PARCHED TRESSES When hair looks seriously damaged, it’s often just suffering from a little thirst. Amazon Beauty uses rahua, a rare nut from the Ecuadoran rainforest, in both its elixir and leave-in treatment, which expertly seals the cuticle without weighing it down and gives colored hair a boost of brightness. Eliut Rivera, owner of Salon Eliut Rivera in New York, taps ingredients—including avocado, aloe vera and olive oil—from his native Puerto Rico for his superb Puro Hydrating Mask. Curly girls are especially vulnerable to dryness: “The whole problem with curly hair is that the outer protective layer doesn’t stay closed,” says Ouidad, the one-name curl expert of the eponymous salon and hair-care company. “So you’re susceptible to losing the hydrogen bond of moisture, which makes hair frizzier.” Her new Moisture Lock Leave-in Conditioner contains arnica (already popular in skincare) to increase blood circulation in the scalp, prickly pear cactus to seal in moisture and protective antioxidants such as green tea and vitamin B5.
COLOR CONCERNS Color-treated hair is prone to fading, brassiness and pesky roots. Melissa Bridgers, color director at Salon OC61 in New York, takes precautions by applying Barex’s ColourLife Masque to her clients’ just-colored hair. “Color can change the porosity of hair,” says Bridgers. “And the lighter the hair, the more porous it is, so the masque helps seal in the color and seal down its outer cuticle.” Neil Weisberg and Amanda George, owners of the Neil George Salon in Beverly Hills, recently debuted an ultrarich Intense Repair Mask for color-treated hair, which uses Indian gooseberry to impart strength while also protecting color from fading. Pale color-treated hair—blond, white and gray—is at risk of yellowing; fortunately Phytargent Whitening Shampoo neutralizes brass with cornflower extract, walnut leaf, rhatay root and broom. And Yarok Sensory Treatment for Hair and Scalp comes in seven essential oil formulas, three designed for specific hair colors; creator Mordechai Alvow is particularly proud of Serum 3, Possessed Red. “Red is the thickest and curliest hair,” says Alvow, who relies on beta carotene–rich carrot oil to preserve the red pigment and help calm the curl. Finally, for those of us who never seem to make that next coloring appointment until the roots start to show, the Oscar Blandi Pronto Colore Pen is a cute click-on device with a lip-gloss-like brush that makes precise, temporary coloring easy.
OVERPROCESSED HAIR In this age of so many mane-altering practices, even the healthiest hair eventually looks a bit beaten up. Valery Joseph sees his share of damage at his two eponymous New York salons; he hopes that the popularity of Japanese and Brazilian straightening treatments continue to wane. “The second or third time someone gets one, it’s really a disaster,” he says. “It’s just kind of killing the hair.” But until his clients see the light, he’ll be directing them to his new favorite antidote, Paul Brown Hawaii Hapuna Keratin Straightening Treatment, which, in spite of its name, he employs more as a healing aid than a straightener. “It coats hair with keratin, which is what hair’s made of, and when we seal the coating with an iron, hair keeps some of its shape so it isn’t stick straight,” says Joseph, who raves about the product’s ability to render hair shiny and shielded from sun, chlorine and pollution for about three months. Los Angeles–based hair product creator Philip B, meanwhile, is excited about his new Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo. Its $100-a-bottle price tag stems mostly from an amino acid complex his chemist introduced him to. “It’s pretty expensive, but it turns even the most damaged hair into virgin hair,” promises B, who dropped the rest of his last name years ago. The labs at French company Leonor Greyl are tapping plant life for its new Masque Quintessence: Butter made from Amazon cupuaçu fruit moisturizes, and oil from Namibian manketti fruit restores texture. Oils (olive and castor) also purport to work wonders on severely damaged strands in Philip Kingsley’s new Elasticizer Extreme.