Every year or so, when winter bites deep, I make my escape to a hot, faraway land. Like many Australians, this land is Europe, namely the Mediterranean; a place of eternal sun, sand and Spritz.

The Australian upheaval to Greece, Italy, Spain, France and the like seems to strengthen every year, and according to a most formidable source (Instagram), it would seem every second Australian is flapping around in the Aegean, chilled Rosé in hand. For me, this year was no exception, a trek back to the Motherland and other hot pockets of the Med was in order.

My post-European beauty narrative always reads the same: deep tan, a smattering of new freckles, a little extra padding around buttocks and thighs (thanks, bread and olive oil), some fresh fine lines, and bright orange / yellow brassy hair. This year, however, I noticed something remarkably different. The former were all there (fabulous), the latter however, was not. Alas, for the first time in my holidaying history my hair came back in its near original state: warm (but not too warm) honey blonde. And healthy. There wasn’t a orange streak in sight. I didn’t even need to call a crisis haircut with Anthony Nader. It was a beauty miracle. But how? What was the difference this time around?

Gigi Hadid’s mane in Mykonos this summer

I engaged in a kind of beauty comparative study; examining what I did / used on vacations past, and what I did / used on this trip. The constants were all there; the water in Greece, Italy and France was the same. I washed my hair the same way. I was swimming at the same beaches, laying under the same sun. The only difference was the product. For the first time, I used the same two products, from the same brand, in tandem, every single time. There was no last-minute, Rosé-induced decision to substitute a post-swim lather with dodgy hotel amenities (seriously, how does one even get enough shampoo out of that tiny little bottle, anyway?). No. It was the same, good quality, rather luxurious Shampoo and Conditioner duo: David Mallett’s Shampoo No. 1 L’Hydratation and Conditioner No. 1 L’Hydratation. It wasn’t even David’s dedicated colour range (La Couleur, which too, is spectacular), but his classic hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner – rich in Keravis, a plant protein complex with a chemical composition that enables penetration right into the hair cortex – which kept my hair colour and health in check. (Tip: leave the conditioner on for 10 – 20 minutes post-swim, for the dreamiest hair and creamiest colour).

Of course, a great colour to begin with helps (Monique McMahon at QUE Colour is the BEST), but maintenance, particularly when hair is subject to the European summer equation (sun + salt + sand + Spritz) is everything, and a premium shampoo and conditioner is paramount.

In short, don’t scrimp on your haircare when travelling to a hot destination – or any destination for that matter – and think something “over there” will suffice. For me, Monsieur Mallett will be accompanying me on my next (and most likely every) sojourn to Greece and beyond. Fluent not only in French, but in the language of hair; let’s just hope he packs his bathing suit.

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David Mallett’s Shampoo No. 1 L’Hydratation, $61.50.
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David Mallett Conditioner No. 1 L’Hydratation, $72.
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