A few posts down, a reader asked me in the comments what I thought of the post-shampoo treatments performed in the salon. I decided to make my response into a full-blown post because I tend to be a long-winded writer:
This is one area where the salons do have a bit of an edge, because companies realize that this service will be looked for at a salon and not usually at the drugstore. Depending on the treatment, some are excellent and some mediocre. The big thing here is that at a salon, they can do a precision application with a brush (getting it evenly all over your hair and avoiding the root area) and sit you under a drier for better cuticle penetration. Also at a salon, they can put a toner in a conditioning base to perk up or tone down your hair colour (whichever is called for). There are a few drugstore products with this benefit as well, application is just trickier.
There are still quite a few deep conditioners and such on the mass market, and any beauty supply store that sells to the public will have a nice selection as well. At my work we really just use whatever is the newest product because it's what we have available and they all do something at least, it's just that some are better than others. Then, of course, we can recommend products from the same line for home use.
Hair treatments are really an excellent idea in this era of bleaching and pollution and everything else that we put our hair through. To recreate the experience at home, you will need the product of your choice, a towel, a plastic shopping bag or shower cap, and a warm environment. Optional: someone to help you (hey, who doesn't love a head massage?). After a cleansing with moisturizing shampoo, towel dry hair and generously distribute product through the hair, avoiding the scalp (forgo gloves, you get a great hand treatment simultaneously). Cover hair with a plastic bag or shower cap, followed by wrapping the head in a towel. Then create a warm environment in one of the following ways: preheat the towel in the dryer, sit in the sun (with SPF of course!), do some housework (eg. vacuuming), sit in a steamy bathroom (you could use a steamy shower and kill two birds with one stone, do a body treatment at the same time), apply heat from a blowdryer, etc. Use the timing given on the product...if there is none, use what time you have and think as well about what condition your hair is in. Fine, easily greasy hair will want a shorter time, while chemically processed or curly hair could use the maximum time. You could easily go from anywhere between five and thirty minutes. Then rinse.
These are a few of my favourite hair treatments:
Senscience Inner Restore Intensif deep repairing masque...may be too heavily fragranced for some but really works wonders.
Wella Kolesteral Cream...an extremely heavy, old-school product. It's still around for a reason. We use this at work as barrier cream (to prevent colour staining or perm solution from going around the hairline) and have sold it to clients on occasion who used it on problems like psoriasis and it cleared up like nothing.
Dark and Lovely UltraCholesterol conditioning treatment is what we use at school and it goes "missing" just as often as scissors and flatirons. It smells amazing and is quite nice to work with.
And if you are running low in the time department: from the new Goldwell Dualsenses line, their Rich Repair 60 Second treatment. Just plain awesomeness in one minute. You can read a fellow blogger's review here.