Friday, May 27, 2011

What Is Keratin?

The hair and nails are considered to be extensions of the skin and are both made of a hard, fibrous protein called keratin. As a part of the Integumentary System, the hair helps regulate body temperature, keeps the skin cool and moist, and responds to touch, while the nails protect the fingers and toes, and assist with grasping and holding.
Keratin is the building block of human skin, hair and nails, as well as hooves, claws, and horns in animals. It comes from the Greek keras, meaning horn. As with all proteins, Keratin has large molecules made up of smaller amino acids that join together to create the extremely hard protein.
Keratin is a family of fibrous structural protein (scleroproteins) with main duties to protect and support the body by forming connective tissue, tendons, bone, and muscle fiber.[1] The only other biological substance known to be as hard as keratin is the chitin that makes up the exoskeletons of anthropods.[2]
As a protein, keratin is made up of chains of amino acids, with high concentrations of the amino acid cystine. Each unit of cystine is made up of two cysteine amino acids in different chains which are linked together by two sulphur atoms. This chemical bond is called a disulphide linkage and many of them appear as rungs on the keratin ladder.[3] The disulphide bond is one of the strongest bonds that exists in the natural world.[4]
Keratin molecules assemble into bundles of intermediate filaments (a family of related proteins that share common structural and sequence features) which are extremely tough and insoluble. These filaments are the main component in keratinocytes (cells that have undergone keratinization) in the cornified layer of the epidermis.
Keratinization involves three kinds of epithelial (outer layer) cells: undifferentiated, differentiating, and terminal cells.[5] (Differentiation is the process by which cylindrical basal cells lose their nuclei, change their shape and composition, and become flattened, cornified cells).
  • Undifferentiated cells are mitotically active. In the case of nails and stratum corneum, these undifferentiated cells continuously renew the keratinizing tissues. In the case of hair, they renew in cycles.
  • Differentiating cells carry out four activities: synthesizing pre-keratin substances like tonofibrils (cytoplasmic protein structures), losing their nucleus and other elements in the cytoplasm, losing water, and uniting the cells into a horny mass.
  • Terminal cells consist primarily of keratin and are completely inactive. They make up the final structures of hard keratin for the hair’s cuticle and cortex, and the soft keratins that make up the medulla and stratum corneum.
There are two types of keratin involved in keratinization: soft keratin and hard keratin.
  • Soft Keratin (also known as beta type) is part of the stratum corneum of the epidermis (top layer of skin). It also creates the hair’s internal root sheath and medulla. Soft keratin is made of desquamating cells (desquamation: the process by which cells from the stratum corneum split apart, loosen, and fall away as they reach the top of the epidermis). Soft keratin has a high lipid (fat) content and lower sulphur content (less than 3%). Soft keratin contains more of the amino acid cysteine and less cystine than hard keratin, making it less stable in high temperatures.
  • Hard Keratin (alpha type) makes up the hair and nails (as well as feathers and horns in animals). As its name suggests, it is tough and hard and doesn’t desquamate. Hard keratin has a lower fat content and higher sulphur content (more than 3%). It has good cell structure and is able to withstand heat.
In the nails, keratin is formed and hardened in the Matrix, the part of the nail bed beneath the nail root that contains nerves, lymph and blood vessels. Hard keratin formation for the hair
takes place in five stages and areas:[6]
1.      Germinal Matrix: Cells in the hair bulb’s germinal matrix are constantly dividing during anagen, or the active stage of hair growth. These cells move in rows to the upper part of the bulb where they become longer and larger and will eventually become the hair cortex.
2.      Differentiation Zone: The area of the upper hair bulb where the cells in the elongate and the nuclei shape changes from round to oval.
3.      Fibrilization Zone: Area above the upper bulb where the cells elongate.
4.      Keratinization Zone: Area of the hair shaft where the cells reach their maximum size. This zone has two distinct parts:
(a)   The lower zone: where the fibrous protein is complete but the structure is unstable (also called the keratogenous zone). Hydrogen bonding of amino acids takes place followed by disulphide bonds (the amino acid cysteine is oxidized to cystine), making the protein extremely strong.
(b)   The upper zone: Cells rapidly become stable and are able to withstand heat and chemicals.
5.      Keratinized Zone: By the time the cells reach this zone, they have lost approximately 80% of their water weight, which has been replaced by pockets of air.

