Good hair day

I got very excited about meeting trichologist Philip Kingsley last week.

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As one of the best-known names in beauty, I was looking forward to picking his brains on the subject of hair and scalp health, which has been his specialism for more than 45 years. One hour and four sides of A4 later, these are the nuggets of wisdom I’ve been dying to pass on:

‘The reason hair has such a profound impact on our morale is that it’s a secondary sexual characteristic. What’s more, it’s the only one you can (acceptably) flaunt in public. No wonder ‘bad hair’ has such a profound impact of women’s self-esteem.

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‘In the past ten years, I’ve seen a huge increase in the number of women coming to see me for thinning hair. Largely, it’s because women now know that something can be done and they have higher expectations, but if you twisted my arm, I’d concede that, yes, it has to do with our hectic 21st century lifestyles and the increase in stress we’re all facing.

‘You can’t cure hair loss but you can keep it at bay.

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‘I’ve noticed a link in women between hair loss and the contraceptive coil, in particular the Mirena coil. Also, 36 per cent of women who come to me about hair loss turn out to have PCOS.

‘A much over-looked cause of hair loss is a flaky, itchy scalp. The single best – and easiest – way to maintain a healthy scalp is to wash it every day.  It’s a myth that shampooing every day does harm.

‘Insufficient levels of ferritin [iron] can also cause hair to thin. The trouble is that many people have iron levels that are within the normal medical reference range, but not within the optimal range for hair growth. As insurance, you could take an iron supplement. The one I recommend is Ferrograd-C, available over-the-counter in pharmacies.

‘Hair loss has also been linked to insufficient levels of vitamin B12 so taking a good B-vit supplement can help.

‘One of my first clients was Lawrence Olivier. He was feeling stressed from all his performances at the National Theatre and was worried he’d start losing his hair. Soon, I was seeing all the National Theatre actors.

‘These days, lots of actresses are sent to me before they start filming. The Studios know what their hair’s going to be put through on set and they send them to me for strengthening and conditioning treatments beforehand.

‘Elasticizer [£23.50 for 150ml, by Philip Kingsley] is one of the best products in my range. It gives hair shine, stretchability – healthy hair should be able to stretch to 30 per cent of its length before it breaks – volume and it helps prevent split ends.’

Fore more hair and scalp advice, visit www.philipkingsley.com

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