For our mother’s generation, the hair salon was a place to catch up on local town gossip under the hair dryer. Today, a salon, or more often nowadays a “hair institute,” is a place that takes the health of your hair and scalp very, very seriously.
At the Rene Furterer Institute in Paris, the only concern is your hair—it’s a clinical approach to the science of preservation, restoration, maintenance and styling. There is no fluff inside the two-story salon space, which feels more like a well-decorated medical spa than a beauty parlor. It’s where the majority of the innovation is born for the cult brand Rene Furterer and it houses a behemoth of a machine called a capilliscope. This digital microscope, which I got to test first hand, magnifies the scalp by 80 to 100 times. The trained hair technician can then diagnose the scalp and hair at the root bulb to find out what is really going on with your hair.
For me, a woman who has always wanted to grow thicker, longer and stronger hair, I was interested to know why I could never get my strands to grow past my underarms. And low and behold, this machine had the answer. After the health of my scalp was observed under intense magnification and 10 of my hairs were plucked out and examined for where they were in their growth cycle, it was found that I had buildup, flaking and a good amount of “dead hair.”
While it may sound strange, many of the hairs on our head are considered “dead.” Typically, hair grows at a rate of one-half inch per month. If the hair does not receive the right nutrients or is suffocated, the strands will die early on, which shows up as thinning and sparse hair.
So how can you tell if a hair is dead? Look at the root. If the bulb is shaped like a cotton swab and is white in color, which signifies pigment loss, the hair is in telogen phase and therefor dead. The more of these hair that are present on your scalp, the more likely you are to experience baldness.
My technician luckily assured me that I could grow more healthy hair if I took better care of my scalp and paid attention to my diet. Apparently, our scalp is like fertile ground. It needs to be nourished to grow healthy hair. If it has too much oil (like mine) then it can drown the follicle, causing growth to come to a screeching halt. If your scalp is too dry and has a lot of buildup, the follicle can be suffocated, which can also cause early death for the hair.
To get your scalped balanced, you want good circulation, no buildup and a healthy diet filled with iron, vitamins A, B and protein. To increase the circulation of my scalp and to get rid of buildup and excess oil, my prescription was the Rene Furterer Essential Care COMPLEXE 5 ($45), which contains essential oils to stimulate microcirculation and invigorate the scalp. You can also try tea tree oil, peppermint and eucalyptus to create a well-balanced scalp. Massaging these essential oils into the scalp will increase blood flow and will help with minor flaking.
If you’re in need of a diagnosis of your own hair health, but can’t get to Paris, find a Rene Furterer near you. Also, some other salons around the states are starting to offer scalp analysis too. The Blow Dry Lounge by PHYTO at the Fred Segal Salon in Santa Monica, CA, now offers a very similar microscope treatment.
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