[1], Scleroprotein,
[2] How It Works Daily,
[3] P&G Beauty & Grooming, Hair Strength,
[4] &G Beauty & Grooming, Hair Strength,
[5] The International Association of Trichologists, The Hair and Scalp, p. 57.
[6] International Association of Trichologists, The Hair and Scalp, p. 58-59.


Dawber, Rodney, Ed., Diseases Of The Hair And Scalp (Third Edition), Blackwell Science Ltd., 1997.

International Association of Trichologists, The Hair and Scalp, I.A.T., Kalamazoo, 1993., Have You Seen Him?

Online Cosmetology School, Anatomy & Physiology of Skin, Hair, and Nails,

P&G Beauty and Grooming Science, The World of Hair,

Sandia Corporation, Structure of the Skin,

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hair Loss May No Longer Be A Certain Side-Effect of Chemo

Excellent news for chemotherapy patients! A new device called the DigniCap is helping women keep their hair even when undergoing chemo, which often leads to hair loss. The device cools the scalp, reducing blood flow to the hair follicles and minimizing damage from the toxic chemicals. In a Japanese study, more than 82 percent of 255 breast cancer patients kept most of their hair thanks to the cap.

Oncologist and medical professor Hope Rugo at the University of California, San Francisco, has launched a U.S. study of the DigniCap. She says FDA approval and wider availability could come in the near future.

Email  for more information.

Another cooling option is the Penguin cold cap. Unlike the DigniCap, which has its own cooling unit, the Penguin cold cap must be cooled in a special freezer and replaced every 20 minutes throughout the chemotherapy session. The caps can be rented for around $500 a month.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Acquired Progressive Kinking of the Hair (APKH)

Acquired Progressive Kinking of the Hair (APKH), is a rare disorder characterized by dull, frizzy, extremely curly scalp hair. The syndrome was first described in 1932 and since that time, only a couple dozen cases have been reported and even fewer have been thoroughly studied.[1]
What we do know is that the syndrome is acquired around adolescence, which is one of the factors that distinguishes it from conditions such as pili torti and woolly hair naevus, which occur at birth or infancy. The earliest documented case of APKH was in an 8-year old girl and the latest onset was in a 23-year old man.[2]  The frizzy, kinky hair appears in the frontal, temporal, and vertex regions (frontal, parietal, occipital) of the scalp.
An electron microscopic examination of at least one case of affected hairs showed partial twisting of the hair along its longitudinal axis along with longitudinal grooves in the hair shaft (pili canaliculi)[3]. In addition to the severe kinking of the hair, the follicles may turn lighter (hypopigmented), darker (hyperpigmented) or remain the same color. Hair growth may or may not be affected by the kinking.
A proposed criteria for diagnosis of APKH published in the Journal of Pediatric Dermatology (Vol 21, No. 3 265–268, 2004) includes:
An acquired circumscribed area of dull, woolly, hair in the frontal,
temporal, or parietal regions in the absence of previous trauma.
Irregular, twisted, and tortuous hair with the first twist appearing
at 3–4 cm from the emergence of the hair.

On optical microscopy, a periodic reduction in the hair shaft diameter
with broadened sections alternating with flattened ones.

On scanning electron microscopy, partial twisting of the hair on its
longitudinal axis with a 180-degree rotation, variable pili canaliculi
(or longitudinal grooves), spindle-shaped broadening with
occasional fractures, and increased numbers of cuticular cells per
diameter in the twisted sections.[4]

