french-girl haircare

Why You Need to Embrace Hair Treatments Just Like the French

It's time we started treating our hair with the same care as our skin.

At David Mallett’s Parisian hair salons, in addition to the usual cut and colour, clients can choose from an extensive menu of hair treatments. There are options for restructuring, hydrating and smoothing as well as his French-girl haircare-inspired signature treatment: the Tokio Inkarami Repair Cure. It’s an intense multi-step ritual that can take over an hour and involves massage, layering protein, keratin and hydration treatments and a steaming mask.

And it’s catching on at his new Manhattan outpost, where the strategy is more about damage control than it is about over-the-top indulgence. “There are so many actresses and models and girls who highlight their hair and then straighten it and blow-dry it every day,” he says. “Their hair is beyond tortured.”

The strategy is more about damage control than it is about over-the-top indulgence.

Specialized treatments, like masks containing nourishing ingredients such as proteins and lipids, may not have a place in the typical Canadian’s hair-care regimen just yet. But according to French hairstylist Frédéric Fekkai, who brought his version of French glamour across the Atlantic to Fifth Avenue decades ago, Europeans have long indulged in hair treatments that aren’t common or even available in North America. “People in Europe love to take the time to do treatments at home,” he says. “They take long baths so they can let the treatments sit in their hair.”

Whether or not we’re reaping the wellness benefits of an evening soak, there’s a growing awareness that healthy hair just looks better. “When you have hair that’s really distressed, you have to work on it so much more to get it looking good,” explains Mallett, who sees some clients on a weekly basis for his in-salon treatments.

Whether or not we’re reaping the wellness benefits of an evening soak, there’s a growing awareness that healthy hair just looks better.

Maintaining the health of hair is why Pantene introduced its first at-home treatment, the Pantene Pro-V Intense Rescue Shots, earlier this year. Each shot, which can be used weekly, consists of a single-use tube that contains vitamins, glycerine and lipids that penetrate deeply into hair without weighing it down. “It’s all about getting these ingredients deep into the core because that’s where hair gets its strength and flexibility from,” says Jeni Thomas, principal scientist at Pantene. “And that’s what it needs to endure styling stress—to be able to react and respond and keep moving with you.”

“When you have hair that’s really distressed, you have to work on it so much more to get it looking good.”

Even if you’re already using conditioner, Fekkai says that regular treatments designed for your hair type are helpful to achieve things like increased flexibility, colour maintenance and strength. “It should be a priority,” he says. And you should remember to take it easy—it’s the ultimate kind gesture for your hair, advises Mallett. “As soon as you relax on your hair, your hair responds with joy.”

french-girl haircare
Photography by Daniel Harrison. Pantene Pro-V Intense Rescue Shots ($5); Kérastase Elixir Ultime le Masque ($65); The One by Frédéric Fekkai The Ultimate One Repair Mask ($58); L’Oréal Paris Extraordinary Oil Daily Treatment ($3); David Mallett Mask No. 1 L’Hydratatation ($75)