“I was the scientist behind it. It started in my garage.” Eric Pressly is talking about Olaplex, the cult-favorite haircare brand credited with saving damaged, over-processed hair. Olaplex introduced us to the idea of “bond-building” haircare—products that can prevent or repair damage by strengthening the bonds that make up our hair’s internal structure. And now, years after kicking off one of the most successful haircare brands on the market, Pressly is back at it with a brand of his own, Epres, and new products that will be coveted by those seeking hair nirvana. “It’s the best bond builder,” says Pressly.
“We’re a trustworthy, science-led brand. So what we say we can do, we prove it. And we do it,” says Pressly. “We make claims about being the best in the space, and you can back it up with the performance of the product.” So what are the products that the newly minted Epres is launching? The first one is the Professional Bond Repair, a salon-only product that helps keep hair strong during chemical services—such as bleaching, perming, and relaxing—without disturbing the pH levels, a common factor that results in hair damage. “A lot of damage that people have is from the bleaching in the salon,” says Pressly. “And if you can stop it before it starts, then you’re in a much better position to deal with it going forward.” The Professional Bond Repair is also formulated without acid, which means professionals don’t have to be too concerned with precise measuring when they use it during chemical treatments.
The second product launching is the Bond Repair Treatment Kit, which addresses damage that’s already occurred. The kit comes with two bottles of an oil-based concentrate—the active ingredients, if you will—and a spray bottle. First, you pour a concentrate bottle into the spray bottle, then you fill it with water. Give it a shake, then saturate your hair with the mixture. “More is more,” says Pressly. “The water part will evaporate out, and then the oil part that we added will stick, and it’ll continue to keep repairing your hair.” The concentrate method serves another purpose as well: “We’re free of as much stuff as possible,” says Pressly. “Silicon, fragrance, preservatives. And part of that is why we have to concentrate. That allows us to go preservative-free.”
“We want to be the Apple of haircare.”
After soaking my hair with the Bond Repair Treatment, the effects were nearly immediate. As someone with (bleached, unhappy) curls, traditional cream bond-building treatments can be difficult for me to apply. The mist, on the other hand, made it easy to evenly coat my entire head. When I washed it out the next day, my hair was softer and completely frizz-free. “I recommend [leaving the product in for] either 10 minutes or overnight,” says Pressly. “[The hair is] definitely smoother and shinier and stronger. Frizz is down for a long period of time.”
After Olaplex, Pressly didn’t think he would stay in the haircare space. “I was a scientist with a broad background, so I wanted find my next adventure,” he says. “I got hit with a wave of creativity being locked up in a small space in COVID, and part of that wave of creativity led to this brand.” Pressly is well aware that bond-building haircare has exploded over the past decade. “Being around in the beginning of this category, and as an innovator, sometimes you want to make something that didn’t exist before. And then you want to make something better than everything else that exists,” he says. “I’ve done the former, we’re now doing the latter of making it better at solving for inefficiencies. And making things simpler. We say it internally, and it sounds maybe a bit arrogant, but we want to be the Apple of haircare.”
Epres has officially launched at epres.com. The Professional Bond Repair retails for $79, and the Bond Repair Treatment Kit retails for $48. Additional concentrate refills can be bought separately in packs of two for $34.
Pro hairstylist Bridget Brager’s list of celebrity clients is as long as it is impressive, and if you follow her on social media, you know her wealth of knowledge is seemingly never-ending. In other words: When she’s giving out hair secrets, we’re all ears.
One major thing we appreciate about Brager as a stylist is that her approach to hair starts with a healthy scalp. It makes sense, then, that among her many bona fides is a partnership with Rodan + Fields. The skincare brand recently launched two derm-designed haircare lines, Volume+ Regimen and Smooth+ Regimen, with products formulated to get to the root of your hair concerns.
1. Try double-cleansing (yes, for your hair).
“You’ve heard of this technique as part of your skincare regimen,” says Brager. “Well, the same theory can apply to your scalp.” The idea is that the first round of shampoo breaks down the top layer of dirt, oil, and build-up, and the second actually gets to the root, washing the scalp and ensuring hair is completely clean. If you don’t thoroughly remove product buildup, it can affect hair health and growth, and, she says, “can lead to additional weight in your hair, which makes everything look flat and lifeless.” The Rodan + Fields Volume+ line is designed to be gentle enough for this double-cleansing process. “It makes your hair squeaky clean without drying it out or stripping color, and helps balance your scalp’s natural biome,” says Brager. Follow with conditioner as usual.
2. Focus your blow dryer at your roots for volume.
Using excess heat on the hair can be damaging, especially on the ends. This is why it can make a difference—in both dry time and the health of your hair—to stick to the roots. Brager says that the technique also provides extra lift.
Here’s what to do: “As you dry, I recommend flipping your head upside down or simply stretching the strands [in the opposite direction] at the root to encourage lift, body, and volume,” says Brager. She adds, “This is a great way to wake up your second day blowout too.”