            Some scientists suggest that the onset of APKH may be a type of androgenic alopecia, the most common form of hair loss that results from a genetic predisposition making follicles sensitive to the effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Androgenetic alopecia is often termed “male pattern baldness,” but women can suffer from it, too. In men, the hair loss usually begins above the temples and thins at the crown. In women, the hair loss usually occurs along the hair part. The hair loss occurs as a genetic condition related to the presence of androgens in the blood. Androgens are hormones responsible for normal male sexual development as well as regulating hair growth and sex drive in both men and women.[5]
In one study published in the Archives of Dermatology, the patients (7 males), all had a strong family history of androgenic alopecia. In additionthe pathological features of the affected scalp were consistent with the diagnosis of the early stages of androgenetic alopecia.” [6] All cases eventually evolved into androgenetic alopecia within a two to nine-year period, and 5% Minoxidil was ineffective in preventing the eventual hair loss. The effects of finesterinde (Propecia) have not been recorded in cases of APKH.
APKH appears to share several characteristics of androgenic alopecia[7]:
  • APKH occurs at the onset of puberty when hormones are at their most active.
  • There is an increased concentration of DHT on the scalp.
DHT stands for dihydrotestosterone, a potent androgenic hormone synthesized in the prostate gland, hair follicles, testes and adrenal glands by 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme involved in steroid metabolism. If hair follicles are genetically sensitive to DHT, hair follicles can shrink and growth can slow or stop altogether.
  • The affected hairs appear similar to pubic hair.
  • The distribution of affected hair is similar to pattern baldness.
  • In some patients, APKH developed into androgenic alopecia.
  • There is a decreased anagen to telogen ratio.
Another cause of APKH may be the use of retinoids such as Isotretinoin (Accutane), used for severe acne, and Etretinate, prescribed for psoriosis.[8] Both drugs have shown to produce kinking of hair in some people, which may reverse itself with the cessation of the drug treatment.
APKH is very similar to “Whisker Hair,” a condition where scalp hair develops into short, curly, dark hair similar to beard hair.[9] Some scientists even believe that “Whisker Hair” and APKH are variants of the same disorder because both can lead to excessive hair loss.[10]
      Still other experts believe APKH may be an autoimmune problem.[11] To lend further to the lack of solid conclusions, some APKH patients have reported  progression of symptoms over time, while still others report regression, as in the case of at least one woman whose symptoms disappeared with the onset of pregnancy.[12] Researchers at the University of Bologna who published a study in the Archives of Dermatology (Vol. 135, No. 10, Oct. 1999) even concluded that APKH was not its own syndrome, but rather the term Acquired Progressive Kinking of the Hair “encompasses a number of conditions characterized by acquired curling of the scalp hair.”[13]
Clearly, more cases of APKH need to be recorded and studied in order to learn whether it has specific common symptoms and how it can be treated.


[1] Pediatric Dermatology, Acquired Progressive Kinking of the Hair,, p. 265
[2] Pediatric Dermatology, Acquired Progressive Kinking of the Hair,, p. 266
[3] Pediatric Dermatology, Acquired Progressive Kinking of the Hair,, p. 265
[4] Pediatric Dermatology, Acquired Progressive Kinking of the Hair,, p. 267
[5], Androgenic Alopecia,
[6] Archives of Dermatology, Acquired Progressive Kinking of the Hair,
[7] Pediatric Dermatology, Acquired Progressive Kinking of the Hair,, p. 266
[9], Whisker Hair,
[10] Pediatric Dermatology, Acquired Progressive Kinking of the Hair,, p. 267
[11] The International Association of Trichologists, Hair Shaft Problems, p. 95.
[12] Dawber, Diseases of the Hair and Scalp, p. 292.
[13] Archives of Dermatology, Acquired Progressive Kinking of the Hair,


Archives of Dermatology, Vol. 135, No. 10, Oct. 1999, Acquired Progressive Kinking of the Hair,

Dawber, Rodney, Ed., Diseases of the Hair and Scalp, Third Edition, 1997.

Pediatric Dermatology, Acquired Progressive Kinking of the Hair, Vol. 21, Issue 3, May 2004,

The International Association of Trichologists, Hair Shaft Problems, 1999.

The Trichological Society,

Just How Safe Are Hair Vitamins?

The New Jersey company Rise-N-Shine is offering CNN's Anderson Cooper $1 million dollars to take its "Go Away Gray" hair vitamin. Nothwithstanding that gray hair is the Silver Fox's signature look, questions abound as to whether the pills are actually safe.

According to Rise-N-Shine's web site, the product works like this:

"Go AWAY Gray is specially formulated to prevent and reverse unwanted gray hair. Based on recent scientific studies, low levels of the enzyme Catalase in your body can turn your hair gray. Hydrogen peroxide is naturally produced by the body and Catalase breaks it down. If you are not producing enough Catalase, the hydrogen peroxide cannot be broken down. This causes the hydrogen peroxide to bleach the hair from the inside out, making it gray. Go AWAY Gray contains the enzyme Catalase, along with other special nutrients to reverse and prevent gray hair and to also promote thicker, healthier hair! Take Go Away Gray today and watch your gray go AWAY!"

