Monday, May 23, 2011

A Visit With Dr. George Michael

After many phone conversations with Dr. George Michael, the premiere long hair guru in the world, I had the honor of being invited to his home in West Palm Beach, Florida to discuss all things having to do with long hair.
 
The walls in Dr. Michael's office are filled with photographs of some of the most incredible long-haired beauties in the world -- all of them his clients.

They included singer Crystal Gayle, Playboy Playmate Debra Jo Fondren, Guinness Book of World Records holder Dianne Witt, and countless models, actresses, and European nobles. Model-of-the moment Giselle Bundchen was also featured - she regularly visits the George Michael Salon in Beverly Hills.


I was extremely fortunate to have Dr. Michael give me my own one-hour consultation, during which he explained the principles of his system. It was all very scientific, yet Dr. Michael explained it in language that anyone could understand. Some of his most interesting points were:
  • We inherit our hair from our father's mother and our mother's father.
  • Hair becomes "adult" when we reach age 10.
  • Women go through three major stages of hair loss that coincide with stages of menopause at ages 26, 36, and 54.
  • Most women can grow their hair to tailbone length with proper care.

Dr. Michael then sent me off to prepare my hair for a 12-minute conditioning. I first applied a little of his conditioner to the outside of my hair to balance the pH-factor. Dr. Michael explained that pH is the measure used to determine the amount of acid and alkaline in hair. (Water's pH is 7).

He also explained that I should always use a spoon or spatula to scoop the creamy conditioner out of the container to prevent bacteria from tainting the unused product. Once I had about a teaspoon of conditioner smoothed on the outside layer of my hair, Dr. Michael instructed me to wash and rinse twice with his Cream Shampoo. He then showed me how to apply the 12-minute Conditioner to my damp hair from the length at my shoulders down to the tips.
True to its name, the conditioner sat on my hair for 12 minutes. Dr. Michael did not apply heat, explaining that it wasn't necessary for the 12-minute conditioning. Although he wouldn't tell me the ingredients in the conditioner, he did say that it contained special proteins that "filled in" any gaps in the hair shaft, making it smooth and silky.


After the 12 minutes were up, I rinsed my hair thoroughly and was ready to be combed out. Dr. Michael used a wide-tooth comb that literally slid through my hair. I found this amazing since I usually have to apply detangler right after washing. But the 12-minute conditioner had done its job so well that none was needed.

Dr. Michael then roller set my hair and applied a hair net to secure it.
I sat under a professional dryer that Dr. Michael explained got no hotter than 108 degrees... the perfect temperature for drying long hair. It took about an hour and a half to fully dry my mid-back length hair this way.


After removing the rollers, Dr. Michael had me flip my head upside down to brush 50 strokes from the nape of my neck to the tips. I was to follow each stroke with my other hand to prevent static from building. Dr. Michael explained that I should brush my hair this way each morning right when I got up to get the circulation properly moving to my scalp, which promotes hair growth.

Next, Dr. Michael assessed my cut. He considered it too "blunt", or straight, across the bottom and explained how tapering the cut like a half-circle was best for hair growth. He left the middle part of my hair its full 25 inches and tapered the sides to achieve the roundness.

When he was finished, my hair felt incredibly silky and swung beautifully when I shook my head.
Some of Dr. Michael's tips for my hair growth, which can be applied to most anyone include:
  • Don't wash hair every day. Think of hair like a piece of fine silk that begins to fade after repeated washing. In addition, over-washing hair can actually make it greasier.
  • Properly brushing hair every morning will distribute the scalp's sebum to the thirsty ends.
  • Don't color long hair - it's very damaging and should be avoided if possible. Surprisingly, highlights are much better for long hair since only the roots are touched up each time.
  • Use only a boar bristle brush with a wooden base. Dr. Michael explained that natural materials are least likely to cause hair damage.