Five favourite summer destinations in London

By Candice Zen (candice@totemhair.co.uk)

You may all know that, as well as cutting hair, London hairdressers also share all their insider tips with customers on great places to visit in our amazing city. 

Here’s a few Totem Hair tips for the summer in London:

Summer Science exhibition at the Royal Society
If you’re interested in science, check out this fantastic free summer science exhibition. The prestigious Royal Society selects exciting research projects from institutions around the UK on topics ranging from astronomy and physics to geology and biology/medicine. The scientists are on hand with models and demonstrations to explain their investigations to everyone, regardless of background. On this week. https://royalsociety.org/science-events-and-lectures/2017/summer-science-exhibition/

Hampstead Heath and the bathing ponds
Feel like a swim and picnic with friends in a lovely large park? The bathing ponds (well, mini-lakes) are a fantastic place to hang out on a hot day. There are men’s, women’s and mixed ponds. They do have a little pondweed, some dragonflies and a few ducks – but that adds fun to the swim. There are lifeguards and the entrance charge is a donation of £2. At the weekends, it’s best to get there before midday. Some nice pubs (e.g. Spaniard’s Inn) at the edge of the heath to finish the afternoon in.

Wilton’s Music Hall, Grace’s Alley
This old, crumbling Victorian music hall was discovered at the back of a sailor’s pub (the Mahogany bar) down an alley in Whitechapel. It was nearly pulled down, but fortunately was saved at the last minute. Check out the free gigs in the bar on Mondays, the history tour of the building or one of the shows in the atmospheric hall.

Rotherhithe – The Mayflower pub and Brunel’s tunnel
The walk from London Bridge, along the river to Rotherhithe and the Mayflower pub is a fantastic one. On the way, you’ll pass the Hay’s Galleria for a coffee and the impressive battleship HMS Belfast (also worth a separate visit). The Mayflower pub is London’s oldest, built in 1620, it still has much of the original interior and feels like a pirate’s hangout. The Brunel tunnel museum nearby is an interesting look at this historical engineering project and during the summer, there are cocktails and a barbeque in the cute garden on the roof of the museum on Fridays and Saturdays.

Art college graduation shows
Catch the next generation of artists and fashion designers at their graduation shows. London is home to several famous art colleges with talented students from around the world. In particular, check out Central St Martin’s at Kings Cross or the Royal College of Art. Shows/exhibitions are usually mid-end of June and have free entry.


 

Three ideas for Hot summer Hair (2017)

Summer is really here now – 32 degrees today – so I thought it’d be good to have a look at some ways to wear the hair which look great and are practical in hot weather!

Colour
Going for a sunkissed colour is a good way to start the season. The great thing is the sun is going to lighten your hair anyway, so you only need a little enhancement by a hairdresser and then you can let the sun do the rest.
A few highlight foils around the front of your face or some light balayage (hair painting with bleach/lightener) throughout will set you up well for the summer months. This works well on men with longer and mid to light brown hair as well.

man highlighted hair
 

Scarves
Summer is the season when head scarves, hair bands and bandanas can make a great addition to a look, on shorter or longer hair. They are very multi-purpose: keeping the sun off, hair tied up and adding some colour as well. There are some good selections in the high-street shops right now.
A nice thing to try for long hair would be to incorporate a scarf into a braid as one of the strands that is plaited – adding a colourful twist.

man headscarf

Braids
Braiding (plaiting) hair is a fun skill to acquire, although it takes a little practice. The fantastic thing with braiding is that there are quite a lot of variations, meaning that it’s versatile and the looks you can create are endless. Doing this with slightly damp hair is also a great way of getting a beachy wave and texture into the hair without much effort or heat styling. Braiding works best on hair which is not very straight and shiny – if it’s too slippery, a bit of dry shampoo helps with grip. If you need some help getting started with this, there are a lot of great videos on youtube.

 

Dry and brittle hair? Check out these 3 solutions

By Candice Zen (candice@totemhair.co.uk)

Now and again I find myself continually coming across a fair few customers with the same problem, and recommending the same solutions. April has been one of those months with lots of women customers with dry and brittle hair caused by heat styling – that is either ironing or curling with tongs.
 
There are 3 ways of tackling the dryness and brittleness:

1.    Stop using heat tools on the hair as much. Ask your hairdresser for practical alternatives to you ironing your hairstyle, and get practising your braiding now summer is coming. If that’s impossible….

2.    Using a leave-in treatment and heat protector. A product which is left in the hair i.e. is not rinsed out will always work harder. If money is an issue, stop spending on expensive shampoos and conditioners that are rinsed out. Spend more money on a leave-in treatment such as Kerastase Ciment Thermique if your hair is fairly fine or Kerastase Nectar Thermique or Davines All-in-One Oi Milk if it’s a bit thicker.

3.    Use a mask instead of (rinse-off) conditioner once per week or try coconut oil (see earlier post). A mask is a concentrated conditioner. Apply it after shampooing to towel dried hair, use a wide tooth comb to mechanically work the conditioner into the hair. Towel dried hair is important so that the product is not diluted. A mask will penetrate the hair a bit more and the conditioning ingredients are stronger. Try one like RedKen Real Control Intense Renewal mask.

That’s it for now, but feel free to ask more questions!

Six hair products loved by Totem Hair (for longer hair)

By Candice Zen (candice@totemhair.co.uk)

Although products are not sold via the pop-up (there’s enough stuff to carry around London as it is!), I use and recommend a selection, some of which are listed below. These products are tried and tested and deliver good results. Some of them are a bit more expensive, but it’s possible you can find a similar product at a cheaper price. The expensive products tend to contain higher quality ingredients, and therefore often need less to be applied.

1.    Davines Dede Leave-in hair mist
This leave-in conditioner is eco-friendly and smells great. It’s lightly conditioning without being too heavy. Around £18, available from some London salons and internet.

davines dede hair mist
moroccan oil

 

2.    TreSemme Texture Dust
This is great if your hair is straight and lies flat. You want texture but often your hair tends to get weighed down and greasy by clays and creams. Just shake a little bit in to the hair roots and rub. If you put a bike helmet or hat on, this product is good because after you remove it, just give it a rub to reactivate the texture. About £5 from Boots

3.    Moroccan Oil hair treatment (serum)
It might say ‘oil’ but it isn’t. It’s a hair serum which is basically a high quality silicone (lubricant), with a bit of argan oil added in. Nevertheless, it’s great for dry, frizzy and thick hair if you want the hair to lie smoother and add shine. If you’re going to iron or heat-style the hair, it will provide some heat protection. It’s very concentrated so you don’t need much, and be careful to apply sparingly. The smell is nice without being overpowering. If you aren’t ready to spend £32, try the John Frieda Frizz Ease serum from Boots (about £7).

4.    Neal’s Yard Geranium or Orange Flower shampoos and conditioners
Eco-friendly and smell lovely. You can even get a 1 Litre bottle which saves money and plastic. Just wish they would have a refilling service in store. £11.50 for 200ml.

neals yard geranium shampoo
sea salt spray
elnett hairspray

 

5.    Label M Sea Salt spray.
Sea salt sprays are great for giving hair a slightly gritty feel and more body. The hair will feel dirtier though. I haven’t tried out the cheaper options, but this product was particularly well-liked by customers when I used to work in a salon which stocked Label M. It can be bought from any Toni and Guy salon. £12.70

6.    L’Oreal Elnett flexible hold hairspray
If you’re going to use a hairspray, this one delivers a hold which is not too hard so the effect is completely natural. Use it to keep your long fringe swept over or to prevent your curls/waves dropping out. The smell is feminine but not too over-powering or old-fashioned (like the original Elnett hairspray – avoid). Guys, if you need a hairspray, try Silhouette by Schwarzkopf. £6.70 from large pharmacies.
 

Four ways to avoid feeling itchy after a haircut

Candice Zen (candice@totemhair.co.uk)

Someone recently shared that one of his concerns about getting a haircut at a work pop-up is feeling itchy all afternoon afterwards because of the small hair clippings.

At the Totem Hair pop-up, we use well-fitting gowns for men and women and paper neck strips for men to ensure that as little hair as possible gets onto customers’ clothes. Hair clippings are removed from around the neck and ears during and after the haircut using a neck brush and talc. Customers’ hair is blasted through with the hairdryer at the end of the service.

Totem Hair customers are similarly ingenious with their methods of reducing itchiness. Here are some things they do.

1.    Give their hair an extra rub through afterwards
The floor at the pop-up is going to be vacuumed/swept afterwards anyway, so go ahead and give your head a good rub through with your fingers and get any last hairs off onto the floor. This doesn’t work if you opted for styling product at the end of the service!

2.    Rinse out in the work showers or over the sink
Take a shower afterwards or rinse your hair over a sink. You can even take an eco-friendly, biodegradable towel with you after your appointment (supplied at the pop-up).

3.    Bring a spare T-shirt
Change into it before your haircut and out afterwards.

4.    Book an appointment at the end of the day
Head home via the gym or shower after your haircut.

So, dear customers, any more ideas? Ping me a mail at candice@totemhair.co.uk or give us a shout on Twitter @TotemHair

Getting a great hair consultation

By Candice Zen (candice@totemhair.co.uk)

This week’s blog post is all about how hairdressers and barbers go about consulting with their customers. Getting a consultation wrong carries a heavy cost to us – our customers may not be relaxed during the service and or happy with the end result. ‘It wasn’t what I asked for’ is what we often hear from customers when talking about haircuts they've had in the past. 


Maybe 50% of delivering a great service to customers is down to technical skill. We need to able to accurately assess the type of hair we’re working with and visualise, design and construct a hairstyle which flatters the customer’s features while accommodating their hair type. But before delivering, we have to, of course, get an accurate design brief from our customer.


Getting a good design brief and making a plan means first of all establishing a friendly rapport, questioning the customer, filtering information and coming up with a plan which respects the customer’s main priorities while putting in some ideas of our own.


Stages of a consultation
1.    Gathering information
The first question I always ask a customer is ‘what are you thinking about your hair’? 
This is an open question which invites the customer to just talk about their hair. I then analyse what the customer is saying, and often repeat back to them key pieces of information that they’ve given me. These might include statements like ‘I like the length on top’ or ‘I want more volume’ or ‘My hair feels very heavy’.  If the statements are very vague, I’ll have to go through a mixture of open and closed questions to provide ideas and then narrow down what the priorities are.  Sometimes customers are quite specific about what they want, and in that case, I’ll usually go along with that if I think it will look fine. If it wouldn’t look great, I’ll try to gently provide suggestions and steer the customer towards something which will be more suitable. 


2.    Coming up with suggestions
Putting together the information from the customer, with observations about a customer’s features and hair type, I will come up with a couple of options for them with reasons, and watch their expressions closely when these are proposed. If neither of the options seem acceptable, I’ll go back to stage one. Quite often we’ll reference famous people or films or even get a phone out to show a customer a picture.

3.    Confirmation of the plan
Once we’ve got close to an agreed plan, I’ll check through the hair physically and show the customer with my fingers exactly what is going to come off and where. This is to make sure that there are no surprises and to double check that the customer has agreed to what will happen. Once we’re both clear and happy, we can get going. 


It might sound like a lot of work, but it usually takes less than 5 minutes! I imagine a similar process is used by many designers who work to a brief. Looking forward to your comments!

Natural conditioning treatments for dry hair

By Candice Zen (candice@totemhair.co.uk)

Customers often complain that their hair is dry, and in this blog post, I will look at the reasons for this, and some effective and natural conditioning treatments which can be prepared yourself at home.

Skin on the scalp produces natural oils in the form of sebum, produced by the sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands occur all over the body skin, and the sebum they produce keeps the skin moisturised, supple and water-tight. As we age, our sebaceous glands become less active and, while we might enjoy a few less blackheads (hopefully), the flip side is dry skin prone to wrinkles and fine lines.

Sebaceous glands occur in scalp skin as well, and the sebum produced by them keeps the scalp moisturised and hair shiny. 

Why is my hair dry?

Several causes for this:

1. Curly hair is usually dry because the sebum can’t travel down the length of the hair (due to gravity!) as easily as straight hair. It literally gets held up in the root area.
2. Very long hair normally has dry ends due to 2 causes:
a. the scalp doesn’t produce enough sebum to reach the ends
b. the ends of the hair are exposed to more weathering from sunlight, wind etc.
3. The scalp skin is naturally dry - not much sebum is produced. Normally facial skin is dry too in this case.
4. Chemical treatments - such as colouring, perming and relaxing disrupt the hair’s cuticle and mean it cannot retain moisture as well. The hair then behaves like a sponge - soaking up water but drying out very quickly.
5. Exposure to sun, salty water, the elements.

What can I do about it?

1. Get a haircut. Taking off the dry, weathered ends of the hair will immediately improve the overall condition and feel of the hair as a whole.

2. Try not to use shampoos with strong detergents (sodium lauryl/laureth sulphate) which will strip the skin of its oils a bit like washing up liquid cutting through grease. Try using a mild shampoo with isethionate or glucoside detergents as the first ingredient after water [1].

