Over the past few years, we’ve embraced the “skinification” of haircare (i.e. using skincare ingredients and techniques to benefit our hair). Now, the pros are using “hair filler” to create fuller, more voluminous hair, especially when it comes to the hairstyle of the decade – the bob.
Unlike dermal fillers, hair filler doesn’t require any needles. In fact, the only ingredient when it comes to hair filler is more hair in the form of quick and easy clip-in extensions. The technique first gained traction among celebrities, who commonly switch up their hairstyles on an almost daily basis, oscillating between XXL length and a tousled bob and back again in a matter of hours.
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Rather than constantly chopping hair and then reapplying extensions the following day, hair stylists use a braiding technique to hide a client’s true hair length, before applying weft extensions directly onto the braids to create a faux bob that can be undone easily.
The key is to separate the front, face-framing section of the hair as well as a mohawk-shaped section along the top of the head, which will be styled at the end to hide any sign of the braids underneath and to help to create a blended finish.
Then, snatch the remaining hair back tightly and style it into two, three-stranded braids, which can then be pinned tightly to the scalp, crisscrossing them and winding them round so the ends don’t dangle.
Finally, hairstylists glue on hair wefts of the desired length (in most cases, a shoulder-length bob), starting with a couple on the braided section, and continuing all the way up the head until they reach the mohawk section at the top. This section can then be styled or smoothed down to completely disguise the trickery underneath and create the illusion of a natural, beautifully bouncy bob.
It is hardly surprising hair fillers are so popular among celebrities – they provide a quick solution to the common concern of hair thinning and hair loss. However, it’s not just celebrities who are keen to address these concerns. According to Pantene, hair loss has become the number 1 concern in the UK with more than 11 million of us Google searching “How can I make my hair grow” and 80% of women in Europe suffering from hair damage.
On average, women can lose between 40 to 100 hairs a day, says top hairdresser, David Lucas. Some degree of shedding is normal, but for those with thin hair, or for those simply wanting thick, swishy hair (so most of us, then), it can be frustrating. Plus, let’s be honest, the pro technique of hair extension fillers is beyond us mere mortals.
Luckily, three leading haircare brands have put their weight behind creating effective and enticing product-led solutions, that deliver on XXL strands and also feel luxurious to use – think of these as the at-home versions of hair fillers. “What people crave is a beauty remedy – a luxurious, sophisticated, holistic, science-backed system, combined with pleasing textures and fragrances. Something they would be proud to have on display in their bathroom,” say the experts at Kérastase.
First up, L’Oréal has its Professionnel Serie Expert Pro Longer range. As the name suggests, the idea is to coax extra mileage out of the lengths of our strands. The collection, which consists of a shampoo, conditioner, mask, renewing cream and futuristic-looking ‘filler concentrate’ dished out in individual ampoules, is infused with a new-gen technology patented by the brand. The science? Filoxane (one of the ingredients in L’Oreal’s top secret Filler A 100 complex), is modeled on the sealant which expands to fix cracks in car windscreens. It penetrates the fibre core and thickens from the inside, plumping up ailing strands. Meanwhile PQ6, which also forms part of the complex, resurfaces the fibre to protect it from damage, offering a protective coating.
The result, in theory, is rather like the fillers used to plump up lips. But rather than inflating the entire strand, the effort is focused on the lengths and ends, where wear and tear tend to show up most. Instrumental testing has shown it can pump-up the end 7 centimetres by 49 per cent. Impressive.
Meanwhile, both Pantene and Kérastase have created formulas that tackle hair loss. Their approaches are two-pronged: the root is strengthened to prevent the bulb (the hair root) from detaching from the scalp. And strands are fortified to prevent breakage.
Kérastase’s Genesis Anti-Fall range is everything you’d expect from the brand – sleek, luxurious, deliciously scented and intelligent. Hidden beneath the millennial pink and bathroom-worthy packaging though is a formula packed with ingredients specifically chosen to offset the causes of hair loss. For instance, Aminexil helps to preserve healthy nutrition deep within the scalp. The range, and particularly the Fortifiant Anti-Chute Serum, has been clinically proven to improve the barrier function of the scalp, slow down the shedding process and help re-anchor the hair fibre to the root, while the shampoo and mask strengthen the fibre of the hair to prevent breakage.
And, Pantene’s aptly named Grow Strong Collection drenches hair in a potent growth cocktail. Biotin, an enzyme that helps to generate keratin (the building block for healthy hair) keeps hair strong and healthy at the root. And bamboo (which has a tensile strength to rival steel, but with the ability to bend), reinforces strands, building up their durability and flexibility, which allows them to stretch and flex, without breaking. The shampoo washes in essential nutrients penetrates the fibres, bolsters the structure and neutralises damaging ions from pollution and colourants. The Miracles Roots Awakener combines vitamin B3, panthenol and biotin to create the optimal environment for improved hair growth.
Originally published in Glamourmagazine.co.uk