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The Good Oils

If your hair is dry and prone to flyaways, and even the salon quality leave-in conditioners have little to no effect, then it might be time to go back to nature and try oiling your hair. Using hair oils is a beauty secret originating from India that has been steadily increasing in popularity in Western society. If you’ve ever seen an Indian woman with extra long and thick, yet incredibly shiny hair, now you know why: chances are, she oils it rather than using a chemical-laden, store-bought conditioner. There are several different oils to choose from; the right one for you will depend on your hair’s texture and overall condition.

Beautiful shiny hair

Silky, manageable hair that shines with good health? Yes, please!


For hair that is dry and fine, the best oils to use are those that are light and will leave your hair shiny without weighing it down. I personally use jojoba oil and vitamin c serum, which is very similar in composition to the hair’s natural oil (sebum). Other oils that work beautifully for fine hair include apricot kernel oil, coconut oil, and emu oil. Most of these will be available in health food stores, otherwise you can order them online.

If your hair is coarse, curly or chemically damaged, you’ll find that heavier oils like olive oil or sweet almond oil will be most beneficial. Another option is cocoa butter in its melted form: it’s rich in moisture and will make your hair smell simply divine. There are also a variety of commercial oils available which have been specifically designed for girls with coarse hair, however, you needn’t go beyond the basic oils to find one that suits you perfectly.

When it comes to the application of the oil, technique really is everything! To begin, wash and towel-dry your hair, then take a dime-sized amount of your chosen oil and rub it between your hands. Then, starting from about ear level, gently smooth it down the length of your hair, then run your fingers through it to distribute it evenly. Comb it through with a wide-toothed comb, taking care not to get the oil near the roots of your hair, and repeat if you see no effect the first time.

An important caveat: don’t try this for the first time just before you leave the house because often you’ll be too liberal in applying the oil – like many other beauty techniques, the correct application requires a skill that only comes with practice.

You’ll know, after a few tries, which amount is right for your hair, but be prepared to alter this amount depending on how moisturized your hair becomes in the coming weeks. Very dry hair will absorb much more oil than moisturized hair, and once hair oiling becomes a part of your beauty routine you’ll probably find that you need less of it as time goes by.


Scalp massage

Hair oils make for excellent scalp massages

Using oils as a leave-in conditioning treatment is ideal for long-haired ladies but it’s certainly not for everyone. If your hair is short, then it’s likely that the oils will make your hair greasy, as they’ll find their way to your scalp much faster than they would if your hair was long. This is not to say that you can’t still benefit from oiling in other ways, however.

Some women use hair oils as an overnight deep conditioning treatment, while others – myself included – use them while having a relaxing, DIY scalp massage. Here, I typically mix a few drops of rosemary oil (which is renowned for its ability to stimulate hair growth) with a liberal amount of jojoba oil, and spent a few minutes massaging it into my scalp. I leave it in for a few hours, then shampoo it out, with the result being extra-shiny, conditioned hair that often still has a lingering scent of invigorating rosemary.

I leave it in for a few hours, then shampoo it out, with the result being extra-shiny, conditioned hair that often still has a lingering scent of invigorating rosemary.

So if the products available in stores are no longer working for your hair, or if you simply want to embrace the natural way (and why wouldn’t you?) then give hair oiling a go! It’s time-tested, it won’t break the bank, and you may just find that it beats every other conditioner you’ve tried by a mile.

Hairstyle trends for 2017

As we hurtle towards the end of another year at Arena Salon, it’s time to take a look at some of the emerging trends that are predicted to be big news in 2017. Without further ado…

grown out pixie cut celebrity

Pixies, begone! The grown-out short crops of Ashlee Simpson, Carey Mulligan and Emily Browning

1) Grown-out pixie cuts.

It seemed that everywhere you looked in 2015 and 2016, there was a celebrity showing off her freshly shorn locks. While the style is undoubtedly a timeless one, the A-list fascination with all things pixie is expected to wane over the coming year. As such, the grown-out pixie – as sported by Ashlee Simpson, Mia Wasikowska, and Emma Watson, among many others – will be a key look for 2017.

It’s very much a transitional style (that is, worn mostly by women who have decided to make the return to long hair) but that’s not to say it can’t be chosen as a hairstyle in its own right. Just be prepared to spend more time styling it than you otherwise would with long hair or with a very short crop.


Ultra-bright hair colour at New York Fashion Week (From L-R) Thakoon, Narciso Rodriguez, and Jeremy Scott

2) Unique colour.

Make no mistake – bold hair colour is going to be HUGE in 2017. This is one of those cyclical hairstyle trends that has made a return every five to ten years since it first landed in the 1970s. Celebs like Katy Perry,Kate Bosworth, Nicki Minaj and Sienna Miller have already jumped on the bandwagon for this latest revival, and it’s been popping up with increasing regularity on the international catwalks too.

