One of Norway's top Hair Stylists, Agnes Marie Gulbrandsen, answers the questions on how you can achieve thick, shiny hair, beat the big grease-battle, grow your hair long, sort out tangle issues and why you should avoid cheap supermarket products.
1 I wash my hair every day as it gets greasy very quickly. What can I do to get out of this vicious circle and still look decent?
Some of us unfortunately produce more sebum, which is actually good for lubricating the skin, but can result in greasy hair. This means that hair follicles / sebaceous glands overproduce oil. Products, such as the volumising and deep cleansing shampoos, pollution and dyeing, as well as regular use of hair dryer, can have an unfortunate effect on greasy scalp too. And sweating and exercise can also trigger over-production. The best idea is to use as few possible products for a while and see if it helps. Consult your hairdresser and get the best advice on how to groom your hair daily.
Dry Shampoo is an excellent product when you want to cut down on shampooing. Try to keep your hands away from your hair during the day. People with oily hair have a tendency to touch their hair all the time, which will make it even more greasy.
2 My hair has become thinner and more lifeless with age. Is there anything I can take or do, or do I have to settle down on the fact that there is no return to a natural, long, thick mane?
Changes in your hormone levels as well as the intake on vitamins and minerals play a large part here. It is normal that the hair gets thinner with age, after menopause and 3-6 months after pregnancy. Explain the situation to your doctor. A blood test will give you results no stylist can give. Your hair grows from within and what's happening on the inside has a big impact also on your hair.
Styling products often contain alcohol which seems to cause dryness and breaking of hair. The same goes to heating tools. Always use a protective spray, and nourish your hair with a masque as often as you can.
3 Cheap vs. expensive products - does it really matter? (Herbal Essence smells so good!)
Absolutely, it mages a huge difference both to your hair and not at least to your skin. Cheap products often contain cheap / synthetic substitutes that your hair does not want. That includes silicone / parabens (miniature plastic particles) which will clog your hair and cover the shaft and thus will not treatments and colors get an optimal effect, as they can´t penetrate the layer. These nasties can also disturb the membranes and result in greasy, limp and lifeless hair. 80% of all products for sale contain chemicals you do not want on your skin / hair.
4 My hair tangles badly. Do you have any tips or advice on prevention or treatment?
Silk Oil is my best advice. Apply a very small amount (size of a 50p / 5kr) to towel dried hair in the length from the ear and down (avoiding the crown). The product works wonders because it will hold ten percent more moisture. Oils in does to same to your hair as it does to the skin. Many believe it will result in greasy hair, but what you will achieve is healthy, resilient and shiny hair.
Also, be gentle to your hair when you wash it. A lot of the tangling happens during shampooing and conditioning. You should massage your head, not the hair! Comb through hair with oil when wet. Plait your hair softly at night to avoid tangles - oil can also be applied at night so the amino acids can penetrate deeply. Use natural bristle brushes. It may take a bit longer to comb through but the damage will be minimal.
Something as simple as fibred cotton cushions covers can tangle hair when you rub your head back and forth at night. Try silk instead.
5 I cut my hair too short a little while ago, and I want my long hair back again as soon as possible. What are your top tips?
Many hairdressers say you should cut your hair every 6 - 8 weeks, but in most cases this is incorrect (they only want you quickly back in the chair). Your hair grows 1,2 cm per month at the most, so if you cut your hair every 6 weeks you will cut off everything you've saved. Keep in mind that your hair does not grow more than about 12-13 cm per year, so you have to be patient and realistic.
A good advice is to keep your hair less layered. Hair strands protect each other, and if the hair is all the same length it will protect itself and stay healthier. Nordic hair is also often fine, and that’s when I particularly recommend keeping it at one length. Replace you hairdresser with treatments and oils, but as soon as you see signs of dry, white ends you need to have a trim, otherwise it will quickly eat its way upwards and you may have to cut it all off again.
Here are the links to Agnes' recommendations in the opening photo. They are all available from the Gevir-salon in Oslo:
Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Oil
Biosilk Silk Therapy Oil
Chi Clean Start Shampoo