3. Try a cold rinse.
One of the best secret weapons for smooth, frizz-free hair is not a product but a quick trick. “Rinsing your hair with cold water helps seal the cuticle and lay flyaways down, and as a result it makes the hair look smooth and shiny,” says Brager. Sealing the cuticle also helps lock in moisture for more hydrated strands.
The smooth-hair secrets don’t stop there. “Follow up your cold water rinse by using a microfiber towel, and always remember to pat your hair dry instead of rubbing it vigorously with a towel—that can cause the cuticles to expand making your hair look frizzy and dehydrated.”
One of the biggest mistakes people make when using dry shampoo? Spritzing it too close to the scalp. Not only will that leave behind a powdery appearance, it can also lead to bigger problems: “Spraying too close to your scalp can cause product buildup and [result in] a flat hairstyle,” says the stylist.
Instead, pull back six inches when applying a product, like the Rodan + Fields Refresh+ Dry Shampoo, which features rice starch to absorb oil as well as chamomile extract to moisturize and soothe. The added distance will give you more even distribution for best results.
5. Try conditioning before you shampoo.
OK, we know we suggested following your double-cleanse with conditioner. But if you’re struggling with extra-greasy hair, swapping the order in which you use your products may be your solution. If your hair is heavy, matted, or oily, “condition first and shampoo after to take extra weight away,” says Brager, who recommends the Rodan + Fields Volume+ Conditioner which nourishes, repairs, prevents damage, and promotes fuller-looking hair. This technique—called reverse washing—is suitable for everyone, but tends to work best for oily and fine hair types.
If your hair has been feeling extra dry and brittle recently, it’s time to add a new product to your routine. You’ll want one that’s specifically formulated to hydrate and strengthen your locks, leaving behind a silky smooth head of hair. For more than 22,800 Amazon shoppers, that haircare product is the Marc Anthony Grow Long Biotin Leave-In Conditioner Spray, which is on sale for $5.
The popular leave-in conditioner is the best-selling haircare product on Amazon, and it’s packed with nourishing ingredients like biotin and caffeine to encourage hair growth, plus vitamin E to make your hair strong and shiny. For best results, spray the product directly on damp hair from the roots to ends and comb it through.
Shop now: $5 with coupon (Originally $8); amazon.com
In the reviews section, you’ll find first-hand recounts of shoppers’ experiences with the leave-in conditioner. One reviewer, who’s convinced the product “speeds up the growth of your hair,” said their damaged hair became “healthy again and longer” after one month of use. Another shopper assured readers the conditioner “smells amazing” and “leaves your hair so soft.” You can’t ask for much more from a $5 hair product.
Once you fall in love with the Marc Anthony leave-in conditioner, you’ll want to add the brand’s Grow Long Biotin Shampoo to your routine as well. Also on sale for $5, the top-rated shampoo is made with the same powerful ingredients as the leave-in conditioner to reduce future breakage. One shopper went so far as to say it’s “hands down the best thing I have ever bought for my hair.“
Shop now: $5 with coupon (Originally $8); amazon.com
Whether you go for both Marc Anthony haircare products or just one, be sure to grab them now while they’re on sale for $5 apiece at Amazon.
The grass is always greener, especially when it comes to healthy hair. On one hand, who doesn’t want soft, strong strands? On the other, some of us came of age in the early 2000s, and it shows (stick-straight hair, anyone?). Between curling irons, flatirons, highlights, and straightening treatments, there are endless combinations of ways to customize your hair to your preferences—which can take a huge toll on it in the process.
At a certain point, you may come to a crossroads: Continue down the path of beating your hair into submission, breakage be damned, or try to make peace by living with—and seriously coddling—your damaged hair. It can be a tough call. But the latter can have some serious rewards.
For one thing, healthy hair always looks better, no matter what texture or color you were born with. And it also entails a different kind of maintenance—rather than devote an hour to straightening your hair, you, say, use two products designed for your natural 2C curls. Instead of bleach, you deep-condition. It can be hard to bring your hair back from the brink, but these women who have been there are proof that it’s worth it. Read on for their best healthy hair tips.
If You’re Transitioning From Relaxed to Natural…
In 2007, Danni Washington, a TV presenter and ocean activist in Miami, chopped her hair off after years of relaxing it at the salon. She’d been perming it since she was six years old, so she didn’t even really know what her natural texture looked like. “I remember the day that I pulled my roots back and saw that this gorgeous curl pattern was growing out of my head,” she says. “I didn’t even know it belonged to me.” It took three years—and some key hydrating products—for it to get to a place she considered healthy.
Staying hydrated was key for Washington’s hair health. “I can see and feel the difference in the health of my scalp and my hair when I’m really hydrated,” she says. “If I’m not hydrated, I’ll deal with issues like dry scalp and frizz.” Hydration, of course, works two ways. One, internally: meaning drinking enough water. But investing in a good mask for your hair and scalp will go a long way too.
Rinse with cold water.
Washington deep-conditions her hair once a week and lets it sit under a shower cap for a few hours to sink in. “Then I wash it out with cold water,” she says. While a warm, steamy rinse might sound cozier, cold water helps to seal the cuticles of your hair shut, which helps boost shine and retain moisture.
