How to protect hair from pollution

As the vast majority of us have been living in lockdown and working from home, one benefit is lack of exposure to common pollutants like car exhaust fumes, cigarette (or vape) smoke, dirt, grime and pollen. But with lockdown slowly lifting and more of us venturing outside this could all slowly change – and our scalp and hair could pay the price. As well as leaving visible grime on our skin and clothes, studies have shown that pollution can cause more in-depth damage to cells. In the same way that UVA rays can speed up ageing, the Journal of Investigative Dermatology reported that pollution contains what’s known as ‘polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons’ – which trigger the production of damaging free radicals. These are unstable molecules that attack healthy skin tissue, causing premature ageing to the skin – including the scalp-skin and hair follicles. The result? Dull, thinning hair (and in severe cases - hair loss), together with scalp redness and irritation. If you’re venturing back out into The Big Smoke or another city, MONPURE have formulated the perfect three-step regime to protect your scalp and strands. Cleanse To remove surface city grime from your scalp and hair, shampoo is that all-important first step. Our Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo gently lifts away dirt and debris without leaving the scalp and hair stripped and parched. Instead of sulphates – a harsh chemical detergent that can be very drying, we use coconut-derived cleansing agents that are of 100% natural origin, together with hydrating aloe vera and strengthening vegan silk peptides. These peptides create a breathable ‘second skin’ on both the scalp and hair, protecting (by more than 35%) against the effects of pollution, irritants and bacteria. Re-Balance To further counterbalance the damaging effects of pollution, our Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask is brimming with antioxidants (from its vitamin-rich camellia tea oil), which work to neutralise free radicals and leave the scalp soothed and calmed. Protect Our Strengthening Essence-Conditioner is inspired by the fluid texture of skincare ‘essences’ and is so lightweight that it can be used on the scalp as well as the hair. It contains nourishing coconut and argan oils to lock in moisture as well as pro vitamin B5 to moisturise and encourage skin cell regeneration so your scalp is left happy and hydrated. Discover the MONPURE range for yourself and learn more about their hardworking, results-driven formulas. Shop now.

Learn more

How to use the “Curly Girl Method”

You may have heard of the Curly Girl Method (aka CGM), which focuses on caring for hair that’s curly or textured. This method will help you create gorgeously defined curls and waves and gives you the chance to switch up your hairstyle when you normally might leave it natural or straightened. People with curly and coily (e.g. 3c/4c hair) have been using this method for years, but now people with looser curls and waves are getting in on the action. (Click here to find your curl type.) To read all about the Curly Girl Method and how it works, we suggest leafing through Lorraine Massey’s book Curly Girl: The Handbook but there are also a few basic principles to bear in mind – and the best news? The MONPURE range is perfect for this!  The basic rules for following the Curly Girl Method (which can also help with a dry scalp too) is by cutting out harsh, drying ingredients from your hair care regime. This includes silicones, sulphates and ‘bad’ alcohols. And MONPURE products– like our Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo and Strengthening Essence Conditioner – contain none of the above, and hence are completely compatible!  CGM advises you use products with gentle cleansing ingredients such as cocamidopropyl betaine, together with hydrating ingredients such as glycerin and aloe vera (found in both of the above products, together with our Clarifying Scalp Scrub). Our Strengthening Essence Conditioner does contain two alcohols: cetyl alcohol and cetearyl alcohol – however, these are ‘good’ alcohols for your hair. Because instead of making hair dry and brittle by dissolving its natural oils, they work as humectants, which draw moisture into the hair like a sponge, helping it to become smooth and preventing knots and tangles. The conditioner also contains panthenol, another hydrating ingredient, which is also prized by proponents of the Curly Girl Method. (Plus as a lightweight ‘essence’ you can use it directly on your scalp to quench any dryness and flaking.) More CGM tips for all you curly Monpurists? Never brush or comb hair when dry, and avoid heat styling (which can make hair brittle and damaged) and prioritise protein-rich and ultra moisturising products. Want to give CGM a go? Try our Shampoo & Conditioner bundle to cocoon and moisturise curls to the max.

Learn more

Is grey hair reversible?

  Earlier this month, we looked at what your hair is actually made of – and in fact, this structural makeup is very relevant when it comes to preventing and reversing grey hair.While grey hair is something people are embracing and owning, some of us want to hang on to our natural hair colour for as long as possible. Especially in that awkward ‘in-between’ phase when a few wisps of grey are just visible.Here at MONPURE our main focus is how scalpcare affects the condition of the hair, but it can also play a part regarding how and when you go grey. As we know, at the base of the hair strand is the bulb where the ‘building blocks’ of your hair are made – where cells reproduce to form the hair shaft. Other cells called melanocytes are also part of the matrix – these give your hair its colour.It is believed that grey hair is caused by the accumulation of free radicals in the hair follicle bulb, which reduces the amount of melanocyte stem cells and subsequently melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) are depleted. As a result, the hair shaft has no colour pigment, so it grows through translucent – giving it a grey or white appearance. What causes grey hair? Our resident General Pracitioner Dr. Simmy Kaur explains further. “Some medical conditions can contribute to premature greying of the hair for example; vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia, vitiligo, hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and osteopenia (low bone density). In addition to this, various studies have shown that cigarette smoking, ultraviolet (UV) light, pollution, alcohol consumption and even emotional stress can also contribute to premature greying.” Can you reverse grey hair? “Greying of the hair is usually progressive and permanent,” she explains. “But there are occasional reports of spontaneous re-pigmentation of grey hair. Is there something you can take to reverse it? Sadly no – but you do have the option of taking really good care of your hair in the first place to make sure that you give it every chance of staying colourful and fresh!” And while most grey hair isn’t reversible, there are steps you can take to keep the greys at bay, as Dr Kaur explains. “The main thing to do is to make sure that the hair root has a fighting chance to thrive and stay healthy by using a really good quality, silicone and sulphate-free shampoo and conditioner such as MONPURE’s Strengthening Silk Peptide Shampoo and Essence-Conditioner. Recent clinical trials have shown that the addition of antioxidants to shampoos – for example, vitamins C and E (which MONPURE’s shampoo has) – can also help prevent greys. Green tea extract (which stars in the Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask), selenium, copper and melatonin have additionally been shown to have attractive anti-ageing and anti-greying properties. MONPURE's formulas contain the most high quality ingredients, including antioxidants and silk peptides to make sure that your hair can thrive!”Kick-start your healthy hair regime and keep greys at bay – shop our Shampoo and Conditioner bundle here.

