French Guru / Christophe Robin

6 years ago by

Of all the beauty woes we come across (whether logical or….not so much) hair the most prominent. Can you relate? I know Garance can. There are so many questions and reservations when it comes to hair, whether you’re dying it, cutting it, getting a keratin treatment, the list goes on. It’s hard to separate the good information from the bad. Which is why I’m so excited to have Christophe Robin as the hair expert for our French Guru Series.

Christophe is a master of color, yes, but also a master of all around hair care. He’s been working in the industry since he was 15 years old and has built up a client roster of some of the biggest names in fashion and beyond. Think Claudia Schiffer and Catherine Deneuve… He also has a full range of beautiful products for all kinds of hair types. Saying he’s an expert may be an understatement. And today, he’s answering all of our questions!

How do you define perfect hair color and how does a person achieve that?
The perfect hair color is the one you don’t notice. I like the fact that you notice a beautiful woman, not a beautiful color!

To achieve a beautiful color, healthy hair is essential, so I always suggest sleeping with vegetable oil applied to your hair once a week, as well as applying some before any color or chemical process. Washing your hair with a shampoo that contains no harsh sulfates is also essential in maintaining a beautiful color.

Is there a way to elongate the time between having to get your color touched up?
I always compare haircare with skincare. If you take good care of your skin, you don’t need to touch up your make up all the time, same for hair, take good care of it and your color will last longer. Giving it the right nutrients, the right pH, means the color won’t turn. For instance, if you notice your highlights are turning a yellow, something like my shade variation care in baby blonde will restore a pure blonde, or if you notice brassiness in your cool brown hair, my shade variation care in ash brown corrects that.

For women who color their hair frequently, what are the must do steps to properly care for their hair?
Before any color/highlight process in my salon, I use my moisturizing hair oil with lavender which was specifically formulated to protect hair and its color. It does not block the color pigments, quite the contrary actually, it allows the pigments to grab onto the hair much better and make your color more vibrant.

In the summer, the oil is also a must have! Bring it with you to the beach, before you go swimming in the ocean or the pool.

What is the biggest mistake women make when choosing to color or maintaining their colored hair?
Wanting to be somebody you’re not! I always say, nature does a good job. For your color to look natural, stay around your natural color and keep some at the roots to create some contrast, and allows it to be less maintenance.

Another mistake is using too many styling products, heating tools and harsh shampoos. Treat your hair with care, you would not wash your silks or cashmeres with a harsh detergent! I use a low-poo formula which is ideal for colored and damaged hair, it’s the first product I ever created and one of the most gentle shampoos I know!

Is protecting hair from the sun an important aspect of hair care? If so, how do we do it affectively – and when?
Yes! Protecting your color in the summer is essential. A product like my moisturizing hair oil with lavender that contains an SPF which blocks the bad rays and keeps your color intact.

Washing your hair with a gentle shampoo, or low-poo shampoo will allow to restore moisture onto your hair all the while washing it after things like sun, salt, and chlorine have dried out your hair. Also don’t forget to apply a deep nourishing mask once a week… at least!

How does our lifestyle – diets, activities, smoking habits etc., affect the health of our hair our hair? Any advice?
When you drink too much, you might notice in the morning that your skin and scalp are oily, this is because they are linked to your liver. A good tip to detoxify every once in a while – and especially with Spring, is to drink warm water with lemon, diluted apple cider vinegar in water, or even birch sap is very good. In terms of diet, I always recommend a well balanced nutrition, seasonal fruits and vegetables and foods rich in Omega 3s.

What are some other non-negotiable aspects of general, healthy hair hair?
Shampoos that contain silicones, or dry shampoos, used daily tend to asphyxiate the scalp and weigh hair down and makes scalp oily on the long term. It’s important to detox your scalp every once in a while to get all the styling product residues out and let it breathe again. Oily scalp is usually the first cause of hair loss, so it’s important to take good care of it!
Healthy hair start with a balanced scalp!

