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Every Hong Kong hair problem, answered once and for all

When it comes to hair, we complain a lot about frizz in Hong Kong. With such high humidity year-round, unfortunately frizz is close to unavoidable, pervading everyone’s daily routines among other problems like brittle hair, coloured and damaged locks, flaky scalp and everything that keeps our coif from looking its very best. In response to this, we decided to answer everyone’s hair concerns, once and for all. We sought advice from hair expert and trichologist Lisa Caddy — ahead of her Hong Kong visit to offer hair consultations at The Mandarin Salon — who has been revitalising locks at hair and scalp clinic Philip Kingsley for over a decade.

Lisa Caddy, Trichologist at Philip Kingsley

Why is my hair so dry and brittle?
“Hair can become dry and dehydrated from using regular heated styling tools such as hairdryers and flat irons, and also regular colouring. The sun can also degrade the hair and cause moisture loss and colour fade, and general handling or grooming of the hair can cause wear and tear on the hair shaft.”

The way to treat it, Lisa Caddy tells us, is to pack on moisture. “Philip Kingsley has the ultimate pre-shampoo intensive moisturising hair treatment originally created for Audrey Hepburn, these days called the Elasticizer. This will nourish and rehydrate the hair, replenishing moisture levels to provide bouncy, glossy, smooth and conditioned hair.”

On top of that, you should care for your hair and scalp as you would your skin, and that means sun exposure can dry your hair and scalp out as well. Opt for styling products with sun protection: “Our Summer Solutions range also provides amazing UV protection, protecting hair and scalp from the damaging sun rays and chlorine whilst giving great style and beachy waves,” says Lisa. 

Why can some people get flaky and/or oily scalps?
It’s now more commonly understood that dandruff can be caused by amped up oil production in the scalp rather than just dry skin. “There are many reasons for dandruff or flaky scalps ranging from diet, to stress and hormonal changes, and similarly with oily scalps.” To beat the undesirable symptoms, Caddy tells us, “frequent shampooing is crucial for oily or flaky scalps, and keeping conditioner away from the scalp is a must.”

Caddy suggests using the Philip Kingsley PK Flaky Scalp Shampoo and Toner, as well as the Exfoliating Scalp Mask to reduce flaking, itching and discomfort, leaving the hair and scalp in a fabulous condition. The toner in particular can be likened to the essential step of using toner for your own facial skincare: a cooling astringent, it not only feels as if your roots are resuscitated, but according to Caddy, “it can help to tighten the pores and control the oil produced from the sebaceous glands.” She adds, “Reducing dairy products from the diet may also help to control the symptoms of dandruff and oily scalp.”

Using a toner on your hair and scalp helps stimulate blood supply to the scalp. It’s mildly astringent to absorb excess oil, and helps clear bacteria.

Frizzy, untamed hair, usually with flat roots up top is a common sight in Hong Kong. How do we tackle that?
“Frizziness may be due to dry hair or the nature of the hair naturally, and flat roots along with this hair type can make it unmanageable,” says Lisa. For this, she recommends to smooth down frizzy strands by using an Elasticizer treatment each week. At the same time, the Polishing Balm helps to further control frizz and flyaways, while the Maximizer volume spray helps with root lift so you’re not left with flat, lifeless hair.

But how do I make sure my styling products won’t start to get sticky or lose its power in Hong Kong weather?
“The dryer the hair, the more it will attract humidity, so first ensure you aim to use a hair mask twice a week as mentioned for dry, brittle, damaged hair,” says Lisa. The Philip Kingsley PK Prep range is soon launching at The Mandarin Salon, and its Perfecting Spray and Plumping Cream are particularly effective. “When tested on frizzy curls in particular, it tamed the hair beautifully without feeling greasy or gross,” says Lisa.

What about for people with thinning hair? Is there anything that will help them build thicker locks?
“There are numerous reasons for reduced hair density, ranging from genetics to diet — so a consultation with a trichologist is essential,” says Lisa. Trichologists typically study for at least two years to understand the root causes of such issues and can therefore direct individuals on the correct path towards improvement. “Trichotherapy, the PK product regime for fine and thinning hair is a holistic solution with a three-step approach,” says Lisa. “This involves tackling hair breakage, thinning and shedding with a unique combination of hair products as well as supplements.”

Does pollution, from living in a congested city, damage hair in any way? How we can protect ourselves better against it?
“Yes hair easily attracts particles of dust and dirt from pollution, leaving it looking dull and lifeless. Also, dirty and oily hair will attract even more dirt as it sticks to oil on the hair and scalp, potentially causing irritation. Regular shampooing is recommended, especially if living in a highly polluted environment. When the hair is still wet, it is important to use a heat protection spray which also will assist in forming a barrier against the elements and pollution. A filter on your shower head is also a great idea to reduce mineral buildup.”

The Mandarin Salon is dedicated to Philip Kingsley hair treatment products.

If you want a more personalised approach to achieving your best hair, Lisa Caddy is visiting Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong between 7-9 June. While here in Hong Kong, she will host an exclusive presentation themed “The Secrets to Healthy Hair,” launch two new product ranges — the PK Prep and Summer Solutions — and conduct one-to-one 60-minute consultations with guests (HK$2,100) to advise them how to best tackle their hair problems.

After the consultation, guests will also be able to experience The Mandarin Salon’s 60-minute professional Hair and Scalp Treatment (available year-round at HK$900), which involves an exfoliating or stimulating scalp mask (depending on your hair condition) to revitalise the foundations of your hair; on the strands itself, guests will benefit from the signature Elasticizer treatment. During the rinse off, you’ll get treated to a head and scalp massage, and a refreshing hair toner, before being dried off. You’re sure to leave the salon feeling fresh and relaxed — a perfect way to end the work week.

Reserve your spot by calling +852 2825 4800 or emailing mohkg-salon@mohg.com. 

The Mandarin Salon, 24/F, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road Central, Hong Kong

Every Hong Kong hair problem, answered once and for all

Evelyn Lok

Managing Editor

When not trying out the latest beauty and wellness trends, Evelyn is likely enjoying a perfectly balanced negroni or exploring some of Hong Kong's best new places to eat and drink. At Lifestyle Asia she covers everything from the biggest events in town to interviews with Hong Kong specialists, with topics spanning art, food and drink, health, tech, and travel.

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