Hair Conditioning

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Photograph by Jenn Hoffman

This is the time of year to lighten your beauty load. But heat and humidity, chlorine in the pool, relentless rays of the sun and central air conditioning can turn your hair into a dull, dry mop of straw. “Hair frizzes up more due to the humidity in the air, and when it is frizzy it looks drier and even more damaged,” says James Corbett, owner and colorist, James Corbett Studio in Manhattan. Here’s what you can do about it.

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Photography by Robin Jolin

CLEANSE Most of us wash our hair more often in the warmer weather and as we transition into fall, which is why it makes sense to switch up to a super gentle shampoo. To remove buildup, Corbett suggests a clarifying shampoo or treatment once a week. (Or try a cold water rinse with half a capful of apple cider vinegar diluted in a cup of cold water.)

Try A little goes a very long way with Dr. Alkaitis Organic Herbal shampoo, $45,; the zingy scent is an a.m. pick-me-up with Saint Francis Organics Peppermint Vanilla Soapberry shampoo, $19.66;

CONDITION Sun exposure saps moisture from the hair, and that’s why you’ll want to use a leave-in, and try a deep conditioning treatment twice a week. “Leave in conditioners can be great in summer months,” says James Corbett, owner and colorist, James Corbett Studio, in Manhattan, “and help attract extra moisture to the hair.” Look for avocado, nut oils (macadamia, shea butter), olive oil and coconut extracts to nourish the hair. Apply conditioner from mid-length to the ends, not to the scalp, as it can clog pores.

 Try Acure Leave-In Conditioner is a convenient spray-on, $9.99,; super-gentle Intelligent Nutrients Organic Leave-In Conditioner, $29;

SHINE & DEFRIZZ Dry hair loses its natural shine. “Hair can look dull because the cuticle is open,” says Corbett. “If the cuticle is smooth and clean you will be less frizzy and have shiny, healthy-looking hair.” Hair cuticles remain open from chemical processing or stressors like poor diet, medication or too much heat styling. When they lie flat, the hair reflects light and looks shiny.

After shampooing, rinse with cool water. And consider a potentially radical move: “Give the blow dryer a break and welcome in your natural texture,” says Corbett. If you must, blot hair dry first with a paper towel to minimize dryer time and keep the setting on low.

Try: Rahua Finishing Treatment, rich with exotic oils, $45,; Rare El’ements Marula Cocktail Leave-In Hydrating Shine Hair Mist, $33,

SMOOTH When you rough up your hair with a brush, comb or other styling tools–especially when hair is wet–it can tangle, and split ends can result.  Don’t over-brush, and look for a wood bristle brush; unlike stiff synthetic nylon or metal brushes, it won’t conduct static.

When you wash your hair, don’t scrub the ends; the friction from overzealous scrubbing can make ends more brittle. And if your hair is curly, comb it from the bottom up. If you are prone to split ends, Corbett suggest getting a trim around every six weeks. “Your hair will grow even if you cut it regularly.”  

Try For soft, shiny hair try Giovanni 2 Chic Avocado and Olive Oil Ultra-Moist Deep Deep Moisture Hair Mask, $7.19;; Jonathan Green Rootine Pure Paste, with orange oil & lemongrass extract, smells delicious and adds shine, $2r;

 STIMULATE Scalp massage loosens dead skin cells on the scalp and improves circulation, which feeds the hair follicle and stimulates oil production to moisturize dry hair.  “Your hair stems from a bulb in the scalp, and the more it is nourished, loved and cultivated, the better it will grow,” says Corbett. “Scalp massage helps get the blood flowing thus increasing healthy hair growth.” For best results, gently circle your fingers all over the scalp for two to three minutes several times a week.

Try Shea Moisture  Raw Shea Butter Damage Repair Hair & Scalp Serum, an intensive overnight moisturizing treatment that nourishes scalp and hair, $12.99,; an organic jojoba and essential oil blend to hydrate dry hair and scalp, Badger Hair Oil, $18.99,

Rona Berg

Rona Berg

Editor-In-Chief at Organic Spa Magazine
Longtime journalist, author and current editor-in-chief of Organic Spa Media, Rona Berg is the former Editorial Director of ELLE and Deputy Style Editor for the New York Times Magazine, and she has contributed to and been quoted in dozens of publications. She co-chairs the Personal Care Committee of the non-profit Green Spa Network, is a Charter Advisory Board Member of the Nutritional Aesthetics Alliance, best-selling author of Beauty: The New Basics and Fast Beauty (Workman Publishing), and is a frequent speaker and guest on radio and television and at conferences around the globe.
Rona Berg

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