Best Hair Products for Healthy Hair

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After having one of the worst experiences at a hair salon that I’ve ever had in my life, in addition to several months of continuous hard water exposure, I was in vital need of some serious hair therapy. Below, I’m sharing some of the best hair products for healthy hair that I’ve found and used to revitalize my hair.

Getting my hair done in Paris

I’m about to tell you a first world problem story, and I recognize that this problem may seem meaningless among all the bigger problems that exist in the world. The truth is, however, if you’re a woman who feels like your hair is your “thing” (or you wish it was your thing), then you will completely understand.

Not only that, but if you’ve gone through something like this or you’re struggling to get your hair healthy again, I’ve got some products to share with you that may help you like they helped me.

The French Don’t Do Blonde

When I first moved to Paris, I was pretty optimistic about getting my hair done. After all, Paris is the mecca of all things beauty and glamour.

Prior to moving there, I had been loyal to my hair stylist in Newport Beach, California, who took me from my natural dark brunette to cool blonde in a little over a year.

She had done such an amazing job, that most people who didn’t know me before as a brunette thought that I was a natural blonde.

My hair before I moved to Paris
My hair before moving to Paris

To do this, she slowly added in cool-toned, blonde highlights to my hair over the course of about 13 months. And she always did it so that my natural regrowth at the roots blended in with the blonde.

Even better, I still had healthy, shiny locks, even with all the bleach.

So, when I moved to Paris, I naively thought that I’d be able to find a stylist who could refresh my highlights, as needed, to essentially maintain the look my stylist back home had achieved for me.

Little did I know that the French just aren’t great with blondes. It pains me to say this because I pretty much bow down to everything else they do, but finding a stylist who can give me the blonde color I want has been really difficult.

The thing is, the French do a fabulous job with cuts and other colors. But when it comes to California blonde, they just haven’t really mastered that. Their argument is that they want to make everything look really natural.

And I understand that. Truly. In fact, when one of the stylists I visited (so popular that I waited 4 months to see him) told me he was going to give me the cool-toned, blonde highlights I wanted with a more natural finish, I told him, go for it, monsieur, without batting an eye.

The thing is, when you’re not a natural blonde like me, you often have to deal with brassy roots and you need a stylist who knows the right formula, right length of time to put you under the heat, and of course a generous dose of toner and/or purple shampoo. I need the good bleach, the foil, the heat, toner…I need all the works.

brassy roots
My hair after seeing a Paris stylist. Weird two-toned hair with warm brassy roots and cool blonde ends

But in France, they don’t do that (they use saran wrap instead of foils…). So, when someone like me goes and gets highlights, even with a super popular stylist, I end up with a dull, brassy blonde that is a far cry from the cool blonde I had in California.

And when someone like me later visits a stylist who isn’t necessarily the top stylist in town, she may very well end up with hot roots! Yes, hot roots. If you don’t know what that is, just imagine Carrot Top’s hair.

I’ve never run home faster from a salon than the day a French stylist gave me reddish brown hair with orange roots. Because worse than all of the color mess was the fact that I was left with about half of the hair I used to have on my head.

She tried to fix it by stripping it and re-coloring it, but it was a fail and resulted in me losing a good chunk of hair. Thank goodness my mom was visiting at the time, and went with me to Monoprix a short while later to buy boxed color and do our best to correct it.

My hair after my mom tried to even out the orange top with the light brown bottoms. At this point my hair was also almost half the density it was before I moved to France.

My hair was so damaged, brittle, and lifeless, that I seriously thought it would never recover. It didn’t help that I had also been showering with hard water for the previous 7 months and it was only making my hair worse and worse.

How can I get my hair healthy again?

When my first year’s French visa ended and I came back to California, I was literally in my stylist’s chair the day after I arrived in my hometown. She was shocked (aka horrified), and got to work immediately.

trying to get back to blonde
Working my way back to blonde in California.

We didn’t dare try to go back to blonde so quickly. Instead, she immediately used a hard water treatment on my hair (the build-up on my hair that rinsed away from using that…wow!).

I later bought a pack of those hard water treatments (and some other ones) from Amazon and used one every other week. I’m sharing those further down below.

She also added in a little bit of highlights, but again, we took it slow and steady. There was a period of time where I just had to deal with having warmer tones in my hair and being patient with the regrowth of all the broken, damaged strands.

Being patient is truly the game when you’re trying to revitalize your hair.

Hair Products for Healthy Hair Growth

There are a lot of supplements that claim to help with hair growth, but I honestly can’t attribute my hair growth and rejuvenation to any particular one.

First of all, I didn’t try any of the really fancy supplements you see influencers talking about online. In general, I’m not a big fan of supplements and try my best to get what I need through diet.

healthier blonde hair
Three months into my hair rejuvenation journey.

That said, I was aware that I had low vitamin D levels after living in Paris and had been ordered by my doctor to take some kind of supplement. I decided to take a daily vitamin D gummy by Nature’s Bounty, as well as the brand’s Hair Skin & Nails gummies.

