Scrubbing your scalp can prevent hair loss – here’s why…

When you think of ways to prevent and treat hair loss, scrubbing your scalp may not be high up on your list. And indeed while results-driven serums (such as our 5*-rated Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum) are great for tackling hair loss head-on, scrubbing your scalp can also help. So why scrub away at your scalp, you ask? As with the skin on your face, your scalp has its fair share of dirt and debris. But with your hair covering it, it’s less noticeable and something we tend to overlook. However, if your scalp accumulates too much dead skin and product build up, you’ll be rewarded with itching, dandruff and irritation – and last but not least, stunted hair growth. That’s because the debris on your scalp blocks the hair follicles and prevents strands from growing through. Our resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan explains further. “I advise my patients to care for their scalp in the same way as they care for the skin on their face,” she explains. “Too often the scalp gets neglected which can lead to stunted hair growth and a dull appearance in the hair in general. That’s why regular cleansing, hydration and exfoliation of the scalp are so important.” Similar to facial and body scrubs, scalp scrubs like MONPURE’s Clarifying Scalp Scrub (as recently featured in The Sunday Times Style) work in the same way. Not only does it smell divine – that’ll be the sweet orange oil and sandalwood – but it sweeps away dead skin and product gunk with biodegradable jojoba beads, conditioning stearic acid and nourishing argan oil extracts. Before you step in the shower, gently massage it in (on a dry scalp, so there’s more friction) to exfoliate away any clutter that might be clogging those hair follicles. Instead of microbeads, our scrub contains biodegradable jojoba beads, conditioning shea butter and nourishing argan oil extract. And as anyone who’s been on the receiving end of a scalp massage will tell you, rubbing this stuff in is a sheer unadulterated joy rather than a chore!  If you’re not sure how to get that scrub through your hair so it reaches your scalp, here’s a technique we’ve found that works quite well: take a tiny amount on your fingertips and rapidly tousle it through your strands, working quickly until you find your scalp so it can work its magic (you don’t want the majority of it to get lost in your hair on the way). And if you’re worried about those tiny beads getting stuck in your strands, fret not. As long as you rinse thoroughly (make sure you flip your head over under the shower to make doubly sure) you should have no rogue grains hidden among your roots post-wash. One last thing, before you get scrub-happy, a word of caution comes from our resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan: “Not all skin types are suitable for scrubbing – if you have any dermatological conditions, do consult your dermatologist before using scalp scrubs as these can sometimes irritate the skin if you have a pre-existing scalp condition such as scalp eczema or scalp lupus etc.”

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How Traditional Chinese Medicine can benefit your scalp – Q&A with 001 Skincare’s Ada Ooi

At MONPURE we know that a healthy, calm scalp and thicker, fuller hair is as much about your lifestyle as it is the products you use. We have always taken a holistic approach to scalpcare and hair health, which is echoed by Ada Ooi, a celebrity facialist, acupuncturist and founder of 001 Skincare. Ooi was brought up in Hong Kong, where her grandfather worked as a pharmacist dispensing both Western medications together with remedies following the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). She incorporates both Western and Eastern approaches in her facial treatments as well as her skincare line. We caught up with her to find out more about the benefits of TCM – in particular for the scalp. {MONPURE} Hi Ada! So firstly, how did you get into skincare? {Ada Ooi} I just love anything to do with skin (from a very young age when other girls would be obsessed with Hello Kitty, I would already be at the beauty counters trying different skincare out!) Especially in my teenage years I got a lot of pimples on my forehead. Later on, I worked in advertising. The fast-paced lifestyle of the industry made me experience fluctuations of stress that I noticed seriously affected my skin. I had already trained to be a facialist and aromatherapist, being brought up very closely with my grandpa who owned a pharmacy where he prescribed both Chinese and Western medicine. I saw how his treatments made such a great deal of improvement among his patients, especially people coming in with skin issues in particular, those that were chronic and difficult to treat. That’s what inspired me to forge a career in skincare and acupuncture myself. {MP} Can you explain what some of the main differences are between Western and Chinese medicine? {AO} When we diagnose illness in Chinese medicine, it’s really not looking at a local area or a rigid list of symptoms; it’s all linked to your lifestyle and subtle signs that help you actually find what’s happening within the body. The state of the tongue and the pulse rate can be huge indicators of your inner wellbeing. For example if someone goes to a Western doctor saying that they’ve had a cough for a long time, the doctor would examine the throat and try and work out if there was inflammation in your respiratory tract. They might tell you to take cough syrup to help moisten your throat and feel better. In Chinese medicine when you’re coughing, we’ll ask: “do you cough in the morning or the night?” A morning cough is a sign of having a lot of internal heat and inflammation, while if you cough at night it indicates that there is a lot of coldness and dampness in the body, which creates an excess of fluids and blocks the flow of blood and ‘qi’. Qi is like an engine of the whole body, you need it to push blood flow and ensure all the nutrients to go to the right place. {MP} TCM and acupuncture are becoming more widespread across the globe. Why do you think this is? {AO} Our life and our minds are becoming more complicated, that simple medicine can’t explain a lot of things. (How can you explain why your period just suddenly goes crazy?) A lot of time it’s very hormonal and usually stress induced. All you can really do is have a doctor prescribe you a large dose of oestrogen to stop your periods, but it doesn’t treat the cause of your issue next time when stress hits, your endocrine system [which governs hormones] will crash again.  There are also a lot of more unresolved illnesses that are linked to wellbeing you cannot just treat it with Western medicine. That’s why more people are looking to holistic wellness systems such as Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. These are the schools of thought that can treat a lot of symptoms and also bring about a better peace of mind. {MP} How can Chinese medicine be used to treat certain scalp conditions? {AO} The skin, whether on the face or the scalp, can be a huge indicator of what is going on inside the body. Scalp acne comes from having too much internal heat within the body, which causes inflammation. If the skin is very red it could mean the digestive system and the lungs aren’t working very well. If someone has dandruff, I would want to know where on the scalp the dandruff is. Basically I’m trying to find out whether your internal body is too ‘dry’ and cold or does it have too much heat? What I would then do is go along the meridian lines related to the lungs, kidney and the liver and would perform acupuncture on those areas. {MP} What are meridian lines exactly? {AO} With acupuncture we work with the 12 meridian channels; what this means is that there is a whole network extended from our organs to the skin’s surface. Even if I say that you have liver deficiency it doesn’t mean I’m going to be acupuncturing the area around the liver – the strongest point is actually on the foot! In fact a lot of meridians linked to our stomach, intestines, bladder are underneath our foot, hence why we have therapies in Chinese medicine like reflexology where we solely focus on the feet. (Plus, getting our feet massaged feels good!) {MP} What are the main lifestyle factors that can compromise our health (and scalp health in particular)?  {AO} One is stress. In TCM it can really induce a lot of blockages around the body especially the liver and the kidney where we create blood, store blood and also where vital nutrients (we call this ‘essence’) are kept. Mental emotions are processed there as well. Whenever you’re stressed liver and kidneys don’t function properly, they can get quite confused and your whole body feels low on energy. The increase in cortisol in your brain also causes hormonal imbalance, which affects the endocrine system working across your stomach, liver, kidney and brain.  This can lead to issues such as scalp acne as previously mentioned, together with inflammation of the scalp-skin. Another very urban problem is over-exercising. When you’re doing a good amount of exercise, there’s good circulation of qi and blood flow and you feel a blissful kind of warmth in your body. But when you start to overdo it and your body is tired, then your organs are tired. I tell my clients a lot, you really don’t need to train seven days a week; some are training to a point where they lose libido and creating a hormonal imbalance. It’s not healthy for them or their relationships! {MP} Are there any tips and techniques that can help improve our scalp health from a Chinese medicine perspective? {AO} The more massage the better! Your scalp has a lot of pressure points and this really helps to stimulate them, as well as increase blood flow to the scalp. Not just with the fingers but using a traditional massage tool called gua sha really helps. With gua sha we can knead and press to stimulate pressure points also relieving any muscles are too tense, which can constrict oxygen flow. To really enhance blood flow to the scalp we also need to massage our forehead and neck, both of which can be very tense, and constrict blood flow. In all of my facial treatments, I would do a cranial sacral massage as well. Also when it comes to haircare, you should avoid silicones at all costs. Silicones on the scalp can accumulate on the skin if you don’t wash your hair properly, blocking pores and causing congestion.  Using silicone-free products such as MONPURE’s can benefit your scalp in the long run. What are some good ingredients for the scalp? {AO} I love using essential oils. Not only do they smell nice, but in Chinese medicine, all plants are 'medicine' and they're classified with natures of cold, cool, median, warm and hot. For example if your scalp condition is inflicted by heat then we would prescribe cooling ingredients. If your scalp condition is actually inflicted by cold and dampness, you’d be using warming ingredients.  Rosemary and lemongrass [contained in MONPURE’s Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum] are warming ingredients; they gently stimulate blood circulation in order to expel cold and dampness that can create blockage and affect the balance of the skin and sebum levels. Peppermint oil [featured in MONPURE’s Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask] is also warming and is used to treat stress-induced blockages in the body, these block heat circulation, causing general sluggishness as well as an oily, itchy scalp and dandruff.  While the green tea extract [also in MONPURE’s Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask] has a cooling nature it can cool internal heat accumulated within the body due to stress and a quick temper and promote movement of fluids. Witch hazel astringent [a key ingredient in MONPURE’s Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum] is another cooling ingredient, which can help with heat-induced itching, redness and dryness. Catch up with Ada Ooi’s skincare tips over at @001skincare

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Why friendship can stop us tearing our hair out

  When it comes to living a successful and happy life, our friendships tend to get overlooked in popular culture, in favour of finding romantic love and a high-powered career. But in fact, having real, true friends is probably one of the biggest markers of success and has a huge impact on our health and happiness. So cherishing and looking after them is hugely important! To celebrate World Friendship Day we wanted to take a look at the unique benefits a friendship can bring to your mental health, not least where stress levels and anxiety are concerned. (And as we all know, stress is directly linked to issues like scalp discomfort and hair loss!) We’ve also included some tips on how to be a better friend. Studies have shown that those who have close friendships tend to have lower risks of heart disease and that being around a best friend decreases the level of cortisol – aka the ‘stress hormone’ – in our body (a hormone which incidentally regulates our hair growth cycle). A 2007 study even showed that when people discussed difficult times in their lives, they had lower pulse rates when a supportive friend was with them. Studies have even found that adults with an active social life tend to live longer than their peers with fewer connections. It’s no surprise that friendships benefit our mental health – they can provide a listening ear when we have a problem, offering a non-judgemental perspective. They can also be a witness to the ups and downs of our lives; celebrating our achievements and helping us cope with traumatic events such as the loss of loved ones, job loss or divorce. They can also help provide a sense of belonging and purpose and increase our self-confidence in the process.  How to build and nurture your friendships People tend to see friendship as ‘low-maintenance’ as opposed to family and romantic partners. But while friends might be less demanding, it’s important to put effort into these relationships too. Obviously your friends aren’t just free therapy! Be aware of listening and taking an active interest in their lives – not just the aspects that directly relate to yours. If they have an issue or a problem, it’s important to just let them have the space to talk and not try and jump in with your own opinions or try and solve the problem – sometimes people just want to vent! Being consistent, reliable and dependable are other key foundations of a strong friendship. Follow through on commitments and make a conscious effort to keep in touch and see them regularly. Ways to diversify your social circle You might enjoy hanging out with the same crowd you went around with at school – and such friendships should always be cherished. However, it’s also important to branch out and start befriending people from different walks of life. This will not only help broaden your horizons and gain a new perspective, but will also make you feel less intimidated in social situations such as networking events and business functions. Don’t discount friendships with colleagues who are much older than you (or much younger), or from different social or cultural backgrounds. People you think you don’t have much in common with may surprise you. Get chatting with people in your office kitchen – you never know when that “mundane small talk” might develop into an invaluable friendship. References:  Thoits PA. Mechanisms linking social ties and support to physical and mental health. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 2011;52:145. Ong AD, et al. Loneliness and health in older adults: A mini-review and synthesis. Gerontology 2016;62:443. Adams, R. E., Santo, J. B., & Bukowski, W. M. (2011). The presence of a best friend buffers the effects of negative experiences. Developmental Psychology, 47(6), 1786–1791. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0025401

