Wave goodbye to bad hair days

Your definitive guide to the ultimate hair gunk, compiled by Annalisa Barbieri

Let's get immediately to the point. I have made a discovery: how to have hair like they have in shampoo commercials.

After months of testing shampoos and conditioners, one brand stands out: Sebastian. Most of their packaging is terrible: dull, confused - they look like prototypes. But the products housed therein are just fantastic. My favourite of all was the Sebastian Performance Active Conditioner, pounds 11.95, an intensive conditioner you leave on for only a minute and is the colour of the inside of an avocado (which is also one of the ingredients). This left my hair gloriously smooth and glossy.

I used it with shampoos from the second-best hair brand: Phytologie, which is a French make and is all planty and herbally. Their bottles are very nice: like old fashioned cough mixtures. Anyway, I used the Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Shampoo with jojoba oil, pounds 8.60. Together, these products gave me superb hair. Every time I used them I had comments of "What have you done to your hair? It looks like that swingy hair you get on the telly." I had to save it for special occasions (also, like skincare products, I think you should rotate and not use the same products repeatedly).

The Phytocypres Exfoliating Dandruff Shampoo, pounds 8.60, was used by a long- time sufferer of a flaky head. His verdict: "Most dandruff shampoos are based on coal-tar, which is an oil-refined product, for God's sake, or steroid-based medication, which actually inflames the tissue of the scalp making dandruff worse. The Phytologie stuff is based on herbal extracts and actually cleanses the scalp and gets rid of dandruff (no sense that you are poisoning yourself). There isn't too much foam so doesn't feel coated, which would make scalp flaky and come off as flakes. Easy to wash out. Has solved a long-term problem. Whatever it costs, it's worth it." Hmmm, fairly pleased with it then.

Not so popular for dandruff was the Charles Worthington Results: no flake anti-flake anti-dandruff shampoo, pounds 3.45, which made another tester's head "100 times worse". But his girlfriend tried it (she doesn't have dandruff) and proclaimed the shampoo "great, lovely smell, very refreshing". So, there you go. Funnily enough another flaky-haired tester found the Charles Worthington Impact Total Hairwash one-step shampoo, pounds 3.50, and conditioner, pounds 3.50, to be very good for his dandruff, even though it is not specifically for that.

To go on about Sebastian products a bit more, the rest of their range is also fantastic, although some were better than others. I liked their shampoos (Slipliner, pounds 4.20, to build body; Blue Mint, pounds 6.65, for oily hair; Green Apple, pounds 6.65, for normal hair), although I thought their conditioners were really the top biscuit (and vice versa with Phytologie).

But Sebastian had another product I have fallen in love with in their styling products range (I haven't fully tested all of these yet, so I'll do more on styling products in the future). Their Laminates Drops, pounds 19.95, or Laminates High Gloss Spray, pounds 11.55, is absolutely perfect for adding gloss to your hair. You need only a teeny tiny bit if your hair is loose, but I found it invaluable for turning a pony tail into a Margot Fonteyn look - you know how it is when you tie your hair back and you end up with a wispy, fluffy outline? Well, not with this. Instant gloss, instant glamour and 100 times better than gel, which makes your head go all hard.

While I'm on the subject of scraping hair back (a look some boys seem to hate - don't know why, but who cares about them), try the Blax Snag- Free Hair Elastics, pounds 1.96 for a pack of eight, which come in black or clear from the Beauty Quest catalogue: call 0541 505 000). Sebastian's Potion 9, pounds 16, is also legendary among frizzy-haired gels and boys: "really fantastic" the testers chorused, `it separates your curl and dries without frizzing, naturally or with blow drying. Next morning, it's exactly the same, usually my hair looks like a haystack."

MAC's retain shampoo, pounds 5, was "the only thing that has ever tamed my hair" said my tester, but his girlfriend hated it (her hair didn't need taming). Philosophy hair products were good but not excellent. I used their Head Trip conditioner, pounds 9.50, and the first time, I didn't leave it on long enough (five to 25 mins), so only had myself to blame. Subsequent times proved much better and it did the job. Their Breaking Point intensive conditioner, pounds 9.50, smelled gorgeous and left the hair soft but very flyaway.

The Stressed Out Daily Hair solution, pounds 9.50, also smelt beautiful but the tester was not won over from the Sebastian Potion 9, which she was now clutching. E'spa's Pink Hair and Scalp Mud Pot, pounds 24.95, was given to the very curly-haired Linda to test and she thought it was superb - the best product she's ever found for her hair. But, because she has so much hair, it was all gone in two goes.

Imogen (greasy hair) was happy with the Origins Clear Head mint shampoo, pounds 8.50, but "bored with greasy hair having to smell of mint". She was delighted with their Knot Free Finishing Rinse, pounds 8.50, which really did untangle hair, and not impressed with the Nicky Clarke Hairomatherapy Conditioner, pounds 3.25, which she said "felt sticky". Nicky's (please cut your hair Mr Clarke, you look so stupid, and shave your sideburns) Thick and Shiny Hair "The Styling Gel", pounds 3.25, was a winner, holding the tester's hair for three whole days - which is two days, 23 hours and 59 minutes more than I can watch Nicky Clarke on telly for.

Anyway, further comments included "lovely product, didn't make hair frizzy or flat, although you need to use quite a lot of product"'. I tested the Origins No Deposit shampoo, pounds 8.50, which is for when your hair has had enough, and their Happy Endings conditioner, pounds 12.50, both of which were excellent and their packaging (pictures of slices of fruit) made me smile.

Finally, I can't go without telling you about Aveda hair products, because they are joint second with Phytologie. They make some very good colour- enhancing shampoos, pounds 8, and conditioners, pounds 15.50, and their Shampure, pounds 7.50, has a bit of a cult following (it's meant to be the "ultimate shampoo"). Their Pure-Fume brilliant spray-on for hair, pounds 9.50, was also a nice way to add a bit of shine to your tresses. Phew, that's it, you need never have a bad hair day again. (PS: It really does seem to be worth spending money for good hair products.)

For stockists: Aveda: 0171 410 1600; Charles Worthington: 0845 0708090; E'spa: 01252 741600; MAC: 0171 349 0601; Origins: 0800 7314039; Philosophy: 0171 636 2523: Phytologie: 0171 613 0265; Sebastian: 0345 125545. Nicky Clarke products available from Tesco, Boots and Superdrug.

Suggested Topics
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

    salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

    Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

    Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

    Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower