From sudden breakouts to uncomfortable dry patches, it’s obvious when your skin is in need of some extra TLC. You might book in for an expert facial at your favourite clinic or practise an at-home version with your trusty skincare. But what about when it comes to your hair?
While issues like dandruff and greasiness are pretty simple to treat with the right products and treatments, chipping away at weeks of product build-up, refreshing over-processed lengths and reversing DIY colour mishaps (thanks, lockdown) all call for the professionals. That’s where the hair facial comes in. Since lockdown restrictions lifted, hair salons up and down the UK have put nourishing and detoxifying hair and scalp treatments back on the menu (head to Treatwell to find your nearest). But the intriguing hair facial has been dreamed up by Taylor Taylor salon in London, and it does exactly what you’d expect it to.
The treatment looks at the scalp as an extension of the skin on your face with a detoxifying mud mask to unclog follicles, a massage to encourage hair growth, a deep cleanse and exfoliation to remove build-up and old remnants of colour, and finally, a nourishing treatment depending on your hair’s needs. That could be hair filler (which harnesses hyaluronic acid to plump and volumise strands), a keratin hair treatment to smooth and de-frizz, or hair resurfacing, an oil-based treatment tailored to dry, bleached or damaged hair, which softens, protects and imparts a shampoo-ad shine.
But does the hair facial work? And can it achieve the same radiance-enhancing properties on hair as an actual facial can for skin? R29 sent along art editor, Meg O’Donnell, to try it out.
“My hair has grown quite a lot recently and the colour is very autumnal but I’ve noticed that in the past couple of months, the ends have become so dry. Since dyeing it copper, I’ve tried to pay more attention to my hair by using colour-safe, no-nasty-stuff shampoo and hair products post-shower to hydrate and strengthen. That said, it hasn’t made much difference recently. Over the past few years, my hair has actually become a bit thinner and at times looks a little limp, so I was hoping for the finished result to be a lot fuller and hydrated. Can hair look hydrated? I don’t know. But anyway, I did hope that this treatment would restore and rejuvenate my lengths, and give them a lovely refresh.
The treatment started with the Davines Naturaltech Detox Mud, basically a deep-cleansing mud mask for your scalp. Much like a face mask, this tingled, but it was actually very enjoyable and pretty spa-like. I was told that this process removes impurities (essentially dirt and grime that inevitably collects in your hair), the build-up of product residue (from hair oils, serums and other products) and pollution, which can have a dulling effect on hair and block hair follicles. Next step: the stimulating head massage, another one of my spa favourites. This helps ‘wake up’ hair follicles and promotes hair growth by improving blood circulation to the roots. The salon described this part as “an entire full-body sense of relaxation” and I couldn’t agree more. I felt so relaxed and after a tough few months, I really needed it.
This was followed by an exfoliating step using the Naturaltech Detox Shampoo, usually only available in salons. Think of this like an acid toner or even a chemical peel during a skin facial, which lifts away dead skin cells and oil. My scalp felt fresh and considerably cleaner than if I were to use a clarifying shampoo. This is accompanied by a scalp scrub, which removes the mud mask, and it felt divine. Nothing goes to waste, either, and the scrub is also used on the rest of the hair, from the mid-lengths to the ends, for a serious deep clean. The salon describes this as the ultimate hair detox, priming it for the final step: a treatment of your choice depending on the condition of your hair.
Because my hair has been coloured and my ends are really dry and damaged, I opted for the resurfacing treatment, a deep condition with Brazilian Bondbuild3r B3 Demi Permanent Conditioner. This is hard to come by other than in salon settings but experts tout it as a miracle product for nourishing hair and maintaining colour. I really wanted this to breathe some life into my hair as it had been bleached when I dyed it copper. This particular treatment is an oil-based formula which builds a protective shield around the hair strands, much like Olaplex.
The verdict? My hair felt like silk and still does, even after a few washes. I did get a tiny trim while I was there, too, so my hair is now back to its best. While the hair facial works for natural, virgin hair that needs some TLC, it’s technically a pre-colour treatment, which removes all residue and build-up from damaged, over-processed hair. The treatment might strip out colour, so it is not advised to book in just after a colour appointment, but my colour had a huge refresh and looks less brassy. I’d say it’s now more of a golden hue, which I’m happy with.
As far as hair treatments go, the hair facial is relatively affordable, starting at £45. The price increases depending on the last step, for example if you book in for a keratin blow-dry. I don’t often treat myself to this sort of thing but I would book in every so often, as it did leave me and my hair feeling refreshed. After five or so washes, my hair still feels great.”