Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Are sulphate-free shampoos better for coloured hair?

This is always a hot topic. I often get asked are sulphate-free shampoos better for coloured hair.

While Liz Edmonds, colour director at Daniel Galvin, was doing my colour, we got talking about shampoos and sulphates, the most common being sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulphate (SLES). They have received a bad rap, with rumours on the internet that these are potentially carcinogenic, but that has not been proved. However, some people think that they do strip the colour from the hair.

Daniel Galvin Extra Care Shampoo

Liz told me washing your hair will inevitably lead to colour loss, no matter what shampoo you use. “Water, especially hard water, will cause hair to lose colour, as will being out in the sun or overexposing hair to heat.”

So, if you want to see whether sulphate-free shampoos really do work better on coloured hair, do a test and wash one side in a sulphate-free shampoo and the other in one that contains sulphates.

L’Oréal Paris Hair EverSleek Smoothing & Moisture Shampoo

If you have sensitive skin, you may find that sulphates, which tend to lather well, irritate you. Try a sulphate-free shampoo – I like the Daniel Galvin Extra Care Shampoo (£12.50). It contains collagen, which helps moisturise and strengthen the hair, and protein to make the hair soft and keratin for repairing damaged hair.

Another good one is L’Oréal Paris Hair EverSleek Smoothing & Moisture Shampoo, (£5.99), which uses a non-sulphate cleansing system. It’s particularly good if your hair is frizzy.

By Daralyn Danns

Friday, 22 June 2012

A visit to Nicky Clarke’s new Mayfair Salon

Nicky Clarke

An invitation to go to join Nicky Clarke, regarded as one of the best hairdressers in the business, for a glass of bubby and see his new salon was one that I couldn’t pass up.

After 21 years on Mount Street, Nicky agreed a deal with the Duke of Westminster, his landlord  to relocate round the corner to Carlos Place, near the Connaught hotel. Designer Oscar de la Rente will be occupying his old premises.

Personally, I think this was a smart move in many ways. This new two-storey salon is far more compact and cosy than the original one. The décor, dark wood floors and carpeted stairs and lighting reflect the architectural style of its Georgian townhouse surrounds. There is a touch of the old establishment: a wall featuring covers of magazines that showcase the maestro’s work. Nicky pointed out that there are still finishing touches to be done. The salon is operating with a temporary reception desk, for example. Although, I  have to admit that I didn’t feel that this deterred from the general ambience of this buzzy place packed with people from all walks of life. 

Styled by Craig Pellowe

My stylist was Craig Pellowe. We decided to go with a style that worked with the movement of my hair as the weather was atrocious and a sleek blow-dry would have been ruined the moment that I stepped out of the door. Craig placed some Velcro rollers on the crown for volume and pin curled the bottom.

We got talking about fringes as so many celebs such as Zooey Deschanel and Lea Michele have been seen supporting blunt bangs.
“I prefer classic fringes as they are more versatile. Heavy ones usually look better on 19 or 20 year-olds,” Craig said.

There are downsides to thick bangs, they can be hot in the summer (if we get any sun) and they won’t work if you have curly tresses, a low hairline or a cowlick in your hair. Craig suggests looking at the movement and hair line before cutting the hair (not too short) wet, then rough- drying it to see how the hair falls, so that you can tweak the final shape.

Side-swept fringes can soften a square or long face. If you don’t feel as if you want to take the plunge, Craig’s solution is to try a fake one.

By Daralyn Danns

Nicky Clarke (

Friday, 15 June 2012

Fixing hair colour disasters

I’m sure I am not the only one who has had a hair colour crisis. The sun-kissed tresses that make you look like you have gone into competition with a traffic light, the few highlights you love turn into a whole head. You want to be brunette, but it ends up looking so dark and dreary people think you are going for an interview for the part of the wicked witch. And so it goes on.

Even putting your tresses in the hands of some so-called masters doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get a disastrous concoction. Been there… Good colourists really are a rare breed.

