Herbal Essences Celebrity Stylist Charles Baker Strahan Chats Trends and Healthy Hair

For most people, the lather-rinse routine is one that is the most important, but also the most underrated. A simple part of everyone’s day has rapidly become a controversial topic — are you shampooing your hair too often? Should you be switching shampoos and conditioners every few months? What about using drugstore versus professional products? The information out there seems to be endless, but it all comes down to one answer: use what’s best on your mane. A line to consider: Herbal Essences’ new Bio:renew.

Mass-meets-luxury in the new antioxidant-rich product range Bio:renew. With a variety of care and styling products and good-for-your-strands ingredients like coconut milk, vitamin E, argan oil, rosemary and green tea, Herbal Essences marries science and nature to create a range of hair care and styling products to suit every hair concern. And, true to Herbal Essences form, they smell amazing and deliver on their promises.

We caught up with Herbal Essences’ celebrity stylist ahead of the Bio:renew launch to chat hair trends, that shampoo myth and about the new hero products.

29Secrets: What hair trends are you seeing for spring, moving into summer?

Charles Baker Strahan: [Looking at the runways, I’m seeing volume] and how that relates to hair is that this volume doesn’t necessarily mean height, but also colour, tonality and a variety of different things. When you think about a short pixie cut, a natural hair texture looks very different than it would with a natural hair colour than when it’s been bleached white or has a very bright primary color, so this turns the volume up. We’re seeing this volume being turned up by displaying and celebrating and maximizing natural hair texture. If you look at Versace, everyone had really straight hair, but it was still voluminously straight. It’s more an intensity of character.

What are some tips to transition away from washing your hair every day?

I want to start by saying, I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to shampoo your hair every day. If you’re somebody who has finer hair, or short hair or you have a lot of it to, maybe you wake up in the morning and it looks like a disaster, but maybe it doesn’t happen to be oily. You’re, of course, going to have to deal with it in some way, but if you’re, say, sticking your head under the sink to [touch up bangs], what’s really the difference in washing it again? I want to put the message into the world that you don’t have to feel bad about washing your hair every day if that’s what suits you.

It also depends on the products that you’re using. Hair is most fragile when it’s wet, and most open to receive things, especially when you’ve removed the surface layer of dirt and product, so you want to use a shampoo and conditioner that are going to help fortify it and moisturize it. When the surface is exposed, that’s when conditioning elements can have the ability to be able to penetrate more effectively and really do the work. For instance, argan oil in a shampoo is going to work on the hair differently than putting it onto your hair when it’s dry.

A lot of women have that initial, “I love the shampoo or conditioner in the first few weeks but that goes away.” Do you recommend that they switch up the routine. If so, how frequently?

I think that there’s always been this adage that your hair can get used to a shampoo or conditioner or it doesn’t feel as effective any longer. It’s not necessarily that your hair has become accustomed to something, it’s that the condition of your hair has changed. If you started by addressing a specific problem with a shampoo and conditioner, [such as dry, damaged strands,] if you [get a haircut] and remove the ends that were dry or dead, you might find that you don’t need as much hydration. You might find you don’t need something quite as heavy to be able to fortify your hair. With the addition of the bio:renew, one of the things that is really remarkable is that your hair will get better with use, which makes it more consistent moving forward. It kind of develops this dependability that maybe you haven’t had with a shampoo and conditioner before.

Would you have to change products between the sub-lines?

You probably wouldn’t need to change products out of necessity, but maybe more because you want to try a different scent or experience. For instance, you might switch if you were highlighting your hair and then you went to from being blonde to an all-over red, which are two different coloring options. With one, you’re dispersing pigment to make the hair lighter, which is going to cause the cuticle in the hair to swell. The other, you’re actually adding dye molecules into hair cells. When you have the dye molecule that is living in the hair itself, if you have a shampoo and conditioner with a higher the level of the hydration, the higher the chance the colour will fade out. With bio:renew it’s actually the reverse. The technology helps to work against the oxidative process that happens within hair, so you’ll find that actually your colour’s vibrancy, condition and shine lasts longer.

How do you avoid hair catastrophes during transitional weather, such as too much frizz or dryness?

You have to look at your hair seasonally — especially when you’re in an environment with such diverse weather systems — so using something more hydrating in the winter and less in the summer when there’s a lot of humidity. The other thing to consider is that, with the level of technology that we have in a lot of the styling products as well as the shampoos and conditioners in the new line, you are going to get the care that you need for styling. One thing that people don’t often consider is that with, for instance, sweaters with high collars and scarves you’re wrapping around your neck can be abrasive and create breakage. I would make sure that you have a satin pillowcase as opposed to a cotton one, especially if you are someone who is really prone to bleaching your hair. Avoid putting your hair up in a ponytail or bun when it’s wet. Wet hair stretches and contracts, making it too prone to breakage. So if you’re went to the beach and you’re like, “I want to get my hair out of my face,” and you put it up in a really constricted high ponytail, you’re going to break your hair off as it starts to dry.

What are your go to styling products?

I’m obsessed with the Flexible Style Mousse — it leaves the hair very soft. We changed the nozzle on the two new dry shampoos so it doesn’t get clogged anymore. We’ve also formulated them with tapioca as opposed to talc. If you think of how tapioca expands, that will have the same affect on oil absorption on the scalp. While it’s not classified as a styling product, dry shampoo can be used to help style and build a base near the scalp. For instance, someone who has finer hair who is also more prone to oil, using a dry shampoo can be a preventative measure against hair falling flat and building body and texture. Using that in conjunction with either the Flexible Airspray or Volume Airspray will keep that body and volume.

Which celebrity would you love to style and why?

That’s a good question. I don’t even need to be the person doing the styling, but I would love to be a fly on the wall in Lady Gaga’s room when she’s getting done. I admire her commitment to the transformative art of presentation. As we were talking about earlier, anytime you put yourself together style, fashion, aesthetic — it is all a form of nonverbal communication. It sort of predicates how you’d you like to be received when you walk into a room. She would be really fun. If it could be anybody that has ever walked the face of the earth I would have loved to work with Diana Vreeland. I have watched the movie The Eye Has to Travel probably about 100 times she is one of my favorite people who has ever walked the face of the planet. The way that she saw approached life and the ability to have five minutes of feeling her presence and understanding that sensibility I think would be amazing.

Tags: Beauty, beauty trends, bio:renew, charles baker strahan, Hair, hair care, hair trends, hairstyling, herbal essences

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