Hair Care

By Kelly Hushin

There’s no debate: seasoned New Yorkers expecting havoc to be wreaked on their hair from summer heat dread July and August over all other months. Surely air-conditioned havens ““ restaurants, the office, cabs, our apartments ““ can hide us from the impending terrors of sweat and sun, but only so often can we escape into such sanctuaries. It’s inevitable that in these months we will have to face the outdoors, and despite all our efforts to keep our hair looking perfect, frustration can easily take over and make us want to give up, stop trying.

But there are plenty of us cursed (or blessed depending on your POV) with hair that simply needs extra attention. If you don’t feel right unless you’ve given your hair ample morning attention with a proper blow-dry, then you’re even more threatened by this weather and its ability to suck the life out of your morning preparation motivation. We want to tell you: Don’t give up. We have answers that will save you from your slump and give you a blow-out that lasts through the elements, proving your efforts worthwhile.

Seal from Hair Play leaves hair silkier than ever before

Plenty of people are telling us just what to do to get the perfect blow out, so we’ve taken the liberty of weeding through to find what works, what doesn’t and who to listen to. To get a bouncy blow-out in less time, Adrian De Bernardinis, whose New York salon is featured in this month’s issue (link to my De Bernardinis story once the link has been created), recommends applying an anti-frizz serum like Kerastase Oleo-Relax and a styling mousse then flipping your head upside down, and using your fingers and a blow-dryer, remove 80 percent of the moisture. He then advises to flip your head upright, start from the front and move toward the back to continue drying hair with a round brush for a smoothing effect. Sandy Taylor-Furst, president and CEO of the website, Style Like A Pro, agrees that the first step is to protect hair with a product like Oleo-Relax to counter the negative effects of heat-styling. Another product line we found to provide great protection and leave hair feeling silkier and smoother than ever after the heat is from Hair Play. Set and Seal give hair a similar silky smooth look and feel to the Oleo-Relax as well as the same sort of protection. You know how your teeth never feel cleaner than they do right after a trip to the dentist? That’s how even a very small amount of Seal makes your hair feel ““ like it’s just been to the salon and been handled by professionals. Trust us; we were amazed at the softness of the results.

The FHI Heat Nano Weight Pro 1900 dryer

Once you’ve mixed the perfect cocktail of products, you’ll need to find tools that suit your hair since every woman’s hair texture, length and resilience to the elements is different. When choosing a blow dryer, it’s a good idea to look for buzzwords like “ionic” and “tourmaline,” because they aren’t simply there for show. These words indicate that said tool will get your hair dry in almost half the time of a regular dryer. One of the best on the market is the FHI Heat Nano Weight Pro 1900, which can be purchased directly from the FHI site. If you’re used to getting a workout while blow-drying ““ and you actually enjoy that ““ this may not be for you. If, however, you prefer to have use of your arm the rest of the day, then this lightweight alternative is a blessing in disguise. At less than 13 ounces, it cuts drying time in half, comes with both a diffuser and a concentrator, and the pink model is too adorable to pass up.

England-made Mason Pearson brushes are well-renowned for good reason

Alas, the blow-out doesn’t come down only to a blow dryer selection. Many other tools must be chosen in order to achieve the desired look; especially in the heat of the summer when you really need it to last. It seems there’s an on-going debate about which brushes are best to use during the drying process. Some stylists recommend a round brush, while others say that a paddle is best. But almost no one will debate that the smoothest, most natural looking blow-out comes from none other than a Mason Pearson brush, which can be purchased most easily through the company’s website.

Still, just because the name is an established one doesn’t mean that its products are always best suited for heat styling. In fact, according to Mason Pearson’s exclusive U.S. distributor, it is not recommended to use the company’s 100 percent boar bristle brushes during blow-drying because the excessive heat can break down the rubber pneumatic cushion and debilitate the boar bristle. Instead, the company recommends the use of either its boar bristle-nylon blends or its 100 percent nylon brushes. If you don’t feel comfortable using animal hair against your own, FHI Heat provides a great alternative with its red and black Paddle Brush that covers a large area of hair during the blow-out process.


The Linea-Pro is so high-tech; it has it’s own remote control on the cord

Now that you’re all blown-out, you want it to stay looking naturally gorgeous without looking like a post-bath poodle, right? For most of us, that means you need to straighten. Yes, it’s a process, we know. But since most women can’t get the look down pat with a blow dryer and brush, it’s just the harsh truth. Nowadays, choosing a straightener is harder than choosing a dryer. But we have a few recommendations that we doubt you’ll fight about. For a supremely straight look, the best option we’ve found is the Linea Pro, sond at Henri Bendel, right in our back yard. Used by celebrities like Avril Lavigne, this iron takes high-tech to an even higher level. It cool enough that the iron is only 2.4 cm wide and ultra lightweight, but the edgy patterns it comes in (red leopard and grey skulls) make it even cooler”¦or hotter”¦whichever way you’d prefer to qualify the awesome-ness of this straightener works.

Not everyone wants a super-sleek coif ala Jennifer Aniston in her latter Friends days. A livelier look with light waves is more common in today’s trendiest blow outs. Surprisingly enough, the best way we’ve found to achieve that is with a straightener. The right kind can do wonders when used properly. Ideally, a small, thin iron is best because it’s the easiest to manipulate.


The T3 Pro Mini is the best tool for completing your blow-out with a natural wave

The T3 Pro Mini is by far the best for this job. By sectioning blown-out hair and twisting it around the iron, you can create beachy waves that add the perfect finishing touch to a summer blow out. And it’s another pink tool to add to your growing collection ““ never something to complain about.

Originally published July 2008
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