3. Wear a hat to protect scalp and hair when in the sun.

4. Try a natural conditioning treatment once per week or more if the hair is really damaged or prone to brittleness.

Great ingredients for a natural conditioning mask

Combine any of the ingredients below for a mask you can prepare yourself at home or look out for these in conditioning products.

Avocado - avocado oil is one of the few to penetrate hair shaft. Mash up an avocado if you want to try this out for conditioning your hair.

Coconut or olive oil (or even better, a mixture of both) - melt/warm up the oil by putting in a bath of warm water. Coconut and olive oils also penetrate hair shaft very effectively.

Egg - contains fats and proteins beneficial for the hair.

Mayonnaise - again, contains fats and proteins for the hair

A few drops of aromatherapy oils if wanted

Step 1. Wash your hair, and gently towel-dry. Too much water in the hair will dilute the treatment.

Step 2. Apply your conditioning treatment to the mid-lengths and ends of the hair first, since this is where conditioning is most needed. If you are using oils, warm them in a hot water bath first to help them penetrate. Then apply the treatment to the roots if scalp or hair is dry here too. Comb through with a wide-tooth comb or Tangle Teezer - this will mechanically ‘push’ the conditioning agents into the scales on the hair surface..

Step 3: Cover your head with a plastic shower cap and wrap a towel turban around your head. This will keep body heat in the shower cap which helps the conditioner to penetrate deeper. Leave for anything between 1 hour and overnight.

Step 4: Rinse the hair really well using warm water. Don’t use hot water, especially if you used egg - you’ll end up with a lovely scrambled egg hair mixture! You might have to do a light shampoo or two if you used oils to condition. Note - as coconut oil can be difficult to shift, you might even want to use a shampoo with a sulphate-detergent-base shampoo to get the hair clean at this point.

Dry the hair and enjoy the condition. Do this once a week or more to really see the benefits!

Special benefits of coconut and olive oils

Coconut and olive oils are recommended for hair because they both penetrate the cuticle and get right inside the hair, helping it to retain its natural moisture content. Coconut oil in particular behaves like the hair’s natural lipids. It is derived from lauric acid which has an affinity for keratin protein and is a small molecule which can slip between outer hair shaft cuticle layers [2]. The longer you leave it on, the better the effect. The more porous type of hair e.g Afro-Caribbean, heavily chemically/heat damaged will find coconut oil particularly beneficial. Combining the two can make them extra effective.

Useful references

http://thebeautybrains.com/2014/09/09/how-to-pick-a-mild-shampoo/

http://thebeautybrains.com/2014/03/10/do-natural-ingredients-do-anything-for-hair/

Basic haircare tips for long hair


By Candice Zen candice@totemhair.co.uk

This week’s blog post is all about how to take care of long hair effectively.  The condition of long hair can vary enormously from person to person and depends on factors like:


•    How wavy/curly or straight your hair is – wavy and curly hair tends to be drier on the ends because less of the natural oils produced by the scalp get distributed to the ends
•    How often you use irons/straighteners or tongs on the hair – straightening or tonging very regularly knackers the hair, especially if you don’t use heat protection spray. Blow-drying is less damaging (and good for the scalp), although if you use a round brush to smooth the ends, you should also use heat protection spray.
•    How long the hair is – Hair grows on average around 1cm per month or 12cm per year. Hair at the ends of long hair can be 3-4 years old+ so it will be more weathered.
•    How long between haircuts you leave it – if you leave it 6 months to 1 year between haircuts, your hair ends are probably going to be split and frayed.
•    How tight you tie it up – if you wear your hair tied back tightly with an elastic all day every day, you may be causing it mechanical damage/stress, as well as potentially pulling the roots out and thinning the hair (traction alopecia).
•    How lucky you are! – some people have naturally strong and dense hair. If your hair is fine or naturally dry/brittle, you should perhaps give up on trying to grow it much past your shoulders. Treat it with care and with a nice haircut, it’ll look good.


So here are some basic haircare tips for people with long hair:


1.    Wash your hair every 1-3 days
Regular washing shifts scalp sebum (natural oil) and all the dirt and pollution particles stuck to it. 

2.    Dry your hair (roots at least) with the hairdryer.
Drying your hair with a hairdryer is a good idea in winter, enough said. At other times, at least dry your roots next to the scalp even if you leave the ends to dry naturally. This helps to prevent fungal yeast growth (and dandruff) on the scalp. Use your fingers to lift the hair next to the scalp when drying and circulate the air.

