“No nits.” I knew, as I sat there, glass of wine in hand while my friend inspected my scalp for nits, like a monkey checking its mate’s fur, that I had a real problem. An itchy, scratchy, scabby scalp problem. And without professional help, it wasn’t going to go away.
I’ve had an itchy head for 8 years, since having my first baby. When I tell anyone about it, the first thing they do is mention nits. But my problem is more insidious – lurking beneath my thick, long, and otherwise generally healthy hair is a red, inflamed scalp that has been, slowly but surely, driving me insane for almost a decade.
“It’s hormonal;” people have told me. “Your skin becomes more sensitive post baby.” But here’s the thing, the skin on my face has remained the same, only that on my head has become an alien being, growing sharp, scratchy tentacles intent on keeping me up at night. When I get my hair coloured, my scalp catches fire, I sit there almost ripping the skin off my head. And then there are the scabs that form, always in the back of my head, always in exactly the same spot.
The problem persists despite my countless attempts to remedy it. I’ve tried 50 different shampoos to put an end to this torture. From scalp-cleansing shampoos that claimed to rid my scalp of product residue, to completely clean, natural, organic, sulphate-free, vegan and gluten-free elixirs, even those claiming to be specifically for itchy heads.
Nothing has worked. Until now. Until I discovered the Leonor Greyl hair treatment at Harrods. It’s described as “a facial for the scalp”, but for me, it’s more like sweet salvation from a decade of scratching.
Now let me tell you, this isn’t a cheap option. But when I consider all the shampoos I’ve bought over the years and discarded after one use, it turns out to be perfectly reasonable.
But I digress. Some background – Leonor Greyl is a pioneering luxury haircare brand that has developed breakthrough technology, Micro viewing, which allows your hair to be viewed under a microscope magnified by 200 times and shown on the screen in front of me. Masa, the hair specialist, shows me the equipment which looks a bit like a first gen computer screen. She runs the microscope across my scalp and hair follicles appear on the screen looking like ropes.
My scalp meanwhile looks a sheet of ice, with some flaky bits and pink areas. It’s not a pretty sight. “Your scalp is very irritated” she tells me. “And it has a lot of build-up of product.” She makes me a bespoke hair mask which she slathers on my head and honestly, makes my scalp feel the most soothed it has in a long long time.
She also puts some Huile Apaisante, a soothing treatment with ani-inflammatory and antioxidant properties along my scalp lines that feels cold and medicinal, and again, instantly comforting. “You can use this before you have your hair dyed in the future” she says” and it will help protect your scalp from that burning sensation.” I want to hug her. If this actually works, it will be life changing. She puts my head in a steam helmet. Once the product is washed out, she shows me my scalp again. The flakiness as completely gone, my scalp looks like a dome covered in newly settled snow.
They finish my treatment with a rinse and a bouncy blow dry and send me home with a few shampoos including Crème Aux Fleurs, a washing treatment, which I personally find too heavy for my hair. I wake up the next day and realise my first action of the day isn’t to scratch my head. I can’t say it was completely itch free – but I’d say 80% so, which is pretty good going. After a few weeks of using the Bain Traitant a La Propolis, a gentle dandruff shampoo, it feels even calmer and I can finally say it’s nearly itch-free for the first time in almost a decade.