But first – how to nuke your hair

I’ll begin with a disclaimer. Hair really isn’t a problem in our family. My dad has a full head of hair. My mum’s raven tresses are pretty epic. And my brother struggles to control the hairgrowth, pretty much everywhere. So Deliciously Hanushka won’t be claiming that once she was bald, but now she’s not.

However, this is not to say that I haven’t suffered. It all started when I was 14. If you knew me in school or university, you might remember. It began quite innocently, with a bottle of Sun-In to lighten my boring black barnet. However, I soon lost control. People spoke in whispers of an electrocuted orangutan roaming the back-alleys of Kings College. Everything about me was mono – the hair, the eyebrows, the skin: all glorious tangerine.

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Of course, I didn’t see it. Never one to suffer from follicular modesty, in my mind, I was a trendsetter. I was Vidal Sassoon. Actually scratch that – I was better.

I bleached, highlighted, dyed, trimmed and baylaged my way through my teens into my twenties – all from the privacy of my bedroom. By the age of 25 I had well and truly nuked my barnet. My once thick glossy hair resembled something that had emerged from the deep-fat fryer of a Chinese takeaway.

It took a couple of years of dedication, a lot of maintenance and even more patience from my angel of a hairdresser, Angel Cifuentes. But I’ve finally got the hair I felt I was born for. Here’s how we did it.

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How to colour your hair without ruining it

These days when I look at someone’s hair, I see one of two things. Either they’ve been to a competent hairdresser – or not. Finding the most flattering haircolour for you is the holy grail of beauty. More often than not, when I look at someone my mind enacts a complex mental carousel of  click-n-drag wigs to determine their hair destiny. Sad I know.

Being a redhead is my spirit animal. My colour is a kind of woody chestnut. It’s warm but also quite tonal. In the winter, I tone it darker and more mocha. In the summer, I let the sun and sea take care of things – the colour goes kind of amber with natural highlights.

Loreal Inoa – the hair colour I use has completely transformed my hair. I cannot tell you how passionate I am about this product. This might sound like a sponsored post but it’s 1000% genuine. I would honestly recommend Inoa to anyone, because it completely does what it promises. After years of use, it has (as Angel said it would) restored my hair to virgin condition. My ends are no longer frizzy and my hair is now glossy rather than frazzled.

It’s a permanent colour but completely ammonia free. It’s a professional product, so not something to try at home. Over time, you will see the condition of your hair improving as opposed to deteriorating – which is the problem with most other colours. Inoa works with an oil delivery system, so the colour is delivered with less alkaline agent. Like all colours, it works by opening the hair cuticle and enveloping the hair fiber in a film of oil, thereby propelling the water-based colorant and pushing it deeper into the fiber. Obviously, we can’t pretend that colouring your hair isn’t a harsh chemical process – but if you have to do it, you should aim for the mildest way possible.

Usually I’ll apply the Inoa with 20% oxidant and then finish off with a clear gloss or a silver toner (if I don’t want to be too ginge). If hairdressers try to suggest a different product, I invariably decline. This worked for me and I’d be crazy to mess with it.

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Hair Treatments – shampoos and conditioners

The science of shampoo is pretty simple. It’s mostly water with some foaming agent and surfactant. The surfactant does most of the work by reducing the surface tension of the water. One end of the molecule is attracted to water and the other end is repelled by it and attracted to oil – as you rinse, the water takes the grease and the dirt with it. The most common surfactants tend to be labeled as ammonium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl sulfate.

Apparently, the cleansing properties of sulfates were first discovered in the 1940s for washing tanks and removing oil from the world’s dirtiest weapons. If you know your haircare – you’ll know that sulfate-free shampoos are all the rage. You’ll also find many websites pointing to the carcinogenic properties of sulfate-compounds.

I always take advice from websites with the words “green”, “natural” or “mama” with a spade of salt. But more reliable sources do confirm that sodium laureth sulfate can be contaminated with dioxine – a known carcinogen. As such, some producers have added an extra purification step to their production process to make dioxane free sodium laureth sulfate.

But we are digressing. I am easy when it comes to shampoo. I don’t believe that something which is 80% water with a bit of foam needs to be particularly high-tech. And as much as I love Oribe products, forking out £50 on a nice smelling lather seems preposterous. I therefore tend to buy my shampoos from pretty much anyone but prioritise moisture.  

