Robert Forster Debris, December 1987

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HAIR CARE with Robert Forster

from 'Debris' magazine, issue sixteen. Published in Manchester, England, December 1987.

Hair is important. It is placed fairly and squarely upon your head, to be admired and cared for. What follows are a few hints and tips from someone who, at a younger age, almost drifted into hairdressing, thankfully didn't, but has made a careful and practical study of hair ever since. You need to know little more about hair than what I'm about to tell you.

Step One: Always comb your hair before washing. This loosens the hair on your scalp and makes the shampooing far more effective. Try to avoid plastic combs, as they damage your hair. I recommend Kent combs, available at some chemists for 1.40. The Kent range are handmade from tortoise shell (hard to believe?), but they are good combs, and they take care of your hair.

Step Two: The Shampooing. Most shampoos purchased from your chemist consist of one main ingredient: detergent. Washing your hair constantly with detergent is bad.

The shampoo question puzzled me for years until I discovered Redken. I call it "The shampoo of the stars". Redken shampoo will make your hair feel like it's never felt before. It is concentrated, strong shampoo. Do not use it every wash as it tends to build up on your scalp. For every third wash of your hair, use a standard chemist's detergent shampoo as this will rinse out the Redken residue, as well as clean your hair.

Generally, I buy the most organic and heath-store looking shampoo on the chemist's shelf. Anything with petals and almonds or views of mountains and valleys on the label are fine. Remember you must rotate the Redken (wash one night, wash another night) and the detergent shampoo (wash the next night) . Hair gets bored with only one shampoo.

Now; Redken Deep Cleansing Gel Shampoo or Mild Protein Shampoo is expensive (3 to 5 a bottle or tube), but it's worth it - your hair will look and feel wonderful. It is available at certain hairdressers, generally the better ones. The main problem with getting Redken is having to put up with bored supercilious staff that frequent hairdressing salons. You shall immediately disarm them by asking for Redken. They will realise that you know the hidden secret of hair care; this will hurt them, as they wish to keep Redken for themselves.

Step Three: The conditioning. Quite frankly, anything will do. Redken make a conditioning range that is very expensive and very confusing. Once your hair is washed with a great shampoo, conditioning merely becomes hair knot removal, so your Kent comb can pass smoothly through your hair. Buy a Henna style tub of conditioner. I use Henora Henna Treatment Wax Hair Food; 1.65.

If you have fine hair which hasn't been bleached or dyed, use conditioner every second or third wash.

All this information has come through trial, error and endless bathroom research. Occasionally, feel free just to wash your hair with warm water; this causes no damage and actually does clean the hair. Always towel your hair dry, softly.

photo of Robert Redford

The Robert Redford look is one of my favourite hairstyles. Redford is possibly a Redken user. He lives in the hills of Colorado, so he has access to clear, clean mountain water. This helps hair. Redford is natural and unforced, a slight layered cut falling just short of the eye but over the ear. I have yet to decide if he uses dyes to get his reddish/blonde hair colour. As he gets older we shall find out. He has a magnificent hair-line; I suspect that after washing his hair, he combs it back when it's wet, and just lets it fall naturally on his head. Redford does not use a hair dryer.

I hope I have been of some help with hair care. Any questions, any magic formulas, please write to 'Debris' and I shall answer.

Take care of your hair,


(Robert Forster has, for many years, been a member of The Go-Betweens.)

from 'Debris' magazine, issue sixteen. Published in Manchester, England, December 1987.