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Get ready to sunproof your scalp and hair

You might be busy slathering SPF on your face and body, but what about your scalp and hair? Those wretched UV rays can wreak havoc on those too – as anyone who’s suffered with a burnt parting and frazzled hair can attest! According to our resident dermatologist Dr. Sue Ann Chan: “UV rays are the biggest cause of skin ageing and the same goes for your scalp and hair. While they obviously burn the scalp-skin, they can also cause it to prematurely age leading to dryness and hair loss. The majority of skin cancers occur in the head and neck region, as these are areas most exposed to ultraviolet (UV) sunlight. Any lumps or bumps that do not settle in 2 weeks should be examined by your healthcare professional in case these are sinister lesions.” Your actual hair doesn’t get off lightly either. “The sun breaks down the keratin and lipids in the hair shaft, resulting in it becoming dry and brittle. They also penetrate the hair follicle, damaging the pigment and causing the colour to fade. Don’t be surprised if you notice more split ends, hair thinning and colour looking slightly drab at the end of the summer months.” So what are some of the best ways to shield the scalp and hair (and the rest of our body) in the summer? Dr Sue Ann has the following advice: Avoid outdoor activities from 11am – 3pm as UV rays are strongest during these hours Wear protective headgear e.g. a wide brimmed hat to cover all of the scalp, forehead and ears Sunglasses are also important to protect the eyes and delay crow’s feet wrinkles Use appropriate sunscreens with broad-spectrum protection including UVA (ageing rays) and UVB (burning rays) protection. High factor SPF 50+ is recommended during summer time Ensure sunscreen is generously applied when doing sporting activities such as skiing, swimming or sailing, as the reflections from snow, mountains or open sea water can intensify the sun’s rays Our fail-safe tip? If you’re hitting the beach and don’t mind wearing your hair slicked back, get some SPF 30+ oil-free sunscreen and slick it through your scalp and strands (tying up long hair into a bun). It will protect hair from moisture loss and sun damage. If you’re not going swimming, a ‘cheat’ option would be to buy a large sun hat or headscarf and ensure your head and hair remain covered at all times.  There are other ways to mitigate sun damage with a little help from MONPURE. Our Strengthening Silk Protein shampoo is sulphate-free and less drying, so it helps preserve colour and doesn’t damage hair that’s already been a little frazzled by those UVs.  And our Strengthening Essence-Conditioner is perfect for hair that’s prone to breakage and split ends, as it contains a strengthening vegan silk peptide that works like a ‘second skin’ on the hair shaft, locking in moisture and helping to repair the sun’s damaging effects. Finally, treat your scalp to a hint of after-sun to calm any redness as the evening draws in. Our Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum contains aloe vera to bring down any irritation. Think of it as an ‘after-sun’ for your scalp! Shop now

Really Ree x MONPURE

If there’s any breaking news in the beauty world, chances are you heard it from Really Ree reallyree.com. Founded by Anne-Marie Lodge aka ‘Ree’ back in 2010, she has since amassed half a million readers per month, as her straight-talking and honest review style have made her a trusted name in the industry. She is a huge fan of MONPURE, here is what she had to say about the range: My scalp was in a terrible state at the start of lockdown. I have always suffered with dryness and flakiness, much to my shame during my school years and beyond, and I’ve lived ready to make sure there’s no evidence of this around my hairline or on my clothes for as long as I can remember. I know I do a good job of this because people are often surprised that I have scalp problems. It gets worse with stress, which was very noticeable at the start of enforced home-time, and it was sore, red and peeling. It’s hard to feel good about your hair with the constant discomfort of an inflamed scalp. Since I have been using my MONPURE regime – which is about six weeks now – my scalp is behaving really well, and my hair stays looking shinier, more alive and bouncier, in spite of the fact that I haven’t had it cut in longer that I care to confess! Plus my hair stays feeling clean, even if I have worked out and sweated a bit. The shampoo has anti-bacteria technology that I believe is key here. Also, the products are amazing if you colour your hair. I have only had to do my colour once in the whole of lockdown because it hasn’t faded at all. Only now do I need a bit of a root touch up where it has grown out. (Read the rest of her review here.) We were delighted when Ree agreed to team up with MONPURE on a recent collection, where we asked her to pick her top three favourites from the range: Clarifying Scalp Scrub “I use this once a week, and I literally sit in the shower and massage it into the roots for at least 3 minutes. I often do it for longer because it feels so good. Since I have been using this, the flakiness on my scalp has pretty much vanished.” Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo “This is ‘clean’ in a bottle! You only need a small amount massaged right into the roots to enhance that instantly clean feel. It is not super foamy, but I can feel it lifting away any impurities and build-up, invigorating my scalp and ‘silkifying’ my hair (in a non silicone way).” Strengthening Essence-Conditioner “Forget gloopy thick conditioners … this is pretty different! It has an extremely lightweight texture, designed to be used on the scalp and hair. Like a skincare essence, it floods the hair and scalp with lightweight hydration. A little goes a long way.” Shop the MONPURE x REE Bundle here.

