The Real Secret to Healthy Hair

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Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

AVEDA INVATI
Aveda’s new three-step exfoliating system was designed to remove the buildup of sebum and product residue that can clog scalp pores. The formula in the exfoliating shampoo and thickening conditioner are intentionally thinner than most, designed to easily penetrate to your scalp.. The line harnesses ingredients such as turmeric, ginseng, yeast extract, and licorice to help activate the scalp around the follicles when massaged. Millet seed and milk thistle nourish the scalp, and organic kukui nut oil adds shine. Arginine, derived from sugar beets, and amino acids from soy protein, help to moisturize the scalp, restore hair strength, and reduce breakage.

PHYTO
This French-borne botanical hair care line harnesses the power of plants. For thinning locks, we recommend their Phytocane shampoo, Phytocyane treatment and Phytopolleine Universal Scalp Elixir to improve microcirculation at the hair root and surface of the scalp. Grape seed procyanidins, ginkgo biloba, virbunum (an evergreen plant), and chichona bark extracts boost cellular blood flow exchanges through tiny vessels in your scalp. To restore minerals lost in the hair fiber, the formulas also include horsetail leaf extracts and plant proteins.

DAVINES ENERGIZING
Designed to address scalp and hair loss issues specifically, Davines uses caffeine to stimulate the scalp’s cellular metabolism, and beta-glucans (natural carbohydrates) to protect the skin on your head. Essential oils of cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper further stimulate the scalp. We fell in love with the Energizing Shampoo and the Energizing Superactive, a liquid treatment designed to foster thicker, healthier hair growth.

VIVISCAL
With a growing roster of elite beauty followers including model Jessica Stam and hairstylists Guido Palau, Harry Josh, and Danilo (Lady Gaga’s hair guy!), Viviscal is quickly becoming one of the leading supplements for thinning, damaged hair. The Finnish tablets (available at viviscal.com) are formulated with a unique marine complex of fish proteins and horsetail extract (like Phyto) that increase the body’s natural production of keratin over a period of four to six months.

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Your hair is your crowning glory—so why don’t we give as much attention to the skin on our head as we do our face? If you’ve ever suffered from thin, limp, or lackluster locks, it might be time to dive into the root of the problem.

Your scalp is genesis of thick, plump, and full locks. Each strand of hair has its own blood supply and nerves which are directly responsible for regulating blood flow through surface of your head. This constant blood flow—called microcirculation—helps maintain keratin protein in the hair fiber (the stuff that keeps the hair shaft strong and healthy).

Hair aging/MedicalRF.com/Getty Images

“When we’re young, it’s easy for the scalp to absorb all the necessary elements for keratin protein: amino acids, vitamins, minerals and sulfur derivatives. But as we age, our body’s ability to produce these elements lessens over time, and the quality of keratin decreases, leaving the hair more porous, fragile, weak, and thin,” says Phyto national educator Christyn Nawrot (see diagram, right). But it’s not just an age problem—temporary hair loss can occur at all stages of life. “When illness, fatigue, or medication disrupt the blood flow to the scalp, this directly affects the growth cycle and contributes to hair loss,” says Christyn. Aveda global marketing manager Robert Burns also notes that air and water pollutants, hormonal fluctuations, UV and free radical exposure, chlorine, metals, and seasonal shifts are key contributors to the temporary thinning of your tresses. Hair loss is most prevalent around the spring or fall months, because “these transitional months affect the aging and growth process of hair more than other months,” adds Christyn.

The most direct thinning culprit, though? Product overload. Like the skin on our face, the scalp is porous, and can get over clogged with sebum and heavy product. “Hair care products that contain heavy silicones, waxes, and chemical solvents clog the scalp and coat the hair,” says Christyn. “Choose products that are naturally water soluble instead.”

So what’s the real secret to a healthy scalp? Improving microcirculation and clearing build-up around the follicles. “Give yourself a scalp massage with essential oils at least three times a week for 10 minutes,” recommends Christyn. Brushing hair two to three times daily with a natural-fiber bristle brush also helps exfoliate the scalp and increases blood flow.

Now that you’ve discovered what hair health really means, are you ready for a scalp makeover? DIY solutions are the easiest to adapt, but sometimes it helps to arm your arsenal with the right products. Click through the slideshow above to learn about thinning hair solutions that might work for you!

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