Learn more

The microbiome affects your scalp. Here's why...

Ever heard of the microbiome? You might have heard it frequently spoken about when it comes to skincare and gut health, but what about the scalp? Our resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan explains further … What is the microbiome? There are trillions of bacteria and microorganisms living in and on the human body including our scalp. This is known as the microbiome. Thanks to recent advances in areas like human genetics, we now know more about the human microbiome than ever before.  Why is it important to understand the human microbiome? Microorganisms are vital when it comes to keeping our body’s functions ticking over, including digestive systems, respiratory systems and our skin (not least scalp-skin!). We now know that when the microbiome on our skin gets out of balance, it can cause or aggravate scalp conditions such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) and psoriasis, as well as risk the skin becoming infected. The microbiome has been shown to directly affect the health of the scalp. Scientists have been able to examine common bacteria normally living on our scalp, revealing that bacteria propionibacterium acne and staphylococcus epidermidis are commonly found on the scalp.  On a healthy scalp, the amount of propionibacterium appears to be higher than staphylococcus; whereas on a scalp with dandruff, staphylococcus appears to be much higher in concentration. Another important and common yeast found on individuals with dandruff is the malassezia species.   Studies have also shown that good bacteria on the scalp allows for swifter absorption of vitamins and amino acids to maintain healthy hair growth and prevent dandruff from forming. What can I do to look after my scalp? If you want to ‘feed’ the good bacteria on the scalp, consider taking probiotics. With research, we now know that the skin microbiome is affected by our diet, with some experts suggesting taking probiotics or eating probiotic-rich foods to regulate our skin microbiome. Currently, growing evidence suggests the use of oral and topical probiotics to help improve our skin microbiome in order to treat inflammatory skin diseases. More studies and reviews are currently being undertaken to investigate the microbiome and skin and scalp conditions such as acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. Plus, a recent study from Korea has indicated that probiotics have the potential to improve male pattern hair loss.   Lifestyle factors can also have an effect, for example the microenvironment created by constantly wearing a hat can disrupt the balance on this area of skin, leading to acne or folliculitis. Stress is also a huge factor in maintaining a healthy microbiome ¬– and therefore a healthy scalp. There is a well-established connection between our gut and the brain called the ‘brain-gut axis’. Any unwanted stress may result in changes in our skin microbiome, causing an imbalance. When this happens, for example in individuals with dandruff, inflammation can occur, causing seborrheic dermatitis (where our scalp produces too much sebum which dandruff-causing yeast feeds on). This may also be the reason why we get acne breakouts in times of mental stress, where there is a disproportionate amount of ‘bad’ bacteria on the skin, such as propionibacterium acne . Well-hydrated skin is also key when it comes to regulating the microbiome balance on the scalp-skin. Daily application of MONPURE’s Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum, which contains hydrating aloe vera and toning witch hazel, can make a huge difference in preventing and soothing scalp redness and discomfort. SHOP NOW References: Saxena R, Mittal P, Clavaud C, et al. Comparison of Healthy and Dandruff Scalp Microbiome Reveals the Role of Commensals in Scalp Health. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2018;8:346. Published 2018 Oct 4. doi:10.3389/fcimb.2018.00346 Yu Y, Dunaway S, Champer J, Kim J, Alikhan A. Changing our microbiome: probiotics in dermatology. Br J Dermatol. 2020;182(1):39-46. doi:10.1111/bjd.18088 Park DW, Lee HS, Shim MS, Yum KJ, Seo JT. Do Kimchi and Cheonggukjang Probiotics as a Functional Food Improve Androgenetic Alopecia? A Clinical Pilot Study. World J Mens Health. 2020;38(1):95-102. doi:10.5534/wjmh.180119

What is your hair made up of?

