I bought these two hair products, Tigi Sleek Mystique and O-Pro Leave In Conditioner Detangler, from Amazon several months ago and it’s taken me a while to get around to reviewing them. I suppose it’s because I wanted to make sure I’d used them enough, and it’s hard to tell during winter whether the conditioner is doing a great job or not.
Firstly the Tigi Sleek Mystique hair primer. I had really high hopes for this one, but in the end it was a spray bottle of hair goo. It was never going to change my life and I shouldn’t have expected it to. It did make my hair slightly smoother but the effect only lasted for a few hours. My hair is normally very dry, and this means that I usually don’t skimp on conditioner. I thought using this as well as my normal conditioner would leave my hair silky, shiny, and like one of those girls from a shampoo advert.
It didn’t come close. It made my roots hella greasy, even when I only sprayed the ends of my hair. I do wonder whether it was being pulled up the hair shaft by osmosis, but the truth is I really don’t know. Then there was the fact that none of the damn product seemed to stay within 4 inches of the ends of my hair, where my tresses needed the most help. Even when I sprayed some of the Tigi Sleek Mystique into my hand and ran it through the tips of my hair, I still didn’t have any success. I think this was supposed to actually be a hair primer but I don’t really know what that is, and it had very similar ingredients to the O-Pro leave-in conditioner, so if it looks like a horse and smells like a horse… beauty companies will still stick a label on it claiming it’s a unicorn.
Then it made my neck itch after a fortnight, so I gave up on it. It’s been discontinued by Tigi since I bought it so I can only conclude it was a fad product that never lived up to customers’ expectations. That’s gotta be harsh, I mean, what expectations does anyone even have of a hair prep spray?? What, exactly, was it supposed to do? As a sidenote, if you want to prep your hair properly for hair chalk, use dry shampoo like I did in this video.
The O-Pro leave-in conditioner and detangler fared better. It stayed where I put it and it made my hair feel less dry at the ends. I liked the fact that it made my hair softer and more manageable, and this feeling lasted for two days before my roots started osmosising the product (technical term), at which point I washed my hair and the whole thing started again. Two days seems a respectable amount of time for a spray-on product to behave itself. Allegedly, it contains “organic protein” and the cynical side of my brain wants to know if they mean protein from organs (e.g. sausage… EWWW) or from some mysterious rainforest plant. Who knows? It’s not really something I’m super-curious about, but if you are, it has this feature.
Overall, I’d say the O-Pro Leave-In Conditioner Detangler left my hair in better condition and it seemed to be working for a little while longer than the Tigi. There was the added bonus that it didn’t make my neck itchy either, which was nice. I loved the scent as well, and the spray nozzle was easy to use, unlike some I’ve tried where they start to leak liquid down the bottle while I’m using them.
So I’ve been nominated by Brandie at The Striped Coyote to do the Beauty Blogger Tag!
Thanks to Brandie for nominating me for this tag! I’m going to try to answer the questions as best as possible!
The Rules for this Tag:
Tag the blogger that nominated you
Answer the questions you were given
Nominate 10 bloggers whose blog is about beauty/lifestyle/fashion
Name 10 questions for your nominees to answer
Inform the bloggers you chose that you nominated them.
Have you ever done yoga and did you like it?
My primary school used to do yoga so I did it with the rest of the kids (it was a very small school with a total of 32 pupils in the entire school) whose parents couldn’t pick them up straight after school. It was okay. I think people like most things at that age. I incorporate some yoga moves into my warmup/cooldowns for my workouts nowadays, but I don’t even think about where they came from any more! I’ve never taken a proper grown up yoga class though!
What products do you splurge on?
Nothing really. I’m flat broke at the moment so I can’t really afford anything fancy. When I do have money, I tend to buy high end primers and concealers because they’re the most important thing to get right. Oh, and good hair products of course!
What products do you save on?
Eyeshadow! I bought a pallette called the Jazooli pallette for £14.99 about 2 years ago, and it’s got literally every colour of the rainbow, so I use it in pretty much all of my Youtube tutorials, especially the most outrageous ones! I’d like some fabulous high end eyeshadows but this will do for now. Apart from my Laura Mercier neutrals, that’s all the eyeshadow I own!!
What is your best tip for maintaining healthy skin?
Drink lots of water. I know it’s a cliche but it totally works.
What do you use to remove your makeup?
I use cotton wool and rosewater, but I get the stuff that’s in the cooking aisle at the supermarket, not the stuff that’s in the drugstore, because I want the one that’s just 100% water and roses!
How do you maintain your eyebrows (example, threading/waxing)?
I did a video on Youtube on this last week. I shape them myself then draw the brow in to fill it out.
What is your favorite mascara?
L’Oreal Million Lashes. I’ve got the MAC Extreme Dimension as well, and it was my favourite when I first got it, but over time I’ve found Million Lashes still looks perfect at the end of the night, whereas Extreme Dimension always needs topping up. Also after about 6 months Extreme Dimension started burning and flaking, but Million Lashes still doesn’t do that and I’ve had it for over a year.
Where do you buy most of your makeup?
All over the place! Basically I just buy it wherever I see it – I got to like four different department stores because they all have different counters, I go to three different drugstores and two independent beauty shops as well as Amazon and other online retailers. Sometimes I buy at the supermarket as well. It totally depends who’s got the item I want.
What is your favorite shade of lipstick?
Nudes. If it’s got “bare” or “nude” in the name, chances are good that I love it. I also really like brown shades because they suit my complexion WAY better than pinks (I’m neutral toned, bordering slightly on warm toned).
What is your favorite perfume?
That’s such a hard question to answer! I honestly don’t know which one I love the most. I love so many different ones for different reasons. I guess Glow by JLo will always have a special place in my heart, it’s so fresh. I also love Chanel No. 5 (because it’s the polar opposite to Glow), and Avon’s Perceive has been a longtime favourite. I like something understated for daytime and something that matches my outfit for evenings! I think wearing one perfume all the time is like wearing the same pair of shoes – it’s just not going to go with every outfit or situation!
Do you prefer matte or dewy foundation?
What’s your favourite high end product?
What’s your favourite drugstore bargain?
Do you spend more time doing your hair or your makeup?
Do you co-ordinate your shoes/purses?
If you could only use one brand of makeup for the next month, which would you choose?
What’s your skincare routine?
Would you ever/have you done the no-poo shampoo method? If you’ve already done it, what were your results?
What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve found about blogging?
Name your go-to lip balm?
To get silver hair, and maintain my silver hair, what do I use between the silver shampoo? It’s a good question because silver hair is REALLY high-maintenance and there’s a lot you need to do to keep it looking ethereal and shiny.
First off, I need to explain something important. To look after your silver hair, you should only use silver shampoo once or twice a week! The rest of the time, you need to wash in something else or you’ll get colour build-up.
To maintain my silver hair, I have to take good care of it by making sure it stays nourished and conditioned. This article is about how I do that.
I’ve got a range of products that I use, some expensive, some cheap, for the “rest days” when I am not using a silver shampoo to avoid build-up and maintain healthy hair:
Claudia Schiffer Omega Complex: It’s drugstore available, the shampoo has got sulphates and yet somehow, this Omega Repair Mask makes my hair feel softer, smoother and fresher than anything else. It goes against modern hair advice, due to being less than $10 a bottle and the shampoo being all sulphatey, but maybe my hair needs that sometimes. This is my most frequently used pair of non-silver products.
Pure:Ology Shampoo: I was put onto this by this Grazia article I read, where 3 fashion editors explained how they cared for their long blonde hair. It was really informative and full of product recommendations, although not all of the products are as readily available as of 2015 as I would like. The shampoo is gentle, and smells nice and doesn’t leave deposits or take weeks to wash out.
Gliss Liquid Silk Conditioner: Another cheapo fave, this one is something I’ve been occasionally using since 2005, when my older cousin told me about it when I was in high school. It leaves my hair soft, shiny, moisturised and each strand really sparkles almost like I’ve used one of those shine sprays on it. It’s called Gliss Kur in the US.
Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor: Does what it says on the bottle. Bung it on your hair, leave for a few minutes, and your hair will be softer than a Sheila’s jumper. This stuff really makes my hair look and feel great, I use it once a week and it vastly improves my detangling as well.
Moroccan Oil Shampoo: I was using this for a very long time (the Moroccan Oil brand), it actually used to be my favourite before I transitioned to extra-super light blonde. Now I can’t use it, which is a shame because I generally found that when I used this, I needed no conditioner.
Like, literally, I had the whole set, but the shampoo would always run out three times before I’d need another conditioner, which I only put on my ends. If you’re a warmer blonde, or any other hair colour apart from platinum, silver or white, this stuff is the best shampoo you can get. Sadly, it turns your hair orange as it’s infused with argan oil and through experience (over time it actually made my hair 2 shades darker!) it’s just not compatible for me if I want to have icy light hair. Also it’s like serious cash per bottle.
So that’s a run through of the products I use to wash my hair between silver shampoo sessions. There’s also the stuff like coconut oil that I use between washes, but the other stuff I use between washes is highly variable and I don’t feel like I’ve got a regular, dependable and results-focussed set of products going on in that category yet, so it’d basically just be an article on coconut oil, only I don’t use it as often as I might, so it’d be a really short article on coconut oil. My main point, however, is you don’t need to spend serious cash to maintain your silver hair, if you choose your products wisely.
Hair: How to fix hair that’s turned to chewing gum
You’ve washed the bleach off, you’ve conditioned, you’ve looked in the mirror. It might not even be a particularly light shade of blonde. Somehow, your hair has become super-stretchy and doesn’t flex back into shape again very well when you run your fingers through it.
This is NOT going to help if your hair is coming out in clumps. The only thing that’ll help there is a pair of scissors. Sorry, but you need to be honest with yourself about the current state of your hair before you do this.
If your hair is worrying you with its poor condition, but isn’t actually breaking apart yet, this tutorial is for you.
Firstly, I’ve got some bad news for you: You are probably not going to be able to stay completely blonde. At this stage, you have almost completely bleached the core out of your hair. It’s unstable, and isn’t going to withstand staying in this state for long. Think long and hard (but not for too long) about whether you need to follow this tutorial or whether a deep conditioning treatment will help.
Is this method for you?
1. When you last washed your hair, how many hours did it take to dry?
2. When your hair is wet, does it stretch then stay stretched after you let go of it, only returning to its shape gradually, if at all?
3. Have you bleached your hair in any of the following ways (or more than one of these):
a) Left the dye on for far too long?
b) Used a 40 vol peroxide with a bleach on light blonde hair?
c) Didn’t wash the bleach out properly before drying or straightening (flatironing)?
d) Bleached it too many times in a relatively short time period (more than 3 over 2 weeks, depending which products you used)?
e) Bleached it too many times over a longer time period (three times or more per month for more than three months)?
f) Used a product not intended for hair e.g. bleached with kitchen bleach, toilet bleach, household bleach etc even just once?
g) Used blonding/lightening spray on light blonde bleached hair?
If you answered yes to any of the statements in question 3, and your hair is taking more than 3 hours to dry after washing, and it’s stretching as described in question 2, you need this tutorial.
Disclaimer: I am not at your house assessing the state of your hair, nor do I know the state of your scalp. This is your judgement call, but if your hair is wrecked anyway, and your only other option is to cut it off, this might be a helpful last resort. Obviously, like with any dying process, this could make your hair worse, and you may have to do this several times over a period of months to get a colour to stick.
1. Get your hair dry, carefully.
If your hair isn’t dry right now, get your hairdryer and blow dry it on a low setting. Once your hair is dry it’s in a more stable condition. For now.
2. Put longer hair in a gentle plait, until you’re ready to work with it.
This method is used to protect hair extensions at night time, and is equally useful for your own hair when it’s damaged like this. It will help avoid that pesky tangling that constantly happens to over-bleached hair.
3. Decide how dark you can stand to go.
Look through the shades of hair dye that are available (don’t buy any yet), and decide on a level of darkness. The darker you go, the stronger your hair will be, but it will take longer to get it there.
4. Buy the reddest permanent dye you can find, that is not darker than the shade of brown you picked in step 3. If you are choosing between two shades of red, ignore the box and choose the darkest. This is because most of this red will wash out in a couple of weeks, tops. Don’t choose anything weird or unusual, this is not a good time to experiment. I used the auburn shades of Nice ‘N’ Easy when I did this. Don’t expect the colour to come out as strong as it does on the box, you will probably have to repeat this a few times.
5. Make sure you’ve waited at least a week since you last bleached/toned/coloured your blonde hair, and follow the instructions to apply your darker shade. While you’re waiting to colour, treat your damaged hair like antique silk.
6. When you rinse, expect most of it to go down the drain. Your hair will come out a mousey colour, probably with patches that are redder than other bits. If this bothers you, now would be a good time to bring back the bandanna or crack out a hat or headscarf.
7. Use that conditioner that came with the dye. Leave it on for twice as long as it says, and at least 10 minutes.
8. Dry very carefully, don’t rub when you towel dry and don’t use the full heat from the hairdryer.
9. Repeat this process every 2-3 weeks (don’t do it any more regularly than this) until the colour sticks inside your hair.
10. Congratulations, you have just artificially re-created the core of your hair, using artificial pigment molecules. Your hair will be stronger now, although it won’t be the way it was before you dyed it. I found when I did this several years ago, that when I tried to bleach it a year later, it was still not in a suitable condition (luckily I did a test strand because I was NOT ready for that jelly that my strand test turned into), however, it did buy enough time for roots to grow through so I could at least sport a lovely bob 18 months after I wrecked my hair, without having to cut it all off before that time. Try to take better care of it, it’s still very fragile underneath.
It’s been a bad week for my hair. Firstly, one of the kids I worked with this week greeted me as “Scary Mary,” (usually I get Elsa from Frozen) then today (an entire two days later) I found out why.
There’s a patch of hair, right at the very back, at the nape of my neck, that is so dry and coarse that when you brush it, as soon as the brush releases the hair, it goes SPROING out into pure frizz, like a ‘Fro but dry and coarse, not soft and fluffy.
I’m so annoyed. The rest of my hair is in really good condition – soft, silky, the colour has held up nicely over the past two months since I bleached it (I am trying to leave it as long as I can). It’s all really well looked after and manageable. Except that bit. I just don’t know what to do… I have this awful feeling (because it’s getting matted at the top, right at the scalp, and I can’t get it all out) that I might have to cut it. It’s about twenty inches of hair from root to tip. I will need a buzz cut to get it all off.
What can I do?
Is it remotely acceptable to just cut that bit off and leave the rest long? It’s at the nape of my neck. I think the hair there is finer than elsewhere and I don’t think it coped with bleaching very well.
To make matters worse, I’ve got a job interview on Tuesday, and I don’t know if it’s better to have one really unsightly piece of hair or a little patch with missing hair…
AAARGH! Could this have happened when I wasn’t so broke the bank are charging me for not having any money? I can’t afford to see a hairdresser about it. 😦
About ten years ago, I was walking down the road with my mum and sister, when we came across two people struggling with their shopping. I went over and offered to help. They invited us in for tea. Their names were Ann and Julian, and I hope they’re still alive and well and cosy somewhere in the world.
Ann had the most beautiful plaits, one either side of her hair. When I asked her how she got them so neat, she replied “my home carer does them for me when she comes round, once a week.”
Obviously, my next question was “doesn’t it get greasy, being in the same style for a week?”
Her answer wouldn’t change my life for several years. She said, “I use dry shampoo after day two.”
When I was training as a teacher, I was grateful to Ann on a near-daily basis for her advice so many years ago, as dry shampoo kept me able to go into school and hold my head high.
I love dry shampoo, it’s the absolute best thing for sprucing up your hair on days when you didn’t have time to shower – it makes sure (as long as you don’t run out) that you can look and smell fresh and clean every day; it’s like deodorant, but for hair.
Around that same time, I discovered that dry shampoo was really taking off around the haircare set. Now everyone seems to use it for everything. Hair limp? Dry shampoo it. Lacking volume? Dry shampoo. Need a ‘fro for a stage show? Backcomb with dry shampoo. Hair roots on a photoshoot? Dry shampoo. It’s everywhere, doing everything that gel, spray and mousse have done in the past when there were fads for those. Yep, I said it. Dry shampoo is great, but it’s become a hair fad.
Given some of the inappropriate uses for a can of Batiste I would hardly be surprised to see somebody, somewhere on the internet declare “need to carve a turkey? Use dry shampoo!”
The myth that I want to tell you about is really a labelling falsification – dry shampoo, is not, in fact, shampoo. It doesn’t make your hair clean. It doesn’t get rid of the dirt. It just hides it. It would be like calling a plaster “cut finger healer.”
In fact, because dry shampoo is a spray-on powder, that absorbs grease, it actually makes your hair MORE DIRTY. Have you ever mixed flour and olive oil? You get a sticky mess that takes far more time to wash off a spoon or out of a mixing bowl than if you tried to get rid of either of the two individual components. Dry shampoo is your flour, hair grease is your olive oil.
On top of that, the grease is now unable to do its job at all, it can’t get to the ends to coat them, and so it can’t protect the hair shaft because it’s been absorbed by the powder, so your hair is more vulnerable and you’re more prone to split ends. When you dry shampoo, you’re not even protecting your hair from washing, because you have to actually wash it more to get the hair to be clean.
Test what I’m saying: Spray a coloured dry shampoo on your hair (brown shows this best) and see how many wet shampoos it takes to get the water to run clear.
