Hair-raising truths

Are cheap shampoos bad for your hair? Should you stop using straightening irons? Hairdressing expert Sam Sibley answers these questions and more

Are cheap shampoos bad for your hair? Should you give up your straightening irons. Hairdressing expert Sam Sibley answers these questions and more


Should you have your hair coloured a lighter shade in the summer?For hair to look naturally enhanced in the summer months it would follow to be a lighter shade – the days are lighter, clothes are lighter and blonder hair compliments a sun kissed complexion. Even darker hair lightens up a shade or two naturally.

Is there any way to stop expensively coloured hair suffering from the effects of sun and sea?Statistics show that 70% of women have some kind of colour on their hair and spend hundreds of pounds a year maintaining it. What they don’t always do is take out an insurance to defy damage and fading caused by the sun’s harmful rays like they would their skin. Shampoo and conditioner, particularly the ones for coloured hair and sun exposure, are the hair’s insurance policy! There are also specific products for hair exposed to excess chlorine – just ask your stylist!

Are straightening irons bad for your hair?Any head of hair exposed to heat will eventually suffer, although fine hair is more vulnerable. Like most things, sensible moderate use of heat is okay, particularly if you use quality hair cosmetics and especially a protector spray. It is worth remembering that any product put on the hair prior to blow-drying (like leave-in conditioner or even mousse and gel) will create a barrier and give a level of protection. Try KMS Moist Repair Revival Cream or GHD Thermodynamics Heat Protector.

Some people say that anti dandruff shampoos are bad for your hair. Is that true?If you have got dandruff, ‘dandruff shampoo’ is chemically formulated and okay to use. However ‘dry scalp’ is often mistaken for dandruff and as anti dandruff shampoo is alkaline it can irritate the mildly ‘acidic’ ph of hair. Use anti dandruff shampoo while you have the condition and then switch to a shampoo for ‘sensitive’ hair like KMS Sensitive Shampoo or Wella SP Clear Scalp.

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No-one wants to look like mutton dressed as lamb. Is there a cut-off age for long hair?First the woman, then the hair!  There is no cut off age, it depends more on how age has left its effect on the features. All one length long hair looks great on young adults, but ‘older’ long hair needs a softer three-dimensional shape. Think ‘shape,’ not necessarily length, first.

If you could use just one styling product on your hair, what would it be?If only! If only everyone’s hair was the same texture and thickness.  The most successful hairstyle is one that suits the hair type, face shape and lifestyle, in which case a good quality shampoo is the most important consideration. Other products might not always suit every hair type, but they won’t necessarily damage it like a cheap and nasty shampoo! Again ask your hairdresser for advice!   

Is cheap shampoo i.e. supermarket economy ranges, bad for your hair?Following on from the question about using just one styling product, you get what you pay for! That said, the most expensive is not necessarily the best. You may be paying for a brand. Look for a shampoo that matches your hair type and has a slight ‘acidic’ balance. Get advice from the person who knows best, your hairdresser!

Is it a myth that you should change your shampoo and conditioner every few months?The time to change is when you change your hair! If you have a different style or colour it may be necessary to reassess your needs.  If however, you have been using an economy brand for a while, you will certainly notice the difference when you switch!

What are the day to day things that people do that cause most damage?Only style your hair (particularly with heat) when you have just washed it. Overuse of dryers, straighteners, heated rollers, tongs etc may cause damage especially if you have not protected the hair first.Invest in good quality hair cosmetics and stylers and don’t overdo it! At the first sign of damage, splitting etc, visit the salon for advice on style and condition.


Sam Sibley is manager at John Olivers (The Retreat), 15 Fore St, Ipswich Tel: 01473 286363

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