Apothecary: The Mane Event

Soon, Viagra won’t be the only way to catch a ride in the proverbial way-back machine.

L’Oréal Paris is taking youth restoratives into the hair zone, with a potentially revolutionary patent that promises to prevent hair from ever going grey.

Although L’Oréal is keeping a lid on the actual mechanics (pill or potion) and the release date, we know the new system will only work on hair that hasn’t as yet started to fade. Ergo, hair colouring will remain a fact of life for those of us who choose to do so. Until the magic recipe is finally – if ever – marketed, best to focus on the essentials.

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“You get away with messier things when you’re younger,” says Sam McKnight, Patene global ambassador and star stylist, who has tended the tresses of everyone from Diana, Princess of Wales, to Kate Moss. But what endures is “really healthy, well-looked-after hair that exudes a healthy, luxurious image.”



Nourish hair with a weekly mask. Many treatments contain oil for lubrication, but only coconut oil and palm kernel oil molecules are the right size and shape to penetrate the hair’s cortex. This is achieved, says cosmetic chemist and TheBeautyBrains.com editor Randy Schueller, by “slipping in between the intercellular spaces in the hair’s cuticle layer” for suppleness and breakage-resistance. Try  Kevin Murphy Young Again Masque ($49) or Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment ($37). On a budget? There’s Lush Shine So Bright Split End Treatment ($10).


Here’s the kicker: your hair can be moisturized on the inside, but if the outer cuticle layer isn’t smooth, it will look dull. Heavy-duty serums can make hair lank, so try ones containing cyclopentasiloxane. It’s light-weight and “gives ‘slip’  to wet hair but quickly evaporates so it doesn’t leave behind heavy residue,” explains Schueller. Ones to try are Wella Oil Reflections Smoothing Oil ($34), Wen Sweet Almond Mint Styling Crème ($30), and Dove Style+Care Frizz-Proof Cream-Serum ($8).

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Protect Colour

Hair colour ticks all the boxes. It covers grey but also adds volume because colour pigments swell the hair shaft. “Hair that is too dark can be stark,” says Alain Larivée, John Frieda celebrity stylist, who urges his clients to consider highlights “around the contours of the face to soften and bring light.” Prevent colour fade with sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners and incorporate shine-enhancing glazes and conditioners into your regimen such as L’Oréal Color Radiance Post-Coloration Treatment ($7) or John Frieda Clear Shine High Gloss Glaze ($15).

Light Bright

“Maybe 30 years ago, women felt they had to cut their hair when they reached a certain age,” says McKnight, citing model Kristen McMenamy (pictured on first page), now 46, who elegantly refutes that notion. “Her long, white hair is magnificent.”

Pale hair needs scrupulous maintenance: clarifying shampoos remove yellowy deposits from pollution and hard water while violet shampoos and colour-boosting balms impart a glow to silver and blond heads.We like Pantene Silver Expressions shampoo ($6) and Shu Uemura Color Lustre Shades Reviving Balm in Cool Blonde ($50) —Liza Herz

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Brow Raising

Who has the patience or dexterity to get natural results from a pointy eyebrow pencil early in the morning or, frankly, ever? A goof-proof alternative, Benefit’s new Gimme Brow gel ($26) brushes on with a mascara wand-like applicator, its fibre-rich formula subtly building up individual hairs for natural volume. The gel texture handily tames any stragglers, while a hint of colour fills in sparse spots. Light/Medium (an ashy café-au-lait shade) is universally wearable and looks natural on even the palest, barely there brows. Now, no one need live with the evidence of a misspent youth of overzealous tweezing.