When I had brown hair, every time I used the brown dry shampoo, it took at least two shampoos to get my hair clean, otherwise it was left dull and greasy after every hair wash, which of course would prompt a lot of people to use more dry shampoo. Add to that an avoidance of sulphate shampoos (another fad) and it could take up to three washes to get rid of a day’s worth of dry shampoo (see my article on sulphates to find out why). So, instead of saving your hair, you’re putting it under more stress, because it takes more harsh cleaning agents to get the hair clean in the places you’ve used dry shampoo – and those cleaning agents will obviously affect your lengths and ends when it’s being lathered and rinsed out, and dry shampoo is predominantly used on the roots, where the grease is. This will also make your hair more vulnerable and more prone to split ends.
It’s a great invention, and I am so glad it exists, but like chocolate, cake and alcohol, dry shampoo is not as healthy for you as some people believe, and should be used in moderation.
This is the updated 2020 version of one of my most popular articles, discussing my favourite silver shampoos. I have tried quite a few over the years but there are now dozens on the market! I still think these ones are truly outstanding (although some repackaging has happened since I wrote this).
A hairdresser who I know, who shall remain anonymous, believes that all silver shampoos are created equal. I have also seen conflicting advice on the internet about how, exactly, you’re supposed to use silver shampoo, with some people seeming to think it is used to tone the hair. See this article on toning to find out about my toning routine.
For new and aspiring platinum and silver blondelets, here is a breakdown of how you get any light cool shade of blonde, basically you stop when you’re happy with the colour, although see my other articles to find out SPECIFICALLY what I mean:
1. You bleach your hair. I would use a powder bleach and developer combo, such as John Frieda B Blonde High Lift Powder Bleach (or L’Oreal Quick Blue in the US) and bottles of peroxide (see my other hair articles to learn more about bleaching and what products I’ve used, and why I use the ones that I do), although I have had success with box dyes in the past.
2. You wash all the bleach out.
3. You tone your hair with a toner. These work like either semi-permanent colours (directions silver toner or directions white toner, any of the toner mousses, Jerome Russell Platinum Blonde Toner, Manic Panic Virgin Snow) or permanent colours (Bleach London White Toner; Wella Color Charm T18 White Lady). Basically, if your toner requires a developer, it’s not semi permanent.
4. About a week after you toned your hair, start using silver shampoo and/or conditioner as a maintenance to prolong your toning. Use it once or twice a week, depending on how frequently you wash your hair.
5. If you wanted platinum blonde, and your hair is getting too silvery, use the silver shampoo less.
I have tried out four different silver shampoos so far this year. I will post pics and review them in order:
Superdrug Wash-In Wash-Out Conditioning Colour (this is a shampoo with a tint to it – someone on another review of this used it as a conditioner – please don’t do that, condition after with a nice repair mask or silver conditioner)
Balea Silber Glanz (that’s German for “Silver Shampoo”)
Pro-Voke A Touch Of Silver
Bleach London Silver Shampoo
L’Oreal Professional Silver
Tigi Catwalk Silver
The Superdrug one is a-maze. It only comes in a tiny travel size bottle so if you’re going on holiday, I think you could get it through carry-on security without any issues, although check before you go as I drive to my exotic holiday destinations because I loooove road trips. This Superdrug one came with me to Rome the first time I went, in 2006, and I am convinced it protected my hair from the sun. One of the things I love about **being a light blonde abroad** is that your hair reflects the sun’s heat and you get less hot. The Superdrug shampoo is the cheapest to buy but not the cheapest per-100ml, because the bottle is tiny. It says up to 3 applications but my hair is waist length and super thick, and I get 2 applications out at the very most, so I’d say if your hair is shoulder length you’ll get more than 3 applications out of this.
Pros: The colour is very grey, and covers a multitude of sins including uneven toning and bleaching, accidental use of argan oil, and smoking. When I was pure white in 2008, I used this shampoo to get rid of nicotine stains from my housemates’ 40 a day habit.
It’s good for airport carry on – the bottle is tiny.
It’s easy to use, and you can leave it on for up to 15 minutes for a stronger colour result (it doesn’t say that on the packaging any more but it still works).
Cons: The colour is a very DULL grey, I don’t like the lack of sparkle to my hair after using this too frequently.
The colour builds up very quickly, meaning your hair colour keeps changing. I find this annoying.
The bottle is tiny, and at the price, it gets expensive if it’s your regular use one.
Conclusion: Take this one on holiday (in its own sandwich bag – if this leaks, you got a purple MESS), don’t use regularly at home, but can correct toning errors as long as you use another silver shampoo regularly.
Balea Silber Glanz:
I found this in Austria, where it was E1.65 for 200ml, I bought one for the rest of my journey. Then I found it in Germany, on the way home from Italy, where it was E1.45 for the exact same bottle, so I bought 6 to bring home for personal use. Recently, I found out Balea are selling to the UK on Amazon. I like this as a maintenance silver shampoo.
Pros: The UV filter protects your colour (no I don’t know how that works, but I tested in August in Rome; no colour shift at all and minimal drying to hair).
It comes in a very reasonable bottle size, unlike Pro:Voke or Superdrug.
It has a gentle effect so it never builds up.
Cons: It has a gentle effect, so if you need something stronger you might want a different product.
You can only buy it cheaply in Germany, or slightly more expensively in the rest of mainland EU; the prices on Amazon Marketplace UK are shocking, I’ve seen Balea shampoo go for over £4 which I wouldn’t mind but it’s E1.45 in Germany! Stock is also limited on Amazon, to the point that it’s currently sold out.
Conclusion: I really love this shampoo, but it’s hard to get hold of and doesn’t deposit much colour, so I might be in a minority. You’ve got to hand it to the Germans; they really know how to take care of Ag and Pt hair for cheap. I’m looking forward to seeing if Sweden has similar exciting products if I ever get to go!
Pro:Voke A Touch of Silver Shampoo and Conditioner:
This is a really confusing one to review because they actually do two different shampoos and two different conditioners – they do tiny, more expensive bottles which are supposed to be the stronger stuff, known as Touch Of Silver Twice A Week Brightening Shampoo 150 ml for less regular use, and they do the cheaper, larger bottles called Touch Of Silver Daily Shampoo. I’ve finished an entire bottle of each of the four products – two shampoos, two conditioners – and am finally ready to comment.
