I’m a disaster when it comes to hair. There. I said it. It’s not that I don’t know how to do it. I’ve been writing hair stories for years, so I can tell you in great detail how to use a curling tong and the steps to the perfect chignon. But actually doing it to myself? Impossible. It’s not for want of trying. Apart from being a little unco when it comes to mirrors and hands (twist it which way?) I think the main problem is my hair texture. My strands are super fine, slippery and defiantly, obstinately straight.  

Even when I have a hair stylist spend an hour and a half putting in mousse, root lift spray, doing a round brush blowdry, hot tongs, pin curls and hair spray it will drop to a mild wave within half an hour. Isn’t it ironic that whatever we have when it comes to hair, we want the opposite? The “grass is greener” complex is rife when it comes to what’s on our head. I have tried everything in the pursuit of volume and wave. So if a hair tool or product is on this list then it is well and truly goof proof and should probably receive some kind of award.


Mason Pearson Large Size Popular and Pocket Bristle

No hair edit would be complete without a Mason. Natural boar bristles won’t tear strands and spread oils through the hair, imparting beautiful shine. I use the larger one with a nylon and boar bristle mix before washing and first thing in the morning to remove tangles and massage the scalp. The little one goes in my handbag. They’re amazing quality – I’ve had mine for over fifteen years and they’re still in perfect condition.

A Mix of Medicated Shampoos

I (very unglamorously) have suffered for years with a flaky, irritated scalp. It seems to flare up seasonally or when I’m stressed. Mum, who gets it too, went to see this whiz bang dermatologist (who ALSO has the same problem herself) and she recommended a broad spectrum approach of rotating four medicated shampoos – Coal Tar (like T/Gel by Neutrogena), Selenium Sulphide (like Selsun Blue), Pyrithione Zinc (like Head & Shoulders) and Ketoconazole (like Nizoral) with a normal shampoo. The only problem is they’re not kind to your colour, but hey, I’ll pay the price for snow-free shoulders.

Aesop Nurturing Shampoo and Conditioner

Whenever I want to detox my hair (and my spirit) I use Aesop. It smells so damn delicious – like fresh cut herbs and peppermint – and leaves my hair shining and squeaky clean. I think it helps with my irritated scalp, too.

David Mallet Masque No 1 L’Hydration

David is Aussie born and Paris based and is one of the worlds most fabulous hair stylists – he’s worked with everyone from Natalie Portman to Diane Kruger. I interviewed him in his incredibly chic salon on Rue Notre Dame des Victoires and instantly fell in love with his range. I use this super hydrating mask as a deep treatment once every few weeks.

Kerastase Mousse Bouffant

Mousse is a fine hair must have. This seems to really put my strands on steroids. I use at least one tennis ball-sized squirt post washing, before styling. I find it works better when you really take time to distribute it evenly through towel-dried hair, I use my fingers to rake it through but if you have time a wide tooth-comb is a good option.

O&M Rootalicious

Root lift is essential for my annoyingly flaccid hair. I spray this on liberally before any kind of styling and find it gives body and volume around the crown. Love the whole O&M line and the hair colours – such a beautiful stylish and natural Aussie brand.

Parlux 3800 Ionic Compact Hairdryer in Silver

The Ferrari of hairdryers. These Italian-made dream machines are hands down the most powerful dryers I’ve tried. Not only does this blast my hair dry in record time it also features ionic technology which is reduces static and smooths the hair. I use it on the second hottest setting (less chance of fry my strands) and the cool shot button works a treat to smooth and amplify shine.

Vidal Sassoon Ultimate Retra-Cord Multi Curls

I find this the easiest and fastest way to create waves in my own hair. Just section dry hair, set the rollers in and do your makeup while they cool. No waiting for each section to heat like you do with a tong. Love the variety of sizes and the big butterfly clips to keep them all in place while I run around furiously finishing my makeup and throwing various outfits around the room.

Cloud 9 The O Ultimate Set

Another great hot roller option, I use these when I want less curl, more volume. You simply put each roller in the Pod wait four seconds for the beep then roll it in. Love that they are heated by induction so they’re not hot to touch but once you get them in the hair they heat up. They then turn from red to black when they’re ready to come out.

White Sands Liquid Texture

I’ll never forget: many years ago, before the Grand Prix, a hair stylist at Rakis hair in Collins Street in Melbourne used this on my hair and gave me one of the best bouncy blowdries of my life. It lasted all day trackside in whipping winds and even survived a thrashing on the dance floor at a club in Melbourne later that night. It creates a kind of mesh in the hair that won’t budge but brushes out easily.

Batiste Dry Shampoo Big & Bouncy XXL Volume

I’m a dry shampoo junkie and I really like the Batiste range as they come in a variety of fun fragrances and hair colour variants. This one is great for building volume but it does leave hair white, so you have to really work through with a brush afterwards. To be safe I usually use it on the underlayers. It gives heaps of grit to help hold a wave.

Sachajuan Dark Volume Powder

This is awesome – it’s like a dry shampoo and volume powder with dark pigments – perfect for brunettes. I use this along the part line when I need a quick dry shampoo fix but don’t have time to get rid of white residue. It also helps to disguise any sneaky greys and regrowth.

Ghd Eclipse

When I want super smooth, super glossy hair I use the Eclipse. With flashing lights and a cool little sound effect when it turns on, this is a spaceship of a straightener. It only goes up to 185 degrees but is still faster to use than my old ghd. It can handle bigger sections too.

Halo Styling Tools The Jessica

I like this innovative new range of hair tools. This conical wand is perfect for creating relaxed, beachy waves but I love how it has these studs to catch the hair, making it less slippery and easier to curl. It also includes a very fetching pink glove to protect the hair-holding hand.

L’Oreal Ellnet

The original cult hair spray is still the best when you want something that will spritz on fine and brush out easily. Mist it over an updo to keep things in place or tip your hair upside down and mist it through the layers to hold  your waves in place or give you a bit more volume. It also smells suspiciously like Chanel No 5. So glam, so retro.

Words by Sigourney. 

Comment (7)

  1. May 9, 2014

    Great product ideas!
    I too suffered from a dry flaky scalp and found that taking Krill oil and zinc supplements helped a lot.
    Would love to see a story on the latest hair treatments from the top salons. In particular, I’m curious to see results from the ‘Terra a Mer’ straightening treatment @ Raw- Anthony Nader.

  2. May 10, 2014

    Hi Jane, Thanks so much! I’ll talk to Anthony and find out more about Terra Mer!
    Sigourney x

  3. May 11, 2014

    fantastic to get advice on flakiness- I get it too and its so irritating! I’ve tried coconut oil and a better diet, but nothing seems to work. I will try your broad spectrum advice.

  4. July 2, 2014

    I always find medicated shampoos strip my hair, do you know any that won’t strip colour but are deeply nourishing?

    1. July 2, 2014

      They do strip your hair! It’s sad but true. I find Head and Shoulders not as bad as the others… but to counteract the colour loss I’ve been trialling Shu Uemura Color Lustre in Cool Brown and I think it’s really helped. It’s a chocolate brown shampoo that deposits a little bit of colour back every time I wash. If you don’t have coloured hair look for a super strong conditioner like Terax Crema.

  5. July 2, 2014
    Candice M

    I don’t think your hair looks disastrous at all! 😉 This is a good edit of products, i like them

  6. January 31, 2015

    The GHD Eclipse ‘only’ goes up to 185 degrees because any higher than that causes irreversible damage to your hair.