Girl Talk: Hair Conditioning Help

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The cold weather is coming fast now... at least for those of us on the left coast. While the east coast is baking in above-normal fall temps, us bay area kids are bracing for our first big fall rainstorm. It's no wonder my mind has been on preparing for the inevitable winter ahead.

Bonacure Moisture Conditioner
Bonacure Mositure Conditioner

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Over the past couple of weeks we've covered two of the most important cold weather skincare obstacles: relief for painfully chapped lips and moisture for itchy, dry skin. This week, we're going to round out our cold weather skincare prep with every woman's worst enemy: the bad hair day. Specifically, the dry, brittle hair that results from the evil combination of dry air, office heating systems, and random rain storms. Ick. Once again I called upon the Stiletto Jungle Girl Talk panel to spill their winter haircare secrets.

"Everyone who has known me for a while knows I have very curly hair. I have been straightening it for years now and, in order to avoid rough hair, I condition often," starts 23-year-old Kim, a recent college graduate. "I use Bonacure conditioner every time I wash my hair, and then for a deep conditioner I use L'Oreal Nature's Therapy Mega Moisture once a week. The L'Oreal conditioner is amazing, after one time you can tell the difference! I can actually comb through my hair after I'm done showering. The best results occur when it is left on for about 10-15 minutes before rinsing. After every conditioning treatment I have to use leave in conditioner to avoid breakage because of my hair type. I use Abba Nourishing Leave-In Conditioner. Abba conditioner is great because you can use it on your skin and hair. I use it when my hair is semi-dry, especially on the ends."

Sounds like you have this down to a science, Kim. I know super curly hair is very difficult to care for, particularly if you straighten it regularly, but I've never seen your hair looking "crunchy" like so many straightening addicts I know. This must be why! Now Po, I know your hair is kind of on the opposite end of the special needs scale, right?

Crabtree and Evelyn conditioner
Crabtree & Evelyn Original Conditioner

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"My hair is pretty normal and easy to manage so I don't require any special conditioner," admits Po, a 28-year-old attorney. "I don't do anything special aside from just conditioning every day. I am currently using Crabtree & Evelyn, which I started because of my wonderful experience with a sample of it at a hotel. It is incredibly fragrant. Plus, the bottles are just so pretty in my shower stall. I like to try different things one after the other, but I do not really mix brands. This year, I have went from Redken [Body Full Conditioner in] the green bottle, to Biolage-- the conditioner leaves no tangles, to Pantene Pro-V-- thumbs down, to now, Crabtree & Evelyn."

After trying so many different conditioners, what kind of advice can you give to someone who isn't sure where to start on their quest for the perfect conditioner?

"My main tip is not to go cheap. I remember using the cheaper products in college and now recognize that the quality of the conditioner is definitely not the same. Cheaper ones that I used never left my hair smelling as good for as long, didn't detangle it well, and definitely didn't leave it as fragrant. Plus, my hair deserves a higher quality product!"

I totally agree Po. Our hair deserves the best. Now, what is this about the connection between haircare and manicure maintenance?

"I've always found it irritating to see my beautiful new nail job ruined in a day or two after the manicuring. Since I shampoo and condition daily, my nails do get a little bit of a workout and they end up chipped or with polish peeling off. What I do now is use a wide-tooth comb or pick to spread the shampoo and conditioner throughout my head. It works and gives me extra days with my nails."

Biolage Color Care Conditioner

$17.45 (was $21-- save 17%!)
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That's great! I never have connected the two, but it really does make perfect sense. Your turn Tina. Having lived through several bitterly cold east coast winters, I bet you have some great winter haircare tips.

"Hair conditioners.... the endless drama and search for the perfect one," muses Tina, a 34-year-old SoCal attorney. "I have fine hair but lots of it, so it tends to get tangled up easily. I need a heavy duty conditioner to keep it from driving me crazy. I have tried several and there are a few that work the best. My favorite is Biolage for color treated hair. I have highlights and, while I want my hair soft, I also want my color to last. I use the shampoo as well. It is nice, especially in colder weather.

I find that when the weather gets really cold my hair and scalp need extra help. I use anti-dandruff shampoo with conditioner and my conditioner at least twice a week in cold weather. It helps keep my hair soft and my scalp from being overly dry. As for leave-in treatments, they are not my favorite. I will use them in the summer again only to protect my hair from the sun and chlorine in the swimming pools. Otherwise, I think a good quality product will get you through all year round. I also suggest trading off. The other product I like is Paul Mitchell shampoo and conditioner."

Great suggestions as always. With all of the great tips we've shared over the past month, I think we are all going to get winter just fine. Click on any photo or linked text to link directly to where you can purchase that product, as recommended by the Stiletto Jungle Girl Talk panel, online. Don't miss any Girl Talk discussions. Subscribe to Stiletto Jungle and get free updates by e-mail or RSS. Take Stiletto Jungle with you wherever you surf with the Stiletto Jungle Connect Toolbar featuring Google search.

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