Never one to skip the conditioner, I favour heavy textures which I apply on the ends and brush through. The mechanics of conditioners are pretty simple – they smooth the outer hair cuticle and encourage it to lie flat. I’m therefore not particularly fussed about the brand, so long as I can feel it working. 

Final Thoughts

There’s so much more that I’d like to say, as I feel that  I’ve barely scratched the surface with this particular topic. Some of the more obvious things, like the necessity of regular trims and a great diet have gone unsaid. But the key takeaway is this. With hair, you get what you put in. The majority of hair catastrophes come from overstyling and poor product choices, especially the use of bleach, ammonia and peroxides. There are no quick or easy fixes – but when it comes to colour, I urge you to consider what you put on your hair. The more damaged it is, the more porous it becomes and the more susceptible to breakage and frizz. It’s those baylages and full-heads of highlights that cause the most damage. I for one have learnt my lesson. There’ll be no more hair-raising dye jobs for me, thank you very much.

 

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23 comments

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OG reader right here!! So glad to have discovered that you are back to the internet writing world, Hanushka. Love the new , sleek makeover of the Luxury Marionette and, as I’ve said it before, I absolutely adore your writing style! Good luck and hope all is well! Xx

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That really means so much to me – thank you! I am so pleased you like what you see 🙂 Hope to keep doing you proud! xxx H

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Love this post and Deliciously Hanushka made me laugh. Can you tell me what do you use to get your waves?

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Your hair is absolutely beautiful! I just love the shine and luster to it. And thanks for the tip about conditioning. I see I have really been skimping on this process.

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I could totally identify myself with your DIY hair coloring over teenager years. I have very dark hair (Asian) and dreamed of having red hair. So I went through many “experiments” in my bedroom; as a result, I ended up with hair that looked like a broomstick :D. It’s been a long while now since I stopped all that and use my natural hair color. I sometimes feel like changing its color, but I am a little afraid of that. Also, I have been hearing a lot about low-sulfate shampoo and I have been wondering if they would be better who wash their hair often (whenever I work out, I have to wash my hair). What do you think?

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You said it and it went straight to my heart. Now, whenever my girlies wants to go to the hairdresser’s, I have something to say to her about doing her hair right. She hasn’t ever dyed her hair though.

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I laughed at myself while reading this article, how did I end reading this article while I’m a boy? 🙂 I guess I should let my wife read this so that she could get an additional idea on how to get a perfect hair, she’s a bit obsessed in coloring her hair. Thank you Hanushka!

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This is an amazing guide! Thanks for this! Really looking forward to trying this.

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Omg, your hair looks so beautiful and with this natural shine. I have tried many products and tips along the last years but my hair still looks weak and wild like a lioness. I definitely will try your tips.

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I am no girl so I cannot say as much compared to a woman. Perhaps except one I know hair are vital for girls but having it trimmed is not the end of the world.

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Well, it’s a good post with even good ideas to get that perfect hair. You even went further to tell a history of yourself so we could understand you more.

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For someone with frizzy hair like mine, I find this article insightful. Thanks for the tips about hair products, especially hair color.

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Thanks for sharing your experience with us.Your article is very personal and I’d love to read more on your blog.You had such wonderful hair and I’m glad that you’re sharing your thoughts with us on how to have a perfect hair.

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Well you now get to go back to those who mocked you because of your hair. I like your hair though. I just wish I have that kind of hair.

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Can you do one for men? I was thinking on changing my hairstyle but I don’t know which haircut to get.

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I’ve debated letting my hair grow out and dyeing it. im not sure what my color would be or if i’d even want to honestly. but thankfully now i know some good product to not ruin my hair now.

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I agree that hair dye does more harm than good. As far as your hair, I think you just have a genetic advantage. It is harder for us mere mortals :p

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Quite an eye opening read this is. Most people are too lazy to research the effects of what they are using on their hair and a few months down the line they are a walking disaster. This is a good starting point for the lazy ones.

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I really like those curves. I’m currently having a talk with my Hair Consultant cause my hair is giving me a headache.

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Your hair is amazing! I envy people with beautiful thick hair because I wasn’t blessed with one. Love your hair color!

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I’ve always struggled with my hair, it’s been through a lot. From bleaching, dyeing pink, brown, blonde, and then back to black. We definitely need an expert to achieve that perfect hair.

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I love your hair! Hopefully I can get mine to look like yours with the help of some of the tips in this guide.

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