So, what do you do when it goes wrong? If it is the first visit to a salon, go back and tell them. Give them a chance to fix it, unless you feel that they can correct the mistake. If they are not getting the colour right, or at least moving in the right direction after a few visits, go for a few consultations at different salons, before making a decision about what you want to do. It can take several visits for colour to be put right, so don’t dismiss it when a colour specialist tells you that it may take six months to achieve your perfect hue.

Too orange

Liz Edmonds, colour director at Daniel Galvin told me that usually, when she has to do colour corrections, they are the result of botched home jobs. “A common mistake is taking the colour through to the ends each time it is applied,” she says. “Hair gets darker and darker until it is too dark.”

But, don’t despair, this can be put right. Louise Galvin’s Hair Colour Removal system (£150, Daniel Galvin) may be the answer to your prayers. It shouldn’t damage the hair as it doesn’t contain ammonia or peroxide. Your hair is taken back to its natural state, so you can instantly recolour it. 

Another method Liz uses to take the heaviness out and soften the colour is a detox treatment. This pure vitamin C solution won’t harm the hair either. “For really bad hair we use a technique called white washing which removes some of the colour,” says Liz. “The drawback is that it can make the hair colour warmer as you are drawing out the red pigment. If the hair is too warm, we then have to neutralise it with a “flat” colour or ash shade.”

Getting there

If your hair is porous, it will soak it up dye like a sponge, especially on the ends and, therefore, if you or somebody has not taken this into consideration, your end result may not be what you hoped for.

Over-processing can cause damage to the hair making it look like a bed of hay. So, go easy on the highlights. “If you keep adding lowlights to the hair, it will eventually look too muddy,” says Liz. “If this does happen, go for a warmer shade.”

Liz also suggests using vegetable colours to perk up hair that has gone too yellow or flat. “It will even out the shade. A colour bath is a good remedy for tangerine-like locks, but it is a slow process. “However, quick fixes will cause more problems,” she explains. “This way your hair will get into a better condition so the colour holds well.”

By Daralyn Danns 

Friday, 8 June 2012

Destination Ghent, Flanders


Fuse stunning medieval architecture with harmonious contemporary high-tech buildings, throw in some beautiful old squares and picturesque canals, then spice it up with sparkling energy and you have Ghent. Wonderfully charming, yet at the same time there is a lived-in vibe that lets you know that Flanders’s gem is a city adored by its inhabitants.

Ghent, in its glory years, was the second-largest  city in Europe after Paris. Take a boat trip through the heart of the city. As you drift by the Castle of the Counts, Gothic guildhalls and the old fish and butchers’ markets, you can almost taste its long-gone world. At night, it is almost as if you have stepped on to a film set.

If like me, you are not one for traipsing round museums, you can enjoy wonders such as the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, a masterpiece by the Van Eyck brothers at the renowned St Bravo’s Cathedral. There is also a Rubens masterpiece which I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to miss.

Afterwards I wandered off to soak up the atmosphere and explore the quaint town, a compact weave of cobbled streets. Be sure to dodge the trams and bicycles.

Library in the vineyards of St Peter’s Abbey

The city is also peppered with contemporary art and installations, part of TRACK, an international exhibition organised by S.M.A.K (the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art) running until 16 Sept 2012, which will certainly get those old grey cells working as you try to fathom out the artist’s message. Well, art is supposed to speak to you, isn’t it?  One I particularly liked was a library in the vineyards of St Peter’s Abbey. I could imagine sitting on the grass on a hot summer’s day curled up with a good book.

Ghent is awash with lively bars and cafés – it is, after all, a student town – as well as interesting and quirky boutiques. Of course, it would be rude not to taste some chocolate. I took a nibbling tour, which is a great way to combine walking and history with tasting local specialities such as beer at old-styled Flemish shops. 