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

Scrubbing your scalp can prevent hair loss – here’s why…

When you think of ways to prevent and treat hair loss, scrubbing your scalp may not be high up on your list. And indeed while results-driven serums (such as our 5*-rated Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum) are great for tackling hair loss head-on, scrubbing your scalp can also help. So why scrub away at your scalp, you ask? As with the skin on your face, your scalp has its fair share of dirt and debris. But with your hair covering it, it’s less noticeable and something we tend to overlook. However, if your scalp accumulates too much dead skin and product build up, you’ll be rewarded with itching, dandruff and irritation – and last but not least, stunted hair growth. That’s because the debris on your scalp blocks the hair follicles and prevents strands from growing through. Our resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan explains further. “I advise my patients to care for their scalp in the same way as they care for the skin on their face,” she explains. “Too often the scalp gets neglected which can lead to stunted hair growth and a dull appearance in the hair in general. That’s why regular cleansing, hydration and exfoliation of the scalp are so important.” Similar to facial and body scrubs, scalp scrubs like MONPURE’s Clarifying Scalp Scrub (as recently featured in The Sunday Times Style) work in the same way. Not only does it smell divine – that’ll be the sweet orange oil and sandalwood – but it sweeps away dead skin and product gunk with biodegradable jojoba beads, conditioning stearic acid and nourishing argan oil extracts. Before you step in the shower, gently massage it in (on a dry scalp, so there’s more friction) to exfoliate away any clutter that might be clogging those hair follicles. Instead of microbeads, our scrub contains biodegradable jojoba beads, conditioning shea butter and nourishing argan oil extract. And as anyone who’s been on the receiving end of a scalp massage will tell you, rubbing this stuff in is a sheer unadulterated joy rather than a chore!  If you’re not sure how to get that scrub through your hair so it reaches your scalp, here’s a technique we’ve found that works quite well: take a tiny amount on your fingertips and rapidly tousle it through your strands, working quickly until you find your scalp so it can work its magic (you don’t want the majority of it to get lost in your hair on the way). And if you’re worried about those tiny beads getting stuck in your strands, fret not. As long as you rinse thoroughly (make sure you flip your head over under the shower to make doubly sure) you should have no rogue grains hidden among your roots post-wash. One last thing, before you get scrub-happy, a word of caution comes from our resident dermatologist Dr Sue Ann Chan: “Not all skin types are suitable for scrubbing – if you have any dermatological conditions, do consult your dermatologist before using scalp scrubs as these can sometimes irritate the skin if you have a pre-existing scalp condition such as scalp eczema or scalp lupus etc.”

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How Traditional Chinese Medicine can benefit your scalp – Q&A with 001 Skincare’s Ada Ooi

At MONPURE we know that a healthy, calm scalp and thicker, fuller hair is as much about your lifestyle as it is the products you use. We have always taken a holistic approach to scalpcare and hair health, which is echoed by Ada Ooi, a celebrity facialist, acupuncturist and founder of 001 Skincare. Ooi was brought up in Hong Kong, where her grandfather worked as a pharmacist dispensing both Western medications together with remedies following the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). She incorporates both Western and Eastern approaches in her facial treatments as well as her skincare line. We caught up with her to find out more about the benefits of TCM – in particular for the scalp. {MONPURE} Hi Ada! So firstly, how did you get into skincare? {Ada Ooi} I just love anything to do with skin (from a very young age when other girls would be obsessed with Hello Kitty, I would already be at the beauty counters trying different skincare out!) Especially in my teenage years I got a lot of pimples on my forehead. Later on, I worked in advertising. The fast-paced lifestyle of the industry made me experience fluctuations of stress that I noticed seriously affected my skin. I had already trained to be a facialist and aromatherapist, being brought up very closely with my grandpa who owned a pharmacy where he prescribed both Chinese and Western medicine. I saw how his treatments made such a great deal of improvement among his patients, especially people coming in with skin issues in particular, those that were chronic and difficult to treat. That’s what inspired me to forge a career in skincare and acupuncture myself. {MP} Can you explain what some of the main differences are between Western and Chinese medicine? {AO} When we diagnose illness in Chinese medicine, it’s really not looking at a local area or a rigid list of symptoms; it’s all linked to your lifestyle and subtle signs that help you actually find what’s happening within the body. The state of the tongue and the pulse rate can be huge indicators of your inner wellbeing. For example if someone goes to a Western doctor saying that they’ve had a cough for a long time, the doctor would examine the throat and try and work out if there was inflammation in your respiratory tract. They might tell you to take cough syrup to help moisten your throat and feel better. In Chinese medicine when you’re coughing, we’ll ask: “do you cough in the morning or the night?” A morning cough is a sign of having a lot of internal heat and inflammation, while if you cough at night it indicates that there is a lot of coldness and dampness in the body, which creates an excess of fluids and blocks the flow of blood and ‘qi’. Qi is like an engine of the whole body, you need it to push blood flow and ensure all the nutrients to go to the right place. {MP} TCM and acupuncture are becoming more widespread across the globe. Why do you think this is? {AO} Our life and our minds are becoming more complicated, that simple medicine can’t explain a lot of things. (How can you explain why your period just suddenly goes crazy?) A lot of time it’s very hormonal and usually stress induced. All you can really do is have a doctor prescribe you a large dose of oestrogen to stop your periods, but it doesn’t treat the cause of your issue next time when stress hits, your endocrine system [which governs hormones] will crash again.  There are also a lot of more unresolved illnesses that are linked to wellbeing you cannot just treat it with Western medicine. That’s why more people are looking to holistic wellness systems such as Ayurveda and Chinese medicine. These are the schools of thought that can treat a lot of symptoms and also bring about a better peace of mind. {MP} How can Chinese medicine be used to treat certain scalp conditions? {AO} The skin, whether on the face or the scalp, can be a huge indicator of what is going on inside the body. Scalp acne comes from having too much internal heat within the body, which causes inflammation. If the skin is very red it could mean the digestive system and the lungs aren’t working very well. If someone has dandruff, I would want to know where on the scalp the dandruff is. Basically I’m trying to find out whether your internal body is too ‘dry’ and cold or does it have too much heat? What I would then do is go along the meridian lines related to the lungs, kidney and the liver and would perform acupuncture on those areas. {MP} What are meridian lines exactly? {AO} With acupuncture we work with the 12 meridian channels; what this means is that there is a whole network extended from our organs to the skin’s surface. Even if I say that you have liver deficiency it doesn’t mean I’m going to be acupuncturing the area around the liver – the strongest point is actually on the foot! In fact a lot of meridians linked to our stomach, intestines, bladder are underneath our foot, hence why we have therapies in Chinese medicine like reflexology where we solely focus on the feet. (Plus, getting our feet massaged feels good!) {MP} What are the main lifestyle factors that can compromise our health (and scalp health in particular)?  {AO} One is stress. In TCM it can really induce a lot of blockages around the body especially the liver and the kidney where we create blood, store blood and also where vital nutrients (we call this ‘essence’) are kept. Mental emotions are processed there as well. Whenever you’re stressed liver and kidneys don’t function properly, they can get quite confused and your whole body feels low on energy. The increase in cortisol in your brain also causes hormonal imbalance, which affects the endocrine system working across your stomach, liver, kidney and brain.  This can lead to issues such as scalp acne as previously mentioned, together with inflammation of the scalp-skin. Another very urban problem is over-exercising. When you’re doing a good amount of exercise, there’s good circulation of qi and blood flow and you feel a blissful kind of warmth in your body. But when you start to overdo it and your body is tired, then your organs are tired. I tell my clients a lot, you really don’t need to train seven days a week; some are training to a point where they lose libido and creating a hormonal imbalance. It’s not healthy for them or their relationships! {MP} Are there any tips and techniques that can help improve our scalp health from a Chinese medicine perspective? {AO} The more massage the better! Your scalp has a lot of pressure points and this really helps to stimulate them, as well as increase blood flow to the scalp. Not just with the fingers but using a traditional massage tool called gua sha really helps. With gua sha we can knead and press to stimulate pressure points also relieving any muscles are too tense, which can constrict oxygen flow. To really enhance blood flow to the scalp we also need to massage our forehead and neck, both of which can be very tense, and constrict blood flow. In all of my facial treatments, I would do a cranial sacral massage as well. Also when it comes to haircare, you should avoid silicones at all costs. Silicones on the scalp can accumulate on the skin if you don’t wash your hair properly, blocking pores and causing congestion.  Using silicone-free products such as MONPURE’s can benefit your scalp in the long run. What are some good ingredients for the scalp? {AO} I love using essential oils. Not only do they smell nice, but in Chinese medicine, all plants are 'medicine' and they're classified with natures of cold, cool, median, warm and hot. For example if your scalp condition is inflicted by heat then we would prescribe cooling ingredients. If your scalp condition is actually inflicted by cold and dampness, you’d be using warming ingredients.  Rosemary and lemongrass [contained in MONPURE’s Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum] are warming ingredients; they gently stimulate blood circulation in order to expel cold and dampness that can create blockage and affect the balance of the skin and sebum levels. Peppermint oil [featured in MONPURE’s Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask] is also warming and is used to treat stress-induced blockages in the body, these block heat circulation, causing general sluggishness as well as an oily, itchy scalp and dandruff.  While the green tea extract [also in MONPURE’s Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask] has a cooling nature it can cool internal heat accumulated within the body due to stress and a quick temper and promote movement of fluids. Witch hazel astringent [a key ingredient in MONPURE’s Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum] is another cooling ingredient, which can help with heat-induced itching, redness and dryness. Catch up with Ada Ooi’s skincare tips over at @001skincare

