Chocolate advent calendars are so last year. This year, treat yourself to one of these seriously luxe beauty advent calendars.
After years of styling hair at fashion weeks across the globe and working on glam squads for celebrities like Alicia Keys, Tilda Swinton and Harry Styles, hairstylist Helen Reavey knows all there is to know about scalp care. Throughout her time as a celebrity hairstylist, she’s seen how styling products and hot tools can damage the hair and leave buildup behind on the scalp. Unfortunately, most people - especially celebrities - can’t cut out styling products completely to eliminate that buildup, so Reavey, with the help of her husband Colm Mackin, created a solution: Act + Acre.
They say blondes have more fun but, true or not, maintaining those golden locks can prove quite the task for the fair-headed among us, especially during the winter. As the sunshine shrinks away, sadly us blondes are no longer able to rely solely on the sun to lighten our tresses and instead many of us will be reaching for the bleach to avoid our hair turning a brassy shade of yellow.But if a visit to the hairdressers every six weeks just isn’t on the cards, what’s a girl to do to keep her blonde bright, bold and vibrant? The key here is to invest in a purple or “silver” shampoo.Purple shampoos are designed to neutralise the brassy, yellow tones that can develop after time and, because purple is exactly opposite yellow on the colour wheel, it immediately cools down golden tones after just one use.Depending on the product you choose and the amount of yellow you’re trying to combat, a purple shampoo can be used daily or as a weekly treatment. Similarly, the amount of time you leave it on for will differ too – if your hair is in desperate need of a refresh, some will recommend you let the shampoo sit for up to five minutes. However, if you’re tackling a minimal amount brass, a minute or two will suffice.Whether your hair is natural or dyed, we’ve been testing the products that will really make the most of your fair locks. Here are our favourite ways to keep blondes looking like they’ve just stepped out of the salon. L’Oreal Professionnel Serie Expert Silver: £11.52, AmazonOne of the world’s best-loved beauty brands, L’Oreal Professionnel certainly knows its stuff and this colour-clarifying shampoo proves it. Seriously intense in colour, the formula is designed specifically for grey or white hair, but can also be used by blondes to reduce unwanted yellow tones. Made with a specific anti-yellow action, this shampoo uses a neutralising system to treat colour fading and dullness, ensuring that fair hair remains bright and glossy and, after using just once, we definitely saw results. After applying to wet hair, creating a lather and rinsing thoroughly, our locks looked instantly more alive and had a healthy feel. If it’s super-white, or grey-toned hair you’re after, we suggest leaving on for a little longer for the best results – but be careful if you simply want to eliminate brassiness.Buy now Lee Stafford Bleach Blonde Shampoo: £8, AmazonA cult favourite, this has been formulated for bleached and highlighted hair to lightly tone and knock out that pesky brassiness that develops over time. It also has UV protection, which helps protect your tresses and prevents colour fade and damage. We found this option refreshed and restored our hair easily and even looked far shinier – a result we’re attributing to its blonde-enhancing complex of chamomile and moringa seed extract. Great for livening your locks in between salon visits, it’s recommended to use this once a week to avoid hair becoming too ashy – unless that’s what you’re looking for.Buy now Bleach London Silver Shampoo: from £6.50, Cult BeautyA brand known for single-handedly reinvigorating haircare with cruelty-free dyes and a cast of rainbow hues, Bleach London’s expertise can now be accessed within the comfort of your very own home. A game-changer for blonde, platinum or white hair, this violet-toned, high-pigment shampoo will eliminate brassy tones to give you your brightest look yet. It’s made using strengthening wheat proteins and moisturising vitamin B5 to nourish your hair as you rescue it, and is cruelty-free and vegan. Used every other wash, we found that this option gave brilliant results even after a single use and, thanks to its nourishing ingredients, left our locks feeling super smooth. You can also buy a coordinating conditioner.Buy now Kevin Murphy Blonde Angel Wash: £20, Cult BeautyCreated by renowned editorial stylist Kevin Murphy, this everyday use shampoo tackles dull and lifeless blonde locks with a clever concoction of ingredients. Infused with lavender, it also contains optical brighteners to restore shine while the addition of murumuru butter and shea butter as well as vitamin A and E works to hydrate and soothe your hair and scalp. A great option for daily use, we found this made our tresses look far less brassy. Buy Now Pro:Voke Touch of Silver Brightening Shampoo: £4, AmazonThe cheapest option on the list, you’ll be surprised at just how well this bargain buy will improve the colour of your tresses. Super-potent, it is designed to tone and brighten hair in just one wash and we found it delivered. Formulated with a violet pigment, it should be used twice a week as a treatment – simply massage into wet hair, leave for five minutes and rinse thoroughly. After using this shampoo once, we noticed our hair looked instantly brighter and, in bleached areas, far, far whiter. Depending on the result you’re looking for, this option will reduce brassiness when needed, or if you use it more regularly, help you achieve that cool, ashy look. For the price, there really wasn’t much difference in performance, making it a great choice for anyone on a budget.Buy now Sachajuan Silver Shampoo: £20, AmazonCreated by cult Swedish brand Sachajuan, this shampoo will help you achieve a pure, unadulterated shade of blonde while using its patented “Ocean Silk technology” – a cocktail of proteins and mineral extracts derived from sea algae – for added shine. A product that neutralises and protects your colour, it’s cleverly pigmented to counteract undesirable brassy tones and diminish unwanted warmth, making it a brilliant option for blondes and those with cool violet hair. It also contains a UV-shielding ingredient to help fight long-term fade. As well as decreasing yellowness in our tresses, we found this also gave our hair added volume, strength and silkiness. While we rinsed shortly after application, this highly pigmented formula means the longer you leave it on, the stronger the effect will be.Buy now Lush Daddy-O Shampoo: £6.25, LushLike all of Lush’s products, this purple shampoo smells divine as it’s fragranced with violet, lemon and lime, but it also does the job at clarifying hair effectively. A great way to keep platinum and grey locks looking their best, we found this creamy option instantly revived our tresses, almost completely ridding them of unwanted canary yellow tones. Our hair smelled great after use and, thanks to ingredients such as extra virgin coconut oil and seaweed, it also felt much softer. It gets bonus points for being vegan.Buy now Oribe Bright Blonde Shampoo for Beautiful Colour: £41, Space NKSpending more than £40 on a shampoo might seem outrageous but, budget-permitting, we don’t think you will regret investing. Housed in a beautiful pink bottle you can proudly display in your bathroom, Oribe’s colour-saving shampoo is formulated to keep blonde hair looking bright and lustrous. As well as using enriched violet pigments to cancel out yellow tones, it also contains ingredients such as coconut and corn-derived elements to maintain colour, and lemon, ginger root and chamomile extracts to gently cleanse. It’s also free of sulphates, parabens, sodium chloride, gluten, and animal testing. Ideal for both natural and highlighted hair, we found this made our hair look and feel as though we’d just paid a visit to the salon, with brassiness noticeably reduced and a bright, glossy shine.Buy now Fudge Professional Clean Blonde Violet Shampoo: £13.95, Beauty BayLoved by professionals and beauty buffs alike, Fudge’s formulas are the result of years of experience in the industry and that is evident here. Designed to be left on the hair for three to five minutes, this shampoo promises to help cleanse blonde hair of brassy tones and is also made with UV protectants to help defend against environmental damage. Deeply cleansing, we found our hair felt seriously refreshed after using this option and while it definitely toned our tresses, the formula wasn’t overly harsh and didn’t leave it looking too white.Buy now Pureology Perfect 4 Platinum Shampoo: £12.35, Feel UniqueMuch less daunting in colour than some on the list, this is a light blue toner that ensures your blonde hair stays clean and cool. Sulphate-free, it cleanses your strands without fading colour and unlike some other purple shampoos, doesn’t leave hair feeling dry thanks to moisturising ingredients. We found that this gentle option was much less harsh than others, meaning you could use it as often as needed to maintain your desired tone. Our blonde tresses looked noticeably lighter and, thanks to the shampoo’s blend of pear, peony and vanilla, it smelled amazing too.Buy now The Verdict: Best purple shampoosFor a shampoo that will deliver instant results every time you use it, we suggest picking up L’Oreal Professionel’s Serie Expert Silver. A great all-rounder, it works wonders on blonde, grey or white hair and doesn’t leave your locks feeling dry. It is seriously potent though so beware of leaving it on for too long. If you want to experiment without having to splurge too much though, Pro:Voke’s Touch of Silver Brightening Shampoo is a cheaper alternative that also packs a punch. For a cruelty-free option, our favourite was Bleach London’s Silver Shampoo which gave our hair a bright, creamy finish – especially when followed by the matching conditioner.