Haircare

Hair Loss Causes & Ingredients Focus

As distressing as it is to loose hair, it is difficult to identify a single underlying cause for hair loss. More often than not, its usually a combination of factors that lead to hair loss and thinning. Hence a holistic approach inside out is imperative in tackling this issue.

Some of the underlying causes include: stress (I know easier said than done to manage this bucket), lack of sleep, vitamin deficiencies (particularly B12 and B6), irregular Thyroid function, low Iron levels (anaemia), hormonal changes or fluctuations (including postpartum hair loss), increased Dihydrotestosterone (DHT, higher levels of testosterone is converted to DHT), impaired micro-circulation and poor scalp health (potential fungal infections), and other existing medical conditions for which treatment

Most of these potential causes we’ve heard about, however elevated DHT levels are not so often elaborated on. As hair on the scalp goes through its normal cycle of growing and shedding, DHT makes the follicles shrink. That means they get thinner and shorter, because the growing cycle doesn’t last as long. In some cases, the growing cycle becomes so brief that new hairs don’t even poke through the skin. Plus, the thinning of the hairs makes them easier to shed.

Again, I stress the importance of having complete blood work done to identify potential factors affecting you. That really should be your first step rather than splurging on products claiming to help with hair loss.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids’s for scalp exfoliation to get rid of dead skin buildup (Personally, I spray a light mist of Pixi Glow Tonic, once or twice a week). Alternatively, manual physical scrubs are also available with Sea Salt (Christophe Robin, G.tox by Goop, DpHUE), Sugar (Kristin Ess, Ouai, Nexxus, NatureLab. Tokyo), Charcoal (Briogeo) or Enzymes (Virtue).

Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) is a small palm tree native to Florida and other areas of the southeastern United States. It is one of the most popular and best herbal DHT blockers. Specifically look for Saw Palmetto extract (as an active ingredient), which is considered a potent form. Some studies show that Saw Palmetto inhibits 5-alpha reductase (5-AR) in tissues from producing DHT. Beloved OGX Niacin and Caffeine range had this ingredient.

Caffeine, the common stimulatory ingredient found in coffee may also help to promote hair growth by blocking DHT. An in vitro study found that caffeine applied topically in concentrations of 0.001% and 0.005% could stimulate hair follicle growth. While the exact mechanism of action still requires research, this effect may come from the compounds ability to block 5-AR receptors. OGX Niacin and Caffeine range now discontinued but was excellent, Alpecin Caffeine Shampoo (with Panthenol, Zinc PCA and Niacin), Vegamour GRO Hair serum (formulated with Panthenol, Caffeine, Turmeric, Red Clover extract, Biotin and Peptide)

Yerba mate extract is rich in antioxidants because of its high concentration of polyphenols, comparable to red wine and considered superior to green tea with its antioxidant composition. Claims to have 10x the caffeine potency of any other natural ingredient. Levara Amazonia’s range includes Yerba Mate as their star ingredient however whether its an active ingredient in the formulation is vague.

Stinging Nettle – If inflammation with scalp is a concern for you, studies have proven this is excellent for reducing inflammation in scalp, neutralize free radical damage and aid in blocking DHT activity topically. Rich in vitamins and minerals such as magnesium (which in itself has amazing properties for hair loss), vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin K, potassium, silica, and calcium are heavily present in the nettle leaves, roots, and stems. It also possesses a rich source of iron and omega-3 acid, antioxidant and antimicrobial powerhouse.

Fenugreek is an ancient ingredient, used extensively in Ayurvedic formulations. Known to be high in protein and nicotinic acid content, which are known to help combat dandruff and hair loss. Fenugreek seeds contain a unique combination of plant compounds that include saponins and flavonoids. These compounds may help hair growth because of their anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal efforts.

Pumpkin Seed Oil – Shown some promising effects on its ability to inhibit DHT. In fact, its effects on DHT have been studied for many years in relation to its effects on enlarged prostates.

Pygeum Bark also known as African Plum Tree, known to be rich in essential fatty acids, and reduce DHT levels leading to hair loss.

Prescription under Doctors advice – Minoxidil (stimulates hair growth by increasing the growth phase cycle, shortening the resting phase, and increasing the blood flow to the hair follicle) Topical application of Regaine or Rogaine (5% Minoxidil) or Keranique (2% Minoxidil))

Prescription under Doctors advice – Ketoconazole is an anti-fungal medication commonly used to reduce dandruff. Studies suggest that it may also help to block DHT and promote hair growth. A study comparing a topical ketoconazole solution and various concentrations of minoxidil found that using ketoconazole with minoxidil stimulates hair growth more than minoxidil alone.20

Prescription under Doctors advice – Finasteride is an oral medication which targets the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. This is not prescribed to women and limited specifically to men.

Other OTC Supplements that can be considered include Biotin, Vitamin B12 and B6, Iron among many others.