In addition, the product contains "a proprietary mixture of natural ingredients including vitamin B-6, folic acid, saw palmetto and l-tyrosine."

The scientific speak may sound plausible, but Consumer Reports doesn't like how easily the product came to market.

In its September 2010 issue (cover story "The 12 Most Dangerous Supplements"), Consumer Reports highlights the fact that no real scientific backup is required to to bring a vitamin or mineral supplement to market.

Cathy Beggan, president of Rise-N-Shine, is quoted as saying that her company has not had to provide product information on "Go Away Gray" to the Food and Drug Administration. Furthermore, the company did not conduct any clinical trials of the supplement before putting it on the market but is now looking into it "to have some concrete data behind (the product)."

CBS news in San Francisco interviewed  nutritional biochemist Jay Foster about the supplement.

He concluded that too much l-tyrosine can be a problem for people who take medication for high blood pressure and thyroid disease.

He also said that a mineral deficiency (like copper) may be the reason why a body is not making enough catalase.

When deciding to take a new vitamin or mineral supplement, it's extremely important to ask your doctor about it first, especially if you take medications for pre-existing conditions. You also may want to have a blood workup done to see what your nutritional deficiencies really are before starting a supplement. And, if you do decide to take supplements, check for the "USP Verified" mark. This means that the nonprofit group U.S. Pharmacopeia has verified the quality, purity and potency of the product, which is the closest thing we have in the U.S. to actual safety standards for vitamin supplements. (Check out their web site at for a list of verified products.)

Is Gray The New Blonde?

Recently, fashion's hippest souls have been going gray... on purpose. Perhaps taking their cues from natural silvers such as Jamie Lee Curtis, EmmyLou Harris, and Helen Mirren, members of the younger set are showing up on the red carpet with their own gray locks.

Lady Gaga, Kelly Osborne, and Daphne Guinness are just a few of the lovelies asking their hairdressers for the gray treatment. And now the pinnacle of fashion itself, Vogue Magazine, is getting in on the act.

Vogue's August 2010 "Age Issue" features 40-something model Kristen McMenamy with hip-grazing gray locks. The 10 photos are nothing short of stunning.

According to McMenamy, the gorgeous gray is mostly all her own. She says she decided to stop dyeing it 6 years ago and now sees colorist Josh Wood at Real Hair in London to match a black streak in the center of her hair to the rest of her natural silver.

McMenamy is pleased with the Vogue spread, saying, “I thought all that gray hair would make a beautiful picture.” She adds, “You can get older and still be rock-’n’-roll.”

It's a refreshing turn of events to see today's women embracing natural hair in all its forms. Gray is here to stay, so don't be afraid to grow your own. As Kristen McMenamy says, you can be gray and "still be rock-n-roll."

The Case Against Hair Extensions

First, we here at Longhairlovers not against hair extensions for people with hair loss or thinning hair problems. Weaves can be very helpful for people suffering from these conditions who otherwise wouldn't feel good about themselves.

That said, we just can't stand to see a healthy young person sporting extensions in order to gain a couple of inches of length.

Please consider Exhibit A: Britney Jean Spears

Poor Brit-Brit was spotted out and about looking like THAT.

When asked about the photo, celebrity hair stylist Ken Paves actually defended the weave mishap, telling PEOPLE mag, “It’s not that big of a deal actually, we have all seen this before. A case of bed head, who hasn’t had it?”

He goes on to say, “The truth is that this is exactly how these extensions are applied, however we are not supposed to see them, that’s all. There are thousands and thousands of women walking around whose hair looks just like that ‘underneath’. The remedy is simply to cover it up.”

I shudder to think about the tears these thousands and thousands of women are going to shed when their extensions grow out or are removed, only to reveal their own stubby, dry, broken off strands underneath.

If you can grow your own hair, by all means, do it! Hair grows about 1/2" per month, so you really don't have to wait that long for at least shoulder-grazing tresses. Taking the fast path to longer hair will not only damage your own hair and scalp, it can possibly lead to permanent hair loss due to traction alopecia. If Britney's still not convinced, perhaps she should ask Naomi Campbell, who's showing her own signs of hair loss after years and years of wearing tight weaves.

