MIRABELLA Magazine
The phenomenal women issue

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Co-washing... Have you heard?

 

BY NICOLE MANGRUM

 

Unless you are a big hair rockin’, kinky twist wearing, curly haired naturalista you probably aren’t unaware of the movement that’s happening right under your pretty little nose. Co-washing is blowing up on the Internet these days with over 74 million Google results and countless companies coming up with formulas to fill this growing niche.  As a celebrity hairstylist and constant professional I’m always experimenting and trying new products and techniques to keep up with trends and to satisfy my savvy clients. So when the concept of co-washing was brought to me during a conversation, I was intrigued.  No-poo (no shampoo), hum…I must admit I was a little skeptical at first. I asked myself, “Would the hair actually get clean without the lather of traditional shampoo? Is this new way of cleansing the hair just for curly girls or can everyone use it?”

 

So this is what I found out. Co-washing is a method of cleansing the hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. Conditioners are formulated with small amounts of surfactants (detergents) that aid in removing dirt but not stripping the hair of its natural oils.This is why conditioners are so gentle yet effective in co-washing. Co-washing is not a new concept but rather a road less traveled by forward thinking naturalist that wanted to save their drying hair from the harsh effects of shampoos; in exchange for healthier, hydrated and more manageable tresses.

 

It has now been six months since I began co-washing. After about a month of just co-washing twice a week, my hair felt a little heavy. To get a squeakier clean, I decided to reset my tresses with a gentle moisturizing sulfate–free shampoo. I missed my lather! The method of resetting the strands with a shampoo to remove the excess oil and buildup is also a great addition to co-washing for thinner and oily hair types. Textured hair is typically dryer because it’s harder for the natural oils to navigate down to the ends because of its coils.  With that being said, people with textured curly or dry damaged hair reap the most benefits from co-washing.  You can also do too much of a good thing. Co-washing can have amazing results but beware of over-conditioning and products that contain silicone that will coat the hair and eventually cause unwanted buildup.

 

My advice is to personalize a regime that works best for your hair. Consistent practice in this method will have big payoffs!

 

More tips: 

 

  • When co-washing, remember to manipulate the conditioner into the scalp and through to the ends otherwise you are not really removing the surface dirt and buildup from the hair shaft.  Don’t be afraid to really get in there. 

 

  • Make sure to rinse, rinse, rinse or hair may feel weighed down and appear dull.

 

  • Keep your current shampoo regimen and gradually eliminate your shampoo step to allow your scalp to adjust.

 
 
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Elixir Ultime Oil Serum

Kérastase

$24 at Sephora

This blend of four oils—maize, procaxi, argan, and camellia—works on all hair types, hydrating deeply to ward off both breakage and frizz. It's one of Mangrum's favorites because it adds a glossy shine to hair without weighing it down or leaving a greasy residue. 

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BEST FOR FINE HAIR

Serum de Soie Sublimateur

Leonor Greyl

$46 at Dermstore

Here's a serum that's elegant yet nourishing, with wheat germ and jojoba oils to moisturize over-processed hair and wheat protein to fortify against splitting and breakage. "This one is so lightweight, it's the only serum I can use before, not after, a blow dry on very fine hair," says celebrity stylist Adam Campbell. His surefire tip for pre-blow dry application: Apply serum underneath hair near the nape of the neck and work your way up so the top of your hair doesn't look greasy.

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BEST FOR CURLY HAIR

Thermasmooth Smooth Guard Smoothing Serum

Mizani

$20 at Amazon

Perfect for curly and tightly coiled hair, which needs extra care and protection, Mangrum favors this one because it buffers hair from styling damage and helps to prevent split ends. Apply to 2-3 pumps to towel-dried hair and then blow dry and style. 

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This Is an Invisible Serum

Davines

$23 at Amazon

To impart moisture, Aloxxi celebrity stylist Michael Duenas likes to use serums on damp hair. "The serum draws in exterior moisture, locking it into the hair shaft," he explains. This one, in particular, is perfect for adding some texture for a lived-in look without the crunchiness you can get from salt sprays.

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Essential 7 Oil Restorative Hair Serum

Aloxxi

Shop at Aloxxi.com

Infused with a proprietary blend of color protecting antioxidants, Aloxxi's serum is a dream for those who dye their hair. Duenas is a fan for its detangling, strengthening, and conditioning properties.

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Power Drops Damage Repair Booster

Oribe

$58 At Dermstore

With 2% reparative linoleic acid, biotin, and sea kelp extract, this concentrated formula—another of Mangrum's top choices—is like a Band-Aid for your hair.  It smoothes the outer cuticle layer so hair stays soft and shiny. 

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No. 7 Bonding Oil

Olaplex

$28 At Dermstore

"I use this on hair that's more fragile and damaged, but it works on most hair types," says Campbell. "It's especially great after a blow dry when your strands may need a little extra moisture and control." And a little goes a long way: Remove the cap, turn the bottle upside down, and tap gently on the bottom with your index finger to dispense a few drops of product, then run it through damp or dry hair.

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BEST FOR FRIZZ

Super Skinny Serum

Paul Mitchell

$23 at Ulta Beauty

When Mangrum is in a rush to get a client's hair blown out, she reaches for this multitasking primer, which speeds up dry time and seals the hair's cuticle with lightweight silicones that deflect frizz-causing humidity. You'll also love the juicy scent, a mixture of bergamot, oranges, and apples.

Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil

Oribe

$56 at Dermstore

Another Campbell pick: "Since this is a little heavier, it's great for thick or coarse hair," he says. "I like to use this before and after a blow dry to smooth and calm flyaways." This formula contains argan oil, cassis seed oil, jasmine oil, and shea butter, all of which add nourishment and a beautiful sheen. 

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Cocoa Nibs & Honey Ultimate Growth Serum

Camille Rose

$16 at Ulta Beauty

Sesame seed and coconut oil cocoon strands in a cushion of moisture while Amla oil and Brahmi herbs—both Ayurvedic remedies—stimulate the scalp. No wonder it's one of Mangrum's go-tos.  

Blockade Heat Defense Serum

Amika

$25 at Sephora

The name pretty much says it: Apply this formula pre-blow dry and your hair won't feel the scorch thanks to dimethicone and sea buckthorn berry.  Or you can use it as a finishing product, as Duenas often does, by smoothing a small amount onto dry hair to minimize wispiness and add shine.

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Pai-Shau Biphasic Infusion

Pai-Shau

$24 at Amazon

Shake to activate this unique oil-free formula, rich in antioxidants, amino acids, and a signature tea blend. Once on your hair, it protects form thermal styling stress and environmental assaults. It's another one of Duenas's favorites.

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FROM DESK TO DAWN

You're at work and need a quick hair change so you can look festive at your sister's best friend's uncle's potluck. Here, easy ideas for every texture–no flatiron or curlers required.

1. TOP KNOT

Wondrous Waves

 

Prep with a product like Virtue Labs Create Texturizing Spray ($36; virtuelabs.com). Lean forward, flipping your hair upside down; gather all  of it at the crown of your  head and secure it with a tie. Grab the pony and tightly twist it clockwise around the base. Tuck your ends into the tie and  secure the rest with bobby pins. (Don’t stress about flyaways—wispy pieces lend an air of undone elegance.) Attach a jeweled clip to the base. 

2. EASY BRAID

Straight ’n’ Sleek

 

Create a side part and comb to thoroughly detangle. Make a low ponytail, letting it hang over one shoulder. Divide it into two equal sections and begin weaving into a fishtail braid by taking one small piece from the underside of one section and bringing it  over to the opposite side. Repeat, alternating sides, until the braid is finished. Secure with a tie and  lock hair in place with a hairspray like Nicole’s fave: Redken Control Addict 28 ($21; ulta.com).

3. CHICK UPDO

Voluminous Curls

 

Rub a dollop of a frizz fighter like Pantene Pro-V Gold Series Finish & Shine Cream ($8; amazon.com) between your hands and pull hair into a high ponytail, with the base near the crown  of your head. If your hair  is extra thick, make two side-by-side ponies as close together as possible. Gently pull upward to tighten the ponytail, and fluff your curls outward so they cover the elastic. Go wild with clips, barrettes, and combs (see “Just Add Bling!,” right, for some options)! 

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3. CHICK UPDO

Voluminous Curls

 

Rub a dollop of a frizz fighter like Pantene Pro-V Gold Series Finish & Shine Cream ($8; amazon.com) between your hands and pull hair into a high ponytail, with the base near the crown  of your head. If your hair  is extra thick, make two side-by-side ponies as close together as possible. Gently pull upward to tighten the ponytail, and fluff your curls outward so they cover the elastic. Go wild with clips, barrettes, and combs (see “Just Add Bling!,” right, for some options)! 

1. TOP KNOT

Wondrous Waves

 

Prep with a product like Virtue Labs Create Texturizing Spray ($36; virtuelabs.com). Lean forward, flipping your hair upside down; gather all  of it at the crown of your  head and secure it with a tie. Grab the pony and tightly twist it clockwise around the base. Tuck your ends into the tie and  secure the rest with bobby pins. (Don’t stress about flyaways—wispy pieces lend an air of undone elegance.) Attach a jeweled clip to the base. 

2. EASY BRAID

Straight ’n’ Sleek

 

Create a side part and comb to thoroughly detangle. Make a low ponytail, letting it hang over one shoulder. Divide it into two equal sections and begin weaving into a fishtail braid by taking one small piece from the underside of one section and bringing it  over to the opposite side. Repeat, alternating sides, until the braid is finished. Secure with a tie and  lock hair in place with a hairspray like Nicole’s fave: Redken Control Addict 28 ($21; ulta.com).

 
 

The 12 best hair serums,

according to stylists

 

BY Brian Underwood

 

Shiny, healthy strands are just a few pumps away.

 

When you think of essentials for your hair, your mind may turn to a great styler for curlsa hydrating conditioner, or a humidity protector. But stylists have a piece of advice: Don't forget hair serums. These products (that come in creams, oils, and sprays) are the stealth superstars of your repertoire because they can do it all: add shine, nourish brittle strands, repair split ends, and, yes, fight frizz. Think of them as the Swiss Army Knife of your beauty routine.

Another key benefit: "They make hair more manageable and help keep it healthy by protecting against styling damage from hot tools, environmental pollution, and harsh chemicals," says Oprah's hairstylist, Nicole Mangrum. Her top takeaway is to choose a formula based on your hair type. "Heavier serums are best for coarser hair, lighter formulas are ideal for fine or thinning hair. And they generally work best when applied to damp, freshly shampooed and conditioned hair."

One important thing to note is that while hair serums are likely to keep hair soft and looking its best, there's no magic growth product that will have you waking up to a longe mane. While there's scant evidence that certain ingredients like black seed oil may have a slight stimulating effect, if you're suffering from thinning or loss, it's best to consult with your doctor.

But if volume, silkiness, or strength are what you're after, look no further than these serums, endorsed by Mangrum and other top hairstylists.