What is your take on coloring hair as you age? Should we go lighter as we get older? Embrace the natural? Focus on our roots?
I always compare hair color to make up. At 20 years old, you have fun and try it all, even if it looks awful! Anything’s allowed, it’s a learning experience!

At 30-40 years old, you find the right hair color, usually staying around your natural color. To not alter color, I recommend not washing hair too often.

After 50 years old, it’s important to have very healthy hair so it doesn’t look like it’s colored and stays very natural.

After 60 years old, to keep a natural color it’s good to go a bit lighter. For instance, if you are a dark brunette, going a little bit lighter will feel more natural rather than keeping a very dark shade which at 60 doesn’t look as natural. For blondes, a few golden shades give a nice boost to the complexion.

Are the hair color habits different among French women than American? Both in young women and as they get older?
French women like low maintenance! This is why they tend to have more contrast in their colors, even with aging it feels more natural. Good maintenance is also important! Once a week they do a nourishing mask.

Ok what about heat tools – is there a way to truly protect your hair from frequent use of heat?
No. The only way to protect your hair is by nourishing and hydrating them constantly. My moisturizing hair cream is great for that, but all those ‘heat protectors’ only bring a little hydration, but nothing ever protects against heat tools! A tip is to start drying your hair from afar to not overheat it. I use the Dyson Supersonic and love how they are well calibrated to not overheat the hair.

Is coloring your hair by choice worth the damage it may cause? What advice would you give to a woman who is considering coloring their hair?
Always stay true to yourself and embrace your personality.

Wanting to look like someone you are not will never work, a good color will unveil your eyes and your complexion. Before going to the hair salon cut out in a magazine the things you like and the things you really dislike, it’ll be easier to communicate with your colorist and will avoid any communication mistakes!

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Add yours
  • Charlotte April, 17 2017, 10:19 / Reply

    Great to hear from somebody with such expert knowledge! I have a question for Christophe.

    I’ve always had very healthy, full hair. In fact, I have always been critical of how I look but my hair makes me happy.

    However, in December I stopped taking the contraceptive pill (mine was very high in hormones). Even before stopping I read a lot about the effects of stopping on the skin and hair. That is why I started to improve my water intake, diet and started taking more high-quality vitamins and supplements (highly dosed multivitamins for women, Skin Hair and Nails, GLA (borage oil linked to skin and hair related to hormones), Omega 369, D3, Biotin). I had my blood tested at the doctor before taking these in order to make sure that the levels were suitable for me. I also switched to a silk pillow case and Living Proof Full shampoo, because it doesn’t contain silicones or sulphates.

    In January and February, I suddenly experienced a lot of hair loss. But luckily it stopped after that. However, the last two weeks I am noticing a big change in the short, baby hairs around my hairline. I’ve had them all my life and they are a very distinct, characteristic feature. But suddenly they are falling out – and as a result, I am freaking out. They shape my face and without them, I have a reduced hairline. I am only 25 years old.

    Do you have tips? I would greatly appreciate any piece of advice.

    All the best, Charlotte

  • After having a baby (about 3 months after) I experienced a lot of hair loss (seemingly exacerbated by not losing any for about 5 months so there was more to lose) and then the regrowth was a massive pain. If your birth control hormones mimicked pregnancy enough you may be experiencing a similar reaction. I am not a doctor, this is a guess.

  • My hair fell out after I stopped the pill as well. I went to a dermatologist and was basically told I was imagining it. I didn’t really notice until the hairs grew back and half of my head was short little strands of regrowth. Don’t worry! It will go back to normal…it took me maybe a year to feel normal again and I would never, ever touch birth control or any synthetic hormone again.

  • Yes the same thing happened to me when I went off the pill. I saw an endocrinologist who said she sees that often–going off the pill temporarily elevates androgens like testosterone, causing you to shed hair. You might want to visit an endocrinologist. They can do some blood tests and set your mind at ease. I did not suffer as much hair loss after having my child as I did in going off the pill.