  While we’ve spoken about the hair’s growth cycle and how the scalp is an incubator for the hair, we’ve yet to cover what your hair is actually made up of. Equipped with more knowledge about your hair, you’ll be better clued up on how to care for it, so read on for a breakdown of what your hair actually consists of. What’s your hair made up of? As you know, your hair grows from a root, which is found at the bottom of the hair follicle. This root is made up of a protein known as keratin, which both your hair and nails are also made up of. The structure of the hair itself starts with your hair follicle – this is the bit which anchors your hair into the scalp and stops it falling out. It starts at the epidermis (the skin’s top layer) and extends into the dermis (the deeper layer of skin).     Your hair follicles are made up of three parts: the infundibulum, the isthmus, and the inferior segment (lower follicle). Each one also has a sebaceous gland (which produces oil that protects the hair shaft) and very small ribbons of muscle called ‘arrector pili’ that extend from the dermis of the scalp skin to the hair follicle.     At the very base of the hair follicle is a bulb, which contains the follicular matrix – this is where the ‘building blocks’ of your hair are made, where cells reproduce to form the hair shaft. Other cells called melanocytes (which give your hair its colour) are also part of the matrix.  (N.B. This is the ‘living’ part of the hair – where it connects with your scalp. The part that needs a lot of loving care and attention if hair is to grow through healthy, shiny and strong!)     So what about the hair shaft itself? If you cut a strand of hair in half and put the end under a microscope, you’d find it’s made up of several layers. At the middle, its core is called the medulla, which is surrounded by the cortex. This is covered by a layer of cells called the shaft cuticle, followed by three more layers that form the internal root sheath. This is covered by a final layer – the external root sheath, which is what gives hair its shine. While the condition and shine of the hair shaft can be protected with oils and conditioner, the hair itself is already ‘dead’ by this point, so its health or physical structure can’t actually be altered internally. It all starts in the scalp!  Start your scalp and hair health routine as you mean to go on, with our Great Lengths Regime. Ever wondered about the science behind what makes hair curly or straight? Stay tuned…

Our hair growth cycle explained…

At MONPURE we’re about treating hair loss at the root cause. But to learn more about hair loss, it’s important to learn about hair growth. Our resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan explains further… How does hair grow? Like skin cells, our hair undergoes a cycle of growth, transition, rest and renewal. This consists of the anagen phase (growth phase), catagen phase (transition phase), and telogen phase (resting phase). It is important to understand our hair growth cycle in order to help diagnose and manage a variety of scalp conditions, which may result in hair loss.  A hair shaft (a strand of hair) grows within a hair follicle at a rate of 1cm per month on average in a healthy individual. The hair shaft consists of 3 main layers – medulla, cortex and the hair cuticle (which is the outermost layer of the hair). Here's how the hair growth cycle works: Anagen phase⁠ During this time, the hair shaft is growing within a hair follicle. The anagen phase lasts an average of 3-5 years before the follicle becomes dormant, but varies from person to person as it's dependent on your genetics, age and health. Normally, 80-95% of your hair would be in its anagen phase.⁠ ⁠Catagen phase⁠⁠ This is a period of transition where growth of the specific hair shaft comes to a halt and the hair follicle shrinks. Around one to three percentage of our hair would be in this phase at any one time. This phase take approximately one to four weeks. Telogen phase⁠⁠ In the telogen phase, the hair follicle rests and doesn't grow. This phase takes approximately two to four months. At the end of the phase, the hair shaft is expelled from the hair follicle (i.e. the hair falls out) and this cycle starts again.⁠ What causes hair loss? Hair loss can happen when the anagen phase gets decreased and the hair shaft enters the telogen phase prematurely. This can be due to a number of factors, for example taking certain types of medications (certain contraception pills, anti-coagulants, epilepsy medications); after childbirth; or if an individual is undergoing radiation treatment such as chemotherapy. Various skin conditions on the scalp can also cause hair loss (e.g. severe inflammatory conditions such as eczema and psoriasis). What can I do to prevent hair loss? I advise my patients to care for their scalp in the same way as they care for the skin on their face. Too often the scalp gets neglected, which can lead to hair loss and a dull appearance in the hair in general. That’s why regular cleansing, hydration and exfoliation of the scalp are so important. I would also advise to minimise ‘wear and tear’ to your hair; for example avoiding blow drying your hair on a high heat setting; wearing your hair in tight hairstyles that can put pressure on the follicles; as well as using harsh chemicals on your hair and scalp. Maintaining a good scalp care regime, with targeted products such as the scientists behind MONPURE have created, is so crucial to preventing these issues. Regular cleansing, hydration and exfoliation of the scalp are key - all of which MONPURE aims to address. If you have serious concerns with regards to your hair loss, it would be advisable to seek advice from a doctor or dermatologist to obtain appropriate diagnosis and medical treatment for your scalp, preferably at an earlier stage, before hair loss becomes advanced.  Any more burning questions on scalp and haircare, please send them to info@monpure.com and our hardworking team will be happy to assist. Shop the MONPURE range here

How to protect hair from pollution

As the vast majority of us have been living in lockdown and working from home, one benefit is lack of exposure to common pollutants like car exhaust fumes, cigarette (or vape) smoke, dirt, grime and pollen. But with lockdown slowly lifting and more of us venturing outside this could all slowly change – and our scalp and hair could pay the price. As well as leaving visible grime on our skin and clothes, studies have shown that pollution can cause more in-depth damage to cells. In the same way that UVA rays can speed up ageing, the Journal of Investigative Dermatology reported that pollution contains what’s known as ‘polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons’ – which trigger the production of damaging free radicals. These are unstable molecules that attack healthy skin tissue, causing premature ageing to the skin – including the scalp-skin and hair follicles. The result? Dull, thinning hair (and in severe cases - hair loss), together with scalp redness and irritation. If you’re venturing back out into The Big Smoke or another city, MONPURE have formulated the perfect three-step regime to protect your scalp and strands. Cleanse To remove surface city grime from your scalp and hair, shampoo is that all-important first step. Our Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo gently lifts away dirt and debris without leaving the scalp and hair stripped and parched. Instead of sulphates – a harsh chemical detergent that can be very drying, we use coconut-derived cleansing agents that are of 100% natural origin, together with hydrating aloe vera and strengthening vegan silk peptides. These peptides create a breathable ‘second skin’ on both the scalp and hair, protecting (by more than 35%) against the effects of pollution, irritants and bacteria. Re-Balance To further counterbalance the damaging effects of pollution, our Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask is brimming with antioxidants (from its vitamin-rich camellia tea oil), which work to neutralise free radicals and leave the scalp soothed and calmed. Protect Our Strengthening Essence-Conditioner is inspired by the fluid texture of skincare ‘essences’ and is so lightweight that it can be used on the scalp as well as the hair. It contains nourishing coconut and argan oils to lock in moisture as well as pro vitamin B5 to moisturise and encourage skin cell regeneration so your scalp is left happy and hydrated. Discover the MONPURE range for yourself and learn more about their hardworking, results-driven formulas. Shop now.

