You know those makeover shows where the professional hairdresser picks up the participant’s locks with a look of mock disgust? That was basically the scenario when I went to have a colour and cut with my hairdresser Beth a few months ago.

Lank and limp, I think that would be a fair description. And I also think it’s fair to say this has never been the case before. I’m not saying I was the proud owner of a barnet of dreams or anything, but considering I used cheap and cheerful products and “effort” consisted of me haphazardly using a hairdryer, I’d say my hair would’ve passed as perfectly presentable.

Then they discontinued the shampoo I loved that cost under a fiver at Boots (Umberto Gianni Volumising in the lilac bottle, why Gianni WHY?!) and at around the same time I developed a rather peculiar reaction to the purple toner for brassiness that I have used for nearly 9 years. Three months worth used to set me back the grand sum of two quid if I purchased whilst there was an offer on (which I often did).

My March was essentially a month of continual bad hair days whilst testing out a selection of alternative options. The only replacement daily shampoo I could find that didn’t aggravate my eczema or make my scalp itch was one that comes in a large black bottle with pink lettering on and claims of “salon” connections (I don’t want to necessarily put in writing the exact brand that was the main cause of my tragic lacklustre strands but thought I would at least offer some TRÉS BIG clues). I must point out for the first few days it seemed fine, and you can’t deny the stuff is an absolute bargain.

Beth guessed straight away what brand I had been using, which I found in equal parts fascinating and slightly disconcerting. Why does anyone use it if essentially it makes your hair look well, really crap?

Beth recommended I try Kerastase Specifique Bain Vital Dermo-Calm for normal to combination hair (try saying that after a few gin and tonics). It’s hypoallergenic and aimed at those with a sensitive scalp. And it’s almost prohibitively expensive – it usually retails at £17.90. And yes you guessed it, it’s the bomb. Seriously, my hair has never been bouncier or cleaner or easier to do things with. I buy it from as they often have offers on (it’s currently £13.40 and comes with a free gift). I would also say a little goes a LONG way. A bottle lasts twice as long as my cheaper old favourite. All in all it’s actually not considerably more per wash.

That would all have been fine if I hadn’t been lured into also purchasing the “Silver Charge” by Redken shampoo as well. This product is aimed specifically at men which is in equal parts ridiculous and hilarious (it’s a regular purple toner, but packaged in a grey bottle with a cityscape logo and has a slight masculine whiff about it). Regardless, it is AMAZING. And makes my locks silvery and soft without becoming overtly silky and droopy. There is currently 20% off at so it’s £8 a bottle.

I promise you are allowed to use it even if you are not a man.

Do you use fancy shampoo? What one do you use? Do you think it’s worth it?

I told Beth I would be including her in this feature and that she wouldn’t get abuse for being a meany. She was just being honest – my hair looked shit.