Hair Care

By Kelley Granger

Winter means our skin has to battle the moisture-sapping cold, the chilly, reddening winds and a lackluster glow thanks to Mother Nature. But what about our hair? As spring approaches and you can no longer conceal your locks under a ski cap, make some time for a total hair makeover. I visited Le Salon Chinois where color specialist Jose Rodriguez and stylist Ilda Plaka helped infuse life back into my ailing tresses.

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The interior of Le Salon Chinois

Step #1: Cut

If you can keep up with a haircut routine that runs every six weeks, you’re probably ahead of the game and all the power to you. But for the rest of us that juggle multiple jobs, social engagements and family life, it’s common to let this one slide. The result is that lifeless and damaged hair starts to take a toll on the overall look and feel of the rest. Ilda has words of wisdom for those who continue to coax their hair beyond its natural life. If it’s dead, nothing is going to bring it back. After a short consultation, Ilda and I decided to take off six inches of hair, which brought my length from mid-back to shoulder-grazing. This was the quickest fix for nixing split ends (most likely self-imposed from relentless blow drying and flat-ironing). The result? Ilda choose a blunt cut that made my fine hair feel thicker than I can remember, and chopped off the vast majority of ends that would continue to wreak havoc on my style.

Step #2: Color

If you’ve been too busy to keep up with haircuts, chances are your color is wanting as well. Luckily, this is an easy fix for Jose. He surveys a client’s complexion, facial structure and eyes as he decides on a coloring method. I had a couple of different processes growing out, and asked for something natural looking that could even-out the tone. Jose chose to use an oil bleach by Clairol, which he said he opts for over powder bleaches whenever he can. He complemented my natural reddish-blonde with golden hued highlights, helping balance my look by bringing attention back to my eyes and brows. The resulting color brought shine and vibrancy back to my hair, while blending the previous processes into oblivion.

Step #3: Condition

Le Salon Chinois offers a number of conditioning treatments that can be added to your session. Ilda says that hair health is similar to skin health, if we actively take care of our skin, shouldn’t we also be paying attention to our hair’s needs? For this reason, she can apply a Japanese protein, keratin, or green tea conditioning treatment to your hair. What’s the difference? The Japanese protein treatment is a three-step conditioning process that Ilda recommends to receive every four weeks or whenever getting a color treatment. It penetrates the hair shaft to help heal hair from the outside in, and is suitable for average damage. The keratin treatment goes a step beyond. This oil treatment is for severe breakage that resulted from over processed hair. It’s applied to the hair and then the client is placed under heat so steam opens the hair cuticle and the oil can help restore hair health from the inside out. In extreme cases, Ilda says the keratin and protein treatments can be combined for optimum benefit. The green tea conditioner is a deep conditioning treatment to soothe stressed hair, which can be added to your shampoo at the sink (which, by the way, is one of the most fabulous shampoos ever – a vigorous, revitalizing scalp scrub). Based on my hair’s condition, Ilda applied the protein treatment to my hair. The protein treatment is perfect for those who have little time, it takes only about 10 minutes to complete.

Lessons learned, I left Le Salon Chinois with gorgeously unrecognizable hair – a smoother, softer and shinier reincarnation of its former self. The deal was made even sweeter with the discount Le Salon Chinois offered to readers who heed these suggestions – receive 20 percent off your first-time visit at the salon by mentioning Beauty News NYC.

Le Salon Chinois
44 West 55th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10019
T: 212.956.1200

Originally published March 2008
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