Learn more

How to use the “Curly Girl Method”

You may have heard of the Curly Girl Method (aka CGM), which focuses on caring for hair that’s curly or textured. This method will help you create gorgeously defined curls and waves and gives you the chance to switch up your hairstyle when you normally might leave it natural or straightened. People with curly and coily (e.g. 3c/4c hair) have been using this method for years, but now people with looser curls and waves are getting in on the action. (Click here to find your curl type.) To read all about the Curly Girl Method and how it works, we suggest leafing through Lorraine Massey’s book Curly Girl: The Handbook but there are also a few basic principles to bear in mind – and the best news? The MONPURE range is perfect for this!  The basic rules for following the Curly Girl Method (which can also help with a dry scalp too) is by cutting out harsh, drying ingredients from your hair care regime. This includes silicones, sulphates and ‘bad’ alcohols. And MONPURE products– like our Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo and Strengthening Essence Conditioner – contain none of the above, and hence are completely compatible!  CGM advises you use products with gentle cleansing ingredients such as cocamidopropyl betaine, together with hydrating ingredients such as glycerin and aloe vera (found in both of the above products, together with our Clarifying Scalp Scrub). Our Strengthening Essence Conditioner does contain two alcohols: cetyl alcohol and cetearyl alcohol – however, these are ‘good’ alcohols for your hair. Because instead of making hair dry and brittle by dissolving its natural oils, they work as humectants, which draw moisture into the hair like a sponge, helping it to become smooth and preventing knots and tangles. The conditioner also contains panthenol, another hydrating ingredient, which is also prized by proponents of the Curly Girl Method. (Plus as a lightweight ‘essence’ you can use it directly on your scalp to quench any dryness and flaking.) More CGM tips for all you curly Monpurists? Never brush or comb hair when dry, and avoid heat styling (which can make hair brittle and damaged) and prioritise protein-rich and ultra moisturising products. Want to give CGM a go? Try our Shampoo & Conditioner bundle to cocoon and moisturise curls to the max.

Learn more

Is grey hair reversible?

  Earlier this month, we looked at what your hair is actually made of – and in fact, this structural makeup is very relevant when it comes to preventing and reversing grey hair.While grey hair is something people are embracing and owning, some of us want to hang on to our natural hair colour for as long as possible. Especially in that awkward ‘in-between’ phase when a few wisps of grey are just visible.Here at MONPURE our main focus is how scalpcare affects the condition of the hair, but it can also play a part regarding how and when you go grey. As we know, at the base of the hair strand is the bulb where the ‘building blocks’ of your hair are made – where cells reproduce to form the hair shaft. Other cells called melanocytes are also part of the matrix – these give your hair its colour.It is believed that grey hair is caused by the accumulation of free radicals in the hair follicle bulb, which reduces the amount of melanocyte stem cells and subsequently melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) are depleted. As a result, the hair shaft has no colour pigment, so it grows through translucent – giving it a grey or white appearance. What causes grey hair? Our resident General Pracitioner Dr. Simmy Kaur explains further. “Some medical conditions can contribute to premature greying of the hair for example; vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia, vitiligo, hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and osteopenia (low bone density). In addition to this, various studies have shown that cigarette smoking, ultraviolet (UV) light, pollution, alcohol consumption and even emotional stress can also contribute to premature greying.” Can you reverse grey hair? “Greying of the hair is usually progressive and permanent,” she explains. “But there are occasional reports of spontaneous re-pigmentation of grey hair. Is there something you can take to reverse it? Sadly no – but you do have the option of taking really good care of your hair in the first place to make sure that you give it every chance of staying colourful and fresh!” And while most grey hair isn’t reversible, there are steps you can take to keep the greys at bay, as Dr Kaur explains. “The main thing to do is to make sure that the hair root has a fighting chance to thrive and stay healthy by using a really good quality, silicone and sulphate-free shampoo and conditioner such as MONPURE’s Strengthening Silk Peptide Shampoo and Essence-Conditioner. Recent clinical trials have shown that the addition of antioxidants to shampoos – for example, vitamins C and E (which MONPURE’s shampoo has) – can also help prevent greys. Green tea extract (which stars in the Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask), selenium, copper and melatonin have additionally been shown to have attractive anti-ageing and anti-greying properties. MONPURE's formulas contain the most high quality ingredients, including antioxidants and silk peptides to make sure that your hair can thrive!”Kick-start your healthy hair regime and keep greys at bay – shop our Shampoo and Conditioner bundle here.

Learn more

The microbiome affects your scalp. Here's why...

