Healthy scalp = healthy hair

Caring for one’s hair is becoming increasingly more sophisticated, with consumers realising that the scalp and hair are two different entities — the scalp being the ‘living part’, which needs to be cleansed of oils to stay healthy, while the hair is the ‘dead part’ that can become dried out after washing with a harsh shampoo.

This skincare-inspired routine means consumers are looking to better protect and nourish the scalp, with ingredient lists that mimic those on day creams or night serums. Consumers, particularly in developed markets, are looking beyond a typical shampoo and conditioner two-step routine and are now adding treatment oils or masks to address specific hair needs.

On the back of this, dermatologists and cosmeceutical brands are launching new formulas inspired on skincare principles. Celebrity dermatologists Dennis Gross, Dr Murad and Peter Thomas Roth have all launched their own haircare lines, with products targeting the scalp in particular.

Dr Dennis Gross’s Anti-Aging Scalp Serum contains procyanidin-b2 protein complex, said to promote healthy hair growth as well as retinol, alpha lipoic acid, copper peptides, collagen, and resveratrol. Peter Thomas Roth’s Hair to Die For™ treatment, meanwhile, is designed to combat thinning and lifeless hair, along with damage as a result of age, over‑processing, hormonal changes, and stress. It contains Tri-Phase Complex™, which targets all three stages of the hair growth cycle. It is free from parabens, sulphates, synthetic dyes, phthalates, GMOs and triclosan.

Murad’s products include colour-treated and fine hair serums, which nourish and protect the hair and scalp. They contain:

  • Pomegranate extract  An antioxidant to defend the scalp
  • Artemia extract To stimulate healthy scalp function
  • AHAs To maximise penetration of essential ingredients
  • Saw palmetto Removes and blocks dihydrotestosterone (DHT)
  • Phytantriol (vitamin B5) Moisturises and protects hair.

Celebrity hairdresser Julien Farel is also in the market, with the relaunch of his 2011 Restore haircare range with added stem cells. ‘They have been clinically proven to stimulate fibroblasts, and fibroblasts are critical to synthesizing collagen on the skin,’ he told Women’s Wear Daily. ‘For the follicle to thrive in its environment, it needs the support of the collagen surrounding it.’

Farel’s philosophy is based on the idea that without a healthy and nourished scalp, hair can never be as healthy and nourished as it could be. He compares the condition of hair to the condition of a garden — if the soil is not rich in nutrients, can anything grown in that soil flourish?

Hair exfoliation

Alterna, the luxury haircare group, is also focusing on the scalp as part of its anti‑ageing product offering, with plans to launch an at-home scalp exfoliating treatment based on its current salon offering.

‘The product has a strong anti-ageing focus, as both women and men feel hair thinning as they age. This is partly due to build-up in the scalp, which makes the follicle smaller in terms of diameter,’ said Alterna’s Vice President of Marketing, Mary Burns.

The company’s existing Caviar Clinical Professional Exfoliating Scalp Treatment with active fruit enzymes contains highly concentrated dose of exfoliating micro-beads and enzymes that help remove flaky build-up caused by dandruff and dry scalp. The formula helps sooth the scalp, relieving itch and irritation, while purifying and balancing moisture levels to reduce dryness and improve overall scalp health.

The group is currently planning the launch of a similar at-home product for the consumer space sometime next year, which Burns described as a ‘Scalp Facial’.

The product will have a unique dispenser with a brush attached to the bottle tube to massage in the shower before applying shampoo and conditioner. ‘It is designed to emulate the brushing action that the stylist does in-salon, and it is the brushing action plus the formula that makes it efficacious on the scalp,’ said Burns.

The trend for technologically advanced scalp treatments is also illustrated by Mediceuticals (Mediceuticals Europe B.V., The Netherlands), a licensed pharmaceutical company that has specialised in salon dermatological solutions since 1964. The company recently launched Mediceuticals Cellagen Phytoflavone BioActive Follicle Stimulator, a leave-in treatment that is weightless and residue-free. Applied to dry scalp, it increases hair growth by blocking production of DHT, the main cause of hair loss in men and women, and increasing blood circulation.