Wipe Out Lice With A Pill

Head lice are just plain nasty and can turn your poor child into a social pariah. Even though they don't spread disease or cause serious harm, the little parasites are extremely contagious and can lead to itching and irritation. They also require that your child be kept home from school or camp until the problem is in check.

Past remedies for ridding the victim of lice has included carefully picking out lice eggs (nits) with a special comb, dousing hair in olive oil and covering with a plastic cap to suffocate the bugs, and applying prescription creams. All of these methods are messy and somewhat unreliable, since lice actually build up resistance to topical Rx creams and gels.

If you get a call from camp or school saying your child has lice, ask your pediatrician about the drug ivermectin, brand name Stromectol. This anti-parasitic pill has been used to treat roundworm and has shown success in treating lice infestations. Out of 398 children given the drug, some 95% were lice-free two weeks later.

Side effects include nausea and a rash, but children who participated in the study preferred the pill 7 to 1 over the traditional anti-lice scalp cream malathion.

Ivermectin could be a mess-free way to rid your child of lice and get her back in the classroom fast. Be sure to discuss all of the risks and side-effects with your pediatrician first so you can weigh the odds of using a drug to wipe out the lice infestation. If you prefer natural methods, you'll probably be stuck with the oil-and-plastic-showercap trick. Natural for sure, but not likely to be popular with the kiddies.

Naomi's Hair Woes

Naomi Campbell appears to be suffering from Traction Alopecia, a type of hair loss caused when the hair and scalp are pulled too tight for too long.

Recent photos of the supermodel reveal hair breakage and loss around the hair line, which is a classic sign of the disorder.

Hairstyles such as tight braids, twists, buns, ponytails, snug wigs, and the tracks that hold in hair extensions can be to blame. So can sleeping in rollers or other restrictive bedtime hair rituals.

This type of hair loss can take years to become apparent and can be permanent.

The good news is you don't have to give up your favorite hairstyle to avoid traction alopecia. Simply make sure you don't wear a restrictive style for more than a few hours at a time. If you wear hair extensions, try to go without for a few weeks at a time to allow your scalp to breathe. And be sure to practice scalp massage to ensure proper blood flow to your hair and scalp.

Early signs of traction alopecia include broken hairs, redness and swelling around the hair follicles, small pimples, and scaling. If you suspect you're in the early stages of traction alopecia, stop wearing your restrictive hairstyle and see a trichologist or dermatologist for help.

Forgo wigs and weaves and learn to love your natural hair! If you just can't do that, or need some hair pieces to disguise thin spots, make sure they're put in carefully and be sure to massage the areas of scalp where the wefts are attached. Remember that braids are only "protective styles" if you massage and moisturize the scalp. If you wear a ponytail or bun, take it down during the day and run your fingers through your hair to boost circulation before restyling. Any sign of breakage around the hair line should be a red flag that your hairstyle is too tight!

Cheryl Cole's Fake Mojo for L'Oreal

British personality Cheryl Cole displays abundant healthy-looking locks in an ad for L'Oreal Elvive Full Restore Five products, designed to target "weak, limp, lifeless, dull and straw-like hair." But if you happen to blink, you just might miss the disclaimer that Cole is "styled with some natural hair extensions."

Despite the presence of fake strands, Cole says her hair "feels stronger, full of life, replenished, with a healthy shine. It's got its mojo back".

Some 40 astute consumers questioned the supposed mojo by complaining to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). They claimed that the ads were misleading since the X Factor judge clearly did not achieve her look using L'Oreal products alone.

L'Oreal said the ads made no promise that consumers would look "exactly like Cheryl Cole." They added that Cole had not been "transformed above and beyond [her] public image for the purposes of the ad."

Unbelievably, the ASA bought L'Oreal's argument concluding "that the ads did not misleadingly exaggerate the effects of the product."

Their reasoning: "We considered consumers would understand the message of the ads to be that the product could have some positive and achievable effect on their weak, dull, limp and lifeless hair but that they would not be misled into believing that, by just using the product, it would replicate for them the fullness of Cheryl Cole's hair, because hers had been professionally styled," the ASA ruled.

If hair extensions posing as a model's own hair in a hair care ad isn't misleading, I don't know what is. Companies promising to make your hair thicker and fuller shouldn't need to add fake hair to the model to convince consumers that the product works.

Bridal Hairstyles

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Victorian Hair Care

The Victorian book of etiquette called Our Deportment, published in 1881, gives us a glimpse into how Americans of the 1800s viewed and care for their hair.

