Trichologist Sally-Ann Tarver provides her Top Tips on how to get your hair in perfect shape for the big day.
Sally-Ann Tarver recommends undertaking a 12 month action plan for planning for the perfect hair day in advance encompassing the following stages:
Stage 1 - Ensure your hair is growing well – diet, supplements, laser therapy, stimulants to increase hair growth speed.
The early stages of big day hair planning are the ideal time to visit a Trichologist (hair specialist) to ensure your hair is growing at its optimum rate. A Trichologist can help you find any potential reasons for slow, weak, hair growth and recommend the right supplements to correct any deficiencies that may be potentially harming your hair. There are numerous hair supplements on the market but don’t put too much hope in them being the answer to all of your hair prayer’s, supplements can only help if it is correcting a deficiency. Simply taking large amounts of Biotin (because you’ve read it is good for hair ) will not help unless you are actually deficient. Increase your protein in your diet by making sure each of your meals is made up of around 30-40% lean meat, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts (note: go easy on the nuts as they are also high fat and you’ll never get into your dress!). If you find this hard, cheat and top up with a protein shake.
A number of Professional companies produce topical products which can slightly increase the speed of hair growth. It may only be millimetres a month but over the course of a year these all add up. One such product is Intensive Activating Lotion from La Biosthetique’s long hair range, it claims to increase the speed of hair growth by up to 30%.
Laser Phototherapy is a treatment for hair loss. It works by flooding the scalp with focused light at a specific wavelength to energise the cells and stimulate blood circulation; stimulating hair growth and improving the structural integrity of the hair shaft. Although it is largely used by people as a hair loss treatment, many female users of the Theradome Laser helmet complain that they need to colour their hair more often as the laser treatment makes their hair grow faster. Good if you want your hair to grow faster, not so good if you are trying to save money on hair colouring treatments.
Stage 2: Ensure you’re happy with your stylist.
Work out hair colour dates if you colour your hair on a regular basis, ensure that regrowth will be there right length for your colour the week before the big day. Ideally use a salon which uses a hair damage mitigator such as Olaplex. Trim every 2-3 months if you are aiming for length. Start undertaking deep conditioning and protein treatments on a weekly basis.
Stage 3. Turn down the heat – minimise intensive heat sources.
We put a lot of thought into our shampoo and conditioner and may even treat it to an intensive mask occasionally but excessive heat can wipe out all of that good care and attention. Heat protection sprays are over rated and do little to stop the disintegration that gradually takes place when excess heat is used on a regular basis. Straightening irons are the obvious demon even though in more recent times they have been regulated to reach a maximum temperature of 185C. If irons are used on hair which is still partially damp, pockets of moisture become superheated, turn to steam with no way of escape. The steam blows tiny holes in the cuticle (outer layer) and over time this leads to disintegration, split ends and Trichorrhexis Nodosa; othose little white nodules you see at the ends of longer hair where breakage occurs with very little tension. Hair driers can cause almost as much damage or more if used incorrectly. Unless you can afford one of the new Dyson hair driers, only ever use your drier on low / medium heat and high speed, never on high heat AND high speed. I have seen patients who have literally burned chunks of hair off by using their hair driers like this.
Stage 4. Cover up in the sun to prevent hair bleaching.
If you have holiday in the sun booked in the 12 months before the big day, keep your hair completely covered while on the beach or around the pool. Take a collection of hats, scarves and bandanas with you. Sun bleached hair can be a nightmare for your hairdresser to balance up or blend in at your colouring appointments and the effect on your hair condition is truly undesirable for the perfect bridal hair look.
Stage 5. Consider hair add on pieces for longer or thicker hair or hair which hill hold curl better than your own.
Clip in hair extensions are brilliant for an occasional boost in volume or length but wear more frequently and they will cause traction where the clips attach. I have seen patients who wear clip-in’s regularly develop small bald patches due to hair being pulled out. One solution I have seen and been very impressed at its total lack of potential hair trauma is the Flip-In (www.flipinhair.co.uk). Basically it is a strip of hair like a clip-in but much thicker. A piece of translucent wire similar fishing line is attached to each end, you put it on your head, pull your own hair over the top to hide the wire and where the hair sits close to your scalp and that’s it. Easy to put on and take off and comes in a vast range of colours and lengths.
Stage 6. The Final Countdown
· The month before – increase protein treatments if you want your hair to hold curl or moisture treatments if you want sleek and shine. See stylist for a bridal trial or two, take your headdress to ensure it works with the style. Never, ever book an appointment with a new stylist for the morning of your wedding and expect them to work magic – Yes, this does happen, every hairdresser has a funny story or two about the new client who turned up for their 30 minute appointment on the day of their wedding and they’d never met them before!
· The week before – hair colour, trim and more intensive treatment.
· The big day – don’t wash it on the day if you want it to hold a curl or are having an up-do, use minimal conditioner when you wash it the day before.
Written by Sally-Ann Tarver MIT.FTTS, Consultant Trichologist, The Cotswold Trichology Centre & Theradome GB