Ever heard of the microbiome? You might have heard it frequently spoken about when it comes to skincare and gut health, but what about the scalp? Our resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan explains further … What is the microbiome? There are trillions of bacteria and microorganisms living in and on the human body including our scalp. This is known as the microbiome. Thanks to recent advances in areas like human genetics, we now know more about the human microbiome than ever before.  Why is it important to understand the human microbiome? Microorganisms are vital when it comes to keeping our body’s functions ticking over, including digestive systems, respiratory systems and our skin (not least scalp-skin!). We now know that when the microbiome on our skin gets out of balance, it can cause or aggravate scalp conditions such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) and psoriasis, as well as risk the skin becoming infected. The microbiome has been shown to directly affect the health of the scalp. Scientists have been able to examine common bacteria normally living on our scalp, revealing that bacteria propionibacterium acne and staphylococcus epidermidis are commonly found on the scalp.  On a healthy scalp, the amount of propionibacterium appears to be higher than staphylococcus; whereas on a scalp with dandruff, staphylococcus appears to be much higher in concentration. Another important and common yeast found on individuals with dandruff is the malassezia species.   Studies have also shown that good bacteria on the scalp allows for swifter absorption of vitamins and amino acids to maintain healthy hair growth and prevent dandruff from forming. What can I do to look after my scalp? If you want to ‘feed’ the good bacteria on the scalp, consider taking probiotics. With research, we now know that the skin microbiome is affected by our diet, with some experts suggesting taking probiotics or eating probiotic-rich foods to regulate our skin microbiome. Currently, growing evidence suggests the use of oral and topical probiotics to help improve our skin microbiome in order to treat inflammatory skin diseases. More studies and reviews are currently being undertaken to investigate the microbiome and skin and scalp conditions such as acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. Plus, a recent study from Korea has indicated that probiotics have the potential to improve male pattern hair loss.   Lifestyle factors can also have an effect, for example the microenvironment created by constantly wearing a hat can disrupt the balance on this area of skin, leading to acne or folliculitis. Stress is also a huge factor in maintaining a healthy microbiome ¬– and therefore a healthy scalp. There is a well-established connection between our gut and the brain called the ‘brain-gut axis’. Any unwanted stress may result in changes in our skin microbiome, causing an imbalance. When this happens, for example in individuals with dandruff, inflammation can occur, causing seborrheic dermatitis (where our scalp produces too much sebum which dandruff-causing yeast feeds on). This may also be the reason why we get acne breakouts in times of mental stress, where there is a disproportionate amount of ‘bad’ bacteria on the skin, such as propionibacterium acne . Well-hydrated skin is also key when it comes to regulating the microbiome balance on the scalp-skin. Daily application of MONPURE’s Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum, which contains hydrating aloe vera and toning witch hazel, can make a huge difference in preventing and soothing scalp redness and discomfort. SHOP NOW References: Saxena R, Mittal P, Clavaud C, et al. Comparison of Healthy and Dandruff Scalp Microbiome Reveals the Role of Commensals in Scalp Health. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2018;8:346. Published 2018 Oct 4. doi:10.3389/fcimb.2018.00346 Yu Y, Dunaway S, Champer J, Kim J, Alikhan A. Changing our microbiome: probiotics in dermatology. Br J Dermatol. 2020;182(1):39-46. doi:10.1111/bjd.18088 Park DW, Lee HS, Shim MS, Yum KJ, Seo JT. Do Kimchi and Cheonggukjang Probiotics as a Functional Food Improve Androgenetic Alopecia? A Clinical Pilot Study. World J Mens Health. 2020;38(1):95-102. doi:10.5534/wjmh.180119

Learn more

What is your hair made up of?

  While we’ve spoken about the hair’s growth cycle and how the scalp is an incubator for the hair, we’ve yet to cover what your hair is actually made up of. Equipped with more knowledge about your hair, you’ll be better clued up on how to care for it, so read on for a breakdown of what your hair actually consists of. What’s your hair made up of? As you know, your hair grows from a root, which is found at the bottom of the hair follicle. This root is made up of a protein known as keratin, which both your hair and nails are also made up of. The structure of the hair itself starts with your hair follicle – this is the bit which anchors your hair into the scalp and stops it falling out. It starts at the epidermis (the skin’s top layer) and extends into the dermis (the deeper layer of skin).     Your hair follicles are made up of three parts: the infundibulum, the isthmus, and the inferior segment (lower follicle). Each one also has a sebaceous gland (which produces oil that protects the hair shaft) and very small ribbons of muscle called ‘arrector pili’ that extend from the dermis of the scalp skin to the hair follicle.     At the very base of the hair follicle is a bulb, which contains the follicular matrix – this is where the ‘building blocks’ of your hair are made, where cells reproduce to form the hair shaft. Other cells called melanocytes (which give your hair its colour) are also part of the matrix.  (N.B. This is the ‘living’ part of the hair – where it connects with your scalp. The part that needs a lot of loving care and attention if hair is to grow through healthy, shiny and strong!)     So what about the hair shaft itself? If you cut a strand of hair in half and put the end under a microscope, you’d find it’s made up of several layers. At the middle, its core is called the medulla, which is surrounded by the cortex. This is covered by a layer of cells called the shaft cuticle, followed by three more layers that form the internal root sheath. This is covered by a final layer – the external root sheath, which is what gives hair its shine. While the condition and shine of the hair shaft can be protected with oils and conditioner, the hair itself is already ‘dead’ by this point, so its health or physical structure can’t actually be altered internally. It all starts in the scalp!  Start your scalp and hair health routine as you mean to go on, with our Great Lengths Regime. Ever wondered about the science behind what makes hair curly or straight? Stay tuned…

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Our hair growth cycle explained…