Pros: They’re relatively cheap and readily available.
The tiny bottle of twice-weekly shampoo makes a bit of difference to your hair.
Cons: The regular use shampoo and both conditioners are less than useless. I get a much better result from using a better silver shampoo and a decent non-blonde conditioner made for normal people’s hair. Both conditioners left my hair dull and dry, despite claiming to contain optical brighteners. The tiny weekly shampoo didn’t make that much difference to my hair, even after 20 minutes, and the result was always uneven, no matter how long or short I left it on for. Personally I am not going to buy this range again, and I suspect they’re only so popular because people don’t know what other silver shampoos are out there.
Conclusion: These are for sale everywhere and if I totally ran out of every other silver shampoo and this was the only thing for sale, I would buy the weekly use shampoo. If I had absolutely no other choice, I still wouldn’t buy the regular shampoo or either conditioner again they have done more harm than good and my hair looked less silver after using them.
Bleach London Silver Shampoo:
Where can you get it?
You can buy it here: http://www.boots.com/en/Bleach-Silver-Shampoo-250ml_1401400/
And here’s the conditioner: http://www.boots.com/en/Bleach-Silver-Conditioner-250ml_1401402/
As far as I know, this is a relatively new product. Since I first saw it’s empty shelf with a price tag in Boots, it’s been sold out every time I’ve been in, for a few months, but I finally ran out of the Pro:Voke last week so could buy this guilt-free and it was FINALLY in stock. I got the shampoo and conditioner, but I haven’t tried the conditioner yet, and here’s why: The shampoo is enough. Literally, it leaves my hair more silver, but doesn’t dull it or leave a nasty residue, the colour result is even and smooth, and I’ve washed it again with non-silver shampoo since I first used it, and this silver shampoo hasn’t faded at all.
Pros: See above. Plus you don’t seem to need as much product to cover your hair as any of the others I’ve tried. Update June 2015: I have used a full bottle of the conditioner now, and feel it’s nowhere near as good as the shampoo, and it’s not very conditioning either.
Cons: It’s the most expensive out of all the ones available in normal shops, at £5 a bottle (as of 2015), but it’s worth it, and I know that bottle will last because I don’t have to use it every time I wash my hair, or even every two times. I could finally wait ten days between silver applications! You do get product build up with this one though, which dulls the colour of your hair, and it’s quite harsh on the hair, and very drying. I team it with Schwarzkopf Gliss Liquid Silk Gloss Conditioner to get more sparkle from my hair strands. The silver conditioner is definitely good for extra cool tones.
Conclusion: It’s good on the colour side if you want dark silver, it’s less good for white or platinum. I would buy it again but only if I couldn’t afford either the L’Oreal Professional silver or Tigi Catwalk Violet shampoos.
L’Oreal Professional Silver Shampoo
Where can you get it?
I bought it from a professional hairdressing store, they generally sell to the general public these days; otherwise it’s available online at the well known shopping giant Amazon. I found the lid was quite flimsy so I wouldn’t order it online unless my local professional stockists stop selling it.
Pros: I absolutely love this one. It’s the most even coverage, gives the best silver result, doesn’t dull down the colour of your hair, and offers the least product build up. It’s nowhere near as abrasive on the hair as the Bleach London one. It’s about £7.50, making it the most expensive gram-for-gram, but it’s the best one there is, and of the six I’ve tried, this is the one I’ll be buying again, once my Tigi runs out. It also has a more blue base than the others, so it brings the hair to a whiter silver than the Bleach London or the Superdrug ones.
Cons: It’s lid is really flimsy which means that I wouldn’t trust a mail order company. Also it’s hard to acquire if you don’t live in a city with a professional hairdressing store.
Conclusion: I love this shampoo and once I’ve finished the Tigi one, this is what I’m going to buy again.
Tigi Catwalk Silver Violet Shampoo
Where can you buy it?
Again, it’s available either from professional/specialist hair stores, or you can get it online.
Pros: It was £17.50 for about a litre and a half of this stuff. So it’s the cheapest per gram of any of them. It leaves your hair really soft and nourished, and is the least abrasive of any of the most pigmented ones. It has a pump top so in the shower you can just press down on it to get the product out of the bottle.
Cons: It’s in a really big bottle, so if you don’t like it, you’re stuck with it for ages. Its coverage isn’t quite as even or as pigmented as the L’Oreal one, and it really works best on towel dried hair rather than wet hair in the shower.
Conclusion: I like this shampoo, and I’m about 2/3 of the way through the bottle now, but I don’t think it’s quite as good as the L’Oreal one, so I’ll be using the L’Oreal one once this bottle is finished.
So there you have it, my favourite is L’Oreal Professional’s Silver Shampoo. Obviously this is my subjective opinion based on results I have observed on my own hair, so I don’t want to urge you to rush out and buy it, but personally, I’m so glad I did.
Also, it’s not good for your hair to use a silver shampoo every time you wash. With the exception of the Balea one, none of the others actually clean your hair much, they just fix the colour. Only if I’ve used dry shampoo on my hair, I would shampoo with a non-silver before using a silver shampoo just to clean my hair so it’s ready to take on the colour. I do this because when I was a brunette last year, I had the brown dry shampoo, and two wet shampoos later, I’d still be getting brown residue of dry shampoo washing out of my hair. At the end of the day, dry shampoo is still a product and it still builds up in your hair, it’s not a real shampoo, it’s actually powder that absorbs grease, and it needs to be washed out before you use silver shampoo otherwise your colour result will be disappointing because it’ll stick to the dry shampoo residue and wash straight out.
28-03-15 For a review of what I’ve used between silver shampoos, I’ve written a separate article which is now published!
The best advice I have ever been given about caring for long hair is this:
“Treat your hair like your grandmother’s best antique lace.”
Obviously we don’t want to put it in a drawer and dry it flat, or only use it at Christmas, but there is a lot of wisdom and insight in this quote.
Your hair is, really truly, as delicate as antique lace. It is dead from the moment it leaves your head. Not only that, but it is barely anchored to your scalp, and it’s relatively easy to pull out any individual hairs.
