Haircare for men: Dealing with the b-word

By Janetta Mackay

Men are well advised to seek specific scalp solutions.

Many men fear losing their hair, luckily there are preventative measures that can be taken to prevent, or at least, slow the process down. Photo / Thinkstock
Many men fear losing their hair, luckily there are preventative measures that can be taken to prevent, or at least, slow the process down. Photo / Thinkstock

Men leave your female partner's hair products alone, warns Auckland trichologist Nigel Russell. The scalp and hair specialist says aside from annoying her, you run the risk of using unsuitable items.

"Shampoo for specific hair types has been designed accordingly. For those with lots of colour, very curly hair or extra fine hair, the suitability of the product is essential. Chances are you're not going to have the same hair type as your partner."

Women whose hair is often coloured usually use a moisture-based shampoo, whereas men often have oilier hair.

"A colour shampoo will make the hair limp and greasy if it is not compatible with the hair type. A guy's hair needs a scalp specific shampoo, where most women require a hair-specific shampoo."

Conditioners may not be required for men's oilier short hair.

Men need to watch they don't develop build-up from styling products. This can lead to the appearance of dandruff as can the failure to properly rinse out shampoo.

Russell says dandruff is associated with an oily scalp and is most common with sports active and younger men. It also shows up more in winter due to less frequent shampooing. Avoiding fatty, processed food may help both oil and acne conditions, especially if zinc-rich foods like fish and nuts are eaten.

An irritable, itchy scalp, causing redness and discomfort is a different issue. This is usually psoriasis, a dry skin condition, which may be hereditary, but can occur later in life due to allergy, stress or a change in health. It can be managed with the use of low allergy, non-sensitising products, but diet-wise alcohol, caffeine and dairy product intake should be watched. Russell recommends using a natural oil for scalp moisture, keeping hair short, and exposing the head to some light and air.

Ask your salon for product recommendations. Russell, who is also a hair stylist, has his own natural line, Holistic Hair, which includes shampoos developed to deal with specific hair conditions in both men and women. For dandruff management he recommends Holistic Hair Sensitive Scalp Shampoo ($25.75. See holistichair.co.nz for stockists). He also rates salon product Kerastase Bain Gommage ($38). For psoriasis he says try Nizoral Shampoo ($16.60) or Neutrogena T/gel Shampoo ($13.99) from selected pharmacies and supermarkets.

THE B-WORD

The big issue men worry about is hair loss and what they can do to combat it, says Russell. "Sometimes men opt for the 'bald look' rather than be faced with their thinning hair in the mirror each day. Shaving your head is not the only solution - hair loss is actually treatable."

Early action is the key to making effective inroads at preventing, or at least slowing, hair loss. Stem cell research offers the best hope in the longer term, but is some way off commercial application.

"Be wary of clinics that try to sign you up to long-term hair treatment," cautions Russell. He says there is no scientific proof to back a popular theory that pores on the scalp get blocked by oil that contains D.H.T, the hormone responsible for shrinking the hair follicle. This theory has been used by some clinics to back using an elaborate range of products aimed at getting the hair to reappear through the blocked duct.

Russell says understanding the type of hair loss is key to working out what type of treatment might help. Genetic hair loss appears mainly through the top of the head, not all over as a nutritional condition would manifest. An auto-immune problem might show in smooth, round patches.

For genetic hair loss, he says the most common treatment is trialling Minoxidil from Regain, a product range specialising in hair loss. Alternatively, PrOpecia can be tried orally, but only after consultation with a doctor.

Under consultation he also recommends trying a natural approach with herbal remedies, oils and diet changes.

For those who have advanced hair loss there is an operation known as micro graphing which is fine hair replacement. This day surgery takes hair follicles from the back of the head and replaces them where needed and can give a good effect. A GP's advice should be sought by anyone considering embarking on this.

GROOMING BRIEFS

America outreach
Three New Zealand brands, including men's skincare line Triumph & Disaster, have had an encouraging first foray into the lucrative North American market. Triumph & Disaster, founded by former international cricketer Dion Nash, will be stocked at the Fred Segal store on Melrose Place, Los Angeles. Along with fellow Auckland companies Sans and the youth-focused Scarlet & Greene line, Nash displayed his wares at the Cosmoprof beauty event in Las Vegas, attended by 25,000 industry players. "Because we are a premium brand and have strong ideas on how we want to build and position ourselves, the real job is picking a course and choosing the right partners," says Nash.

Sans founder, hair stylist Lucy Vincent Marr, who developed her skincare and hair range several years ago, is looking to find the right fit for both the American market and Scandinavia, where she sees strong potential.

Helping hand
Dirtyman Skincare is giving a generous $5 from every $20 skincare gift pack it sells online to Surf Lifesaving NZ from now until the end of summer. The Father's Day Skincare Gift Pack contains a full-size moisturiser and shaving gel. Dirtyman is a New Zealand brand found in supermarkets.

* Unisex New Zealand organic brand Geoskincare is also doing its bit, with $1 from each product sold going to the Salvation Army food bank during August. Sold in pharmacies, salons and health stores, it uses natural minerals.

Old school
If you fancy blade shaving, then treat your skin well by lathering up first with a shaving brush. This will make your shave cream go further, while gently exfoliating skin and stimulating circulation for a healthy look. Try the Body Shop's wooden shaving brush with soft, synthetic bristles, priced at $26.50. It teams well with Maca Root Shaving Cream, $28.50.

Soften up
For men with beards, the new formulation of Dermalogica's Pre-Shave Guard is a boon. The cooling protective formula and twist-up application stick allows for the extra prepping heavy, tough beards require to help minimise razor burns and bumps. It helps soften beards without the high-alkaline but sometimes drying and aggravating ingredients some products use. Pre-Shave Guard costs $46. Online and stockists found here.

The dark side
L'Oreal Men Expert's new Hydra Energetic X Magnetic Charcoal daily cleanser is a detox with a difference. Its charcoal-enriched formula works like a magnet to trap impurities. The dark gel cleanser transforms into a foam when massaged into the skin, making it a good option for a face wash in the shower, followed by an age-matched moisturiser. Available from supermarkets and pharmacies for $12.00.

Regular use of a gentle scrub such as M.A.C Mineralize's Volcanic Ash exfoliator is good for guys whose pores tend to clog easily.

- NZ Herald

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