I had my first professional hair treatment at the young age of 7 years old: a perm. My mom has been a hairdresser since before I was born, so it’s accurate to say that I’ve served as a supremely stylish guinea pig for most of my life. Over the years, my hair has been through the processed ringer. I’ve been colored from root to tip, highlighted from back to front, toned to gray and everything in between.
The health of my hair fell somewhere between needing a trim and needing a buzz cut …
Bad haircuts, perms and all, having a hairdresser for a mother does come with its perks. I was the first of my friends to have highlights (I was 11). My hair was photo-ready on picture days, and I always had an over-the-top prom-style updo for every dance recital and spring and winter chorus concert (think: corn rows and butterfly clips).
But perhaps the best benefit – one that I didn’t fully appreciate until later in life – is that everything from services to product is free of charge. And then I moved to NYC. Gone were the days of fresh color and highlights every 4 weeks. One thing I did gain, though, was the chance to give my hair a much-needed break. I finally found a hairdresser in the city (Kat, my hair goddess), but I see her for highlights MUCH less frequently than every 4-6 weeks – it’s more like every 4-6 months.
So, I’ve taken this hair hiatus as an opportunity to really make a conscious effort to rebuild my over-processed, dry brittle hair.
Here are 5 of my favorite products under $20 that I use to
keep my blonde locks brilliant and brawny:
- Infusium 23 Repair & Renew Leave In ($9)
Awesome leave-in for any hair color. I love that it’s lightweight and affordable. I alternate this every other shower (or whenever I feel like it) with #4 after I towel-dry my hair.
- Ultra Strength Biotin, 10,000 mcg ($8)
Stick with these for at least 30 days before you can expect to see any results (10,000 mcg/day). Buyer beware: Biotin doesn’t just target the hair on your head …
- Goldwell Dualsenses Blondes and Highlights 60 Sec Treatment ($15)
OBSESSED. If you try anything from this product list, please let it be this one. My hair instantly felt silky smooth after the first use. And yes, it really only takes 60 seconds. I rinse it out with cool water in the shower to really seal the goodness into my hair follicles (heat opens the hair follicles, similar to your pores, which exposes them to more damage). You can use this one as often as you like.
- It’s a 10 Blonde Miracle Leave In Treatment ($12)
Another fantastic leave-in product. Helps make my hair manageable after the shower, and leaves it feeling super smooth, shiny and clean after a blow dry.
- Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights Shampoo ($8)
One of the best drugstore purple shampoos I’ve tried. Without fail, someone always asks me if I just got my hair done the day after I do a 5-minute shower treatment. It does a great job of knocking out that golden/yellow tint. I use this once or twice a week to maintain my cool blonde look. Cool like the opposite of warm … but also, like, supa fly.
I hope this helps! Share your favorite hair-care tips, tricks and products – I am always looking for new favs!