Katy Perry pink hair lavender colour

Teenage dream Katy Perry’s vibrant candy-coloured tresses.

This time around, it’s all about choosing just one standout shade (pink is especially popular, but you should go with whatever suits your personality the best), and allowing some of your own natural hair colour to show at the roots. Check out this article for more info on how to go about embracing the latest trend for bold colour.

celebrity bob hairstyle textured and tousled

Bobbed beauties Ali Larter, Alexa Chung and Brooklyn Decker.

3) Textured chin-to-shoulder-length bobs.

This is one of the most easy-to-manage styles around and is a great way to update your look if you’ve had long hair for what seems like eons. The shoulder-length bob has been on trend for a while now (thank you, Jennifer Aniston) but in 2012 it’s expected to be a touch shorter, with an emphasis on volume, texture, and clever layering.

It’s an extremely versatile cut, but before you grab your handbag and head to the salon you’ll need to consider your face shape (because unfortunately, it won’t look good on everyone) as well as your hair’s natural texture. Curly haired girls will need to have some layers cut in to avoid the dreaded ‘pyramid’ look, while those among us with very fine hair will need a more graduated cut to make the most of what little natural volume they have. Chin-to-shoulder-length bobs are definitely trickier than what you’d first expect, but when you get this style right, it looks nothing short of stunning.

Braided updos beautiful hairstyles

Love it! Braided updos are bang on trend for 2012.

4) Braids, braids and more braids.

Not ready to part with your long hair? Me neither, and the great news for us is that braids – in their many different forms – are predicted to be a major hairstyle trend in the coming year and beyond. Braided updos, side braids, and fishtail braids are especially popular, as are glamorous and romantic half-braided, half-down styles (think Daenerys from Game of Thrones).

long blonde hair braid

The beautiful braided hair of Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones, played by actress Emilia Clarke

How to create a faux bob

I’m absolutely loving this faux bob hairstyle that Taylor Swift wore to the Rodarte show at New York Fashion Week last Tuesday – it’s romantic, it’s elegant, and it’s ridiculously easy to create yourself at home.

Here’s how it’s done.

Taylor Swift bob hair celebrity hairstyle

Perennially stylish singer Taylor Swift‘s gorgeous temporary bob at New York Fashion Week.

Wash and condition your hair. If it’s curly or wavy, use your straightener, and if it’s straight you can allow it to dry naturally. Brush your hair thoroughly, and part it deeply on one side.

Then, pull your hair into a very loose, low ponytail and secure it with a clear elastic band. Keep a couple of strands around your hairline loose; these will be staying out of the ‘bob’ part of the hairstyle to give it a softer overall appearance.

Roll the ponytail under, and pin it securely in place with bobby pins at the nape of your neck. Drape and pin the front strands to one side of your face with a simple barrette, and finish with a small amount of light to medium-hold hairspray.

The main thing to remember with this hairstyle is not to be too precious about it – its very essence is in its ‘undone’ appearance, which is perfect considering that it won’t last for more than a few hours. It’s also an ideal way to see if medium-length hair suits you, without having to sacrifice your long locks to the salon floor.

Long hair = high style. Here’s proof.

Hairstyle trends are never static. They can’t be, by definition alone. Trends are always on the move, evolving and reviving, over and over again. Trends in hair and fashion are an inevitable response to the varied and often very subtle shifts occurring in areas as diverse as popular culture, fringe subculture, world politics, even the economy.

But what does remain (comparatively) static is genuine style. The embracing of one’s individual preferences, regardless of what’s so hot right now, is a mark of true refinement. It’s what separates the every day from the extraordinary.

Models with long straight hair

Daphne Groeneveld, Karen Elson, Kristen McMenamy and Naomi Campbell for Roberto Cavalli SS 2012.

Ever noticed how supermodels nearly always have long hair? The designers who hire them don’t want to merely be associated with fashion. Fashion is, after all, for the masses; it’s genuine style that is for the elite. And it’s the elite for whom top-end designers wish to cater their brands.

Beautiful long black hair

Naomi Campbell for Roberto Cavalli SS 2012.

My point? Short hair may be on trend, but long hair is timeless. Long hair is classic. When properly cared for, long hair is truly a thing of beauty and will place its owner a cut above the rest.

Long haired models

Naomi Campbell, Kristen McMenamy, Karen Elson and Daphne Groeneveld for Roberto Cavalli SS 2012.

Fashion has its place, to be sure. Fashion is a lot of fun. It may be looked upon as frivolous, yet it represents so much about the world at large, so much about the time in which we live.

But style? Style represents the individual.

So which would you rather be?

Stunning red hair, long straight hairstyle

Karen Elson for Roberto Cavalli SS 2012.