HHW.com

xx

Hair & Scalp Serum Treatments

As I started drafting the post on hair serums & treatments, I soon realized they’re two separate categories on our hands, hair serum intended for hair strands away from roots and secondly scalp serum, intended for topical application on your scalp. Overall, scalp health is one of the most crucial factors around hair loss and health of hair strands.

Scalp Treatment – Vegamour GRO Hair Serum – Website states, A proprietary plant-based blend with a combination of clinically-tested vegan actives known in some subjects to inhibit the production of Dihydrotestosterone (DHT, I have a separate post specifically on this and ingredients to look for) & miRNA22, promote healthy circulation, soothe scalp irritation as well as revitalize & strengthen roots. Very light watery serum (lighter than Ordinary) and absorbs instantly. I like to massage on specific spots to encourage growth. It made my hair appear bouncier and fluffier after each application. Formulated with Caffeine, Turmeric, Panthenol, Red Clover, Biotin and Peptide. As with any hair product, I need more time to test for proper results however, I find myself reaching for this actively.

One of the main ingredient of difference between Vegamour and Ordinary serum is inclusion of Alcohol Denat (listed as third on inci list and can be felt in the consistency and upon application – no stinging or burning, just feels like it evaporates quickly) which some with very sensitive scalps may find it irritating, however I had no such issues.

Scalp TreatmentThe Ordinary Hair Density Serum, a light watery (slightly denser than water) serum that doesn’t leave any sticky residue or result in an oily scalp. Although caveat to that is it does need to be massaged in well so it dissipates evenly else you will notice slight residue. Few drops in areas that need dire help and over time I’ve seen slow growth specifically in those areas (around my temples). Formulated with trademarked peptide complexes, Caffeine (1% by weight), Larch wood extract, etc. I would stock up on this next sale.

Scalp Treatment – OGX Niacin & Caffeine (discontinued🤬), so I don’t see much point in elaborating how amazing this was but what stood out were the ingredients Niacin, Caffeine and Saw Palmetto (natural DHT blocker, i.e. hormone that contributes to hair loss). Talking about DHT could be a post in itself, let me know if you’d like a separate post. In the same spirit, looked for other products with these ingredients to help with the situation

Scalp Treatment – Weleda Revitalising Hair Tonic, feels refreshing on scalp but high in alcohol. Can’t say alcohol caused any issues with my scalp but for some sensitive skins it might. Also can’t say I have had any visible results with this. Indeed this gives a voluminous feel to mane.

Scalp Treatment – Aveda Invati Advanced Scalp Revitalizer – instantly adds texture to my hair. They claim, it thickens to help lift hair at the root and invigorates the scalp when massaged in. It smells of a gorgeous herbal earthy concoction, the liquid itself feels heavy on my scalp and leaves my scalp tad sticky. In terms of visible results, cannot rave. my scalp and hair. Perhaps consistency would be the key in seeing results, but when scalp and hair feel oily and hay like, consistency is also tricky.

Next few serums are specifically focusing on serum for hair strands:

Hair Serum – Christophe Robin Regenerating Serum with Prickly Pear Oil – If you’ve used Prickly Pear line (specifically mask and shampoo) you will know in part what to expect from this. A creamy consistency, multi purpose serum aimed to serve as heat protectant, and improve overall health of hair strands (including split ends or dry or frizzy hair). And I have seen this does exactly what it claims. My hair strand definitely feels healthier, more nourished without it being weighed down. I’ve used one pump daily on wet and dry hair, and somehow I prefer this on dry hair because it almost behaves like a leave in conditioner but better. Not to mention that gorgeous aroma from this line mmmmm, love!

Hair Serum – Antonin B Ceramides Enriched Desert Serum showcased in LE Boxwalla, was a new brand discovery for me. This oil serum is particularly suitable for dry, color treated or chemically processed hair. It is formulated to deeply penetrate your hair and makes it stronger, softer and healthier without weighing it down. It is an oil based serum and all you need is a drop or two (depending on hair length and volume). With my fine hair, it is easier to go overboard and ends up making my hair oily at the ends. So it is imperative to stick to a drop and no more. But it does help with dry lifeless ends, bring vitality back. I can see this working incredibly well for colour treated and daily blowouts hair.

Hair Serum – Levara Amazonia Hair Growth Treatment Serum – This particular hair serum had me all over with its inci list specifically, potent formula rich in Yerba Mate, Saw Palmetto (more on this specific ingredient in next post). However inci list had me baffled with Aqua, Phenoxyethanol (75%)….ermm so preservative is right on top composing majority of the formula and actives much later. Someone from this company needs to break this down for me. Secondly, directions of use state, “Distribute evenly through damp or dry hair. No need to rinse, this serum is designed to be left in. Use once daily to unlock your hair growth potential.” So I interpret this as application on hair strands, however website also includes, “Made with a cocktail of intelligent haircare ingredients, this intensive leave-in serum helps to achieve fuller, healthier, thicker locks by stimulating the scalp to promote healthy hair follicles.” Stimulating scalp it says, but directions state apply to hair, so which is it. Application to hair or scalp or both? Needless to say, still testing but it does leave hair sticky and clumpy.

