Frizzy locks, flaky scalp, oily or thinning hair got you down? We recently sat in at a hair health workshop with Andrea Clark, certified trichologist at The Mandarin Salon, who shared many of the most common hair complaints and why they occur: Topics ran the gamut from genetics to poor nutrition and absorption, chemical buildup to an overload of stress — one of the top causes of hair loss.

Adopting a holistic approach to hair health with a trichoscope in hand, Clark offers 60-minute hair consultations at The Mandarin Salon (HK$1,250), with follow-up sessions (HK$700) in the next six to eight months, recommending all sorts of lifestyle changes to get her clients’ hair in top shape. More importantly, she also has recommendations for the best products to keep in our arsenal to treat unhealthy hair.

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“We have to treat the hair inside and out. And because of the hair growth cycle, even if you started treatment today, don’t expect that next week it’s going to be fabulous — it can take 3-4 months, or even up to 12 months. But it can be fun getting your hair back into good shape,” she says. Ready to get the best hair you’ve ever had? Follow Clark’s essential hair tips below.

All products from The Mandarin Salon unless otherwise specified.

Main image credit: Element 5 Digital/Unsplash.com

1
Care for your scalp

An irritated, oily scalp is often to do with diet, particularly from dairy and sugar. Clark says, “If you’ve got inflammation or irritation of the scalp, the Flaky Itchy Scalp Shampoo (HK$306) and Exfoliating Scalp Mask (HK$202) will probably work immediately as an easy fix. Always think of your shampoo for your scalp, and your conditioner for your hair. Never pile the hair on top of your head and shampoo it. You can also maintain a healthy scalp with Philip Kingsley Scalp Toner, that’s a must for me to keep the scalp nice and clean and invigorated. It also will help with some of the itching and inflammation. We also have a stimulating mask, to bring blood to the scalp. We offer these treatments in the salon, for those who don’t want to do it themselves at home and want to relax.”

2
Get your protein in

“Don’t skip breakfast. The hair cell is the second fastest growing cell in the body. It’s hungry, especially after you’ve been sleeping. A protein-rich breakfast is very important. If you’re not getting a protein-rich diet or if you’re vegetarian; we have supplements at Philip Kingsley that people can purchase (Tricho Complex, HK$495). Also, nothing pumps nutrients through the body efficiently like getting blood and oxygen flowing. Aim for some exercise every day, whether it’s walking or gymming.”

3
Get a good night's sleep

Good sleep is essential. “Sleep deprivation is a form of stress, which is also known to affect the hair and scalp. Stress — which stresses out your adrenal gland — results in hair thinning and hair loss,” says Clark. Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax and Destress oils (HK$670 each from The Mandarin Spa) are great if you need some help with that. “One will help you get to sleep, and the other will help you if you wake up in the night and can’t get back to bed.”

4
Filter your shower water

“One thing I suggest for people is to get a filter for their shower. My hair used to feel dirty even after I’ve washed it, so that filter really helps… and of course, a mild detox shampoo and invigorating conditioner.” Newly available at Lane Crawford, the Vitaclean HQ Shower Head (HK$660 from Lane Crawford) filters out limescale and chlorine, while the citrus filter packs vitamin C and essential oils that nourish your hair and skin.

5
Regain elasticity

Got hair that breaks easily, or find your brush filled with shed hairs every time you brush? You’re going to need to bring some bounce and strength back into your locks. “This is our hero product: the Elasticizer Pre-shampoo Hair Mask (HK$440), created for Audrey Hepburn many years ago when her hair was breaking from back combing a lot. It now comes in two fragrances,” says Clark.

6
Keep your nutrition in check

“Nutrition is one of the main underlying things to look at when in terms of hair. We have to look at nutrition and the absorption of nutrients. You’ve probably heard of the term ‘leaky gut,’ where the toxins are escaping into the body and the nutrients not getting where they need to be. I would recommend eating an anti-inflammation or alkaline diet,” says Clark. She also recommends a supplement programme called Hair Fact (HK$1,300), which you can only get after consultation, “because I need to know what’s underlying; what other supplements you’re on or medication.” She explains: What it is is low-level nutritional supplements — full of amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and some herbs as well. It’s taken in synchronicity with one another in a cycle, and then repeated with some days off. It should be with a balanced diet and it should be paired with some topical products too.”

Evelyn Lok
Associate 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.