BEAUTY THERAPY: The return of a hair hero

Back in my younger beauty routine days – I’m talking the early 90s here – I was obsessed by a few things that I later lost sight of. Too much choice, not enough loyalty – we all know the story. Among them were Princess Marcella Borghese bath salts. I’d make my pilgrimage to Harvey Nichols to pay a ridiculous amount of money for a pot and then eke them out for as long as possible.

Mostly I was dedicated to three hair products. Two were Revlon Flex shampoo and its sister conditioner. Cindy Crawford was in the ad campaign, swishing her amazing hair, which, frankly, was enough to convince me. Veni, vidi, I stockpiled it.

For a long time, my bathroom just wasn’t right if those bottles (the yellow conditioner was so distinctive) weren’t in it. We were happy together. I don’t remember why I broke up with them.

The other product I adored was VO5 Hot Oil Hair Treatment (or Alberto VO5 as it was then), which first launched in 1976. Gosh, I was devoted to this stuff. Long before people talked about self-care, long before we were Instagramming #homespa, I would go through my VO5 ritual every Sunday evening. I loved it: it was as much a part of the joy of using it as the product itself. I would boil a kettle, let it cool a bit (boiling water and oil is never a smart combination), pour it into a jug and then drop in my vial of oil to warm it up. A minute later, I’d snap off the end and apply it. Sixty seconds after that, I’d shampoo it out – no need for conditioner.

Afterwards, my hair was frizz-free, smooth, bouncy. This stuff was as cheap as chips, too, yet it felt like a little luxury to me – the time set aside for myself, the process that was always the same, results that lasted.


Again, I’ve no idea why my VO5 time fell away. I think I was swayed by the likes of Philip Kingsley Elasticizer. It did make an occasional comeback in my bathroom, but never for long. Then a couple of years ago, I got a wave of nostalgia for it.

I realised I’d missed it. It was time to reunite. But, shock horror, it was gone. Discontinued. I’d taken this oil that always brought such lustre to my hair for granted and now it was gone.

Thankfully, I wasn’t alone in missing it. Customer demand has brought it back – insert triumphant fanfare here – in the form of VO5 Nourishing Coconut Hot Oil (£4.99,, available from Monday). It’s had a little makeover and the scent is now of coconut (everything’s coconut now: it’s the new vanilla). And to ensure that our oil isn’t too hot, it makes clear that you can simply drop it in the bath to warm it. You may want to know it is paraben-free. And it seems there has been some slight reformulation to help protect hair from ‘environmental challenges’; I can’t say I’ve noticed. But I do know this stuff is as great as ever. It’s a hair hero. A classic. And I’m never deserting it again.

Get fresh

I’m partial to my fresh-smelling Malin + Goetz Eucalyptus Deodorant – but it is £19. For an alternative uplifting aroma in my morning routine, I’m rather loving the 0% Aluminium Go Fresh Cucumber & Green Tea Deodorant from Dove (£3,


The lippy that really lasts


Lipsticks that can’t be refilled are one of my great bugbears with beauty packaging – it’s so wasteful. So I want to applaud Guerlain for its Rouge G Lipstick. You can choose your favourite shade as a refill (£24.50) then pick a case cover (£14.50, both From then on, you need to replace only the lipstick. Plus they’ve removed the closure magnet to make it more eco-friendly.

Feature by Edwina Ings-Chambers