Our Deportment by J.H. Young
Chapter XXXII

There is nothing that so adds to the charm of an individual, especially a lady, as a good head of hair. The skin of the head requires even more tenderness and cleanliness than any other portion of the body, and is capable of being irritated by disease. The hair should be brushed carefully. The brush should be of moderate hardness, not too hard.

The hair should be separated, in order that the head itself may be well brushed, as by doing so the scurf is removed, and that is most essential, as it is not only unpleasant and unsightly, but if suffered to remain it becomes saturated with perspiration, and tends to weaken the roots of the hair, so that it is easily pulled out. In brushing or combing, begin at the extreme points, and in combing, hold the portion of the hair just above that through which the comb is passing, firmly between the first and second fingers, so that if it is entangled it may drag from that point, and not from the roots. The finest head of hair may be spoiled by the practice of plunging the comb into it high up and dragging it in a reckless manner. Short, loose, broken hairs are thus created, and become very troublesome.

Do not plaster the hair with oil or pomatum. A white, concrete oil pertains naturally to the covering of the human head, but some persons have it in more abundance than others. Those whose hair is glossy and shining need nothing to render it so; but when the hair is harsh, poor and dry, artificial lubrication is necessary.

Persons who perspire freely, or who accumulate scurf rapidly, require it also. Nothing is simpler or better in the way of oil than pure, unscented salad oil, and in the way of a pomatum, bear's grease is as pleasant as anything. Apply either with the hands, or keep a soft brush for the purpose, but take care not to use the oil too freely. An overoiled head of hair is vulgar and offensive. So are scents of any kind in the oil applied to the hair. It is well also to keep a piece of flannel with which to rub the hair at night after brushing it, in order to remove the oil before laying the head upon the pillow.

Vinegar and water form a good wash for the roots of the hair. Ammonia diluted in water is still better.
The hair-brush should be frequently washed in diluted ammonia.

For removing scurf, glycerine, diluted with a little rose-water, will be found of service. Any preparation of rosemary forms an agreeable and highly cleansing wash. The yolk of an egg beaten up in warm water is an excellent application to the scalp. Many heads of hair require nothing more in the way of wash than soap and water.

Beware of letting the hair grow too long, as the points are apt to weaken and split. It is well to have the ends clipped off once a month. Young girls should wear their hair cut short until they are grown up, if they would have it then in its best condition.


A serious objection to dyeing the hair is that it is almost impossible to give the hair a tint which harmonizes with the complexion. If the hair begins to change early, and the color goes in patches, procure from the druggist's a preparation of the husk of the walnut water of eau crayon. This will, by daily application, darken the tint of the hair without actually dyeing it. When the change of color has gone on to any great extent, it is better to abandon the application and put up with the change, which, in nine cases out of ten, will be in accordance with the change of the face. Indeed, there is nothing more beautiful than soft, white hair worn in bands or clustering curls about the face. The walnut water may be used for toning down too red hair.


Gentlemen are more liable to baldness than ladies, owing, no doubt, to the use of the close hat, which confines and overheats the head. If the hair is found to be falling out, the first thing to to is to look to the hat and see that it is light and thoroughly ventilated. There is no greater enemy to the hair than the silk dress-hat. It is best to lay this hat aside altogether and adopt a light felt or straw in its place. Long, flowing hair on a man is not in good taste, and will indicate him to the observer as a person of unbalanced mind and unpleasantly erratic character -- a man, in brief, who seeks to impress others with the fact that he is eccentric, something which a really eccentric person never attempts.

Talking Long Hair With Trevor Sorbie

 Trevor Sorbie
"My long hair is me now,
the roots were yesterday,
the ends were many yesterdays
but it will still be my tomorrow."

Trevor Sorbie is a hairdressing legend known for introducing the world to such short styles as The Wedge, The Scrunch, and The Chop. It may seem ironic, then, that he is also one of the few top stylists who has wholeheartedly embraced long hair.

With a desire to help women treat their long locks right, Sorbie launched a line of long hair products in 2002.

Longhairlovers had the opportunity to submit several email questions to Sorbie about his long hair line.

LHL: Why have you chosen to embrace long-haired clients when so many stylists shy away from them?

