Star Colorist-Trichologist Bridgette Hill Shares Florida-Exclusive Steps To Great Hair
I met Bridgette when she worked at the Four Seasons Resort + Spa in Palm Beach as lead colorist and salon creative director. After five years and a recent closure for renovations, she’s moved onto Paul Labrecque’s gorgeous new outpost at Royal Poinciana Place.
Her 20+ year career kicked off at Garren New York. In 2006, she earned a coveted spot on Allure magazine’s “Spa Directory” as a top colorist. After years with mentor Renée Patronik, she then worked with Kevin Mancuso at Peter Coppola, collaborating on editorial photo shoots for People, Elle, Marie Claire, O magazine, Essence and Vibe, which led to serving as the exclusive colorist for Dove’s Real Beauty campaign and Victoria’s Secret Angels Across America tour.
(About those Angels: Several still rely on Bridgette’s expertise in naturally understated glamour, but Bridgette - a paragon of discretion - doesn’t want us to disclose which of the winged goddesses she works with. Darn…)
Taking advantage of off-season, she’s been spending one week each month in NYC completing her trichology certification at the Philip Kingsley Institute and tending to the tresses of her long-time snowbirds. For those at remote ranches and compounds, she creates her renowned custom color formulations and reparative conditioning packages for pick-up by private jet until their PB return.
Bridgette’s big-picture approach to bespoke treatments takes a real woman’s Florida lifestyle into account. “Our environmental realities, namely the negative impact our coastal climate has on hair by surrounding us with constant sun, humidity, sodium and salt-infused air, affects hair color’s molecular structure by opening it up,” she notes. “Nearly everyone here has damaged, oxidized hair as a result.”
From the simple act of shampooing to product order and application, Florida forces tweaks in our routines. While this post was originally going to be about color, her pre-regimen tips revealed so much Florida-specific info for youthified hair, I thought this might help more of you living in beach cities.
Bridgette’s Brilliant Who Knew Revelations
Content chief Dana confesses her results using oil aren’t great. I have a stash too, and my attempts are also hit-or-miss, depending on time of year.
Bridgette’s Thoughts: “Moisture is key. If a client’s hair is too damaged to apply color, I prescribe a 30-day pre-color regimen based on our initial consult when I analyze hair type, texture and scalp. I also ask about daily activities because I need to know what your hair is subjected to.
I prefer using luxurious, cold-pressed oils to seal in moisture and protect hair from further moisture depletion caused by the sodium and salt. The best ones go deep into the hair and scalp, regulating your pH by halting the damage and correcting porosity.
Any treatment or product is superficial as hair cannot be healed. Quality oils used as a pre-treatment provide a foundation for other moisturizing conditioning agents to superficially bond to the hair. They also penetrate deeper for strengthening the hairs structure.
And while we all want instant gratification, in 30 days if you’re using great oils, you’ll see the difference. Over the long-term, it gets even better. This is a treatment category where you want to splurge and not DIY it.
If you can saturate your hair with oil overnight before cleansing, that’s ideal. You want to be a greasy mess; your hair and scalp will take in what it needs. A great oil nourishes your hair and rinses clean, but might require a second shampoo.
It’s also okay to use a tiny bit for sealing the ends. Frizz doesn’t start at the roots, but at the ends where damage takes hold.”
Bridgette’s Thoughts: “You don’t need to shampoo your hair so much as cleanse your scalp because rinsing cleanses your hair. Skin - our biggest organ - regulates oil for proper balance and a healthy head of hair. Unless your hair is caked with product, rinsing should suffice.
Most people over-shampoo, which affects hair negatively. I recommend doing so no more than twice a week. Squeaky clean hair isn’t the goal for a healthy head of hair because necessary residual oils from your scalp are removed: most commercial shampoos are super- concentrated and packed with non-optimal ingredients.
Treat your head like a ballgown: think gentle spot cleaning. Head to Sally Beauty for a color-applicator bottle with a thin nozzle. Next, fill a fourth of the bottle with shampoo and a fourth with water. Shake then distribute directly onto your scalp. Use your fingertips to vigorously massage all over the scalp from ear to ear for 5 minutes, working inwards from the end of your eyebrows into your nape. Don’t forget to check for pockets of oil on your neck nape. This mixture should last the week for your two shampoos.
While many clients have filtration systems, for women who don’t, lugging gallons of distilled or filtered water into the shower for rinsing their hair isn’t reality. That’s why it more mindful to be cognizant using oils as a pre-regimen for mitigating our state’s tap water quality.
Cowashing is only great for fine-haired clients who shampoo frequently. It’s best for thick, curly hair types prone to dryness and brittleness.'“
3. A Better Way
Bridgette’s Thoughts: “After washing, it’s important to use a soft washcloth for blotting all excess water. Squeezing your strands isn’t enough. Hair does not benefit from conditioner when too much water is in the hair because the water fills the cuticle and dilutes the properties of the conditioner. Conditioner needs to bond to the strands. If you have thick hair, section the hair and apply conditioner from the ends up to ensure it gets what it needs. A great conditioning product is activated by massaging, coating and pushing it into the strands, which should take 3-5 minutes.”
4. Blow-Out Prep
Bridgette’s Thoughts: “The best canvas for styling is allowing hair to dry naturally, but again that’s not realistic. If you can’t drip dry, try not to rough your hair cuticles with a towel.
Weightless leave-ins pre-blow dry are mandatory in Florida - you just need a bit of it. This isn’t the time to use oil, but something cream or water-based.”
Bridgette’s Thoughts: “The combination of the straightening ingredient and excessive heat together may breakdown the integrity of the hair. Some hair textures may benefit with minimal damage, but I have found that not to be the norm.”
Bridgette works by appointment only. For a consult, call her at 718.938.8785