At MONPURE we’re about treating hair loss at the root cause. But to learn more about hair loss, it’s important to learn about hair growth. Our resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan explains further… How does hair grow? Like skin cells, our hair undergoes a cycle of growth, transition, rest and renewal. This consists of the anagen phase (growth phase), catagen phase (transition phase), and telogen phase (resting phase). It is important to understand our hair growth cycle in order to help diagnose and manage a variety of scalp conditions, which may result in hair loss.  A hair shaft (a strand of hair) grows within a hair follicle at a rate of 1cm per month on average in a healthy individual. The hair shaft consists of 3 main layers – medulla, cortex and the hair cuticle (which is the outermost layer of the hair). Here's how the hair growth cycle works: Anagen phase⁠ During this time, the hair shaft is growing within a hair follicle. The anagen phase lasts an average of 3-5 years before the follicle becomes dormant, but varies from person to person as it's dependent on your genetics, age and health. Normally, 80-95% of your hair would be in its anagen phase.⁠ ⁠Catagen phase⁠⁠ This is a period of transition where growth of the specific hair shaft comes to a halt and the hair follicle shrinks. Around one to three percentage of our hair would be in this phase at any one time. This phase take approximately one to four weeks. Telogen phase⁠⁠ In the telogen phase, the hair follicle rests and doesn't grow. This phase takes approximately two to four months. At the end of the phase, the hair shaft is expelled from the hair follicle (i.e. the hair falls out) and this cycle starts again.⁠ What causes hair loss? Hair loss can happen when the anagen phase gets decreased and the hair shaft enters the telogen phase prematurely. This can be due to a number of factors, for example taking certain types of medications (certain contraception pills, anti-coagulants, epilepsy medications); after childbirth; or if an individual is undergoing radiation treatment such as chemotherapy. Various skin conditions on the scalp can also cause hair loss (e.g. severe inflammatory conditions such as eczema and psoriasis). What can I do to prevent hair loss? I advise my patients to care for their scalp in the same way as they care for the skin on their face. Too often the scalp gets neglected, which can lead to hair loss and a dull appearance in the hair in general. That’s why regular cleansing, hydration and exfoliation of the scalp are so important. I would also advise to minimise ‘wear and tear’ to your hair; for example avoiding blow drying your hair on a high heat setting; wearing your hair in tight hairstyles that can put pressure on the follicles; as well as using harsh chemicals on your hair and scalp. Maintaining a good scalp care regime, with targeted products such as the scientists behind MONPURE have created, is so crucial to preventing these issues. Regular cleansing, hydration and exfoliation of the scalp are key - all of which MONPURE aims to address. If you have serious concerns with regards to your hair loss, it would be advisable to seek advice from a doctor or dermatologist to obtain appropriate diagnosis and medical treatment for your scalp, preferably at an earlier stage, before hair loss becomes advanced.  Any more burning questions on scalp and haircare, please send them to info@monpure.com and our hardworking team will be happy to assist. Shop the MONPURE range here

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MONPURE Win Coveted Good Housekeeping Award

We’re very proud to announce that our Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo and Essence-Conditioner have just won ‘Best Anti-Breakage Shampoo and Conditioner’ in Good Housekeeping’s Tried and Tested Awards, scoring top marks with an impressive 86 points out of 100. Awards like these matter so much to us – putting our products through rigorous, objective testing to show how MONPURE really does deliver for your scalp and hair… Out of 500 independent testers (all with self-diagnosed hair loss or thinning), the following results were noticed with our shampoo and conditioner after one month: 87% noticed less hair fallout 80% said their hair felt noticeably stronger 93% said they would continue to use MONPURE’s Shampoo and Conditioner after the trial Testers also reported that their hair also felt softer after use, making it easier to detangle and style, while those with natural curls saw a reduction in flyaways.  The formulas were also put through their paces in the laboratory, being assessed for their anti-breakage properties by combing through hair samples that were treated with the products and then comparing them to untreated hair samples. The easier the treated samples were to comb, the less risk of the hair breaking and falling out in real life.  There’s no 'industry backscratching', nor is this award a ‘popularity contest’ to see how many entries a brand can receive. These are real independent user trials with people that have real concerns. And that means the world to us.   If you tend to shy away from shampoo for fear of a dry scalp and frizzy strands, our Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo is the refreshing antidote to everything that has gone before. Its star ingredients include coconut-derived cleansing agents that are of 100% natural origin, together with keratin to help fortify frail strands, while special vegan silk peptides strengthen and nourish both the hair and scalp.  Our Strengthening Essence-Conditioner is an ultra-lightweight conditioning ‘essence’ to soothe and hydrate the scalp-skin and strands, locking in moisture without feeling greasy or weighing the hair down. We called this an ‘essence-conditioner’ because of its unique lightweight texture. Perfect for all hair types - it also contains those strengthening vegan silk peptides, while argan oil and pro vitamin B5 deliver a moisturising double-act to leave the scalp and hair supremely nourished. Find out more about our Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo and Essence-Conditioner by clicking here.

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Why the scalp is the hair’s incubator