Hair Leave in Moisture treatments are always focused away from hair roots:

Christophe Robin Sandalwood Hair Cream & Prickly Pear Multi purpose balm, these two are amazing. End of story. I have a separate post on hair creams (let me know if you want to be linked to), but these provide that instant hydration and moisture to hair ends. They appear healthy and tamed (doesn’t feel sticky or clumpy or oily). Of course they both smell incredible, always a bonus.

Kerastase Elixir Ultime is used mainly on second or third or fourth day when my hair needs shine and movement under all that texture. Adore the scent, however given its laden with silicones I use no more than a pump on my fine hair (bottom half only). If you’re an ardent fan of heat styling, definitely a good heat protector.

Mauli Grow Strong Hair Oil is a wonderful version of hair oil departing from traditional Ayurvedic oils which can be unpleasant. I apply mainly on my ends and doesn’t feel heavy or sticky at all. Over time I’ve noticed more nourished roots as well.

HHW.com

xx

Taming my Mane

Before I dive into any elaborate procedures or talk about products quick note on my ‘Hair Facts‘.

IMG_8869Length wise: Longish (below shoulder). Colour: Brunette, dark coffee brown. Texture: Fine Hair, Pin Straight and lots of it. Torture Levels: Never coloured, Blow dry on special occasions (don’t bother because no curl or wave stays put, for more than 2-3 hours) and use minimal styling goop. Styling: Almost Always in a BUN. Or Just down running wild and free. Issues: Volume, Volume, Volume, ermmm did I mention Volume? My hair tends to look flat if I don’t have any volumising or sea salt spray or some form of texturizer. And lastly, very easily prone to knots.

Heads Up (pun intended) there will be references to ‘someone sitting on top of my head’. Kindly do not translate that literally, it means my hair looks Flat like glued to my scull.

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Hair Oils have been a relatively new thing for the Western world. However I’ve been using hair oils since I was little girl. At the time I hated the glooopy greasyy feel but today I’m so thankful my mother decided to traumatize me like that. It was truly worth it. This ritual is conducted 2ish times a week, and always left overnight.

I have a rather wide range of hair oils to choose from, brands are limited, however class of hair oils vary. Castor Oil (on ends encourages growth, including eyebrow and lashes), Almond Oil (grew up with that on my head). Other regular suspects include Forest Essentials Sugandha (Vetiver, Hibiscus, virgin coconut and other botanicals), Bhringraj (Black Sesame and virgin Coconut Oil along with Goat’s Milk and Herbal Extracts), Brahmi (discontinued – basil leaves, licorice, cumin, virgin coconut oil) and Aveda Men Pure Formance Composition and Hello Hair. If you’d like reviews specifically on any of these, please leave comments below.

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Shampoo Ohhhh I have commitment issues with Shampoo’s. It’s almost like my mop of hair is a complete whore and needs a change of shampoo all the time. My hair cannot get use to one shampoo, should I use something consistently it looks like someone’s planted their back side on my head.

The Mo Faves include: Kama Ayurveda Rose & Jasmine (SLS free and smells bloody amazing) my reigning fav of the moment. Followed by Ducray and Klorane. Frequency to shampoo is usually every 3rd day. Extended to the 4th day, with varying laziness levels.

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Conditioner & Mask I DON’T use Conditioners! Yes you read that correctly, no conditioner because it makes my hair look flat like someone is sitting on top of it. However I use Hair Mask on my ends. This step needs to be Silicone free for me.

Any fine hair person would know, silicone and fine hair is BAD combo. So this mask Christophe Robin Regenerating Mask with Pricky Pear Oil is god sent for us flat fine hair peeps. Retains hydration in locks, keeps the movement and doesn’t make it heavy

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After Shampoo Ritual Towel dried for good 15 mins, I hydrate and nourish hair. My All time Faves include Phyto 7 for summer or Phyto 9 for winter (ahh the non sticky, silky smooth glossy hair) or Kevin Murphy Body Guard Hydrating Lotion for Hair (now discontinued so I seriously ration my use). Also trialing Forest Essentials Hair Vitalizer Bhringraj for hair loss (don’t think it has helped my hair at all but my hair smells lovely).

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Finally to address va va voom volume issues, some sea salt spray or Colab Dry Shampoo Extreme Volume for texturizing and addressing that non existent ‘being’ sitting on the top. Of course on day 2-3 I use dry shampoo to get rid of any oiliness. In addition, to also using Klorane Dry Shampoo which I find works fine if I intend on twisting my hair in a voluminous bun, but if I want to let it down….not a good option. I’ve tried many sea salt sprays but I’ve only ever ‘used them up’ to welcome them in my Mission Empties basket, never repurchased them which speaks volumes (pun intended again!). My all time fav hair spray is Aveda Air Control (LOVE the smell), and controls all fly aways.

If you have any recommendations on products I should try based on my hair type and issues, please leave comment below.

HHW.com

xx