The Grooming Guru Awards 2012. Haircare Product of the Year: Davines Detoxifying Scrub Shampoo

davines-setoxggawrd12lReviewing haircare products is always tricky for me on account of the fact that hair is an increasing rare commodity for me. I’m fine with my advancing baldness but it does make road-testing styling products a bit of a challenge. To get around the problem I have a small team of amply-thatched helpers to give me feedback. My favourite haircare product this year, though, is one even follically-challenged guys like me can appreciate.

This Detoxifying Scrub Shampoo from Davines is fantastic for ensuring hair is squeaky clean and for keeping your scalp free of dead skin cells and in tip-top condition. Given that there’s some studies linking blocked follicles with hairloss it’s a good investment regardless of how much hair you have. With cardamon, mint and corriander it smells great too and a bottle is never out of my bathroom.

For more info go to www.davines.com

Coming tomorrow….Best Body Product

Cidofovir: an end to facial hair forever? I don’t think so…

I read with interest yesterday that tests have been taking place at the University of Pennsylvania into using the drug cidofovir to stop stubble in its tracks and put an end to men’s need to shave once and for all.

An anti-viral drug previously used to treat people living with HIV cidofovir has the side-effect of ‘local alopecia’ and, as was the case with Minoxidil (the active ingredient in Regaine and one originally used to treat high blood pressure), its alternative money-spinning usage is clearly a big draw to its manufacturers.

The study, published in Archives of Dermatology, appeared to show a reduced hair count in the men who used a 3% dosage of the cream, opening the door for a product that could prevent stubble once and for all. The big question, of course, is will men use it?

It’s one I’ve asked numerous times in articles and on message boards and the resounding answer has always been no. Creams and balms already exist (Clarins and Clinique both do them) that reduce stubble growth a little but they’re hardly hero products men are falling over themselves to have in their grooming armoury.

Sure, on paper a life sans stubble sounds like a great idea: no more five o’clock shadow, no more boring daily shave, no more expensive blades to shell out on, but in practice I’ve discovered men are remarkably attached to their facial hair. And why wouldn’t they be? After all, an end to all the down sides also means and end to the main upside too which is that a beard, ‘tache or goatee is a cheap and effective way to change your look whenever you fancy. Women have make-up to play with and men have facial hair.

And let’s not forget that facial hair is fundamentally a secondary sexual characteristic – there to indicate masculinity and the presence of testosterone. It isn’t just about fashion: Anthropologically speaking it has function too. In fact I believe research has shown that women are programmed to find three days’ worth of stubble particularly attractive.

There will be those, I’m sure, who find my attitudes decidedly retrosexual and, since I have beardage myself I am slightly biased, but the day I’ll believe men want to live without facial hair is the day women say they want to live with it. Now there’s a thought – a cream that makes women grow facial hair…

New Lab Series survey reveals 41% of men would rather lose their job than their hair!

As someone who severely fell out with my hair after it filed for divorce from my scalp several years ago I’m always fascinated by men’s attitudes to baldness. Though I’ve come to terms with my ever-decreasing shaft count (and I’m referring to hair here), I do mourn not having a style other than the No.1 crop I’m permanently lumbered with.

Having said that, I’ve learnt to live with it. Clealry, though, hairloss is a subject that still prays on a lot of men’s minds. In fact, a brand new survey of 2,000 men conducted by Lab Series Skincare For Men discovered that 41% of men would rather lose their job than their hair and 30% of men aged 18-24 worry about losing their hair. The reason men are so worried? Well, it seems that looking old is the key, with 34% of men surveyed saying they worry that a thinning thatch will make them look old.

Helpfully, Lab Series now have three haircare products to minimise hair loss by making hair stronger, reducing breakage and maintaining optimum scalp health. Designed as a three-step system, each product contains a raft of ingredients to target hair weakness and dullness.

The lightly-fragranced Root Power Restorative Shampoo helps keep the scalp free of pore-clogging debris and thickens hair shafts, the Root Power Restorative Hair Tonic minimises daily breakage and energises the scalp while the Style Wax (for me the most impressive product) is formulated to give thickness to the hair reduce breakage. They’re not going to prevent you going bald if you’re predisposed to male pattern baldness but are a good addition to your regime if you just want to hang onto what hair you do have.