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Why friendship can stop us tearing our hair out

  When it comes to living a successful and happy life, our friendships tend to get overlooked in popular culture, in favour of finding romantic love and a high-powered career. But in fact, having real, true friends is probably one of the biggest markers of success and has a huge impact on our health and happiness. So cherishing and looking after them is hugely important! To celebrate World Friendship Day we wanted to take a look at the unique benefits a friendship can bring to your mental health, not least where stress levels and anxiety are concerned. (And as we all know, stress is directly linked to issues like scalp discomfort and hair loss!) We’ve also included some tips on how to be a better friend. Studies have shown that those who have close friendships tend to have lower risks of heart disease and that being around a best friend decreases the level of cortisol – aka the ‘stress hormone’ – in our body (a hormone which incidentally regulates our hair growth cycle). A 2007 study even showed that when people discussed difficult times in their lives, they had lower pulse rates when a supportive friend was with them. Studies have even found that adults with an active social life tend to live longer than their peers with fewer connections. It’s no surprise that friendships benefit our mental health – they can provide a listening ear when we have a problem, offering a non-judgemental perspective. They can also be a witness to the ups and downs of our lives; celebrating our achievements and helping us cope with traumatic events such as the loss of loved ones, job loss or divorce. They can also help provide a sense of belonging and purpose and increase our self-confidence in the process.  How to build and nurture your friendships People tend to see friendship as ‘low-maintenance’ as opposed to family and romantic partners. But while friends might be less demanding, it’s important to put effort into these relationships too. Obviously your friends aren’t just free therapy! Be aware of listening and taking an active interest in their lives – not just the aspects that directly relate to yours. If they have an issue or a problem, it’s important to just let them have the space to talk and not try and jump in with your own opinions or try and solve the problem – sometimes people just want to vent! Being consistent, reliable and dependable are other key foundations of a strong friendship. Follow through on commitments and make a conscious effort to keep in touch and see them regularly. Ways to diversify your social circle You might enjoy hanging out with the same crowd you went around with at school – and such friendships should always be cherished. However, it’s also important to branch out and start befriending people from different walks of life. This will not only help broaden your horizons and gain a new perspective, but will also make you feel less intimidated in social situations such as networking events and business functions. Don’t discount friendships with colleagues who are much older than you (or much younger), or from different social or cultural backgrounds. People you think you don’t have much in common with may surprise you. Get chatting with people in your office kitchen – you never know when that “mundane small talk” might develop into an invaluable friendship. References:  Thoits PA. Mechanisms linking social ties and support to physical and mental health. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 2011;52:145. Ong AD, et al. Loneliness and health in older adults: A mini-review and synthesis. Gerontology 2016;62:443. Adams, R. E., Santo, J. B., & Bukowski, W. M. (2011). The presence of a best friend buffers the effects of negative experiences. Developmental Psychology, 47(6), 1786–1791. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0025401

