Carola Long: Large ice packs are rolled along the hairline – a procedure normally used for hangovers

Beauty Queen

If there were awards for the wordiest beauty treatments around, then the Shu Uemura Art of Hair Muroto Volume Initiation Ceremony for Fine Hair would probably scoop the top prize, given that it takes about as long to say it as it does to have it. However, what this new volumiser lacks in terms of a concise description, it makes up for in effectiveness.

There are lots of treatments around that offer conditioning, straightening or moisturising, but hardly any that offer the fine of follicle more volume. Generally, while it's not impossible to make limp locks appear thicker, it's hard to achieve without sacrificing a natural, shiny look. In other words "bad" big hair, which has height but is also strangely crispy and candyfloss-like is attainable, while "good" big hair, which looks supple and bouncy, is more elusive.

Enter the Shu Uemura Art of... let's just call it Art of Hair, which involves a 15-minute sequence of rather bizarre, ritualistic "gestures" and is available nationwide (£15, 0800 633 5021). First comes the Muroto Volume shampoo and hair mask (you can buy these separately) which are formulated with Depsea water, a very pure, mineral-rich water harvested off the coast of Cape Muroto in Japan. Next comes a massage to lift roots, followed by a massage on the front of the head to stimulate the scalp and give a mini brow lift.

The next stage involves having large ice packs rolled along the hairline, a procedure that would normally only be used to soothe a minor head injury or raging hangover, and finally the hair is rinsed in a zig-zag motion with a cold jet of water. It might sound about as much fun as a cold shower, but it's surprisingly refreshing. The results were helped by an excellent blow dry from Adam Reed, the creative director of new salon Percy & Reed where I had the treatment, but somehow this quirky ritual imparted the thickest, shiniest hair I've ever skipped out of a salon with.