At MONPURE we believe scalp health equals hair health – and thicker, fuller hair at that. Did you know your hair starts growing for two weeks before it even appears above the surface of the skin? What’s more, studies have shown that the scalp plays a crucial role as an incubatory environment for pre-emergent hair growth – and which directly impacts the quality of the hair once it starts to appear.    Each hair on your head grows from, and through, an individual follicle on the scalp’s surface. The follicle also produces sebum via the sebaceous gland (the hair’s own conditioner if you will). The scalp is also made up of cells, which divide, die and shed once they make their way up to the surface. Too much sebum, and dead skin cells – together with product build up – can cause the hair follicles to become blocked which can impact how your hair grows through (the same goes for dandruff and inflammatory scalp conditions like psoriasis). In fact, permanently blocked or obstructed follicles may eventually stop growing hair at all.  Where the health of your scalp-skin and subsequent hair growth is concerned, think of it like topsoil for growing grass. In gardening, the thicker the topsoil, the better the grass grows – this is because a thicker layer holds more hydration and nutrients to benefit the roots of the grass, so it grows through thicker and stronger. And something similar happens with your scalp-skin and hair (nature’s clever like that). Healthy scalp skin with a normal pH and normal thickness of the epidermis and dermis has been shown to boost hair growth and prevent excess shedding, which is why maintaining healthy scalp-skin is so important. (Scientists have observed that transplanted follicles grow better in healthy scalp skin than in scarred areas.)  Hair grows better in thicker scalp-skin, because the follicle roots are more hydrated and have access to all the nutrients they need in that crucial incubatory period. So when the scalp skin tends to get thinner due to age or oxidative stress such as pollution and sun damage, hair can start to grow through thinner and sparser as a result. The ideal way to maintain healthy scalp-skin, aside from eating the right foods and protecting it from the sun (using a sun hat) is by using hair care products with the right ingredients and appropriate pH levels. This will ensure the hair follicles are clean and clear and will help increase cell growth and collagen in the scalp-skin epidermis. All of which can in turn lead to better hair growth. So adding topical solutions into your routine – such as our Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum and Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask – can help ‘feed’ the scalp with everything it needs to maintain and boost healthy hair growth.  To really boost your scalp health and hair growth, discover our Great Lengths Regime, here.

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What Retinol and AHAs can do for your scalp

You have probably heard a lot of talk about retinol and AHAs when it comes to caring for the skin on your face – but you may not be aware of the benefits they can also have on your scalp. Allow us to elaborate … Firstly what is retinol? Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A – of which there are many different types called retinoids. These retinoids vary in strength, so you have to be careful which one you choose. The strongest is retinoic acid (otherwise known as Retin-A or Tretinoin), which is often used in prescriptions for acne. It’s the strongest because we naturally have retinoic acid in our skin so it gets absorbed and goes to work immediately. All other retinoids need to be converted before our skin cells can absorb them – on the plus side it means they’re less likely to irritate our skin. The next strongest are retinaldehyde, retinol and then retinol esters (such as retinyl palmitate) are on the more gentle end of the spectrum. How does retinol benefit the scalp? Recent research has shown that retinoids can work to combat hair loss, helping to decongest hair follicles, as well improving the absorption of other ingredients aimed at boosting hair growth. The retinyl palmitate in MONPURE’s Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum is a gentle retinoid that works to clear the scalp of dead skin and debris, so that the serum’s other active ingredients such as pumpkin seed extract can be absorbed better and stimulate the scalp more effectively. The result? Healthier hair growth – and thicker, fuller hair at that! Retinyl palmitate also strengthens the scalp by improving cell turnover, boosting collagen production to create the best conditions for hair to grow. At the same time, it can be used on sensitive scalps without irritation (we use a concentration of 0.5%). What are AHAs? These are alpha hydroxy acids – to give them their full name – and they work to dissolve dead skin cells, dirt and debris and slightly stimulate the skin’s healing mechanism to speed up cell turnover. They’re widely used in acid toners to exfoliate and renew skin that’s dull and prone to congestion and guess what? It does the same for your scalp! Lactic acid is a popular AHA (any vegans reading this, don’t worry – it’s not milk-derived!) and features in our Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask, together with our Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum.  As well as AHAs, there are BHAs – well, in fact there’s only one BHA (or beta hydroxyl acid) and that’s salicylic acid. This cleanses at a deeper level, purging pores of congested oil and dirt and features in our Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum. How quickly will I see results? Like with any skincare product, regular application is key. If you use our products continuously, you should start to see an improvement in the condition of your scalp and the quality of hair growth within a few weeks. There have been plenty of studies in skin care but very few in scalp care. We have conducted our own user trials, which brought the following results: After using our Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum containing retinyl palmitate: 76% of people agreed that after continued use, their hair felt thicker 74% of people agreed that after continued use, hair growth was boosted 82.7% of people agreed that after continued use, it had a positive effect on the health and condition of their hair 84% of people agreed that the product had a positive effect on the health and condition of their scalp Want to try it for yourself? Shop now.  

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How sulphate-free shampoo can benefit your hair

A lot of ingredients are being demonised at the moment – sulphates or SLS (commonly found in shampoo) being one of them. While at MONPURE we don’t believe sulphates are ‘bad’ per se, we have consciously chosen to leave them out of our formulas – particularly our Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo – so we thought we’d explain further as to why. What are sulphates? Sulphates are a type of detergent often used in cleansing products such as face wash, toothpaste, shower gel and shampoo. They get their name because they are derived from sulphur, (which is usually synthesised from petrolatum) and lauryl alcohol (one of the ‘good’ alcohols we spoke about earlier). The combination of the two results in hundreds of different sulphates, the most common ones include sodium laureth sulphate, sodium lauryl sulphate and ammonium lauryl sulphate (SLS, SLES and ALS).  What do they do? Sulphates are the reason you often get a rich lather when the product is mixed with water. What this lather does is break up and sweep away excess oil and product build-up, making them very effective cleansers.  This is where the issue with sulphates comes up for debate. While most research scientists have concluded that sulphates are totally safe to use in beauty products, and effective at ‘deep cleansing’, there is evidence to suggest that they clean a little ‘too well’. What does that mean? Basically while they take away excess grease and dirt from your scalp and skin, they can also strip it of its natural oils. Because they are thought to be quite drying, they have been linked to skin and scalp irritation (especially if you have sensitivity), as well as causing curly or textured hair to become frizzy, dry and brittle. Are sulphates bad for the environment? Because sulphates are derived from non-renewable petrolatum – a petrochemical derived from crude oil, they are not the most sustainable option – fossil fuels like crude oil are running out after all. Plus petrolatum runs the risk of being contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are possible human carcinogens found in crude oil and its by-products. We think that there are much less-harsh and more sustainable alternatives to sulphates out there, which is why our products are completely sulphate-free. Our Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo for instance, instead contains coconut-derived cleansing agents that are of 100% natural origin, together with hydrating aloe vera and strengthening vegan silk peptides to ensure the scalp and hair are effectively cleansed without being left dry and parched (and vulnerable to damage/irritation) in the process.  And if your hair and scalp need some serious detoxing, we suggest first applying our Clarifying Scalp Scrub pre-shampooing, to manually sweep away any dirt and debris with biodegradable jojoba beads and nourishing shea butter. Click here to learn more about the fantastic ingredients we use.