  • Charlotte April, 17 2017, 5:03 / Reply

    Dear Gene, thank you for replying. Sorry to hear you also experienced hair loss. It’s definitely a pain. In my case, I’m also sure it is due to hormones. That is why I am trying to look after myself – but unfortunately, I don’t know how to tackle the issue directly.

  • Charlotte April, 18 2017, 2:20 / Reply

    @Elle It upsets me to hear that your dermatologist didn’t take you seriously. My dermatologist advised me to start using the pill years ago because my twin sister had acne and she said it was better to make sure I didn’t get it too. I was younger and didn’t realise the number of hormones I was taking. Last December I made an appointment to talk about stopping to which she replied: “Are you sure? I used that pill for 10 years. Maybe I didn’t feel like myself for 10 years and I was feeling down but at least I had good skin and bad skin makes you feel down too you know”. I will always defend women having the pill as on option for contraception or other purposes – but being informed is key and having a doctor listening to you is too. Having that said, I’m so happy to hear that you experienced regrowth after a year. That makes me feel less worried! Thank you for taking the time to write that.

  • Charlotte April, 18 2017, 2:23 / Reply

    @sr I’ve never heard of an endocrinologist, but looked it up and I’m definitely going to search for one in my area. Thank you for that tip! Appreciate it!

  • Hair care like skin care starts from within. So all the products he mentioned will go to waste if one lacks minerals like zinc and iron and vitmins B as well as A. Sunshine vitamin D is yet another vital vitamin ( FGS dont be afraid of sun, unless you are in july-august in the Med). With regards to products – less is more. And with maintenance – natural as often is really best. He mentioned his own oils – gosh… and the lavender – its the last thing u’d want to put on ur hair – its going to dry them out. I know essential oils really well and the only ones for hair that i’d recommend for anyone ( only a few drops per 50ml of base oil) is rose and geranium. You could even combine two. For a base simply buy some unfragranced coconut and calendula oil and u’ll be good to go.

    To the girl who stopped the pill and experienced hair loss – basically ur hormones are trying to restart and whta you need is loads of vitamin B in your diet from leafy greens etc bcs your liver is detoxifying so you wnat to support the 2 phases of detoxification to make sure that waste isnt stuck at step1. Also you want those leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables such a sorgwnic broccoli, bok coy etc so that you could detoxify all the hormones in your body. In fact I would recommend you to consult with nutritional therapist who would evaluate your current situation and medical history etc. All in all – any bodily ‘symptom’ is a sign that some process isnt working the way it should so pay attention, investigate and adjust, and most importantly do it with care and calm. Best wishes xx

  • I heared a statement the other day, which sounded like an urban legend, but it might be true: If you are dying your hair on the first day of your period, or during your period you don’t get the proper colour. Is this true? I am rather skeptical and cannot tell, as I am not dying my hair. Any experiences? Thanks!

  • Charlotte April, 20 2017, 7:52 / Reply

    @Sandra I fully agree that care starts from within! It’s very interesting about what you said about the 2 phases of detoxification. I think a lot of what I do remains stuck in phase 1. There is definitely room for improvement when it comes to my diet. I eat healthy but I’m not sure my intake is enough to make it to phase 2. I will take your advice and search for a nutritional therapist to examine my patterns. Thank you for taking the time to reply. I always ‘meet’ the nicest people in comment sections. Have a nice day, Charlotte

  • I loved this interview, Natalie! Such thoughtful questions and informative responses. I am intrigued by Christophe’s recommendation to sleep with vegetable oil applied to your hair once a week. Can anyone provide more information on this process? Is it a full mask type of application or a lighter application? I am going to incorporate a lot of Christophe’s tips and would love more details on the vegetable oil suggestion. Thanks!

  • I stopped using shampoo I rinse maybe twice a week with apple cider vinegar and spray my hair every other day with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide mineral water ph balanced and a tad of lemon juice 2 minutes in the sun and an oil mask of squaline oil on sundays does the job I took a picture of when I was about six perfect strawberry blonde natural and did an initial professional consultation and dye job and have maintained ever since the apple cider is fantastic for the hair and the essential oils like rose hip keep it right

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