Over a year ago I struggled with the trauma of hair loss which, after years of hairdressers marvelling at the thickness and volume of my hair, was a shock and very upsetting for me. It followed a period of long illness and literally started to fall out in handfuls so I swiftly sought advice from beauty editor friends and Harley St specialists and indeed, found that help via supplements, nutrition and some really great products. I also overcame my vehement dislike of beetroot which, I found out, benefits the path to good hair growth – who knew?! Now with shorter, healthier hair and less stress, The Stylish Stuff welcomes back beauty editor Kate Turner to get to grips with the science bit and give you some solid advice to assist you on your journey towards thicker, stronger, fuller hair. This is great reading for anyone who simply wants fabulously HEALTHY hair. Over to Kate…
Hair is a real emotional barometer. Thick, full, bountiful hair makes us feel vibrant, healthy and sexy. Fine, flat hair is more like a daily battle of frustration. Thinning hair or hair loss can wrong-foot us entirely. There’s something about seeing too much scalp beneath our hair that fills us with dread.
1 in 3 women experiences hair loss at some point in their lives. Wow. Here’s a list of all the things that can negatively affect your hair growth: stress, age, the Pill, pregnancy, menopause, medication, smoking, hair extensions, heat styling, over-styling, dieting, genetics. So, life basically.
For me, it was pregnancy related. I’ve always had fine hair but lots of it. Within weeks of having my first child I noticed my hairbrush was thick with hair every time I brushed it. I distinctly remember one morning putting my hair in a ponytail and thinking ‘WHERE’S IT GONE?’ All of a sudden I was scrutinising my scalp, going longer between blow-dries, trying not to brush it. Stress of the highest order.
Thankfully, I’ve managed to get a grip on my hair loss and massively improve the appearance of my very fine hair. Here’s what I’ve learned along with my favourite quick fixes for fuller, thicker hair.
EAT YOUR EGGS
85% of your hair is made of keratin (a protein). Trichologist Philip Kingsley tells me without sufficient dietary protein your hair weakens and won’t grow beyond a certain length. He recommends starting the day with a protein-rich breakfast: think salmon, eggs, avocado (eggs in particular are a real hair superfood, now my brekkie of choice). Other great hair foods are chicken, turkey, fish, nuts, lentils and cheese.
POP A PILL
I’m underwhelmed by beauty supplements in general (maybe because I forget to take them?) but there’s one little magic pill I genuinely love and scores of hairdressers (and Kate Hudson, Gwynnie) agree with me. Viviscal Maximum Strength Growth Supplements, £50 (a month’s supply) contain a marine protein complex along with ace ingredients like biotin (a protein-building B vitamin) and zinc. It works by protecting hair at the initial stage of the growth cycle. All I know is that my hair looked GLORIOUSLY thicker after about 4 months of taking it. Yes I know it’s hideously expensive but if you need a serious boost, this is it.
Dress H&M Conscious Exclusive, necklace, Laura Gravestock
POWER YOUR SHOWER
A wise hair guru once told me that style starts in the shower. And now I accept that volume-enhancing haircare really does give you a head start.
Josh Wood Full Bodied Shampoo & Conditioner, £9.50 each. There are two things that I really love about this range. Firstly, it gives great shine, unlike most volumising products. Secondly, it smells like heaven.
L’oreal Elvive Fibrology Thickening Shampoo & Conditioner, £3.99 each. This promises thicker-feeling hair from the first wash by expanding individual strands – and it really does. I still can’t believe that something so cheap works so well. My husband nicks it all the time.
TREAT YOUR SCALP
Poor scalp health can hinder hair growth. If your scalp feels itchy, dry or flaky try one of these.
Viviscal Gorgeous Growth Densifying Elixir, £20 This new treatment contains biotin, keratin and zinc to condition the scalp and promote growth from the outside.
Nanogen Hair Growth Factor Serum, £29.95. A friend swears by this cocktail of antioxidants and scalp conditioning proteins. Unlike similar products this dries nicely and feels non-greasy.
PUMP UP THE VOLUME
Now your hair’s prepped it’s time to add product – essential for that nice feeling of ‘substance’. A spritz of dry shampoo at the roots and behind the ears works wonders. I use it every day, even on clean hair, with a little massage at the crown.
John Frieda Luxurious Volume Fine to Full Blow Out Spray, £5.99. This heat-activated styling spray comes to life with your hairdryer and has really amped up my blow-dries.
Living Proof Full Thickening Mousse, £22. I’m obsessed with this innovative American brand and thrilled it’s now available in the very-cool M&S beauty hall. This mousse uses friction technology to make flat hair behave like thick hair. It’s. Amazing.
Percy & Reed Big Bold & Beautiful Dry Instant Volumising Spray, £7. If you need a boost in-between washes, spritz this through your mid-lengths and ends for awesome body.
Batiste Dry Shampoo Light & Blonde, £3.99, and Deep & Dark Brown, £3.99. Coloured dry shampoos are extra useful for hiding thin patches of hair, especially with up-dos.
WHY NOT ADD CURLS
Adding curls is one of the simplest ways to turn limp hair into something sexy and touchable. To get the cool, matte vibe of our model, prep dry hair with a salt spray like Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray, £9.50. Then use large-barrel tongs to clamp big sections of hair into ringlets. I like the Cloud Nine Waving Wand, £99. If you’ve got time, pin the curls to your head until they cool down. Then rake your curls through with your fingers.
Dress H&M Conscious Exclusive, necklace Laura Gravestock as before.
OR JUST STYLE IT OUT
Sometimes all you need is a tweak. Finger-comb your hair into a haphazard parting – a neat parting on fine hair can expose too much scalp. Or try flipping your hair to make a parting in the opposite direction from where it naturally wants to lie. Scarlett Johannson does this a lot with her fine hair. I think it’s working for her!
Kate recommends; Viviscal – yes, these work. Available at M&S Beauty
Pumping up the volume with sprays and mousses.
Nurturing shampoo and conditioner from Josh Wood at M&S Beauty, plus the tried and trusted Bumble & Bumble surf spray for rock ‘n’ roll volume.
From the science bit to the quick fixers
This, was my own personal saviour, says The Stylish Stuff’s Shelly Vella (on top of supplements and good nutrition of course) Redken Cerafill Maximise Dense FX
Fashion & Style direction by Shelly Vella
Beauty Editor Kate Turner
Photographer William Garrett
Hair Lisa Valencia using Cloud Nine Hair Electricals
Makeup Lisa Valencia using Sisley
Model Maisie at Models 1
A big thank you to Danny at Shoreditch Studios