Paris Beauty Survival Kit: Keeping Your Luscious Locks

Image Source:  DRC

Image Source: DRC

No one ever talks about Paris’ dirty little secrets. All you ever hear about are how beautiful it is, how amazing the food is, and how the wine flows like rivers. All are true, but you should also be knowledgeable about the not so beautiful things. In today’s first beauty survival segment, we are going to tell you the truth about the water in Paris.

The Ugly Truth: Not all water is created equal

Image Source: Water Filter Mag

Image Source: Water Filter Mag

Living in NY I never realized how lucky I had it with the water quality. Although I am prone to drinking bottled water, some say NY tap water is actually good enough to be bottled. Fast forward to living in Paris. Since I never paid attention to my water quality back home, I didn’t even give it two thoughts here. Then a few months into living in Paris, I noticed more hair on the floor of my apartment. At first I thought I was going crazy, but a friend of mine basically told me that I wasn’t and that it “happens here.” As the months progressed, I found out more women had the same problem because of the hard water here in Paris. The best (or worst) is going onto a facebook forum where all the expat women share that they have experienced the same thing and all the French born accuse us of having a medical problem and to go to a doctor—I have never met such a defensive culture in my life! I even had a sales person at the posh beauty store, Nose, tell me there was nothing wrong with the water here and defend the water here instead of helping me. Needless to say, she lost what could have been a big sale.

FACT: The water in Paris is high in magnesium and calcium, which is rough on your hair and strips your hair leaving it limp, lackluster and prone to breakage. I did go to another store, le drugstore parisien, where the saleswoman there actually admitted I was right and told me about her visit to NY where her hair grew 2 inches while she was there. She recommended a few products to me that helped. After much experimenting, I finally found the solution to keeping my hair on my head where it belongs and will share those secrets with you.

Invest in a Good Shower Head

Image Source: Aerobath

Image Source: Aerobath

I will admit I was skeptical about this at first. I know there is also an option of installing a complete water filtration system, but relying on contractors to come in a country where service is non-existent, this was the easiest and fastest. The first time I used it, I was amazed. I could actually feel the difference in the water that was coming out if the shower head. Not only that, so did my hair. My hair was soft, smooth and had minimal fallout after washing it and brushing it. My hair had regained it’s elasticity and was no longer limp—I felt like a part of me was back again! There are many out there, but I suggest this one from Aerobath. It not only filters the water, but gives you a jolt of vitamin C, which not only smells yummy, but it is good for your skin and hair. Bonus, it’s an English brand, so you can easily read the instructions!

Pro-Tip: Feel free to experiment. I used to wash my hair with Brita water and do a final rinse with Evian. Saying that, I feel my hair is much softer using this filter. Do what’s best for you. If you are only visiting Paris, bottled water may be your best option and at 3€ for a six pack of 1.5L Evian, it’s a pretty good deal. You can either use it to fully wash your hair or as a final rinse based on your preference.

Start with the Root of the Problem

Image Source: Atelier Emmanuel

Image Source: Atelier Emmanuel

If you are in repair mode, I suggest using products by nioxin as they treat the damage the water has done to your scalp. This really helped me because there was so much build up on my scalp from the calcaire in the water. Think about it. If you put a rock on top of soil, the plant wouldn’t be able to grow. This is the same for your hair. The nioxin products really helped my scalp get healthy again and gave me a good landscape to regrow my hair. I suggest the starter kit—I use Nioxin System 3 because my hair was only thinning lightly (Thank God!). They have other systems available as well so you can see which is right for you. The other lifesaver from them if you want to up the ante is their Night Density Rescue. It’s basically a serum for your scalp that gets rid of the calcaire residue and lets your strands grow all they want. The light tingling sensation and the beautiful scent are pure bonuses for me.

Pro-Tip: If you want to go all natural vs the pharmacy grade route, you can also mix a table spoon of red vinegar with two cups of water and do a rinse to neturalize your scalp. I will warn you that if you are sensitive to smell you may want to stick with Nioxin.

Go Salon Grade

Image Source: Kérastase

Image Source: Kérastase

I used to use anything I wanted on my hair back in NY. Yes, I believe in quality, but think you can also get that at a minimal price and in NY there are so many options. It is a little harder in Paris especially if your hair has been damaged by the hard water. I highly recommend the Kérastase brand. I use the the Bain Satin 2 shampoo and conditioner, as it treats dry hair. I also use their Intensive Masque at least two times a week for a deep treatment. Whoever said money cannot buy happiness was wrong. The improvement in my hair after using these products has made me the happiest person in the world!

Pro-Tip: Once your hair is back to it’s optimal prime, feel free to add a more cost friendly shampoo into the mix and alternate between washes. This keeps your scalp awake by switching it up.

10 Million Strands and Growing

Image Source: Bustle

Image Source: Bustle

So, there are many supplements that you can take. I would suggest going to your doctor first to make sure that you are not having any deficiencies from your move here. After that, I highly recommend Spirulina. It really is the ultimate in superfoods. There are many brands out there, but I prefer the one from AKALFOOD as it is really potent and dosage is dependent on if you are a vegetarian or a carnivore.

If you want one specifically for hair, I would go with Phyto’s Phytophanère Dietary Supplement. Bonus with this one is it smells like coffee.

Pro-Tip: If you are not weak like me, dissolve the spirulina in your mouth vs swallowing with water for maximum effectiveness.

Stay Strong to the Finish

Image Source: B Lab

Image Source: B Lab

I’m not going to spend a lot of time here since everyone can google what foods are good for hair growth based on your dietary preferences. If you are too lazy to do that, I have hyperlinked it right here. Two things I swear by are spinach and salmon. Popeye technically didn’t have hair, but I will chalk that up to him not eating any fatty fish with his spinach. Spinach is almost like a multi-vitamin. Not only does it have Vitamin C, which we have established is great for skin and nails, it also has vitamin A, which helps the skin glands produce sebum and sebum keeps hair healthy. Spinach is also a great plant based source of iron, which is great for hair growth, especially if you don’t eat meat.

Salmon is a no-brainer for obvious reasons, high omega 3. You can eat other high fat fish too, but I love salmon and have experienced great results. If you are hardcore, you can take pills or do an omega-3 drink—this is not an option for me as the smell makes me nauseous.

Pro-Tip: Prepare your own meals if you can so you know exactly what is in your food and it is made as healthy as possible. Also, if you are not a fan of spinach, there are other ways to get your iron, such as meat and spirulina.

Don’t Give Up Your Best Friend

Image Source: DreamDry

Image Source: DreamDry

OK, this is a personal preference because I couldn’t blow dry my own hair if my life depended on it. The thing is, not all Paris salons use filtered water and it isn’t exactly advertised on their sites or windows. Seriously, who has the time to call each one? So, I was faced with a quandry after all the work and money I have done to get my hair back to healthy, but I also know I need my blowouts or I would look like a troll doll while walking the streets of Paris. So, what’s a girl to do? I’ll tell you—use WeCasa. You can basically order a hair stylist to your home via site or app. They have a list of services you can choose them, ranging from a simple blowout to balyage or japanese straightening. And you can decide if you wash your own hair or have them do it. Everything is customizable on their platform and you can sleep soundly knowing the water being used on your hair is safe.

Pro-Tip: When you do go to a salon call ahead and see if they use filtered water. If not and you are that concerned, bring bottled water and your own products if you prefer. They will do it. I know because I am THAT extra.

There you have it—how to survive Paris’ hard water problem and save your hair. If you have any other tips you would like to share, or topics you would like us to cover, we would love to hear them! Leave comments below or email us at hello@americainpig.com.

Till next time! AP