Leonor Greyl: The secrets of beautiful hair

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Collage-LeonorWhen we were in Paris this week for Fashion Week, we discovered a hair care company that has the solution for dry, tired winter hair that has been suffering from cold air outside, overheated rooms and being stuffed under woolen hats every day.

You might think that green-chic hair products are a recent trend. Think again! Almost fifty years ago, Leonor Greyl already developed cutting-edge hair care using only plants and natural ingredients, something almost unheard of in those times. This Paris-based family business is the brainchild of Leonor (a beauty and hair care fanatic) and Jean-Marie Greyl (an engineer and botanist), and they are still on the forefront of innovative hair care, offering natural, nutritive products that provide instant and long-lasting solutions to your every hair problem, whether fine, dry or damaged. This French range still does without any harsh chemicals, silicones or parabens, relying instead on the natural powers of botanical extracts, vitamins and silk proteins.

IRMA spoke with Caroline Greyl, the daughter of the founders, who is now in charge of the company and its award-winning products, and asked her about the secrets of healthy, shiny hair.

IRMA: What is the best protection for your hair against cold weather outside and dry air inside?
Caroline Greyl: When you need silky, smooth and protected hair whatever the weather, you can rely on the film-forming proteins in styling products. They create a protective barrier around the hair, moisturize it from the inside and protect it from static and frizz all day long. I advise to avoid silicone-based styling products as they give hair a heavy, coated look. Favor natural products which use oil bases and plant proteins; they are usually less oily and more effective in the long-term. For the final touch before you go out, apply a small amount of Sérum de Soie sublimateur (for fine hair) or Éclat naturel (for thick hair), and take the time to offer your hair a deep-nourishing treatment once a week to prevent the drying effect of temperature changes.

IRMA: How do you get brilliant shine on your hair?
C.G.: Shiny hair is hair with a smooth cuticle whose scales are all lined up and reflect light like a mirror. The healthier the hair, the more the mirror effect is increased. It is therefore essential to nourish and repair your hair with deep-acting treatments that can be left on and allow maximum absorption, like L’Huile de Leonor Greyl.
For an instant boost, apply a dollop of mask after every shampoo: the smoothing action will instantly provide hair with shine and softness, even if you rinse it out immediately!
If you use a hair dryer, remember to protect your hair from the drying effects of heat so it does not get dull and brittle. Sérum de Soie sublimateur (for fine hair) and Lait Luminescence (for thick hair) both fulfill this mission and make your hair silky smooth and shiny.
Finally, brush your hair regularly to remove any dust and renew its shine, and don’t forget to clean your brush once a week to keep your hair from looking dull!

IRMA: The best prep before a shampooing treatment?
C.G.: I always advise to brush your hair when it is dry before applying shampoo. Washing your hair when it is full of knots will simply make your shampoo less effective and more difficult to rinse.
If your hair is long or naturally dry, apply L’Huile de Leonor Greyl to the length and ends before your shampoo and brush your hair. As a result, your locks will be easier to untangle and appear shinier.

IRMA: Any tips for protecting your hair against chlorine?
C.G.: When swimming at the pool, choose a water-resistant product to protect your hair from the drying effect of the chlorine, such as L’Huile de Leonor Greyl. The oil solidifies under 77°F (25°C) to create a barrier between your hair and the water, giving you a nourishing treatment at the same time.
After swimming, rinse and use a shampoo adapted to your hair type to remove all traces of chlorine.

IRMA: What is your longest best seller and why it is still working after all these years?
C.G.: Our most popular and emblematic product is L’Huile de Leonor Greyl, which my father created in 1980. Its success comes from its incredible softening formula. It repairs all damaged and dry hair, especially after the aggression of chemical processes like coloring, highlights or straightening, to which our hair is subjected to more and more often. It’s also a must-have in sunny destinations as it protects the hair from UV, salt and chlorine. In short, it’s an essential for everyone’s bathroom shelf as it takes care of your hair all year long and brings immediate results.

IRMA: Which is your favorite natural ingredient for hair?
C.G.: You’d better ask my husband and R&D manager, Tom Brooks, to whom my father passed the torch! I love the Quinoa protein for its super nourishing and anti-ageing properties. It’s the perfect natural active ingredient to restore hair’s softness and shine for whatever hair type. Tom uses it often for its instant smoothing action that does not weigh the hair down.

IRMA: Your favorite address for your hair in Paris?
C.G.: The Leonor Greyl Institute, of course! More than a hair salon, it’s a place devoted to beauty and healthy hair where it all started in 1968. My mother’s highly-skilled team offers tailor-made rituals according to the house protocol. It’s my favorite place to bring new life to my hair when I’m tired or before an important event. I also go to Stephan Pous hair salon to get my hair colored, he’s a great artist who does a fantastic color job.

IRMA travels the world, writes and illustrates the life she lives.

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