Men are obsessed by it. Women are embarrassed by it. Hair loss affects over 50 million Americans, including over 45% of the female population amounting to 20+ million women.
It’s not just considered unsightly and aging; hair loss has a huge psychological impact on how people feel about themselves. But there is something we can do about it. Hormonal changes are one of the key causes of hair loss in women. Menopause, for example, can make hair grow slower and fall out too due to estrogen iron deficiency. Thyroid disease is amongst the top causes too. So just to be clear, do go and see your general practitioner if you are experiencing hair loss that is not related to medical treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation.
“For decades, there was a misconception that hair loss was a problem specific to men, thankfully, today, female hair loss is no longer taboo, and more women are embracing the new technologies available to treat their thinning hair,” says Boca Raton hair restoration surgeon, Alan Bauman, MD. Women often experience hair loss as thinning rather than balding and therefore think it’s not really a problem. In fact, women can actually inherit a hair-loss gene. “Today men and women have an abundance of options, ranging from topical treatments like Minoxidil to laser therapy, nutritionals, and of course, hair transplantation,” says Bauman
As for topical treatment, Rogaine for Women so far is the only product that’s been approved by the FDA. It’s backed by long-term studies that show how its key ingredient Minoxidil stops hair loss and encourages growth. Please note that once you start using it, you have to stay committed because hair loss will begin again and growth will stop if you discontinue.
If you are in need of a quick fix, try Infinity Hair Solution on clean hair; it’s tiny fibers bind to your natural hair and make it appear thicker and fuller. You have to buy the color that matches your hair and sometimes that means buying more than one bottle to mix and match to create the perfect tone.
There are also a plethora of options in the world of extensions, wigs and weaves. Lucinda Ellery Consultancy, a London-based salon specializing in hair restoration services for over 25 years, just opened a location in Beverly Hills. It’s signature service The Intralace™ System entails integrating a mesh between the existing hair and the scalp to which panels of human hair are added. No need to cut or shave hair for this service that requires a maintenance appointment every six to eight weeks.
Wigs comprise two major categories: natural and synthetic hair. Natural human hair wigs are much pricier and range from around $1,000 to $12,000. A good place to start looking is The Head Shop Wigs that sells a wide range of styles, hair type, and color. Synthetic wigs on the other hand can easily cost less than $100 and can look just as good. Check out Wigs.com, Jon Renau, Henry Margu, and Aspen Wigs for price-friendly options.
Natural hair wigs last longer, and can endure things like blow dryers and perms that the synthetic ones can’t, but the difference in cost is so huge that you could easily buy a plenitude of synthetic wigs in place of one natural one. But no matter what kind of wig you’re buying, be sure and have it trimmed while you’re wearing it. All wigs are intentionally a bit overstuffed; so get your hairdresser to give it some love.
And do remember, a well placed scarf and hat won’t take care of this issue—but you can darn well look chic while trying to resolve it.
Lotions and creams are all very well. But increasingly it’s being proven that you can step up how your skin looks and behaves not only by targeting what you eat and drink, but also by supplementing the skin through liquids and pills.
Nicky Kinnaird, founder of Space NK is convinced this is the future. “Internal beauty is the way forward,” she says. “The external can only go so far.” Hence, her enthusiasm for a new beauty supplement that is taken orally, Ascenta Skin ($80). In days of yore, mothers made their children drink cod liver oil for its health benefits. Ascenta Skin is a much more palatable version specifically for skin health and backed by plenty of research, plus you only need a teaspoonful a day.
“While topical products will always be needed, they work mostly on the top layers of skin, the ones that are on their way out as you shed your skin,” says Marc St-Onge, the enthusiastic founder of the company. “Ascenta Skin works from the inside to target new skin forming in the dermal layers; it hydrates and nourishes the skin on its way in.”
“Marc St-Onge is absolutely, Mr. Omega 3,” enthuses Kinnaird. “When I asked to see some research documents, I had never seen anything like it, with so many facts and figures.”
The most important ingredient in Ascenta Skin is eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) from fish oil, an omega-3 fatty acid. Now, most of us know anecdotally that fish oil is good for us—that cod liver oil again—and no less important for beauty to keep skin nourished and help ease eczema and psoriasis. Can it get better? Well, according to a new study from Manchester University in England, omega-3 oils could be very helpful in preventing skin cancer. One of the benefits of the lutein and zeaxanthin found in Ascenta Skin, is they act as natural UV protectors. In studies, skin has shown increased elasticity, firmness, and a reduction in rough skin. It also contains vitamin D to boost the immune system— after all, who looks good when they are sick?
One spanking new company I am very excited about is Hum Nutrition. Founded by two serial vitamin entrepreneurs, Chris Coleridge and Walter Faulstroh, the company offers personalized supplementation. Get your free consultation at www.humnutrition.com in three minutes—and unlike most questionnaires, it is actually fun and witty but, as you would expect, with hard science behind it. Your entry is then analyzed by a nutritionist and just to be clear, not just a bunch of algorithms pretending to be empathetic, but by a real heart-beating human. “The questionnaire is assessed by one of the best nutritionists in the country and in 48 hours, she will make recommendations for around two or three varieties of vitamins that are right for you,” explains Coleridge. “This then links you back to the site to order. You can’t order anything prior to assessment but afterward you can even add extras. Our aim is to take the guesswork out of supplements.”
