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The elusive 'miracle product'

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Quite often I get emails asking me to recommend the ideal product for such-and-such hair type, with such-and-such being the desired result. Whether it's extra shine, manageability, gorgeous soft curls, or the repair of major damage that people are looking for, invariably there will be a product on the market that will suit their requirements perfectly.... the problem is in finding it, because every person's hair-related needs will be different. Despite what advertisers will tell you, there is no such thing as a 'miracle product' for everyone - only products that work better for some people than they do for others. This is why knowing your hair type, and then choosing the right products for that hair type, is so important - I really can't stress this enough! If your hair is prone to oiliness, then using a shampoo for dry or damaged hair won't do it any favours at all. In the same way, a shine serum designed for thick hair will turn fine hair into a lank, greasy mess.

Identifying your hair's texture, thickness, and overall condition is just the beginning when it comes to selecting products - lifestyle factors such as the climate you live in, whether you're exposed to air pollution, how much exercise you do, and how often you apply heat to your hair will also play a large part in determining which hair products are right for you. Once you've figured out your hair type and general hair needs, the only real-world way to find your own 'miracle product' is through trial and error. When I was a teenager I had a huge 'product graveyard' assembled in my bathroom cabinet - products that I'd bought and tried, but which didn't have the results I was looking for. I'd eventually throw them away, or they'd be used by other family members who couldn't have cared less what their hair looked like after using these products (namely, my father and brother).

Eventually I did find my ideal deep conditioner, and leave-in conditioner, and discovered that my hair really came alive when I used sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners. But of course, sulfate-free products aren't for everyone, in the same way that products containing silicone will make some hair types shine with good health, and make others become dull and unmanageable. 
Sometimes, when you've found a product that does wonders for your hair, the company will decide that it's just not selling well enough and will discontinue it - leaving you to begin your search all over again! This happened to me with a leave-in conditioner called Pears Tangle Free, which was pulled from the shelves in the late 1990s. The product was just divine: it literally removed the worst of tangles from my hair with just a couple of sprays, it smelled amazing, and bizarrely enough it cost just a few dollars to buy the pretty pale pink bottle from the supermarket. Had I known that they were planning to get rid of it, then I would have created a personal stockpile! It really was that good, but obviously, I was among a tiny minority of people whose hair it worked wonders for.

Thankfully the search for your own personal 'miracle product' is an enjoyable one - sure, there are disappointing times when the product you buy is not all it's cracked up to be, but there's always the possibility that the next one will be the one you've been looking for. Identifying your hair's unique styling requirements is the first step, and once you've done that then you can simply experiment until you've found the product that is ideal for you.

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