Mad About Hue

As the last weeks of summer are winding down, laments about over-stressed hair caused by too much sun, chlorine and salt water are likely winding up. Whatever the reason, August usually marks the time when clients turn to you for treatments that will get their hair back into healthy, shiny shape.

Fortunately, this season you'll have just the right remedy. It's called thermal reconstruction, and it's literally the hottest way to treat summer-ravaged hair. The key is to fight solar damage with a thermal solution, and everything you need is most likely at your fingertips. Here's how it works.


When a client shows up with sun-seared hair, your first step is to determine whether she needs protein, moisture or both. If it's protein that's lacking, her tresses will appear frail, brittle and almost too elastic—common characteristics of fine hair that desperately needs to be rebuilt. If moisture is the missing component, hair will lack luster and feel dry to the touch. Once you've figured out what type of conditioning she needs, whip up a tailor-made concoction using your favorite ingredients.


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After shampooing and towel-drying the hair, section it as if you're applying color. I prefer working from the nape up, but it's your choice. Apply the custom conditioner the same way you would apply single-process color, using the foils you'd use for highlights. Once the sections of hair are wrapped, gently tap each one a couple of times with a flat iron. The heat from the iron will penetrate deep into the hair to seal and repair the cuticle.

Teri Hatcher is a fan of thermal reconstruction, which produces soft, shiny, healthy-looking hair.
Teri Hatcher is a fan of thermal reconstruction, which produces soft, shiny, healthy-looking hair.

All the rage in Hollywood, thermal reconstruction is the service du jour because it's a relatively simple process that produces incredible results. We've used it on Jenny McCarthy, whose fine blonde hair had lost some of its glow. Regular conditioners weren't providing the benefits she needed, so we created a special blend that was half protein, half moisture. The result: soft, shiny hair that is as healthy-looking as the locks of a four-year-old.

Teri Hatcher is likewise a fan of the process. We blended a conditioner specifically for her, adding Redken Shades EQ's sheer chestnut glaze in 7-NB to give new life and a brilliant gloss to her hair, which had been exposed to a typical Los Angeles summer. This is a great solution if your goal is to enrich natural color, brighten dullness or refresh previously colored hair.

Blondes and brunettes aren't the only ones who can reap the benefits of this innovative process. When Julianne Moore showed up at the salon seeking help for her gorgeous but sun-faded locks, we jumped in with a special heat-enhanced blend to seal and add shine to her hair, as well. The good news: Her glorious flame-red shade is back and more radiant than ever.

The biggest boon of thermal reconstruction is that it affords you and your clients a lot of options. You can perform the process as I've described, generating a whisper effect that will make a noticeable difference in terms of overall hair health and shine. You also have the flexibility of adding some shout—a second level of treatment using semipermanent color and resulting in a more dramatic change. In either case, it's all about the heat, which is the catalyst that causes both the conditioning ingredients and the color to work overtime to make the hair look fabulous. —E-mail Kim Vo at [email protected].