Alain Larivée, John Frieda Canadian Creative Consultant

There is one sign of aging that is getting hard for me to ignore – my hair.  It is getting greyer - and greyer. It is getting finer. It is getting well… older.   Just like the rest of me.  And I will admit I am struggling a bit on how to take proper care of my changing hair.  So while my time is limited between my son, husband and work I always find time to turn my hair over to my stylist (and get a couple of hours of “me” time) every 6-8 weeks.   But lets be honest it is expensive.  And I wonder if what I am doing at home to care of my hair is enough.   What should I honestly expect from my hair as it ages?  Are there ways to avoid uneven hair colour and unexpected results if I colour it myself?  Turning to the Internet brings up mixed results from strange myths to information geared to those with younger hair.  As John Frieda® launches their  Precision Foam Colour, it seemed a perfect opportunity to speak to Alain Larivée, John Frieda Canadian Creative Consultant, and ask him all my hair care questions.

Alain is a celebrity stylist, owner of the CAJH Maitres Coiffeurs Salon in Montreal and the Canadian Creative Consultant for John Frieda Hair Care.   We had a great phone conversation about hair.  He gave me some great hair facts, tips and a few laughs too.  And I have to admit I might have crushed on his Montreal accent, just a little.


What is biggest complaint from your clients, over aged 40, about their hair?

Oh my roots”, is the number 1 complaint.  And as they get older the more they complain - as the percentage of grey increases.  So we do little tricks, for example for a lady who is going whiter and whiter and is getting tired of wearing a darker hair colour.  We’ll just tell her “let us integrate a little bit of softness around your hairline”.  Around your face, around the top, give it a little bit of light so there are highs and lows so the roots don’t appear to come out as quickly.

It isn't always affordable for women to pay to get their hair coloured at a salon. For someone who wants to cover their grey at home how do they pick the right shade (ie: I have a darker colour)?

There has been an increase in home hair colour in the past 5-10 years. Economic times, and less money coming into the household, means we have to change our habits.  The nice thing about the new John Frieda®  Precision Foam Colour.are the natural-looking color results, that are so easy to achieve at home.

If you are a brunette and you want to add a bit of warmth, you could use something with a golden red base. It will warm up your tone a bit.  It will also allow you to go a bit lighter. The more there is grey the more you want to put some gold tones in to as you get better coverage.  It is a basic rule of hair colouring.    The John Frieda hair shade selector  makes picking your colour from their 24 shades easy.

The John Frieda®  Precision Foam Colour has simplified home hair colour so much.   What is fun is it foams right up and covers the whole hair so you don’t get patchy effects.  You can see some people who are doing their home colour, how their colour is unequal roots to end, the patches, the colour bands, etc.  So I strongly recommend, if you are going to do colour at home, use a Precision Foam Colour.  John Frieda Hair Care has basically de-mystified the whole at-home hair colouring process.  And then if you want to add effects to your colour, or do a colour switch you can go to the salon and get some highlights thrown in.  But it is a good alternative for the consumer who needs to save cash.

Do you have any tips for colouring your hair at home to get the best results?

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions (I had to admit I laughed out loud here, because this is so true). This is the number one problem consumers have.  Take the box.  Read it inside out.  Use the manufactures’ instructions. Go online. We've released a number of videos to help home care users.  You’ll learn it really isn't that complicated. Of course professionals make it looks easy, but it is what we do for a living.  I wish I could cook as well as some chefs on TV.  But I’ll follow their directions and recommendations and do my best with it. The more you follow step by step what is in the manufacturer’s directions the better the results you are going to get.

Tips for before or during colouring your hair.

What suggestions do you have for maintaining your colour?

Use colour care products.  If you're a blonde then use shampoo specifically formulated for blonde hair.  Use the support system that goes along with your hair colour. You will definitely see a huge difference in results from your shampoos.  A lot of people are using products that are too harsh on their hair and they are finding the colour fades out too fast.  This is usually related to them using a shampoo that isn't intended for their hair colour.  So when it is artificially treated back it up with a system.