I was told by a friend that (biological) male hair roots are deeper than roots of (biological) female hair. Perhaps that explains why there are so many rock gods still sporting trouser-length hair thirty years after their prime! Women’s hair tends to be finer, too – the individual hair shafts are slightly thinner than in men’s hair.
Ways to care for long hair and help it grow faster:
Massage, gently: I have been told by a hairdressing guru that the reason that men get receding and thinning hair (apart from genetics) is because they stimulate their hair follicles less. Since this guru is now retired, still sporting an amazing mop of hair, I would be inclined to believe him. Women, who statistically are more likely to choose to have longer hair than men, tend to poke and prod at their hair with brushing, straightening, massaging the shampoo and conditioner in; all this activity keeps the hair follicles stimulated. I did an experiment last year, where I massaged my hair twice a day for a month. It grew two inches in thirty days. I didn’t do anything else differently, such as changing my diet, so this really can work. One thing I’ve been warned against is over-stimulation – massaging too roughly or too often can have the opposite effect, as it causes an abrasive action that harms the hairs near the scalp, which will lead to more hair loss, so make sure to only do this in moderation.
Wash weekly (unless you eat oily fish): To keep your hair in its best condition, you should reduce the frequency of washing. Daily hair washing is reserved for owners of a number two buzz cut, and hair shampoo sales reps; it says “suitable for daily use” on your shampoo, not “use daily.” The key word is suitable – it means the product is gentle and won’t cause a product build up as quickly, it doesn’t mean you truly ought to use it daily (unlike moisturizer, which you should definitely use every day). Your hair produces natural oils, and by washing them away too much, you not only strip the hair of its protection (which means you need to use more oils you bought from the beauty store – hey, who’s really cashing in on this “wash your hair daily” rubbish? The hair product companies), but you also cause a negative feedback loop – your scalp detects that it feels too dry (un-oily, not non-wet) and ramps up oil production, which you promptly wash away, and it keeps on going. After a couple of weeks of feeling like your hair is super-greasy, it will settle down to a less aggressive oil production schedule. Also washing less frequently means that when you brush your hair, the oil gets further down the shaft to where it is needed – the ends of your hair. This will make your hair look stronger, shinier and less brittle. But if you eat an oily fish, wash your hair the same day, because that smells nasty!
Brush carefully: Remember the antique lace? Be very gentle, like you’re trying to brush the tail of a baby squirrel. Or something else super-delicate. Start at the ends of your hair; grasp your hair part-way down to support the strands, so all the pull of the brush doesn’t rip any hair out, and gently brush the ends. When the ends are totally tangle free, move up inch by inch, until your hair is detangled carefully. This minimizes hair breakage and loss (think about how a lever works – this is the same, if you put force on a long hair it’s got more chances to break than if you put the same force on a shorter hair) because there is less force being put upon your hair’s shafts.
Choose your brush carefully: I didn’t believe the first ten people who told me this, but the eleventh? I listened. Get thee a Tangle Teezer! Don’t get a cheap knock off, don’t get something with a similar sounding name that looks totally different, the brand is Tangle Teezer and it’s an investment in your hair. Even with a Tangle Teezer, I would still brush as outlined above. I know some people just drag them through from root to tip but obviously if you care about your hair, you need to use brushing techniques and good brushes that will minimize damage – a brush on its own won’t fix your hair, but when you use it properly, it gives less breakage than a plastic vent brush (my previous preferred type). I keep hearing amongst older hair growers that boar bristles are good, but I can’t really recommend them because a) I’ve never tried them and b) they come from a dead animal, and you’re rubbing that through your hair! Ewww! Before I get a plethora of snarky emails about hair products, they have this list on the side of the packet called “ingredients,” and because I used to be a chemistry teacher, I actually know what those long words mean and where they come from, most of them are synthetic by-products of the petroleum fractional distillation process (think Vaseline, mineral oil, and anything ending in “-ane” or “-ene”) if they’re really long words, and the industry is leaning more towards animal-free products these days anyway, so no, I don’t inadvertently put dead animal crap on my hair. If you want to know the real meaning of “all-natural” I’ve got an article here: What Is All Natural?
Take supplements: Obviously before changing your diet and exercise routine, consult a doctor blah blah blah, but seriously, I saw loads of people recommending omega 3 fish oil, so I was all like “can’t I use omega 3 non-fish oil?” The internet didn’t know, so I bought some omega complex linseed oil from the supermarket, nothing fancy, and tried it for 2 months. It accelerated my hair growth by about 50%, so I’m going to be possibly the first person on the internet to say through anecdotal evidence that the vegan sources of omega complex are good for your hair. If I’d bought a more expensive, cold pressed refined whatnot, it probably would have worked better because it would have been more concentrated in the amino acids which are a large part of why this works (amino acids are building blocks of protein, which is what hair is made of – that’s exactly what keratin is, it’s a protein). You need very specific amino acids to achieve faster hair growth, hence my uncertainty as to whether the flaxseed would work or not, but it did so yay.
Exercise: See above about doctors. Exercise increases your metabolism, meaning that if you eat right and exercise, those building blocks will get to where they need to be faster, which will mean you’re ready for more of them sooner. Don’t overdo it though – over-exercise, particularly coupled with under-eating (or INAPPROPRIATE eating) can cause hair loss, eek!
Minimise stress: So easy to say, so hard to do. Most of us wouldn’t ever be stressed if we had a choice about it; don’t get me wrong, I know it’s unrealistic to say “remove all stressors from your life.” What you can do, though, is change the way you manage that stress. For example, meditation, kundalini yoga, mindfulness, exercise, inspiring and calming music, and of course, making time for things you enjoy. I have a big list of planned articles, and stress management is on the list.
