Summer haircare tips from celebrity hairdresser Alain Larivée

June 29, 2011

Summer months often remind us of times at the beach, or hanging outside on a patio with friends, while drinking a cosmo. For many people, however, summer is also the time for a constant battle to tame frizz, maintain bounce or repair damaged hair. Read on, as Alain Larivée, the Canadian Creative Consultant for the John Frieda Professional Haircare division of KAO Brands Company, gives FAJO Magazine‘s readers some tips to maintain that fresh summer do.

Text by Katherine Ellis.

Photos courtesy of Alain Larivée, KAO Brands Company and rock-it promotions.

Even though Alain Larivée is one of the go-to hairstylists in Canada, do not judge his haircutting abilities on his own personal coiffure. “I am the type of guy who is always in desperate need of a haircut,” says Larivée. “We just don’t have the time!”

Alain Larivée.

In his 24 years in the industry, Larivée, who is from Northern Ontario, has traveled the world and created an international client base. Still, he states that even though he has “done the big salon thing, [with multiple] stylists,” he prefers the one-on-one approach in his Montreal-based salon CAJH (Cheveux Alain Justin Hair), which he runs with his husband Justin Voss.

Since he was recruited as the Canadian Creative Consultant for the John Frieda Professional Haircare division of KAO Brands Company in 2007, Larivée has been a hairstylist at the last two Gemini Awards and three Genie Awards, as well as many other Canadian events. He recently returned from a trip to Toronto where the John Frieda team styled Elaine Lui, host of Lainey Gossip on CTV’s etalk, as well as her crew, for her sixth annual S.M.U.T.  Soirée –  an event where the talk show host dishes on celebrity gossip.

Nina Dobrev's hairstyle at the Gemini Awards.

Larivée has cut and styled the hair of many celebrities, including Nina Dobrev of Vampire Diaries fame, Sarah Polley, Shannon Tweed and Wendy Crewson, to name a few.

“As much as superstars are superstars, they are still human beings, they are still people. […] they have basic hair care needs [too],” he says.

And the number one hair-related problem that women have is not taking the time to analyze and determine their hair type: be it oily or dry, straight or curly, the list goes on. This can affect the cut and style you are trying to achieve.

“If we take, for example, the summer time, the number one problem people are dealing with is humidity,” says Larivée. “Curls are in this year, and we are seeing a lot of beach waves, easy styling care-free hair. But there is always the woman who really likes to blast out her [coiffure] and have that really straight shiny hairdo; the issue is: how do I solve this?”

Larivée explains that women often go to their existing tried-and-tested solutions that have achieved the desired look in the past, but are not necessarily working now. For those seeking that pin-straight look, Larivée suggests using a keratin protein-based product, including sprays.

Prepping  your hair prior to any styling with  proper shampoo and conditioner is important too. Make sure it’s something that will benefit your hair type and the style you are trying to achieve. “I don’t expect everyone to pick up the bottle and read the labels,” says Larivée. “But if you take the time to read the instructions on the back of the bottle, […] that’s a good starting point.”

Larivée also stresses that women should find the right hairstylist, and not just someone who is following the trends. “My famous quotation is ‘Trends are meant to influence, not dictate.’ And that is what you need to be aware of as a consumer –  this is the trend, but does it work for my hair type?”

As for when he cuts his clients’ hair, Larivée’s reflex product is putting in a serum after a shampoo and conditioner.  “The serum will help seal up the cuticle of the hair, and comes out with the next shampoo,” he says. “When worked through wet hair, it will help you hold your style and will control the cuticle of the hair.”

Touch-up Flyaway Tamer by John Frieda.

A new favourite is the Touch-up Flyaway Tamer by John Frieda. Resembling a mascara brush, Larivée explains that the product (which contains Inca Inchi oil) helps strengthen hair and repair damage, including those flyaway baby hairs. “I won’t do a photo shoot without it, or a live television broadcast. […] Every time I try it out on somebody new, it ends up in their purse,” he says.

Larivée believes that his greatest accomplishment to date is his appointment as the Canadian Creative Consultant for John Frieda. There, Larivée works with other big names in the hair industry, including Luigi Murenu and Harry Josh.

“It’s really cool to find myself in a position where I work for a company that has a strong basic philosophy that matches my personal philosophy –[providing] quality hair care, transformative hair care, listening to and analyzing, and identifying  people’s needs and solving them. I think that is what the big part of my success is.”

Alain Larivée and the CAJH staff can be followed on Facebook at the following link:

For more on John Frieda products, go to:


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