Available nationwide now. For sockists call 0870 034 2566 or go to www.labseries.co.uk

Grooming Guru Guides: How to hang on to your hair

Thatch not quite as thick as it used to be? Hair going the way of poor old Prince William’s? Don’t worry, hang onto what you have with The Grooming Guru’s hair-maximizing tips…

STEP 1 Look after your scalp.

In the same way that a field of corn needs good soil to flourish, your hair needs a healthy scalp if it’s to emerge strong and healthy (or emerge at all!) So make sure it’s in tip top condition by using Aveda Men Pure-Formance™ Exfoliating Shampoo to gently exfoliate the skin, remove any follicle-blocking dead cells and maintain optimum hair quality.

Tip: Not only does sun make hair brittle and fragile, burning your bonce causes the scalp to produce a compound called superoxide that can cause hair follicles to switch from a growth phase to a shedding one. So always wear a hat on the beach and protect your scalp (even if you only have a tiny bald spot) with a sunscreen. Transparent sprays like Ambre Solaire Clear Protect Spray are best as they’re non-sticky, easy to use and provide good coverage.

STEP 2 Don’t scratch! You might not realise it but dandruff isn’t just a disaster when it comes to dating, there’s some research to suggest it may be linked to hairloss too. That’s because the bug that causes the flakes (a yeast called Malassezia globos) makes your scalp sore and itchy which in turn makes you scratch. And scratching often leads to hair snapping off.

Research has also shown that dandruff sufferers often have less shine and flexibility hair too – signs of weaker hair structure. And that means your crowning glory is more prone to tearing and snapping. Thankfully, though, dealing with dandruff is pretty straightforward.

To tackle the problem head on (sorry!) try an anti-dandruff shampoo like Head & Shoulders For Men which contains flake-busting Zinc Pyrithione. And if you tend to suffer from an itchy scalp, stop the itch in its tracks with Philip Kingsley’s soothing Flaky Itchy Scalp Shampoo.

Tip: Rough drying, harsh rubbing and over-combing can all cause hair to break so instead of rough towel drying, try gently patting hair dry and try styling with your fingers rather than a comb. Don’t fiddle with your hair either! Playing with it can cause damage.

STEP 3 Feed your head!

Hair might be dead but the follicles that produce it are very much alive and need adequate nutrition to function properly, so stock up on foods rich in B vitamins, zinc and iron (like breakfast cereals, liver and apricots) and vitamin C-rich fruits like strawberries which help the body retain the nutrients essential for hair health. And up your intake of silicon – some studies have shown this to limit hair loss. Wheat, rice and onions are good sources. You can also improve the condition of hair by washing with a nutrient-packed shampoo like Korres Magnesium and Wheat Proteins Hair  Loss Shampoo.

Taking a supplement like Holland & Barrett – Vitamins for the Hair can help too by providing hair with a concentrated and potent array of  vitamins and minerals to promote healthy growth.

Tip: If you smoke, give up. A study by Harvard School of Public Health in America showed that smoking not only increases levels of the hormones that trigger hair loss, it also constricts the tiny blood vessels that supply the scalp, quite literally starving your hair of nutrients.

STEP 4 Halt the hairloss.

Hair loss is thought to affect as many as one in three men ages between 25 and 34 and as much as 18% of men under 24. Over half of us will have experienced some thinning by the time we’re 50 and in Britain alone, thinning hair is thought to affect a whopping 8 million men.

The first thing worth thinking about if you notice your thatch is beginning to thin out a little is a topical hair loss treatment like Regaine For Men Foam which contains Minoxidil – an ingredient clinically proven to trigger hair growth and minimise hairloss.

It won’t work in every case and it’s a long-term strategy rather than a short-term fix so be prepared to be diligent (you’ll need to build using it into your daily regime) and have a deep pocket.

Tip: Hair maximizing products tend to be most effective in men whose hair has just begun to thin so as soon as you notice your hair isn’t as thick as it used to be don’t delay –  take action!