Consider whether your contra^ptive pill is causing hair loss: I won’t start on all the things that the pill can cause that most people aren’t warned about, because obviously it has some amazing benefits – regulating your cycle, clearing up acne, boob growth, oh and I guess stopping you from getting pregnant! If you’ve got one that works for you for mood swings, PMS, PMDD or any other life improving reason, keep it, it can take forever to end up on the right pill, and that process can be stressful. I do not advocate stopping medication if it’s doing the job and helping you in some way. However, if you’re just using it for pregnancy worries, and you haven’t really looked around, it might be worth considering an alternative method because the pill sometimes causes hair loss which stops long hair from looking as long as it really is, and thinner hair is more prone to breakage because there are less individual strands to disperse the forces from everyday life.
Use coconut oil: I’ve seen a lot of different sites touting a plethora of different oils, but if you like your hair to stay icy-pale, use coconut oil; I have tried two brands of argan oil (one courtesy of a gift, the other a freebie) and I’ve used extra virgin olive oil (it was The Last Big Thing, based on the anecdotes of a woman who lived to be 117 years old, who attributed this to lack of stress and lots of olives and olive oil, so it obviously became a health fad but it’s gone out of fashion now, probably because they can make more money selling you some other oil that isn’t as readily available in the supermarket); while they both do the job well enough, the problem is that they are coloured oils, and while the inherent colour might not be the thing doing it, something in these oils definitely makes my hair yellow/orange after I use them. I have tracked this over time and it’s definitely the oils that do it – argan oil is the worst for this. I think it’s something to do with the antioxidant properties, which, if you are a bleach blonde, you will probably know are what makes hair orange, e.g. if it’s gone green (from being oxidised in the sun by UV light) you use tomatoes or tomato ketchup to fix it (antioxidants), but if it’s not green, the antioxidants in tomatoes/ketchup make hair orange. So instead of them, use coconut oil, it’s colourless and doesn’t react with the hair colour molecules, which is my kind of protective oil. I buy mine from Sainsbury’s, the Lucy Bee brand, I’ve had it for a year and I’m only halfway through a jar. You can also get it from Amazon or Holland and Barrett. Make sure it’s got all the right labels that float your boat – pure, cold pressed, extra-virgin, and whatnot, so you’re satisfied with it. Someone recently raised a concern about whether it was watered down if it doesn’t specifically say “pure” on it. Nope, it’ll all be coconut if that’s what the ingredients say (do check them). Also, look up the coconut oil bleaching method (just type that into youtube) if you want to try it – I can’t recommend because I haven’t done it myself, but it certainly looks interesting.
Plaiting your hair/using protective styles: I got this from Afro-Caribbean hairstyling sites, basically a protective style is one you can put your hair into that protects it from traction and friction in everyday life, so a plait (or a set of plaits) would be a protective style, a ponytail would not because it leaves the individual strands vulnerable to the entire world. This is particularly sound advice at bedtime. Do be careful with how you tie off your plait though – a very tight hairband can cause traction alopecia, which nobody wants!
Silk Pillow/night cap: I bought a couple of scarves for outside, a silk pillow for at home, and a night cap for if I am away. I found silk to be helpful; it reduces friction compared to cotton so your hair doesn’t get stuck on the pillow, and it’s also got bizarre chemical properties (chemical as in, the fundamental chemistry of silk, I’m not saying it’s got “bad chemicals” in it) that cause it to interact with anything that touches it, mean it can help with healing your skin and protecting your hair.
Snag Free Bobbles: Hairbands that don’t have metal clasps have reduced hair damage and split ends when I tie off a plait. They’re more expensive than regular ones; get a good feel of the connecting glue before you buy, as some of the cheaper ones have thick, sharp glue splodges where they connect, which is almost as bad as the metal bits on regular bobbles. I like Scunci brand.
And finally, the things that didn’t work:
1. Biotin: This was my biggest disappointment, and an expensive mistake. I found it to be not only useless for my hair, but also caused my skin to break out, left me irritable and moody, and basically had a caffeine effect on me – super energized an hour afterwards, then in tears twelve hours later from exhaustion and over-blowing some silly problem. This one was definitely not for me, which I was really disappointed about because I heard such good things. My biotin was only 500 micrograms per tablet, I tried various different doses (800 should be optimal according to one study, 5000 according to another study) and just had to write it off as a bad job. I decided any hair growth effects from the supplements were probably being reversed by the stress they were causing me by unseating my emotions, resulting in a net gain of zero. I even tried them alongside other B vitamins, as suggested by a handful of reviewers on Amazon, and that didn’t make any difference either. I guess my biotin levels are naturally as high as they’re going to get.
2. Nope, it was actually just the biotin. Every other piece of info I’ve ever read on hair growth and caring for long hair has been pretty helpful.
How to get silver blonde, white blonde, platinum blonde and silver hair.
“It started as a sudden fancy…” Terry Pratchett, Monstrous Regiment
I believe that we are inspired to take our hair to its blonding limits. It sometimes feels like a labour of love – certainly, the frustrations and disappointments that can be felt if it all goes wrong is akin to losing a sporting event or getting an unexpectedly low mark in an exam, compounded by people’s negativity and their failure to understand that a slight mistake isn’t proof this was a bad idea, it’s an opportunity to learn.
The triumphs and successes are commented on by far more people than any other colour. There’s something very special about a good blonde dye result, it has the power to delight, uplift and inspire awe and wonder like no other hair colour. I can wax lyrical all day, white blonde, silver and platinum blonde are my favourite colour range. They are where science and art meet to create perfect harmonics with beauty and perfection in a delectable barbershop quartet. Okay I’m done with the poetics.
To start blonding, you need to think like a hairdresser. A highly imaginative and intelligent colourist. Think you’re up for it? If not, go to an actual hairdresser (not an average one; just because they did Sheryl up the road’s highlights does NOT mean they know how to take your hair to within an inch of it’s physical limits. If you want above average hair, you will need to either get an above average hairdresser, or do it yourself).
It’s not arrogant to think you can colour your own hair, and here’s why – you have lived with this hair for how many years? You know what you’ve done to it, you can’t lie to yourself, you know where you chopped that fringe when you were twelve, which bits still have henna on them (get these cut before you start colouring, henna and bleach don’t mix), how often you comb your hair when it’s wet or overheat the straighteners when you’re in a hurry.
You know what shampoo and conditioner you use, and how often you REALLY use that protein spray you bought.
Most hairdressers take a history of your hair, but they don’t have the time or memory to go very in-depth. And here’s the thing. You can tell them you colour your hair every 6 weeks, and they’ll say “it’s in good condition, let’s bleach it with SUPER STRENGTH” and they’re not the ones who have to go home with ruined hair. You do.
I get my hair cut by hairdressers (although I’ve done that myself in the past). I don’t let them colour. I used to, but they just crapped on my trust and took my money anyway and left me to go home with awful hair several times, from several different hairdressers, in different parts of the UK, so I just don’t trust them to colour.
The hairdresser who cuts my hair even got in on the action this year. She tried to tell me I could bleach my hair more, that it could take another round of maximum strength 40 vol peroxide. I could see signs that she couldn’t, that told me this was a terrible idea. I did a test strand when I got home, and lo and behold, it burnt clean in half.
What she didn’t see was the red wasn’t my hair colour, it was cuticle staining from the last time I let a hairdresser colour my hair, 2 years ago (this was a trainee who needed to do it to qualify so I have never told them how badly they wrecked my hair). Or perhaps my hair-cutter was hoping I’d come for another cut or a colour correction once it was ruined.
There are two ways you can bleach your hair:
1. None of the hair currently on your head has any colour on it or has been coloured in the past, unless all the coloured bits have been totally cut off.
2. You have coloured it, even if only an inch of colour is left.
Method 1: None of the hair currently on your head has any colour on it or has been coloured in the past, unless all the coloured bits have been totally cut off.
Do not follow this method if someone else coloured it for you, if you have got highlights, ombre or any other sort of colour, even if it’s the same colour dye as your natural colour. I’ve got another method for you, why follow the wrong one?
Firstly, you will need the following items:
1. A box of hair colour. I would use a pre-lightener such as Belle Blonde or Born Blonde on fresh hair as they are easy to use and work well enough.
When I box dye, it takes 3 boxes to cover my hair. Mine is waist length and very thick. Make sure you buy enough.
2. Something to cover yourself with, such as a bin bag (sexy!) especially if your hair is long. Hair dye can burn your nipples. Just saying.
3. Something to cover the floor with. Another bin bag or some sheets of newspaper will do.
4. A clock, watch, or VERY accurate sundial. I sometimes use my laptop so I can listen to music during the development time.
Your natural haircolour will determine how long you need to leave the dye on for. I would do a strand test if possible, following the instructions on the packet. Here’s why: people are often shocked by the range of colours hair goes through before it finishes at blonde. If you see your hair turning orange, would you panic and wash the bleach off? If you’ve seen it all on the strand test, then when your whole head of hair starts going through a series of colours you’ll not even worry.
Note: Wash the pre-lightener off at the maximum time, even if your hair isn’t as light as you want it. While most of the product will become inactive before the development time is over (meaning that if you leave it too long it’ll start to go patchy), there’s still enough active product on your scalp to cause damage. Wash it all off, let your scalp recover (I recommend at least a week, and two if you can wait that long) then pre-lighten again if you need to. While your hair won’t “heal” itself, your scalp will, and that can make the difference between being a healthy blonde and being plagued with hair loss and permanent scalp damage.
Once your hair is as light as you want (for platinum and silver, you need your hair to be a very pale yellow before toning), move on to toning your blonde hair.
Method 2: You’ve got some other colour on your hair:
If your hair has a COLOUR (e.g. red, black, brown) on it, you need to use a colour remover before bleaching, then wait two weeks before bleaching (because the bleach will re-oxidize any remaining colour molecules in your hair and it’ll go very dark and possibly greenish, see how colour remover works for details).
The reason to use colour remover is that there’s only a certain amount of bleaching a hair can take before it melts. Colour remover stinks and washing it out is tedious and it leaves your hair so dry but its an important step, particularly for darker dyed hair. It doesn’t bring your natural colour back, it just gets rid of dye colour, so once that’s done, you’re ready to bleach.
You have two options, I prefer to pre-lighten then blue-bleach because pre-lightener is idiot proof and takes it to just enough blonde that if there are patches of brown it’s less conspicuous until you fix it, which is always good on your first step. If your hair is light, you’re probably done after pre-lightener and ready to tone, but this is unlikely.
After pre-lightening, get some powder bleach, in the UK, Jerome Russell’s B*Blonde Maximum Lift Powder is for sale everywhere, and depending on your CURRENT hair lightness (I know, the box says natural, it assumes you haven’t just prelightened/colour removed etc), use either medium or high peroxide cream. Peroxide comes in percentages.
Medium is 30vol, high is 40 vol. If you’re not sure, go for medium, you can always bleach it again if it’s too dark. If you go too high, you can burn your hair off, this is called a chemical haircut and you can’t dye your hair again once it’s happened (but hairdressers will tell you they can “fix” it by putting more peroxide-filled chemicals, or worse, semi-permanent colour, on your hair). Once your hair has been damaged that badly, it cannot be repaired (see also: how to fix hair that’s turned to chewing gum). We’ve all wrecked our hair, it’s a rite of passage. But you’re going to try not to, so go for medium if you’re unsure.
Mix the bleach in a bowl (I use a pyrex glass bowl, most people use plastic ones that are specially made for hair dye) and use a spatula (non-metal), so your brush doesn’t get full of lumps of unmixed powder that lands on your hair and makes a splotchy mess later.
Once it’s mixed, apply it to your hair according to the instructions (usually brush on lengths and ends first, then roots 20 mins later because roots develop much faster. I find this hard so usually just leave my roots to do on a further application when the rest of my hair is dry and not tangled up in thick creamy bleach, it’s more of a faff but my hair would be much shorter if I just yanked it around and treated it like a Stretch Armstrong), basically wait until your hair is the colour you want, and wash it off.
Let hair dry. Congratulations, you should have some pale yellow bleached hair, and if it’s pale yellow, contrasting with your complexion and looking a bit unnatural; you’re now ready to tone!