Street in Ghent

Yuzu is a chocolate lover’s heaven. Prepare for your taste buds to be seduced by Japanese-inspired creations from Ghent’s renowned chocolatier, Nicolas Vanaise.

The food in Ghent is superb. A must is the Belga Queen. Once a grain storehouse, this waterside restaurant will dazzle you with its culinary delights and its contemporary chic architecture. Also not to be missed is Bord'eau. This huge brasserie, housed in the former fish market, as its name suggests, is on the water’s edge. Food is excellent and the views are rather special.

Pol, the owner of  Dt reupelkot.

A trip to Ghent wouldn’t be complete without a visit toDt reupelkot. This bar which specialises in jenever, a juniper-flavoured liquor, is a favourite haunt of both locals and tourists. Pol, the owner has over 200 different kinds for you to try. Beware, it is extremely potent! I only managed to try a couple including the vanilla one. I had to leave the rest for another time. A good enough reason to go back to this underrated city.

By Daralyn Danns

Getting there

It’s incredibly relaxing to reach Ghent with Eurostar. With one easy connection, you can be there in under three hours from London St Pancras International
Eurostar offers return fares to Ghent from £80. Eurostar also offers connecting fares from more than 300 stations in the UK. For more information or to book, visit or call 08432 186 186

I stayed at the NH Gent Belfort (/

For further information about visiting Ghent contact Tourism Flanders-Brussels on 0207 307 7738 (Live operator line, Mon – Fri) or visit

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Keep in the party spirit

Her Majesty leaving St Paul's Cathedral

An epidemic of patriotic fever swept over London for the Diamond Jubilee weekend that I had never before witnessed. The crowds were huge and, at times, you couldn’t move, but the camaraderie I experienced as I joined the throng was a rich and rewarding experience. I felt so proud to be British.

You will all have your own personal memories of the weekend. I thought mine was going to be the flotilla, as I live by the Thames and love boats and water. But, it actually was getting a wave from the Queen herself.

I had gone to St Paul’s Cathedral to soak up the atmosphere and as Her Majesty was leaving, I managed to get a picture – a profile of her – as her car was approaching. At the moment the camera clicked, the car slowed down in front of where I was standing and she turned round and waved. I also saw the rest of the Royal Family, but being able to look straight at the Queen on this wonderful historic occasion is a memory I will treasure forever.

The Red Arrows

The party may well now be over, but this summer with Wimbledon, the Olympics and maybe the football – though I don’t hold out much hope for that – promises to give us plenty of reason to host our own summer events.

As part of my Jubilee celebrations, I went to have lunch at my favourite London hotel, which is rumoured to be frequented by members of the Royal Family, The Stafford London by Kempinski. Quintessentially English, its quaint courtyard is the ideal setting for a summer’s drink.

The Stafford London by Kempinski: the quaint courtyard

I asked Benoit Provost, the bars manager, for some ideas for summer party drinks. “Pimms! It’s a classic,” he replied. “It’s easy to prepare and is wonderful served with fresh mint.”

If you want to serve cocktails, Benoit suggests livening up a glass of champagne with strawberry purée. It’s the perfect drink for Wimbledon. Another idea is to pour some raspberry purée  into a glass filled with crushed ice and add some lime cordial and  vodka. Top with champagne, if you feel like being extravagant.

Alternatively, mix a little Mandarine Napoleon with a lime cordial and apple juice and fill the glass with prosecco or champagne.

For those special occasions, Benoit recommends pink champagne. He likes Bollinger Rosé NV, Deutz Brut Rosé and Gosset Grand Rosé.

Benoit Provost talking to me about party drinks
If you are a wine lover, Benoit says you can’t go wrong with pinot grigio. For something a little different, Benoit recommends voignier. “It’s a lovely dry white wine from the South West of France.” If you prefer rosé, go for a sancerre. “Try adding some pink-grapefruit syrup,” suggests Benoit. It may be very American, but adding a couple of ice cubes makes a glass of wine last longer and it is really refreshing.

By Daralyn Danns