3.    Always use conditioner
It helps to reduce static so the hair lays better, as well as reducing brittleness and breakage. You don’t need to put it on the roots – concentrate it on mid-lengths and ends. To get your conditioner to work harder, comb the hair through with a wide-tooth comb while in the shower and leave on the hair for a few minutes. Don't bother with those 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioners. Just run some conditioner through after shampooing and rinse well - an extra 45 seconds.

4.    If your hair is tangled when wet, use a Tangle Teezer
You can buy these from most chain pharmacies – they’re about £10. Cheaper versions that are similar can be found in Poundland. The soft plastic bristles gently detangle without ripping the hair. Remember – hair is more delicate when wet.

For those people with hair in poor condition, first of all get a trim, then reduce usage of heated tools/straighteners. Finally consider investing in a leave-in conditioner, or a hair mask (concentrated conditioner) twice a month. At the Totem Hair pop-up, we use Davines Dede Leave-in Hair Mist which is light and non-greasy. For a more heavy duty effect, Aveda’s Damage Remedy Daily Hair Repair is lovely or Redken’s Extreme Anti-snap treatment is light-weight and non-greasy.

Masks are a whole other topic, which I will blog about more soon. But for a natural mask, start with a mixture of coconut and olive oil on the freshly washed hair ends for 1-2 hours (then a light shampoo to remove).

More on that soon. Any more questions, mail in at the address above!

Basic hair care for men

By Candice Zen (email: candice@totemhair.co.uk)

This blog post is aimed at guys (sorry to genderise here – it may be useful to a few women too) and is basically answers to a lot of questions I get asked by customers. Hope it is helpful – please send in any comments or further questions you have.

1.     It's best to wash your hair every 1-3 days

Everyday hair washing is fine, especially if you do sports/gym. It does not damage it too much, even if you dry it with a hairdryer after (which is a good idea). London has a lot of pollution and dirt particles in the atmosphere and those get stuck to the natural oils (sebum) and sweat produced on the skin and scalp. Just like you would wash your skin frequently, it’s not a bad idea to do your hair too. If your hair gets fluffy or uncontrollable after washing, you need to use conditioner, and wash at least every 3rd day.

2.       If your hair is longer than 4cm (2in) in places, consider using conditioner

Conditioner isn’t just for women! If you have longish or very thick or curly hair, conditioner will help your hair to be less fluffy and wild after washing. It will lay better. Buy a normal conditioner (if you’re new to this, don’t go for a heavy moisturising one, and don’t go too cheap: Tesco’s Value or any similar supermarket economy range)

3.       If your hair takes longer than 5 min to dry naturally, use a hairdryer

Another thing that’s not just for women. Think of it like drying between your toes to prevent stuff growing there. The scalp has a natural yeast/fungus there called Malassezia which can get out of control for various reasons and cause dandruff. A nice damp environment can favour it, so definitely use a hair-dryer if you are prone to scalp skin issues.

4.       If your hair is thinning, there are various ways of cutting the hair to disguise/minimise it.

Short buzz cuts can look good but you don’t necessarily have to go for that if your hair is thinning or receding a bit. A natural, textured crop which is about 2-3cm in length on top will usually do the trick of hiding thinner areas and look nice/be easy to maintain. Stay away from parted styles! They have the visual effect of emphasising thin areas, and are going out of fashion now anyway. If you get to the point where clipping it very short is the best option, a beard or thick-rimmed glasses will improve the look. In any case, if it’s worrying you, drop by for a 15 min complimentary consultation at the Totem Hair pop-up where you can get advice on the best look.

5.       Skin and scalp problems are very common

A lot of us have got those: hairdressers and barbers are well used to seeing dandruff, eczema etc and zits, believe me. For dandruff and scalp issues, please see the earlier blog post here. For zits, I personally use PanOxyl with 10% benzoyl peroxide or even better, Duac with benzoyl peroxide and 1% clindamycin is highly effective (available from an online pharmacy e.g. pharmacy2U or via your GP).

6.       Cleaning and maintaining your beard

You can clean your beard the same way you would do head hair. Just shampoo it when you wash your hair, and use a bit of conditioner. No need for fancy beard shampoos or conditioners. Beard hair is much coarser than head hair, so it does benefit from a bit of softening/conditioning. In addition, beard oils or lotions help soften your beard and skin even more. At the Totem Hair pop-up, I currently use Beardsley’s Beard Lotion (£14.95) which is fairly light, non-greasy and smells nicely of spicy cloves.

