ODuring a trip to New York, a lunch with an expatriate beauty industry executive began with “so you have cotton candy hair too?” She then offered a solidarity punch on the unruly, somehow simultaneously flat and puffy arrangements of frizz on both of our heads.
I’m so used to the slightest humidity stretching my hair into a frizzy, wispy mess that I had long since given up trying to fix it. But the end of the heat wave in New York – and the fact that I had carelessly omitted the glass jar NVG Serum (£24) from my suitcase – inspired me to experiment with products that promise to do the impossible.
Kérastase is arguably the industry leader in problem hair care products, so I started (and could have ended) there. It’s excellent Fluidissime Discipline Spray (£29.05, for all hair types) works extremely well, but at a price, and when applied to damp, towel-dried hair and followed by a hair dryer (undesirable in a warm climate). Used like this, it keeps hair smooth and frizz-free, retaining reasonable volume, and its pleasant scent keeps it feeling fresh even after walking by a dumpster of smoldering food waste.
On dry hair, on the other hand, it is less efficient, that’s where I turned to Living Proof No Frizz Instant Hair Relaxer. This is formulated for dry, on-the-go application, and while it did a good job of instantly smoothing out frizz and tangibly softening my hair (which immediately felt silky), I’d say it worked a bit. too well, flatten my roots and leave a kind of glaze that could easily pass for grime.
That said, I then gave my box to a friend with thick, curly hair, and she unexpectedly declared it an essential handbag for wet or drizzly days, and hence its effectiveness and value for money. (it’s expensive at £25) is very much depends on hair type.
My most successful emergency measure was when I dove into Chelsea Market and handed out a drop of (vegan) R+Co High Dive Cream from a tester tube on the shelf. A nickel-sized dose instantly straightened without grease and left my moisture-tired hair soft and shiny.
Would I pay £24.50 for a full tube? If I lived in humidity all year round, then I probably would. But in the UK climate, I just cancel odd days and scrape them into a scrunchie until it’s safe to hang again.
Join Sali Hughes as she discusses her new book, Everything Is Washable, with her friend and fellow writer Caitlin Moran on September 14