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17-71 Hair today, grey tomorrow

October 23rd 2012 / Scarlett Edwards-Jones, Scarlett Curtis

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Scarlett Curtis is 17. Scarlett Edwards-Jones is 71. They both want to look their best, but it isn’t always easy. This week: grey and greasy hair

Scarlett Curtis

It was only a few months ago that I stopped being completely and utterly terrified of hair products. Like most teenagers my biggest focus when it came to my hair is that it shouldn’t be greasy. Therefore the idea of coating my hair in a serum or oil, that appeared to do nothing except make it look like I hadn’t washed it in days and had just had an extra sweaty sports lesson, seemed like madness. I defiantly resisted all forms of hair care products, sticking religiously to shampoo and only a tiny bit of conditioner. I was terrified of grease and was most definitely not doing anything to encourage this most horrible of teenage burdens.

Then one day I met a little gold bottle from Kérastase, and everything changed. There’s been a lot of fuss made already about the Kérastase Elixir Ultime, an oily serum that can be applied before shampoo or straight onto dry hair. When I was first given this product I thought I would never use it, but after one pump of that little gold lid I was hooked and I am never going back. I have fairly thick brown hair that is easily tangled, with one pump of this through my hair my tangley brown birds nest turns into Disney princess style flowing locks. It is quite literally a miracle product, it is the fairy godmother of hair products, and to any teenagers resisting it because of "grease-fear" I would seriously recommend giving up your worries and buying a bottle as soon as possible.

One thing I’ve always been obsessed with when it comes to my hair is that it smells nice. I think this whole smelly hair fixation stemmed from a book I read when I was about 10, I don’t remember its name (although knowing 10-year-old me it probably had a sparkly pink cover) but I do remember that the central male character was madly in love with a girl based purely on the fact that she had lovely blonde hair that smelt of coconuts. Unfortunately, I don’t have lovely blonde hair but I decided very early on that the key way to make any man fall in love with me was to have coconut-smelling hair. It may sound weird, but it is true.

Getting smelly hair is strangely harder than it looks. No matter how smelly a shampoo or conditioner may be in the shower, as soon as I’m dry and excitedly sniffing my hair, hoping it will evoke images of a beach at sunset, it always just sort of smells of hair. Luckily a few months ago after years of testing everything I could find, I discovered the first hair product I’ve come across that really does make your hair smell lovely. Desert Essence Coconut Shampoo and Coconut Conditioner are my favourite hair washing products I’ve ever used.

They leave your hair lovely, shiny and soft and best of all they actually make your hair smell of coconuts. All you have to do now is sit back, relax and wait for someone to fall in love with you and your lovely fragrant hair.

Scarlett Edwards Jones

Oh, for more than one in five good hair days! One in ten would do! My hair is one the many banes of my life and as I get older it gets worse - thinner, weaker and of course, when you have been on this planet as on long as I have, there is always that small niggling question: to be grey or not to be grey?

My mother had long grey hair ever since I could remember. She wore it in a bun with wings at the front held back by two combs. The first time she came to my school was for my confirmation when I was going through my holiest stage, convinced I had been “called” to be a missionary somewhere in Africa. My parents were very undevout and had a fit of the giggles as I walked up the aisle - something to do with the white veils we had to wear. It wasn't the laughing that bothered me, but that she was steely grey. The only mother who was - it was too shaming.

Looking back she was actually rather elegant and certainly different from everyone else, but all I thought was that grey hair equals old. And I was determined it would never happen to me.

My first attempt at giving my hair a beauty treatment was at the age of about 10. Fortunately I was apprehended by my eldest sister as I was sneaking out of the kitchen with a large bottle of Parazone on my way to the bathroom to go blonde. I am not sure if this noxious stuff is still being made, but it was a very strong bleach, probably for cleaning drains! I would certainly have lost all my hair and probably the skin on my head and face as well. First disaster averted.

As the years passed I moved on to other products. I remember mixing thick pastes of henna and plastering it all over my head. One and a half hours later, puce in the face, having been under the hairdryer I rinsed the ghastly mess off only to find my hair looked exactly the same as before, perhaps just a bit drier. Another failure. I never did find out quite what I had done wrong.

Life might have been much easier if I had wanted to be blonde. Lots of women try the blonde option when they start getting seriously grey. I am not quite sure why, maybe the root rot is easier to disguise like that? I have, laughingly alas, always fancied myself as the mediterranean gypsy type, so blonde was never on the cards for me.

However, when highlights first became popular I did think I should give them a try. I am afraid I got rather carried away with the whole thing encouraging the little Italian girl, who knew about as much about it all as I did, to do just a few more strands. Eventually when the dreaded shower cap came off, nearly all my hair had been pulled through and I was virtually platinum! I have never quite dared to have a permanent dye since.

But one of the most boring things about non-permanent colouring your hair is it always seems to need doing at the most inconvenient time. After years of searching, I have at last found something good. Called Excellence Creme by L'Oréal, it has a pre-colour protective serum as well as a good conditioner for afterwards and I use it regularly. I do have to remember to wear a hat in the sun or the colour can fade.

As all these products are inclined to make your hair dry I am a huge fan of conditioners. Recently tried Kérastase nutritive masquintense for Get the Gloss and think it is great. Gives lots of body and a smooth shine, I will certainly be using this again. I have also tried Philip Kingsley's elasticised, an intense moisturising pre-shampoo treatment. It was excellent, made my hair feel supple and bouncy.

But then I found Envy Frizzgard by Paul Bryan haircare. It arrived in three parts in its own smart little carrier bag! It looked very impressive. Step one was a gentle shampoo, step two called dual fix and step three a lovely conditioner. The whole thing took about half an hour and was well worth it. No frizz. None at all. And it stayed like that for several days. I couldn't believe it. Had I found the answer to my prayers after all these years? Should I pop on my white veil and go back up that aisle, giving thanks and praise? Well not quite. But it is very very good - I now have three out of five good hair days. Which isn't bad!

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