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
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
Arts and Entertainment
Pink Floyd on stage at Live 8 in 2005. From left to right: David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Rick Wright
music New album The Endless River set to overtake boyband for most pre-ordered of all-time
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

    Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

    £60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    General Cover Teacher

    £110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

    Maths Teacher

    £110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

    Maths Teacher

    £110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama