There is an expression that women dread hearing: a bad hair day. This is a day when your hair is not looking its best. Whichever way you turn it looks drab, out of condition and generally with nothing to recommend it. This happens to me a lot. I don't know if it's the sunny climate here or the harsh water, but my hair hangs around my head like rats' tails most days. We all know how crucial hair is to your wellbeing. As the saying goes: how can I control my life when I can't control my hair?
What I want is hair as sleek as Anna Wintour's and as luscious as Eva Longoria's. But what to do? My hair looks more like Winnie the Witch's.
There is one hugely expensive option, Biolustré, which promises to rebuild your hair shafts and turn you into Eva overnight. But it costs more than €100 (Dh486) and my budget doesn't stretch that far. What I have found is that a little planning goes a long way.
Before you go to bed, cover your hair in a leave-in conditioner. I have tried several and have come up with two firm favourites: I love Umberto Giannini Overnight Beauty Moisture Balm, which is billed as a night cream for the hair (genius idea). This is a smooth, thick cream, which you can leave on all night without risking too much damage to your pillowcase. The second, the simple BootsCoconut & Almond Oil, another leave-in conditioner, is so cheap you can use the whole bottle every time.
The morning after, wash your hair as you would normally do and be sure to rinse out all the treatment. You will be amazed by the results. Eva, eat your heart out.
If you prefer a more natural approach (but possibly more expensive), cover your hair in olive oil before you go to bed. Be sure to sleep on a towel or your pillowcase will be wrecked. For a less time-consuming version, try the VO5 hot oil treatment, which you put in hot water before spreading onto your hair, putting on a shower cap and leaving for 10 minutes. Also, once a week you could treat your hair to Kéraste Masquintense,a deep conditioning treatment. Again, pop a shower cap on for 10 minutes.
Finally, protect your hair before you brave the elements by using a mist spray with a UV factor, such as Kéraste Soleil Brume Jour Protectrice.
There is nothing quite as confidence- enhancing as feeling your hair bounce around your head in that "because I'm worth it" manner. Well, maybe a pair of Christian Louboutins, but they cost even more than a Biolustré treatment...
3 of the best hair serums
A shiny frizz-free sheen is almost too easy to achieve with these hair serums.
FREDERIC FEKKAI AGELESS ALL-DAY HAIR PLUMP, DH429 Unleash your hair's potential with this ultra-luxurious, leave-in treatment serum that fattens up and re-texturises strands to reveal healthy, thick, smooth hair. This light crčme provides intense continuous moisture throughout the day, preventing further damage.
TONI&GUY TAME IT SERUM, DH62.50 The king of products to tame wayward hair with a tendency towards frizz. Don't let the UAE humidity get you down with this silky serum that gives an amazing shine with a flawless finish as it works to seal in cuticles.
PANTENE NATURE FUSION STRENGTHENING SERUM, DH12 Combining powerful botanical plants with advanced Pro-V science, this new product line from Pantene improves the structure of each strand, resulting in hair that is stronger and more manageable.
M loves Miriam Quevedo Extreme Caviar Travel Kit
Travelling takes its toll on our hair, and bathroom items in hotels just never seem to match up to our own. Help is at hand now from Miriam Quevedo, the hair-care people who favour caviar and gold among their ingredients. The kit contains Difficult Hair shampoo, Intensive Anti-aging Luxe mask and Restructuring Luxe serum. Everything to ensure your hair travels well.
Extreme Caviar Travel Kit, Dh120, Harvey Nichols
Tried and tested: TheO-nly way to curl
WHAT I TRIED TheO by Cloud Nine, heated rollers
WHAT I WANTED Just like everyone else I got addicted to the Mad Men look this year; the dresses, the handbags, the bouncy hair. Dresses and handbags I can buy, but my hair is the other end of bouncy. TheO literature promises that it "is a groundbreaking innovation" that will transform the way I style my hair forever.
WHAT HAPPENED The kit is as slick as you like, a million miles from the old heated rollers I used to borrow from my mother. There is a black cylindrical bag that contains a black heater (or the pod base to give it its official name, which is shown below), the rollers (all black, too), a comb and some styling spray. The method could not be simpler. You pop a roller in the pod and it heats up to 130C in less than four seconds. As it heats from the inside out you don't burn your hands when you pop it in your hair. It is an extremely efficient way of curling your hair, really quick and simple. Just heat the rollers and pop them in one at a time. Leave them in for just over half an hour (just enough time to watch an episode of Mad Men) and then take them out, carefully so as to maximise the curl.
THE VERDICT The first time I used them I forgot to use the styling spray so my luscious locks lasted all of 20 minutes. But once I got the hang of dousing my hair in spray first, the locks were tighter and lasted longer. My hair is very fine so I needed the 20mm rollers to make an effect, but they go up to 60mm. I much prefer TheO to curling tongs or my mother's heated rollers. It is slick, chic and simple. Whoever said heated rollers can't be glamorous?
Top tips for colour-treated hair
Celebrity hairstylist Sascha Breuer was born in Germany, and has been a hairstylist since 1991. His celebrity clients include Elle Macpherson, Naomi Campbell and Jerry Hall.
What are the trends for the upcoming season?
Go bold or go home. Both the actresses Ashley Olsen and Jessica Biel recently made a splash when they ditched their blonde strands in favour of sultry chocolate hues. These ladies have a penchant for constantly changing their colour; they've both been blonde, red, even neon, but the switch to these rich brunette shades reinforces the rule that this winter, the trend is all about going bold. For blondes, darkash-coloured highlights are a thing of the past, and redheads need to be fiery, shiny and daring this season.
Should people with fine hair avoid colouring their hair?
People with fine hair should try to use tones that are not too light, as this will make the hair appear even finer. A tone darker then the natural colour works best to make the hair look thicker.
How do you pick the best colour shade?
My top tip for choosing a hair colour is to decide what you want your new colour to do. Cover grey? Lighten or darken? You can find out what suits your skin tone. Are you warm or cool? If your eyebrows are very dark then cool colours are likely to suit you. If they're light, then go for more warm colours. If you're colouring your hair at home, choose your product and colour wisely. Try the latest Wella Koleston Kit as it comes with a unique gloss treatment that protects the hair and also reduces colour fading by 85 per cent in the first six weeks, helping to maintain colour intensity for longer.
How do you keep healthy hair after colouring?
1. Shampoo that's made for colour-treated hair keeps your hair soft and natural looking. The Wellaflex Style & Repair range, such as the hairspray and mousse, was designed specially to highlight the reflexes of your hair, and to protect it. Hair, like skin, is "attacked" by UV radiation, which goes inside it, changing its structure. Using Wellaflex Style & Repair will help, as it contains effective UV filters to maintain colour and hair health.
2. Install a water filter for your shower or bath.
3. Deep condition regularly - at least every two weeks - to restore moisture and shine to colour-treated hair.
4. After shampooing, always blot your hair dry. Don't rub hair dry or wrap it in a tight towel. When using a blow dryer, dry your head - not your hair. Over-drying hair strips it of moisture and also results in static.
5. Never use a brush on wet hair. Work through tangles with a wide-tooth comb, starting with the ends and moving to your scalp.
6. Conditioners that you leave in your hair often contain sunscreen and help protect your hair colour from fading.
7. Rinsing your hair with bottled water helps to shield it from harsh chemicals found in swimming pools.