The dawn of a new year is famed for introducing fresh lifestyle adjustments. From restrictive resolutions to mindful intention setting, a bulk of these shiny changes revolve around improving our health, both body and mind, and kicking the questionable habits that compromise it.
For the Harper's Bazaar beauty team, January is the perfect time to analyse our personal care rituals and hone our routines, whether it's pledging a dedication to sunscreen reapplication or extending our skincare neck down. There are a plethora of easy commitments you can make to ensure your wellness and beauty regimes are optimal, and when it comes to hair, we'd argue they've never been simpler.
We asked professional hairstylists Halley Brisker and Adam Reed, and trichologist Anabel Kingsley, for their top resolutions to ensure 2023 is your best (and healthiest) hair year yet.
Like drinking more water and eating more greens, reducing the level of heat on your hair is a resolution that resurfaces year on year, and for good reason. We know that an excessive use of hot styling tools, from your hairdryer to your curling tongs, can make your strands dry, prone to breakage, and more likely to fall out. So once again, we're sidelining the straightening for cooler ways to shape our hair.
“Go into the new year with a way to create styles that doesn't require heat,” says celebrity hairstylist Halley Brisker. “Things like sleeping in silk rags, or sleeping in braids. Get out the Velcro rollers again.”
It's important to remember that giving up heated tools doesn't equate to giving up tools all together. From Velcro rollers for a bouncy nineties blowout to bendy hair rods for that modern flippy ends look, reintroducing retro styling techniques can enable you to get a head of classic curls without the damage associated with higher temperatures. This way, you're setting your hair into a style that lasts without risking the splits. Not to mention the abundance of accessorising opportunities, from the hair haberdashery rife on the red carpet this season, to investing in hair-kind scrunchies.
You may feel reluctant to give up the sleek gloss that heated tools ensure, however Brisker's resolution comes with a product tip for that refined professional finish. "You can look after your condition by actually doing the style while you sleep or rest," he advises, recommending Olaplex's No 6 Bond Smoother on dampened hair pre-styling as a way to maintain your hair’s health while still obtaining that shiny post-curl coat.
Keep your haircare personal
As with any resolution, the key to enforcing an impactful change is by making your new routine personal, realistic, and being consistent with it. In 2023, we're resisting hair gimmicks and fast-moving trends and replacing unnecessary impulse purchases boasting fix-all promises with investments in our hair's specific needs. Much like skincare, haircare is not a 'one size fits all'.
"People can identify, or you should if you haven't already, what your hair is susceptible to and what the triggers are for bad quality and bad condition. If you're somebody that that has really strong hair, and it's always in good condition, you don't need to worry about small things like silk pillowcases. They're going to have very little effect on your day-to-day hair health," says Brisker. "On the flip side of that, you might be somebody with hair that is really susceptible to things like the way you sleep, causing knots or the matting up in the back. If you struggle with things like that, these tools can't do any harm."
The first logical step in curating your routine would be to consult your hairdresser about your natural texture, your hair's maintenance needs and any daily challenges you might face, such as frizziness or tangles. From there, they might suggest a switch to a specific shampoo to combat concerns, ways to increase strength and moisture such as a mask or bonding technology, or introducing a targeted item such as a silk pillowcase or sleep bonnet.
Change the way you brush
You may think smoothing, detangling and styling your hair is as simple as grabbing the closest hairbrush available (or perhaps the only one you have). However, these tremendous tools wield the power between an elegant bouncy blowout and a head full of breakage, depending on how you use them. In 2022, we saw scientific studies examining the mathematics of combing, and a report by the Office for National Statistics revealed UK manufacturers sell approximately 58 million British pounds worth of hair brushes the previous year. It's no surprise, therefore, that we're elevating the way we brush in 2023.
Investing in a really good hairbrush to look after both your hair and scalp is one of hairdresser and Arkive Headcare founder Adam Reed's resolutions for this coming year – and that once again means understanding their purpose.
Brushing with a good brush "is headcare and haircare all in one," says Reed. "Brushing is amazing as it acts as an exfoliant, it works natural oils through the hair, it smooths out hair and removes static." Reed rates the gentle yet effective 'anti-breakage' Manta Hair Hairbrush, and we also love the below, depending on your hair type:
Supplements for strands
Altering your diet is a predictable custom in the string of January resolutions. Whether it's veering from alcohol or trialling a plant-based plate, making healthy adjustments to the way you eat hails all sorts of scientifically backed benefits for your mind, body and in this case, your hair.
"Across the board, eating a healthy, balanced, and varied diet is key," says trichologist Anabel Kingsley of Philip Kingsley Trichological Clinic. "The impact that nutrition has on hair growth should not be underestimated. As hair is non-essential tissue, and hair cells are the second fasted growing cells your body makes, its nutritional requirements are very high. In fact, even a small deficiency can cause hair loss.”
She continues: "It is also quite hard to give your hair what it needs through diet alone. This is why I often recommend supplementing a healthy diet with nutritional supplements. I always suggest my clients take our Density Amino Acid supplement, as hardly anyone eats enough protein – at least from a hair growth standpoint.”
As with any major changes in diet, make sure to consult your doctor or trichologist to address any concerns or curiosities with supplements, particularly if you are pregnant.
This article first appeared in Harper's Bazaar UK