Always feel free to ask questions at the Totem Hair pop-up. Book a free 15 min consultation or just ask away while you’re getting a haircut. If I don’t know the answer, I will certainly find out for you!

Recommendations for hairdryers

Recommendations on hairdryers

Is your hairdryer old (5years +)? Minus a nozzle? Does it take a long time to dry your hair? Do you struggle with getting a nice finish on your hair when drying?

It could be time to invest in a new one. The correct hairdryer and a little technique will save you lots of time and be better for the condition of your hair. Us hairdressers all know that which is why our own hairdryers at home are all good ones. Who has more than 10-15 min to spend on their hair in the morning? Customers who have tried the Totem Hair blow-drying workshop and used my hairdryers have noticed the difference instantly.

So let me introduce you to the main hairdryer I use professionally. It’s light (so my arms don’t get too tired), powerful, with variable speed and heat settings. Even on hottest and max speed though, it’s not too burning, so it relatively OK on the hair. It is a Parlux 385 Powerlight. Parlux is an Italian brand and their hairdryers are used by many of my salon co-workers past and present. They cost around £80 so are not cheap but should last you for several years.

Parlux hairdryer
Diva hairdryer

If that is definitely too much, my back-up hairdryer is a Dynamica 4000 Pro by Diva. It cost me about £37. Similar size and power to the Parlux, it’s just a bit heavier. It may not have the longevity I expect from a Parlux. But still definitely a good hairdryer.

Final thought: remember, it is often a good idea to dry the hair roots even if you let the ends dry naturally. This helps prevent dandruff and scalp problems.

Drop me a line if you have any more questions or come in for a free 15 min Ask-Me-Anything hair chat if Totem Hair is currently hosted by your workplace.

Dealing with a sensitive, flaky or itchy scalp

Probably around 20% of my customers, both male and female, have an itchy and/or flaky scalp. As I section through the hair, I can see the irritated scalp: red, blotchy and flaky. Sometimes this is all over the head, sometimes just in places. Common underlying causes include: eczema, psoriasis, seborhoerric dermatitis and folliculitis. At the recent Introduction to Trichology day at the Salon International trade exhibition, I had a chance to ask some trichologists (scalp specialists) where the best place to start is when dealing with this type of thing.

1.       First-line anti-microbial shampoos: dandruff is often caused by a naturally-occurring yeast, Malassezia getting out of control. Shampoos containing anti-yeast compounds are often effective (www.nhs.uk/conditions/Dandruff/Pages/Introduction.aspx, 1). Well-known brands include Head and Shoulders. Capasal Therepeutic shampoo was mentioned as useful as a first-line approach.

2.       Consider an antimicrobial and anti-irritant shampoo: the next line of shampoos contain both anti-yeast ingredients, detergents that are not too stripping of natural oils and ingredients which calm the irritated skin. Two shampoos were mentioned: Philip Kingsley’s ‘Flaky and Itchy scalp shampoo’ and Tony Maleedy’s Juniper scalp therapy shampoo and conditioner. Both Philip Kingsley (late as of Oct 2016) and Tony Maleedy are registered trichologists (scalp specialists).  The Philip Kingsley range is widely available in department stores and Tony Maleedy’s range is at the Lloyds pharmacy in Selfridges in London and online (www.tonymaleedyhair.com).

3.       Avoid sodium laureth/lauryl sulphate (SLS) shampoos: SLS is the primary detergent in most shampoos, shower gels and soaps. It’s usually the second ingredient in the list after water. SLS effectively strips the skin of sebum/oil and the dirt/dust/skin particles which adher to the oils. While being effective at cleaning, this ingredient is too effective, in that it also removes too much oil and can be very drying. A better detergent is ammonium laureth sulphate, or even better, sodium isothionate.

4.       Use a hairdryer! Unless your hair dries naturally in 5 mins or less, prevent the prolonged damp environment which encourages yeast/fungus growth (It’s the same with your feet!). Use a hairdryer and give the roots a dry-off, even if you leave the ends of the hair damper. Especially important in winter J

5.       Consider a GP or trichologist visit. If you’ve done all that and are still suffering, try a visit to your GP or a certified trichologist (www.trichologists.org.uk/). Trichologist visits involve a cost of course, but an itchy sore scalp is also not good to live with. GPs vary in their knowledge of skin and scalp conditions – consider printing off this info and going through what your actions so far have been.

Feel free to ask me more questions. I’ve included most of what I know here, but will always try to point you in the right direction.

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