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Get ready to sunproof your scalp and hair

You might be busy slathering SPF on your face and body, but what about your scalp and hair? Those wretched UV rays can wreak havoc on those too – as anyone who’s suffered with a burnt parting and frazzled hair can attest! According to our resident dermatologist Dr. Sue Ann Chan: “UV rays are the biggest cause of skin ageing and the same goes for your scalp and hair. While they obviously burn the scalp-skin, they can also cause it to prematurely age leading to dryness and hair loss. The majority of skin cancers occur in the head and neck region, as these are areas most exposed to ultraviolet (UV) sunlight. Any lumps or bumps that do not settle in 2 weeks should be examined by your healthcare professional in case these are sinister lesions.” Your actual hair doesn’t get off lightly either. “The sun breaks down the keratin and lipids in the hair shaft, resulting in it becoming dry and brittle. They also penetrate the hair follicle, damaging the pigment and causing the colour to fade. Don’t be surprised if you notice more split ends, hair thinning and colour looking slightly drab at the end of the summer months.” So what are some of the best ways to shield the scalp and hair (and the rest of our body) in the summer? Dr Sue Ann has the following advice: Avoid outdoor activities from 11am – 3pm as UV rays are strongest during these hours Wear protective headgear e.g. a wide brimmed hat to cover all of the scalp, forehead and ears Sunglasses are also important to protect the eyes and delay crow’s feet wrinkles Use appropriate sunscreens with broad-spectrum protection including UVA (ageing rays) and UVB (burning rays) protection. High factor SPF 50+ is recommended during summer time Ensure sunscreen is generously applied when doing sporting activities such as skiing, swimming or sailing, as the reflections from snow, mountains or open sea water can intensify the sun’s rays Our fail-safe tip? If you’re hitting the beach and don’t mind wearing your hair slicked back, get some SPF 30+ oil-free sunscreen and slick it through your scalp and strands (tying up long hair into a bun). It will protect hair from moisture loss and sun damage. If you’re not going swimming, a ‘cheat’ option would be to buy a large sun hat or headscarf and ensure your head and hair remain covered at all times.  There are other ways to mitigate sun damage with a little help from MONPURE. Our Strengthening Silk Protein shampoo is sulphate-free and less drying, so it helps preserve colour and doesn’t damage hair that’s already been a little frazzled by those UVs.  And our Strengthening Essence-Conditioner is perfect for hair that’s prone to breakage and split ends, as it contains a strengthening vegan silk peptide that works like a ‘second skin’ on the hair shaft, locking in moisture and helping to repair the sun’s damaging effects. Finally, treat your scalp to a hint of after-sun to calm any redness as the evening draws in. Our Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum contains aloe vera to bring down any irritation. Think of it as an ‘after-sun’ for your scalp! Shop now

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Really Ree x MONPURE

If there’s any breaking news in the beauty world, chances are you heard it from Really Ree reallyree.com. Founded by Anne-Marie Lodge aka ‘Ree’ back in 2010, she has since amassed half a million readers per month, as her straight-talking and honest review style have made her a trusted name in the industry. She is a huge fan of MONPURE, here is what she had to say about the range: My scalp was in a terrible state at the start of lockdown. I have always suffered with dryness and flakiness, much to my shame during my school years and beyond, and I’ve lived ready to make sure there’s no evidence of this around my hairline or on my clothes for as long as I can remember. I know I do a good job of this because people are often surprised that I have scalp problems. It gets worse with stress, which was very noticeable at the start of enforced home-time, and it was sore, red and peeling. It’s hard to feel good about your hair with the constant discomfort of an inflamed scalp. Since I have been using my MONPURE regime – which is about six weeks now – my scalp is behaving really well, and my hair stays looking shinier, more alive and bouncier, in spite of the fact that I haven’t had it cut in longer that I care to confess! Plus my hair stays feeling clean, even if I have worked out and sweated a bit. The shampoo has anti-bacteria technology that I believe is key here. Also, the products are amazing if you colour your hair. I have only had to do my colour once in the whole of lockdown because it hasn’t faded at all. Only now do I need a bit of a root touch up where it has grown out. (Read the rest of her review here.) We were delighted when Ree agreed to team up with MONPURE on a recent collection, where we asked her to pick her top three favourites from the range: Clarifying Scalp Scrub “I use this once a week, and I literally sit in the shower and massage it into the roots for at least 3 minutes. I often do it for longer because it feels so good. Since I have been using this, the flakiness on my scalp has pretty much vanished.” Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo “This is ‘clean’ in a bottle! You only need a small amount massaged right into the roots to enhance that instantly clean feel. It is not super foamy, but I can feel it lifting away any impurities and build-up, invigorating my scalp and ‘silkifying’ my hair (in a non silicone way).” Strengthening Essence-Conditioner “Forget gloopy thick conditioners … this is pretty different! It has an extremely lightweight texture, designed to be used on the scalp and hair. Like a skincare essence, it floods the hair and scalp with lightweight hydration. A little goes a long way.” Shop the MONPURE x REE Bundle here.

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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

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Here's how stress and hair loss are linked