I took one of each everyday, but whether the improvement I saw can be attributed to that remains unknown. It’s more likely that they were one part of the formula that helped me grow out my hair again and get back to healthy locks.

I think more weight can be given to the hair products I was using and the gentle care I was using. While I was still heat styling my hair, I was trying to use the best products I could to do it, and protect my hair in the process.

My Hair Care Routine

First of all, I limited washing my hair to twice a week. I know some women do once a week, but I truly can’t stretch it that long. When I did wash my hair, I used Kérastase’s Blonde Absolu shampoo every other wash.

This is a purple shampoo that helps counteract brassiness while also nourishing your locks. It’s not heavy, suds really well, thoroughly cleans hair, and truly does keep your locks looking cooler-toned (this is especially important if you deal with hard water as it will cause your color to become dull and brassy).

It’s not as heavy on the nourishment front, so I turned to the brand’s Genesis line, which is for strengthening hair. It’s great if you’re dealing with hair breakage and want to minimize that. I alternated between this and the Blonde Absolu for my washes. If you’re not blonde, you could just stick to the Genesis line or go for the super popular Resistance line.

I also conditioned my hair with the Kérastase Genesis hair mask, which is similar to the shampoo in that it’s made to strengthen weak hair that’s prone to breakage from brushing (exactly what I was dealing with).

selfie with stronger and healthier hair
Stronger and healthier hair after using the Kérastase hair care products

While masks are typically used once a week, or even once every couple of weeks, I used mine each time I washed my hair (so, twice a week). The Genesis mask in particular is not heavy, so it doesn’t build up on your hair if you have fine strands like me. I have a lot of density, but my actual hair type is fine.

The brand does carry conditioners, but I think it’s a better value to spend a little more and use a mask rather than a conditioner. Or, get both and alternate which one you use. Definitely get a mask, though, because the masks are incredible.

They also smell amazing. I’ve tried a few different masks from Kérastase, and all of them smell fabulous.

In the first few months of hair therapy, I supplemented my hair care routine with these fabulous Malibu hair treatments that my California stylist introduced me to. I’d use a single hard water treatment one week and a nourishing treatment the next.

And if I was going to see my stylist, I’d use a color prepare treatment the night before.

I did this for a few months, then I started doing the hard water treatment just once a month. I no longer use the other treatments, but like to keep up with the hard water one because it’s still relevant and helpful.

Heat Styling Tools

The other part of restoring my hair was also making sure to use gentle styling products and protect my hair from the heat.

So after getting out of the shower, I would towel-dry my hair, spritz some of Bumble and Bumble’s Invisible Hair Oil (not really an oil, per se, but more of a heat protectant) all over my hair, and then brush it out using a Wet Brush.

I’d let my hair air-dry until at least the bottoms were relatively dry, and then use a T3 ionic hair dryer to fully dry it. I’d go over the dry hair briefly with my ghd ceramic flat iron to just smooth it out a bit, and then dab a little Bumble and Bumble hair oil for shine.

All of the hair care products I’ve mentioned smell so great, which is just an added perk.

It’s Worth the Money

While I waited for my hair to grow out, I’d smooth flyaways with a little brow gel (a fabulous tip I learned from a photographer!). And after about 6 months, I started getting my hair back to where it had been before I moved to Paris.

I could feel my hair becoming thicker again, and all the broken hair strands at the top of my head were start to grow out, and I was able to put away the brow gel for good (well, at least for using on my hair!).

Since then, I’ve played around a lot with different shampoos and conditioners. I’ve tried products from Living Proof, Ouai, and some drugstore brands like OGX.

Some were OK, but none of them had the effects Kérastase did. A lot of them left my hair either feeling incredibly stripped and dry, or way too heavy and greasy-feeling. I’d be drying my hair and could feel waxy strands as I ran my hands through.

I’m not one to spend money on products just because of their name. I do admit that I’ll spend a little more on something that smells really good, which is why I really love the Bumble and Bumble styling products.

But when it came to the Kérastase products, I was going to need more than just a pleasant fragrance as they are quite pricey. In the end, after testing them and giving them a chance, I decided that they truly did live up to the hype and were worth the price tag, for me.

When I stopped using the mask for awhile just to see what would happen, I noticed that no matter what conditioner I would use, my hair would be super tangled when I’d get out of the shower. It would feel dry and brittle, and I’d lose a ton of hair trying to brush it out after.

I restocked the mask again and, sure enough, I had smooth, healthy-looking hair that was easy to brush again. I could feel how soft my strands felt after blow-drying and see the restored shine.

The hard part about hair care therapy is that not everything will work the same for every person. Everyone’s hair is different, and it’s important to use the products that are tailored for your specific needs.

I just hope that if there’s another woman out there who’s dealing with the same hair concerns I had and has a similar hair type, they can find use out of this post and have a starting place they can begin at with their hair rejuvenation journey.

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