My hair and I have always had an uneasy relationship: since childhood and continuing until the present day, it has indisputably been my beauty bête noire. It’s wavy, prone to damage and frizz, but very fine, so even a soupcon of too much oil will irretrievably weigh down my locks until my next hair wash. To the extent that I spent years totally swerving any product labelled nourishing, leaving my hair feeling weightless, yes, but parched. But thanks to actual years of trial and error, I’ve managed to piece together the products that achieve that elusive happy hair medium: creating hair that’s frizz-free, smooth, and soft to the touch, while remaining fluffy and not weighed down. If your hair sounds like my hair, I strongly suggest you try the following, as these are the products I’ll be repeat buying for the foreseeable future.

The vast majority of weightless products I’ve tried seem to work best on that very fine, slippy hair that’s dead straight, feels like silk, and airdries in 15 minutes flat (I envy you). My drier strands require something a little more substantial, but ever so slightly so: I want soft ends and no frizz, but with zero lankness. Aveda’s Smooth Infusion shampoo and conditioner achieves that sweet spot with every single wash – I can rely on this duo to deliver the closest thing to wash-and-wear hair my hair will ever get. I also highly rate Virtue Labs’s Recovery line: the entire brand is built around their patented form of keratin to help repair damaged strands, and I can attest that it leaves locks noticeably softer.

In terms of deep conditioners, my love for pre-shampoo treatments runs deep: I always procrastinated using products that require you to hop in and out of the shower for awkward periods of time (what meaningful task can you achieve in five minutes between shampooing and rinsing?) and prefer the ease of a product that you can pop onto dry hair before getting on with your day. More particularly for fine hair, because the treatment comes before shampoo, you avoid the dreaded heaviness imparted by some deep conditioners when used as the final step in the shower. I apply Philip Kingsley’s Elasticizer (which was famously devised to rehabilitate Audrey Hepburn’s strands after too much styling) before bed, plait my hair, and wash out in the morning.

Scalp health has been at the forefront of hair care for the past few years, and rightfully so: it’s the root (pun somewhat intended) of our hair health, so needs to be tended to with as much attention as our lengths and ends. My scalp is prone to irritation, but I’ve seen a big difference since incorporating Moroccanoil’s Dry Scalp Treatment into my routine. Containing a blend of soothing oils plus salicylic acid to exfoliate dry skin, it’s left my scalp feeling calmer and healthier than it has in recent history. If you’re reluctant to put oil anywhere near your scalp, don’t be: this rinses out like a dream and locks still feel clean and fluffy post-wash. I alternate the scalp oil with Aveda’s Invati Advanced Intensive Hair and Scalp masque, which I let do its magic while my conditioner is in and I get on with the rest of my in-shower admin. It helps nourish the scalp but also rinses out effortlessly.

Finally, a shoutout to my hair styling coup de coeur. In my dreams, the above combination of products treat and tame my hair so it looks just how I like without heat styling, but unfortunately I’m not quite there – yet. So instead I’ve been reaching for the GHD Curve Soft Curl Tong to add volume and help me feel more polished. I like that the barrel isn’t too narrow, so I can create looser, more natural curls, and the clamp suits less coordinated users (like myself) achieve the desired look without burning oneself.

Story by Tess de Vivie de Régie. Holding shot of Freja Beha Erichsen via @clairethomsonjonville

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