Like the current trend for being busy, being stressed has become something of a badge of honour for many of us, especially as a response to the question: “How are you?” If we’re not stressed we’re somehow seen as not living a full and productive existence, such is the pressure of modern existence (made worse by everyone projecting an image of their apparently successful, glamorous lives on social media).  While small amounts of stress can actually be a good thing (many of us relish a challenge and thrive on the adrenaline rush!), in large doses it can start to take its toll. It affects our moods, our sleep, our relationships, productivity and – in the case of chronic stress – our mental health. And when it comes to scalp discomfort and hair loss, stress is a huge factor, as MONPURE resident dermatologist, Dr Sue Ann Chan explains. “Stress whether acute or chronic doesn’t just affect our mental health; our skin is perhaps one of the main organs acutely affected by it. Where the scalp is concerned, stress can cause our underlying skin conditions to become worse or even trigger a severe flare up. These include inflammatory skin conditions such as atopic eczema, seborrhoeic dermatitis (which leads to dandruff), psoriasis, scalp lupus and also alopecia.” In fact, she explains there is a direct link between our body’s response to stress when it comes to hair growth. “The stress hormone called cortisol regulates the normal functioning of our hair follicles. When cortisol is present at high concentrations, it causes cells in the hair follicles to undergo apoptosis (i.e. die) prematurely by up to 40%, resulting in hair loss.” Hence a little bit of self-care – and scalpcare – can go a long way when it comes to managing stress and warding off issues like hair loss. We suggest setting aside at least one night a week to turn your regular hair washing routine into a relaxing ritual – and our Rewind and Restore Regime was created specifically with this in mind… If stress is giving you an itchy, easily irritated scalp, then this simple regime should help calm things down and protect against future flare-ups. As well as soothe the scalp-skin, it will turn your bathroom into a mini spa, with uplifting scents of peppermint, lemongrass and sweet orange essential oils, the perfect way to get your mind into the right focus, especially on a gloomy grey Sunday evening! First, apply our Nourish & Stimulate Scalp Mask through your dry, clean scalp and hair. You can even combine it with a relaxing scalp massage, and a quick meditation, which you can read more about here.  Use the mask’s lightweight texture to glide the fingertips in circular motions around the nape, the points on the back of the ears, the temples, the forehead and the crown of the head. Being aware of any tension and holding gentle pressure there will help you to relax more deeply. This gentle massage enables better sleep, a more alert mind when done during the day and a deep sense of wellbeing.  Leave it on for 15 minutes, so the aloe vera can go to work calming any inflammation while hydrating meadowfoam seed oil replenishes lost moisture and lactic acid gently exfoliates. (In a recent customer trial, 89% of users agreed it had a positive effect on the health and condition of their scalp, while a further 81-81% claimed that their scalp felt soothed and that irritation was reduced.) Rinse thoroughly and apply our Strengthening Essence-Conditioner, which delivers another dose of aloe vera (your scalp can’t get enough of this amazing anti-inflammatory ingredient) together with conditioning argan oil, while vitamin E works to protect the skin barrier and prevent the dryness that leads to itching. (85% of people who trialled the conditioner agreed that their scalp instantly felt more comfortable, while 84% agreed that the product did not weigh their hair down.) After a few minutes, rinse out (in cold water if you can bear it, for an extra boost of shine) and apply Hydrate & Soothe Scalp Serum using the dropper to dispense the product through your scalp. Among its star ingredients is witch hazel to calm any redness, while glycerine provides a protective layer of moisture to minimise further flare-ups. (In recent trials, 85% of users agreed that scalp irritation was reduced after prolonged after using this serum, and that it had positive effect on the health and condition of their scalp.)   Our top tip? Put a couple of drops of Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum on your hands and breathe in slowly, inhaling the scents of sweet orange, grapefruit and sandalwood fragrance oil before massaging through your scalp – a perfect way to restore equilibrium to both scalp and spirit. Discover this results-driven regime for yourself. Pollution levels can wreak all manner of stress on your scalp and hair.  Find out how to combat them here…

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Hair loss – why prevention is better than cure

When it comes to promoting healthy hair growth, many of us fail to make this a priority until our hair starts to fall out. By that point, people tend to resort to harsh chemical treatments and prescription drugs which can irritate the scalp and cause a cycle of dependency – risking further hair loss if we suddenly decide to stop the treatment. MONPURE was created to reactivate dormant hair follicles and promote thicker hair by stimulating the scalp with gentle, natural - yet scientifically proven - ingredients. Thus creating the best environment for thicker, fuller hair to grow. But why are we waiting until our hair falls out to deal with the issue? Just as preventative anti-ageing skincare is more effective at warding off lines and wrinkles in later life, starting an effective scalpcare regime early on will pay dividends when it comes to reducing the risk of hair loss as we age. Using hair products with ingredients designed to treat and care for the scalp can bridge the gap between facial skincare and scalpcare. (Because studies have shown that the scalp ages at the same rate as our face does – it’s skin after all). Hence the scalp should be at the heart of any haircare regime.  And if we neglect it now, we have a greater chance of hair loss further down the line, which is more difficult to reverse. You might be bombarding your hair with every lotion and potion under the sun, but if you’re not caring for the scalp underneath – the literal root cause of healthy hair – all that effort will be in vain. That’s why we tend to think of scalpcare as akin to gardening; nourish the soil and whatever grows out of it will flourish. So our ethos is simple: with the right regime and reduced stress, you have a recipe for healthy, luscious hair – and lots of it! The perfect first step when it comes to preventative scalpcare is with our Hair & Scalp Rehab SOS regime. This is especially good if you’re using a lot of leave-in styling products (like dry shampoo or salt spray), which can congest your hair follicles, inhibiting hair growth. Our Clarifying Scalp Scrub can help you get a clean slate, lifting away every last scrap of product with biodegradable jojoba beads and refreshing aloe vera.  Next, resuscitate your flagging hair follicles, with our Strengthening Essence-Conditioner. There’s not a silicone to be found in this formula, which instead contains a pioneering vegan silk protein to rebuild and protect the hair from within, rather than add a superficial coating as silicones do. Smooth it through your hair and scalp and leave on for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly.  Last but not least, is our Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum. You may have found that over-use of products and neglecting your scalp has caused it to become clogged, so hair growth is inhibited. This clever serum works to reverse all of that, firstly with retinol and lactic acid to dissolve any dead skin cells, giving you a clean canvas to work on, while pumpkin seed extract blocks hormonal chemicals that are known to cause hair loss, encouraging new strands to grow through thicker and stronger. Click here to shop Hair & Scalp Rehab SOS.

