useful Ways To Use French Side Combs

I think my daughter is collecting "Stone Bridge Video Bloopers" on the sly. You wouldn't know that I am in fact hugely camera-shy by the number of hair styling and hair accessories videos I've been making.

So if a bunch of outtakes of me suddenly show up on YouTube one day, some young lady is going to be seriously grounded.

In this video, I whizz through four different ways you can use French side combs to create a few different hair styles. The comb I'm using is our Classic French Handmade side comb, but you can also use dressy combs for any of these styles.

The styles are:
The Quiff (my comedy hair moment, please forgive me!),
A traditional Half-Back,
The Bouf (my favourite, a modern bouffant style), and
The traditional Sides Back style

How to Use French Side Combs

Browse all Stone Bridge combs

Monday, 19 July 2010

Melissa's Olive Oil Deep Conditioning Treatment

Deep condition your hair
at almost no cost!
You can pay a lot of money for some deep conditioning treatments, but I'll let you in on an industry secret that the shampoo companies DO NOT want you to know, which is this:

The same ingredients that are in the bottle of conditioner in your shower are in one of those £10 single deep conditioning treatment packs, but with less water.

All conditioners are the same

The truth is, conditioner is conditioner. You can use more of it or less of it, but your hair can only be so conditioned.

 Any chemist in the industry will tell you the same. And conditioner pretty much does all its "conditioning" work in five minutes.

So there's no point leaving your hair all glooped up for hours on end or overnight. You will not get any more out of your conditioner for your trouble.

Anyhoo, I wanted to share with you my favourite way to get rid of my family on a sunny Saturday and that is my olive oil deep conditioning treatment.

Oil vs. Conditioner

Oil and conditioner are not the same thing. Conditioner is made up of slippery molecules that coat the outside of your hair so that the individual hairs tangle less and so get less damaged.

Conditioner is an important part of maintaining the long term health of your hair because it has a role in protecting the cuticle layer.

You oil your hair to restore a bit of moisture to it that has been stripped out by, frankly, shampooing it. Oil is not as effective as conditioner is for adding "slip" to your hair.

There are two oils that are absorbed best by human hair and that is olive oil and coconut oil. Which you choose is down to what you've got available and how you want to smell.

Can you use any other oils?

Of course you can, but they will probably be more expensive and won't be absorbed as readily as olive oil or coconut oil.

Nothing bad will happen if you use argan oil, grapeseed oil or vegetable oil. It all pretty much works fine.

Melissa's Olive Oil Deep Conditioning Treatment

So, first I tell my family that I mustn't be disturbed under any circumstances for at least an hour. Then I put on my bikini and lay out my sun towel.

Now, for the important bit. With DRY hair (because it is more absorbent) I pour a bit of cheap olive oil in my hands, and work it all through my hair, but especially the ends.

I like to get my hair really coated throughout in oil, but you don't have to do this. If you have straight hair, you may just want to oil the lower half of your hair only.

Then, I concentrate on lying in the sun for as long as I can get away with.

When you're all done relaxing, go shampoo out the oil twice through and condition as normal. Your hair should feel wonderful after this.

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Monday, 12 July 2010

The Latest Celebrity Hair Care Craze ...

Is it Magic or Just Another Way to Part You From Your Money? You Decide.

Wow. Another new way to get rid of frizz is the incredible Moroccanoil. Apparently beloved (and I don't doubt it) by Miley Cyrus, Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Lopez - hair experts all three, right?

The magic ingredient in Moroccanoil products is Argan oil. Now, argan oil is neat stuff. It tastes great, it smells nice, it is nice to put in your homemade skincare products or homemade soap. And it's expensive, as oils go.

But for 100ml of Moroccanoil you're going to pay about £30. To buy a beautifully packaged 100ml bottle of pure argan oil, it comes to £12. If you're not so fussy about the bottle, I found one for £9.99.

Moroccanoil try to help you get over the sticker shock by saying a little of their product goes a long way. I'm sure it does. All oil goes a long way in hair.

But why put argan oil on your hair? On a salad, it's divine. On your skin, I can understand. But your hair? Your hair doesn't benefit from vitamins or antioxidants being rubbed into it. It's dead material.

If you need to moisturise your hair, olive oil does the job brilliantly, and the cheap stuff is better than the extra virgin. Tesco's brand sells at £1 for 250ml. The bottle won't look so pretty on your bathroom counter, true, but the money will feel nice in your pocket!

In my next post, I'll share my favourite deep conditioning method using olive oil.

If you found this tip interesting, sign up for my healthy hair series of articles. Learn how to get the best out of your hair without spending one penny more on it. Don't believe me? Read these comments, just three out of hundreds of women who have made small changes to their hair care routines and now have healthier, better behaving hair.

Visit Stone Bridge for hair clips you'll love.