Hair & Makeup

8 Great Hair Hacks Your Hairdresser Hasn’t Told You About

Alicia Silverstone as Cher in the ’90s hit movie Clueless

Simple tweaks to your at-home haircare and styling regimen really can deliver similar results to a salon visit. MALENA HARBERS shares the best of these expert hair tricks, straight from the pros’ playbooks


For even the most skilled, it’s tricky to replicate salon-quality hair at home. It’s not simply due to the expertise and professional tools hairdressers have and use adeptly, it’s their wealth of knowledge, too – they’ve all accumulated countless clever tips that make your hair smoother, your updo stay put and your waves flawlessly tousled. Read on to discover some of these little-known, easy hair hacks from the industry’s best…

Use vitamin C to boost color and volume

“It’s a trick that colorists have been using for years, as the vitamin C lifts build-up from products, pollution and over-coloring,” says color expert Sophie MacCorquodale. “It really freshens up the color without changing it, and stops the hair feeling flat and weighed down. The Philip Kingsley Vitamin C Jelly Detoxifying Hair & Scalp Treatment is brilliant – use it everywhere except the roots if you’ve recently had it colored, as it may make them lighter. If your hair is highlighted – or has had a balayage – try pulling out some big sections and just apply the vitamin C product to the lengths and ends for a real pop of brightness.’

Wear a silk scrunchie to boost volume

“Whether you have straight, wavy or curly hair, you lose volume overnight,” says top London-based stylist Belle Cannan. “Sleeping with your hair tied up [on the crown of your head] gives your roots a bit more lift and creates volume that will hold longer, as you’re lying on your hair in an upwards direction for hours overnight.” Dry or wet hair both work equally well here. “A silk hair tie is key,” affirms Cannan. “It reduces the friction, tension and breakage that could come from a traditional hair elastic.”

Don’t be handsy with your hair

“Hairdressers often find a lot more breakage on one side of your hair, as it’s the side you touch the most,” says hair pro Larry King. “Constant fiddling will eventually cause damage, so being more conscious of how often you play with or touch your hair will help maintain your haircut for longer.”

Braids make the perfect wave

For a believable bend with lots of staying power, forgo tongs, says James Pecis, global ambassador for Oribe. “Separate your hair into four braided sections – two at the front and two at the back.” Once secured with an elastic, massage each braid to slightly loosen it. “Then, run a flat iron along each one for five seconds at no higher than 185°C.” Once the hair is cool, remove the elastic and finger-comb it through. “For a more textured look, try braiding hair into uneven sections.”

Use heat to secure an updo

“Give your hair a good blast with a hot hairdryer before styling it up,” says celebrity hairdresser George Northwood. “You’ll get instant volume and texture – and, ultimately, more staying power from the start.” To create a loose, messy bun, try this: tie your hair into a ponytail, then lightly backcomb the hair before you coil it around itself. “This will act as a pin cushion, helping to hold it in place.” Angle bobby pins towards the hair band when securing it for even more support.

Avoid hot showers for hydrated hair

“Super-hot water can strip your hair of essential oils, making it feel very dry,” says hair maestro Charlotte Mensah. This is especially true if you have curly, coarse or Afro hair. “Lower the temperature and opt for washing in lukewarm water instead. Your hair will thank you for it.”

Blot curls, don’t rub them

“Drying curly hair is a long process, as to get good definition you need to dry it from soaking wet to almost completely dry,” says King. He swears by his bamboo blotting sheets – or you can use a microfiber towel – to remove excess water from the start. Use a tapping motion rather than rubbing the hair, “which disrupts the curls and causes frizz”. What’s more, bamboo is gentler and more absorbent than cotton, “so you’ll get much better curl definition in a much shorter drying time”.

“If you have mid to long hair, you almost certainly won’t need those six-weekly trims; it’s more for the good of the hairdresser’s business than your hairstyle,” says Cannan. “If you need more regular fringe trims, try negotiating with your hairdresser – if you are a regular, they should be happy to do small trims between the more spaced-apart haircuts.”

Shampoo strategically to prevent tangles

According to Pecis, most people rub the mid-lengths and ends of their hair while shampooing. “This is when tangles occur, as the hair cuticles raise when they are swelled with water and raised cuticles can lock together, causing a tangle.” The best way to stop this process is to concentrate shampoo on the scalp, he advises. “It’s sufficient for cleansing – when the shampoo works its way to the ends during the rinsing process, it will pick up surface dirt along the way, leaving hair clean and without damage.”