Many women are conscientious – even guiltily so – when it comes to skincare, but doing the same for their tresses and scalp? Less so.
According to salon director and scalp specialist of Chez Vous Salon Serene Tan, many women in their 20s and 30s only get their hair treated when a problem (read: hair starts to visibly thin out) arises. However, according to experts: It could be too late by then, with most of such concerns being irreversible, or unable to be cured fully.
Of late though, achieving healthy and luscious locks, has become more of a beauty goal – and it shows. For one, there has been an increase in the number of aesthetic clinics in the past year that provide various treatments to help save your tresses.
SW1 Clinic opened its doors late last year, taking up a whopping 7,000 sq ft at Paragon Medical Centre – it’s dubbed one of Singapore’s largest aesthetic, plastic surgery and medical spa establishments. In January, The Covette Clinic joined the line-up of new aesthetic clinics offering two specialised haircare treatments. The most recent opening this June: Terra Medical, a hair clinic formed by the team behind three-year old Mizu Aesthetic Clinic.
Specialised services aside, the latest haircare launches has seen many brands releasing products aimed at repairing hair. French beauty brand Sisley revealed its first-ever haircare line in April, which consists of five different products all meant to treat damaged scalp, frizziness and split ends, while London-based haircare brand Percy & Reed released six products in February to treat tresses.
Taking charge of damaged locks
Knowing when your hair is considered “unhealthy” is key, and the most common sign is damaged hair. If you’ve ever bleached your mane to achieve that rebellious platinum blonde hue, or committed to a perm because straight hair was too passe, you’ve compromised the health of your hair.
“Women have more options to damage their hair [now], especially with all the new styling techniques and the acceptance of brighter hair colours,” shares founder of SW1 Clinic Dr Low Chai Ling.
Over-treating is one crime; so is not taking care of your hair properly, especially after multiple bleaching rounds. If the right products aren’t used (a hair mask is not substantial enough) your crowning glory will likely remain damaged.
Our tip? Choose a shampoo and conditioner that target damaged locks like Schwarzkopf Beology Repair Shampoo ($21) and Sisley Restructuring Conditioner ($90). The former is formulated with deep sea extracts, keratin and proteins to repair hair’s inner structure, while the latter prevents breakage, increases shine, and improves resistance to harmful chemicals and pollutants. Additionally, use a serum such as Antonin B Ceramides Enriched Desert Serum ($63), which is made with 10 vegetable oils to thoroughly hydrate; or Phytomillesime Beauty Concentrate ($65) – ideal for those with coloured locks to reinforce hair fibres and fast-track hair’s recovery process.
For a more intensive boost, you’ll need a treatment such as Glass Hair at Chez Vous (from $225 for 90 minutes, depending on hair length). Similar to products that guarantee Korean-style “glass skin”, this focuses on delivering that same clean and clear promise of youth – just for your hair. The 90-minute quick fix (in collaboration with Goldwell Singapore) uses four key ingredients and involves five steps. Glyoxylic acid acts as the key styling product that’s activated by heat, so hair appears more manageable. Hard collagen and peptides repair the holes (caused by hair damage) inside the cuticles to prevent moisture from being trapped (ie what causes hair to frizz), while silk protein coats each strand for a shinier, more healthy-looking appearance. Lastly, a cell membrane complex that mimics mini sponges is used to absorb other haircare products better.
While it may leave your hair feeling uber smooth and soft with less frizz, the downside is you won’t be able to wash your hair for 48 hours after the treatment. Also, your hair may feel a little stiff for the first two days due to the hard collagen layer, but once you rinse it off, it’ll be as good as new.
Give your scalp some love
The key to healthy hair is a healthy scalp. One way to achieve this is to give it a deep cleanse. “Many people are not aware of the need to exfoliate their scalp,” shares Gary Chew, founder of Mi The Salon. He adds that it is crucial to exfoliate the scalp regularly to remove the build-up of oils and fatty acids, which can lead to scalp problems (dandruff, itch, flaking – you name it).
One way to combat this is the Kerastase Detoxifying Scalp Ritual (from $125 for 35 minutes) at Mi The Salon. It consists of three five-step treatments that tackle everything from removing dandruff (The Purifying Ritual) to regulating sebum (Clarifying Ritual) and soothing sensitive scalps (Calming Ritual). All treatments use moringa to prevent premature ageing, glycerine to hydrate, and exfoliation beads to get rid of dead skin cells – and there’s no downtime. For best results, it is recommended that you go once every three weeks.
Meanwhile, in between treatments, continue to take proper care of your scalp at home with Sachajuan Scalp Shampoo (US$22.36 or S$30). It’s specially formulated with piroctone olamine and climbazole to remove dry skin and dandruff, and has rosemary oil, salicylic acid and ginger oil to soothe and unclog. For a more specific approach, Philip Kingsley Exfoliating Scalp Mask (US$25.55 or S$34) is made to target flaking and itching concerns, while exfoliating and moisturising. Get both products from www.net-a-porter.com.
Tackling premature balding
Poor scalp hygiene may cause hair loss. “When the scalp is clogged, hair is not able to grow properly due to the hardening of oils. When this happens, hair starts to thin and soon, you’ll experience hair loss,” says Chew.
There are also other causes such as hormonal changes, stress, hereditary and environmental issues, as well as excessive hairstyling.
While the problem is usually associated with men, it’s not uncommon in women. According to ABC News in April 2018, over 50 per cent of women experience some form of mild hair loss as they age, and about 20 per cent of women develop moderate or severe hair loss. Dr Low adds that at her clinic this year, three in 10 women seek treatments for hair loss – a noticeable increase from five years back, when it was only one in 10 female patients.
Also, though age plays a huge part, it can affect younger women as well. “Hair loss is a gradual development that can even start at the age of 25,” shares Chew.
To address this issue, consider using products like Kerastase Densifique Serum Jeunesse ($110), which is ideal for those with thinning and greying hair. It has ceramides and the brand’s Anti-Ox Cellular and Stemoxydine that supposedly prevent the loss of melanin, while giving you a fuller-looking mane. Another product, SW1 Hair Recovery Strengthening & Rejuvenating Serum ($192.60) is saturated with three active ingredients that include vitamin B6 to increase the diameter of the hair shaft so hair looks thicker.
For professional help, head to Mi The Salon and ask for the Kerastase Fusio-Thermie Hair Treatment (from $138 for 35 minutes). The root-to-tip service involves a scalp analysis, followed by a cleanse. Next, the hairdresser will select one of four concentrates based on your needs. This is combined with a booster (choose from Radiance, Density, Reconstruction, Nourishment or Manageability) to further address your concerns. To end, you can opt for either an argan oil infusion (ideal for dry and frizzy hair) or a diamond-dusted flat iron with infrared light (to boost shine). Hair is left feeling super soft and light. According to the salon, it is advisable not to wash your hair for 24 hours after the treatment.
This story first appeared in Female’s July 2018 print issue.