If Your Hair Is Dry and Brittle…
For years, Chicago beauty blogger Belinda Selene Villa was coloring and lightening her hair every other month—and not using products to maintain or protect her color-treated hair. “After a bad salon experience, my hair became dry, brittle, and eventually broke at the ends,” she says. “Half my hair was gone in length.” She cut off the damaged hair and began focusing on repair, which brought her hair back to life within six months.
Avoid heat tools.
Unplug, but in a different way than you might think. “The best thing I did to help repair and grow my hair was to use leave-in hair conditioners and treatments while doing heatless hair styles,” says Villa. “I would skip the hair-dryer and try to let my hair air-dry as much as possible.” Since air-drying can take some time, she would work in a leave-in conditioner like Garnier Fructis Damage Eraser Liquid Strength Treatment with Protein and either braid her hair or pull it into a bun.
When fitness expert and blogger Eve Dawes moved from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, her hair was damaged from years of bleach. “I had really dry, overprocessed hair from colorists using bleach that was too strong for my hair,” she says. “Plus, they didn’t lift my color gradually.” Once she was in Las Vegas, someone she trusted recommended a new colorist, and it made all the difference.
Find a supportive colorist.
Your colorist should take your hair health into consideration, and that’s tough if you’re going to someone new month after month. When you’re working with the same colorist, “they know where they’re laying down your color and can be more cautious about not overlapping,” Dawes says. Her appointments now run longer to account for a lower concentration of bleach, longer processing time, and not overlapping highlights, but it’s worth it.
Use products for color-treated hair.
If you color your hair, you should be using products that are made to protect it. Dawes now swears by the entire Olaplex line, a favorite of celebrities and their hairstylists alike. “The vegan, cruelty-free formula actually strengthens the bonds in your hair,” she says. “I’m not sponsored by them—I truly see the impact they’ve had.“
If Your Curl Pattern Is Damaged…
“My whole life, I have fought with my hair,” says New York City publicist Jenelle Hamilton. “I did quarterly Brazilian straightening treatments, colored my hair, blow-dried weekly, and flatironed my hair almost every day.” She was trying to force her 3C curls to be something they just weren’t, which seriously damaged them in the process. After years of trying to straighten and smooth her hair, it began to look overprocessed and break.
Commit to a long-term routine.
Once you swear off straighteners, you’re not going to wake up to healthy hair instantly. “At the beginning of my hair journey, I would watch YouTubers and look on Instagram and think, Why doesn’t my hair look like that? Why isn’t it growing faster?” Hamilton recalls. “I was so impatient!” However, once she gave her hair months to heal, the growth eventually followed.
Look for products with nourishing ingredients.
In addition to giving up heat-styling, Hamilton scaled her routine back to washing weekly. She counted on two products to nourish her dry, brittle hair: The LUS Gentle & Moisturizing Shampoo and TKO Ultimate Moisture Conditioner by Andre Walker Hair. The shea-butter-infused shampoo “cleansed and moisturized” and “a little went a long way, so it was very cost-effective,” she says. Her conditioner, meanwhile, featured strand-strengthening keratin, a protein that helps fortify and protect damaged hair. “I used it religiously and it helped a lot,” she says. A few other ingredients to look out for: coconut oil, argan oil, aloe vera, and spirulina.
If You Want to Smooth Frizz…
While she was growing up, Delilah Orpi, a beauty blogger in Miami, dreamed of straight hair. “I was picked on for my puffy hair as a kid and struggled to style it,” she says. “I envied the smooth, shiny hair that some of my friends had.” Her mom wouldn’t allow her to flatiron hers, so when she finally got the chance, she went all out, straightening her hair three times a week for 10 years. Cut to recently, when she was packing for a trip to Thailand. She couldn’t fit her hair-dryer and straightening products into her suitcase—so she decided this was the push she needed to quit. “I was done fussing with my hair,” she says. “I wanted to simplify my routine.”
Avoid drying your hair with a towel.
A game changer for Orpi has been applying her styling products, such as Evolvh TotalControl Styling Crème, in the shower. “I apply them to soaking-wet hair in the shower by scrunching, and never use a towel or a brush,” she says. The scrunching helps the curls clump, which leads to definition once it dries, and cuts down on frizz. “After lots of scrunching, I either air-dry or diffuse-dry,” she says.
Preserve your style.
Orpi only washes her hair two or three times a week. She stretches out the lifespan of her curls by covering them when she sleeps. “I protect it at night by wearing a scarf over it so that it lasts a few days and doesn’t get frizzy and tangled,” she says.
It’s one of the only treatments that penetrates the three layers of the hair and reaches the cortex to deeply moisturize and repair the hair’s structure.
Hair Botox is excellent to treat dull, lacklustre and porous hair. It helps regain moisture that is lost over time, and brings back a youthful natural shine, while adding that beautiful softness we all love!
💆🏻♀️ It’s one of the only treatments that penetrates the three layers of the hair and reaches the cortex to deeply moisturise and repair the hair’s structure.
☑️ Hair Botox is excellent to treat dull, lacklustre and porous hair. It helps regain moisture that is lost over time, and brings back a youthful natural shine, while adding that beautiful softness we all love!