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Here’s why you should use conditioner on your scalp

A key philosophy here at MONPURE is about treating our scalps with the same care and attention as the skin on our face. And that includes how we use products like conditioner. Traditionally used to treat the hair itself, designed to focus on mid-lengths and ends, it’s been received wisdom never to let a scrap of conditioner near our scalps. “Shampoo the roots, condition the ends” is a mantra we’ve all had drummed into us from an early age. However rules are made to be broken – and seeing as the process of hair washing can dry out the scalp as much as the hair itself, why shouldn’t conditioner be used at the roots as well as the ends of the hair? It was this idea that led to MONPURE’s Strengthening Essence-Conditioner. You may wonder what ‘essence-conditioner’ is – well it’s a new formulation which gives it a light, milky texture which means it can be massaged into the scalp and won’t create greasy roots or weigh down fine hair types.  Like an ‘essence’ for the skin, it delivers a good glug of moisture to your dry, flaky scalp-skin, locking in moisture and protecting against pollution and irritation thanks to conditioning vegan silk peptides. A pioneering new vegan alternative to regular silk peptides, they have been clinically proven to not only repair fragile or damaged hair strands, but also protect the hair and scalp from harmful pollutants as well as bacteria. Other nourishing, scalp-loving ingredients include ‘good’ alcohols: cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol (learn more about them here), aloe vera and argan oil all of which work to moisturise and condition with aplomb. Many fans of this conditioner have noticed a marked reduction in itchiness, eczema and flaky skin on the scalp – as well as restoring ‘bounce’ to fine hair types, which normally look flat with conditioner. Very few of us would wash our face and not replenish the skin with some sort of moisturiser afterwards, so why after shampooing our scalp, do we tend to leave it stripped and vulnerable to dryness and pollution? A rookie error we hope the creation of this clever conditioner can correct… Discover it here. How to use our conditioner on your scalp and hair: After you’ve cleansed with our Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo, cup your hand and pour a tablespoon-sized amount of conditioner into the palm (longer, thicker hair may need slightly more). Rub your hands together and gently massage the conditioner into the scalp, smoothing down through the hair, gently detangling any knots with your fingers. Leave in for a couple of minutes, then rinse thoroughly with cold water for extra shine.

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Good vs. Bad Alcohols in Haircare

  When you see the word ‘alcohol’ on an ingredients list, you might automatically think the worst. Indeed, many of us have come to see alcohols as drying, abrasive and generally ‘bad’ for both our skin and hair… But in fact, not all alcohols are created equal. For starters, alcohol is not a single chemical (such as ethanol – the kind you drink). The term actually refers to a family of chemicals and not all of them are bad for your scalp and hair. In fact, some of them can be beneficial and even hydrating (yes some alcohols are hydrating – although not the kind you drink sadly!). Alcohol is used in haircare for a number of different reasons. The two main kinds used in haircare and skincare are short-chain and long-chain alcohols – and it’s important that you know the difference, as they work in very different ways… Short-chain = ‘Bad’ alcohols  Short-chain alcohols are considered ‘bad’ alcohols, as they are known for their drying properties. They have very few carbon atoms which means they evaporate quickly, and for this reason are commonly used in products which need to have a quick drying effect, such as hairspray and dry shampoo. While they’re good at soaking up excess grease or sweat, the flipside is that they can excessively dry the scalp and hair, leaving the hair cuticle rough and brittle (causing frizz) as well as making the scalp itchy, flaky and prone to irritation. It’s for this reason that MONPURE use no bad alcohols in any of our products. Common ‘bad alcohols’ to watch out for are: ethanol, propanol, propyl alcohol. isopropyl alcohol and SD alcohols. Long-chain = ‘Good’ alcohols  These are long-chain alcohols, otherwise known as fatty acid alcohols and while they fall under the ‘alcohol’ umbrella, they work very differently to how you might normally think an alcohol works. Fatty alcohols are highly nourishing and usually derived from plants to add a thickening or emulsifying (mixing oil and water) effect to beauty products. But rather than just act as a ‘filler’ ingredient, they also benefit the skin and hair due to the fact that they’re incredibly hydrating. They also loosen tangles and help keep frizz at bay for a more defined texture (which is why they’re a staple in The Curly Girl Method) and work to keep the hair soft and shiny – as well as the scalp moisturised. Popular ‘good’ alcohols include: lauryl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol and behenyl alcohol. You can find cetyl alcohol and cetearyl alcohol in our Strengthening-Essence Conditioner, which – together with vegan silk peptides and Vitamin E – leaves the scalp and hair leaving supremely nourished and hydrated. And thanks to its unique lightweight formula, you can use this conditioner directly on the scalp right down to the ends of your hair – without it leaving your hair flat or greasy. (Not even with fine hair types!) So remember, don’t judge all alcohols the same – it can sometimes be your friend (for your hair and scalp at least!). Have a question about our products or ingredients or just a general scalpcare query? Drop our team of experts and dermatologists a line at info@monpure.com 

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