TS: I know women have an on-going love-affair with their long hair and if it is stressed in any way, then so are they. Long hair is only beautiful if it is shiny, lustrous, soft and silky. I think long hair is beautiful and should be kept healthy. What many women don’t understand is the longest part of their hair is the oldest and therefore needs a lot more conditioning.

LHL: How did you first become aware of 18 MEA (18 methyl eicosanoic acid) as an essential ingredient for long hair care?

TS: The 18MEA formula was introduced to us by Stuart Long who is the Scientific Formulator at Boots. I believed in the formulation immediately and it was licensed to Trevor Sorbie products for one year which meant nobody else could use it.

LHL: How is long, curly hair different from long, straight hair and how do your products address these needs?

TS: Curly hair can get a lot drier than straight hair. The long curly hair range includes more of the moisturising ingredient 18MEA. The breakthrough ingredient 18MEA is a lipid found naturally in hair. It works by forming a microscopic layer on the outside of each cuticle to protect the surface and give hair its smoothness and ‘slip’. This maximises shine and adds a protective layer to minimise future damage and actually JB halt the ageing process. This clever lipid targets and repairs each hair, attaching itself to the damaged areas, restoring the surface whilst boosting shine in a natural, long-lasting way.

LHL: How did you develop your line of long hair brushes?

TS: Our long haired clients kept asking if we had something special for their hair. We developed the range in consultation with a designer to manufacture brushes that would easily glide through long hair and remove tangles with the minimum stress to the hair shaft.

LHL: Why do long-haired women require special brushes?

TS: Long hair is easily damaged but brushes and combs with widely spaced teeth minimise damage.
The paddle brush, which is flat and wide, is best for brushing out long hair and for creating straight, smooth styles Think of a classic one-length style. It also gives you a mini scalp massage.

LHL: Please share any other thoughts and advice you have for women with long hair and women who are growing out their hair.

TS: Hair is different ages along its length, the longer the hair, the older it is. Long hair suffers with age – even shoulder length locks are 2-3 years old - and during its life will have been subjected to a combination of stresses including detergent and mechanical damage, heat styling, chemical and environmental assault. These elements all combine to damage or destroy the natural 18 MEA leading to dull, lack-lustre hair. As each strand of hair is stripped bare of this vital protective layer of 18MEA it is laid open to further damage which can lead to hair fatality – split ends and breakage.

If you have long hair and like to style it poker straight you must ensure that you shampoo and condition your hair with products that are specially formulated to take extra care of long hair.

Shampoo and condition making sure you rinse hair thoroughly. Gently blot hair dry with a towel, do not rub or you will tangle and could damage the cuticle. Now apply Straightening Balm for Styling Hair with 18MEA. Use 2-4 pumps, depending on hair length, spread into palms and distribute from roots to tips. Do not rinse out. Now, working on a section a time, blow dry with barrel of dryer pointing downwards—this flattens the cuticle and promotes shine. As each section is dried, switch to cool shot to set the hair into shape.

Once all hair is dry, take small sections and run straightening irons down hair. If you have hair that is long but wild and curly you can maximise curls by cutting the hair in long layers which will eliminates weight and make styling easier. Always use a moisturising shampoo and conditioner which will infuse each strand with moisture. Remember to rinse shampoo clean away as residues can drag curls down. To style, apply a Curl Cream, working a generous amount through hair from roots to tips. Either leave curls to dry naturally or use a diffuser on a low heat and speed setting.

Trim your hair often as damage to your hair will move up from the ends and the only way to stop the damage in its tracks is to remove it as soon as it happens. Trim hair a half inch every month.
Be gentle with your hair when it is wet. Don't rub your hair vigorously with a towel, gently squeeze the towel down the length of your hair. Comb your hair to ensure all knots have been removed before shampooing.

Deep condition your hair at least monthly, even if it's in good shape this will help keep it that way. If your hair is dry or damaged, deep condition weekly. Hot oil treatments are a good alternative for very dry hair or for extra.

Born in Scotland in 1949, Trevor Sorbie learned barbering from his father. His career path took him to Vidal Sassoon in London where he eventually became the Artistic Director. After working as a stylist and session hairdresser at Toni & Guy and John Frieda, Sorbie opened his own salon in 1979. He has since been named British Hairdresser of the Year (1985, 1991 and 1992), has created his own hair care line and opened a second salon in Covent Garden, London.
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