Also, throw in a colour glaze, like John Frieda's Luminious Colour Glaze,  once in a while to give it that little bit more shine.  Use products made for your hair type and hair colour.

What can we expect to change in our hair as we age?

When the hair goes grey it has a tendency of being a bit frizzier.  The grey hair that is coming in has a tendency to be weird, you know, like you get those crunchy little grey hairs on the top of your head that are all fuzzy that you have never seen before because, well you've never seen your hair that way. So you are probably going to face more frizz. In the past stylists would go to a serum, which cures frizz problems. But the problem for women with fine to medium hair is that serum weighs their style down.  John Frieda Hair Care came up with a product which is basically half a serum and half moisturizer, so we are treating the hair from the interior and exterior (product is Sheer Solution Lightweight Frizz Control) .  That is what I would recommend as the best reflex, if you find you have extra frizz.

Another one of the main issues with our hair is from over styling it… hair styles are very blow dried, curled or flat ironed. So the hair has taken a beating.  We have to take care of that hair; we have to give that hair some love.  You need to reverse the damage done from styling, so look for a product line focused on repair.

Are there any old wives tales about our hair that are true?

Yes. Tricks like washing your hair when it is dirty and not washing your hair every day.  Unless you are working out or sweating profusely and you want to clean it, then it is not necessary to wash it every day.  We are getting a little scalp obsessed, and all that it is going to do is strip your hair of its asset mantle and its natural barriers. You have sebaceous glands and sweat glands and there is a reason they are on our scalp and it helps protect our scalp and hair.

What about women who decide to go completely grey.  My grey is dull, how would I give it more depth?

If you are going to do the switch over to your natural my first recommendations is to go to the cottage for 2 months. So you have enough length in re-growth to cut your hair short (insert a few laughs from both of us here about having the time to disappear for 2 months).

A lot people who smoke or people who live in highly polluted areas tend to have yellowing action happening in their hair.   So using something like a purple or violet pigmented shampoo, like John Frieda Sheer Blonde Colour Renew,  is the best way to remove those awful tones.  Then to add shine, an old trick my grandmother used to do, she would dilute apple cider vinegar (10 parts to 1) in water. She would spray it in her hair for a final rinse. That is what she would use after shampooing and conditioning (note – I started using apple cider vinegar this fall as a rinse, and it really does add shine, and helps a bit with grease too).  The vinegar is an acid base, and because the acid is so close to your natural PH it will seal that cuticle right up and give hair the shine.

Any other tips?

  • Use the proper products for the finish you want.
  • The solutions are usually written on the back of the box.


This post is sponsored by John Frieda® hair, and is the first of two posts associated with the launch of their Precision Foam Colour  for professional at-home hair colour results.

For years John Frieda® Hair Care has been the go-to resource for colour care.  Now the experts behind the ultimate in colour care introduce the ultimate in premium at-home colour:  John Frieda®  Precision Foam Colour

John Frieda®  Precision Foam Colour will have a special live billboard at the Metropolis at Metrotown, Grand Court in Burnaby and on the corner of Granville & Georgia Street, Vancouver on Saturday March 24 & 25thDrop by so you can check out the live billboard & pick up a voucher to try John Frieda Precision Foam Colour for yourself.  

Spot the live billboard? Snap a photo, tweet it and hashtag it: #JohnFriedaFoam

Be sure to check for my next post in this series, when I'll be behind the scenes at the live billboard.  And will also have a code for you to get a free Precision Foam Colour sample through the John Frieda  Precision Foam Colour Canada Facebook page.   Then you will have an opportunity to try one of the 24 shades for yourself and let me know how you like it.


Disclosure – This post is my own and on a topic that is near and dear to my own grey hair heart. The questions were written by me.  I recorded the interview so I could have a good conversation with Alain. Then I edited for length, content and grammar.   I was compensated by Kao Canada Inc., and provided with Precision Foam Colour (in Radiant Red: Deep Cherry Brown), Radiant Red colour shampoo and conditioner and Luminous colour Glaze John Frieda products for my own use.