Hair Secrets from Around the World

From South Africa to Sweden, these beauty diplomats counsel us on their country's best-kept hair care secrets.

By Lizzie Dunlap

September 17, 2010 10:00 AM
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ocean mist haircare
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Sweden

THE PRO: Stockholm-based Sacha Mitic is one-half of the styling team behind the Sachajuan Salons and product line — a Cameron Diaz fave. (sachajuan.com)

LOCAL FLAVOR: "Nordic women have fine hair, so it's best not to weigh it down with too many products," explains Mitic. "Our clients love effortless looks — whether modern or classic."

THE GOODS: "Our goal was to create something that would give the most shine and bounce without a lot of heavy chemicals," says Mitic of Sachajuan's proprietary Ocean Silk Technology, which fuses algae proteins with saltwater botanicals.

THE IMPORT: Make surf-free beachy styles with Sachajuan's superlight Ocean Mist ($28).

hair repair treatment
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South Africa

THE PRO: Maria Laughland created beauty-counter equality by launching Ladine, the country's first line of upscale hair products for black women. (ladine.org)

LOCAL FLAVOR: "Our clients have a wide range of hair types," Laughland says, "so it's important that our relaxers vary in chemical intensity and include natural ingredients to repair hair from excessive styling."

THE GOODS: Favored by the nation's rapidly growing middle class, Ladine's relaxers are lye-free. "South African technology is often underrated," she adds. "Our formulas were among the first to use lithium, and now they're copied globally."

THE IMPORTS: Ladine Hair Repair Treatment ($9.70).

hair relaxer treatment
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South Africa

THE IMPORTS: Ladine Smooth and Gentle RelaxerTec Kit ($21), ladine.org.

wave genie
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Italy

THE PRO: Beppe D'Elia might be tight-lipped about his celeb clients, but he openly gushes about the funky and functional Uki hot-tool line. (ukiinternational.com)

LOCAL FLAVOR: "Italians have an unparalleled eye for design," says D'Elia. "These tools show the marriage between practical and polished."

THE GOODS: "I am backstage at more than 100 fashion shows a year, so I'm always looking to streamline the styling process," states D'Elia. "The Wave Genie is perfect for getting loose waves in one go."

THE IMPORTS: Wave Genie ($126) may require converters for now, but options for stateside sockets are in the works.

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Italy

THE IMPORTS: Uki Ionic 6000 Blowdryer ($86).

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Japan

THE PRO: Chie Hosaka, of megasite rakuten.com, has her manicured fingers on the pulse of what Japanese women want.

LOCAL FLAVOR: "Women in Japan take beauty very seriously," explains Hosaka. "They're constantly trying out trends and investing in expensive products." Take Japanese hair straighteners — to most people's surprise, many Asian women have naturally wavy hair; they just prefer to wear it relaxed.

THE GOODS: "Scalp massages with shampoo and intense at-home conditioning treatments are very popular right now because women recently realized that hair health starts at the root," says Hosaka. "We're selling twice as much shampoo as last year!"

THE IMPORTS: The Collagen Rinse ($17).

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Japan

THE IMPORTS: Cushion Brush ($73).
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