Twenty-four different supplements cover the gamut of needs: Big Chill for stress, Wing Man for the liver, Gut Instinct for … well, you get it. But as for beauty? Aha, of course, Red Carpet ($14.95).
“Red Carpet has blackcurrant seed oil that contains GLA and ALAs that are great for skin and hair,” explains Coleridge. “And Killer Nails ($9.95) strengthens nails with biotin and silica.”
Another new range is from Dr. Daniel Sister, a French cosmetic doctor whom I have worked with before. He has created Beauty Works West Youth Capsules exclusively for net-a-porter.com (£120/$121.94 for 120, free shipping to the UK and US). It contains amino acids and marine plant extracts to enable skin repair and also increase muscle growth. As Nicky Kinnaird says, ”If you have a health junkie life, you need this too.” And even if you don’t, better skin could be just the start of really thinking about what you put in your body.
As skincare consumers, we are always after the new. But there are some brands that are worth revisiting, learning from and embracing. And one of the best is back and reformulated for the 21st century.
Erno Laszlo was a pioneer of modern skincare. He was one of the first people to ascribe science to skincare—a concept that seems unbelievable to ignore these days but was revolutionary at the time. This notion came to him whilst he studied skin pathology and disease at the Royal Hungarian Elisabeth University of Medical Sciences in Budapest. Laszlo quickly became well known and in 1927 treated Hungary’s Princess Stephanie’s acne successfully and some of Hungary’s top actresses even helping to heal the skin of a star who had been shot in the face. He then opened his first skincare Institute in Budapest.
But the rise of the Nazi party in next-door Germany made Laszlo decide to immigrate with his wife to Los Angeles in 1937. Soon he was a renowned skincare guru—an overused term but in this case, well earned—during the golden days of Hollywood. Working in the makeup department at Warner Brothers studio, he soon garnered a long line of Hollywood stars as clients and also friends.
His Hollywood following was genuine—no paid ambassadors for his products. Katherine Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Greta Garbo became devotes and Audrey Hepburn claimed, “50% of my beauty, I owe to my mother, 50% to Erno Laszlo.” Marilyn Monroe was a close friend and Lazlo created pHormula 3-8, a nourishing balm, specifically for her. When she died, a pot of Erno Laszlo Active pHelityl Cream was clearly seen on her nightstand in photos that chronicled the room where she met her untimely death.
Jackie Kennedy also was a client and Laszlo, of course, was not the only man that she and Marilyn shared. In New York, Laszlo opened “The Institute” on Fifth Avenue, an invitation only treatment center where women would beg, borrow, and steal an appointment. Little wonder the Institute was dubbed “The House of Silence” by the Duchess of Windsor, because its walls contained so many secrets.
And now not only is the brand back, The Institute has been re-opened in Soho and I was lucky enough be given a membership that normally costs $10,000 a year; indeed you have to be introduced to join, as well.
So I got down there before you could say Black Soap Splashing (keep reading). It’s a three-story glass fronted mansion with a sweeping staircase straight out of Top Hat. Soon I was seated drinking tea and chatting with my aesthetician, Tinamarie Geradi, who announced she wanted to “clock” me.
I’m pretty open to things but this sounded violent and yet she seemed such a nice lady. Turned out “clocking” is the method of skin analysis that Lazslo created, based on the dryness or oiliness of the skin during the course of the day.
If your skin is super dry early in the morning, you are an 8:30, a bit later and moderately dry you are a 10:30 and if your skin is only slightly dry, you are an 11:30. The same goes in the afternoon for 1:00, slightly oily, 2:00 oily, or 3:00 for the oiliest skin. My rather fair English skin does ask for moisturizer when I finish cleansing but it doesn’t scream for it so Tinamarie determined I was a 10:30.
With that established, we went downstairs to one of the beautiful treatment rooms and she talked me through the facial as she cleansed. Take my word for it; the Erno Laszlo deep-cleansing process would make a face-wipe cry. Following that came a face-peel and extraction—oh did she ever extract, getting so many nasties out that my skin felt cleaner than it ever had.
But at home, the process starts with a half-teaspoon of Phelityl Pre-Cleansing Oil massaged onto the skin to break down makeup and impurities. Then you use one of the Cleansing Bars—my prescription was for the iconic Sea Mud Deep Cleansing Bar—to cleanse, exfoliate, and condition. How? The water in the sink becomes a treatment bath. First, massage the bar twice over the skin, then splash the water in the sink on your face twenty times, drain the sink, then splash your skin ten times with warm water from the tap. So not everyone can get into the “House of Silence.” But most of us can splash out $39 on a bar and treatment in one and experience a bit of old Hollywood reformulated with up to date science.