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Hair loss in pregnancy

While hair loss during pregnancy is rare, losing your hair after giving birth (also known as postpartum hair loss) affects roughly 50% of pregnant people. However, this hair loss isn’t permanent and everything should return to normal in a few months, while the body’s hormonal balance readjusts. Do you lose hair during pregnancy? Not always, unless you have a particularly stressful pregnancy or experience conditions such as extreme nausea which can deprive the body of nutrients. In fact, pregnancy can actually make a lot of people’s hair grow through fuller. As we know, the hair growth cycle can be divided into three phases; increased oestrogen levels mean that your hair stays in the ‘growth’ phase for longer, which means your hair will appear thicker, as there are more hairs on your head.  Having given birth, many people experience increased hair loss but this is usually nothing to worry about. As oestrogen levels return to normal, hair loss is just backdated shedding of hair that would have normally fallen out earlier. Everything should return to normal after three to six months, but the stress of pregnancy or a new baby sometimes can prolong or worsen hair loss. So it’s important to embark on a scalpcare regime to help stimulate the hair follicles and create the best environment for growth. The good news is that our flagship Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum just got the green light, and after scientific testing, it has now been classified as pregnancy safe - for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. One ingredient that often gets talked about (not least during pregnancy) is retinol – of which there are many forms called retinoids. The retinyl palmitate in MONPURE’s Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum is a gentle retinoid, which along with lactic acid works to clear the scalp of dead skin and debris, so that hair can grow through thicker and stronger. Yet this retinoid is still so safe, and so kind to your scalp – that even pregnant and breastfeeding people can use it. Using retinyl palmitate also helps the serum’s other active ingredients to absorb more effectively. This includes pumpkin seed extract, which has been scientifically proven to block hormonal enzymes known to cause hair loss. The result? Healthier hair growth – and thicker, fuller hair at that! Discover this gentle yet results-driven serum for yourself. Shop now.

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What city pollution does to your scalp

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.

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How to prolong your hair colour

People who tint or dye their hair will probably be all too familiar with the woes of colour fade. After all, there’s no point investing time and money to achieve the perfect shade if it dulls and loses its freshness almost immediately. With that in mind, here are some fail-safe tips to maintain your colour for as long as possible. (And protect your hair in the process!) Use a sulphate-free shampoo Sulphates are detergents, which are often used in shampoos to lift away dirt and debris – but the downside is that they can also dry the hair out and lift away colour pigments because of how harsh they are. Shampoos that are free from sulphates are gentler on the hair and scalp and less likely to strip your strands of moisture – or your colour along with it. MONPURE’s Strengthening Silk Protein Shampoo contains zero sulphates, instead using 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, all of which are known to compromise your colour. Watch your shower temperature Too-hot water opens up your hair cuticles, which causes moisture and colour pigment to leak out – not ideal! Ideally wash your hair in water that’s room-temperature, following with our Strengthening Essence-Conditioner, which contains nourishing argan oil to lock in moisture and protect your colour. Keep it under your hat! If you’re a keen swimmer or sun worshipper, these can wreak havoc on your coloured hair. Chlorine and UV exposure are both harsh aggressors, which can fade hair colour, so make sure you wear a swimming cap or sun hat whenever you can. Go easy on the styling tools Once you’ve got a fresh new colour, it might be tempting to style it to the max. But the intense heat from hair dryers and straighteners can open up the hair cuticle and fast-forward colour fade. Mask up regularly Using a mask a few times a week can pay dividends when it comes to hair colour. MONPURE’s Nourish and Stimulate Scalp Mask ‘feeds’ your hair follicles with camellia tea oil (brimming with vitamins), which works wonders for your hair’s condition (and subsequent colour). Plus it ensures regrowth is stronger and more likely to withstand colour treatments.  Click here to explore and learn more about the MONPURE range and how it can improve your scalp and hair.

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This one product can help prevent scalp ageing

You might be familiar with anti-ageing for the skin on your face – but what about your scalp? Our scalps are just as vulnerable as the skin on our face, but rather than just lines and dullness, an ageing scalp can also have a knock-on effect on our hair. The result is dull, thinning strands and an increased risk of hair loss, which affects 40% of women and 70% of men in their lifetime.  This was one of the key issues MONPURE was created to treat, that the scalp should be treated with as much care as the skin on our face – with the same ingredients that will keep the skin cells youthful and energised.  Dr. Sue Ann Chan, MONPURE’s resident dermatologist comments: “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 also a dull appearance in the hair in general.”   With that in mind – we’ve poured all of our expertise into one serum that will treat the scalp in the same way a supercharged facial serum would care for the skin on the face. Our Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum was created to tackle hair thinning and hair loss – which go hand-in-hand with scalp ageing.  Devoid of common irritants and strong chemicals (which can aggravate the scalp and make matters worse), the results-driven formula is brimming with potent botanicals, many of which have been scientifically proven to help with hair loss. One of its star ingredients is a special pumpkin seed extract. While it might sound like something you’d drizzle on a salad, it can actually work wonders when it comes to combating hair loss. Our resident dermatologist Dr. Sue Ann Chan explains how it works. “Pumpkin seed extract is becoming more widely used in helping to treat hair loss,” she says. “Testosterone in our body produces a chemical called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which in excess may cause hair loss in certain individuals. This chemical is released by an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, which pumpkin seed extract helps to block. That’s what makes it effective in preventing hair loss, which is why it’s the star ingredient in MONPURE’s Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum.” It also features a gentle form of retinol (suitable for use in pregnancy) called retinyl palmitate. A popular ingredient with a proven track record in anti-ageing, your scalp loves it as much as your face does, helping to speed up cell turnover, regulating sebum production and boosting collagen (the ‘building blocks’ of your skin). Together with lactic acid, it helps decongest and exfoliate hair follicles. The result? Your scalp-skin is healthier, creating the best environment for thicker, fuller hair to grow through. All you need to do is massage a few drops into your scalp every day – ideally after you’ve just washed your hair, to help rejuvenate your scalp and boost your hair follicles. After a few weeks of use, you should start to see a real difference in hair thickness and growth. (Plus the uplifting scent of lemongrass and rosemary will boost your mood in the bargain.) Discover this clever concoction for yourself – shop Follicle Boost Hair Density Serum.

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