The Kiwi blokes guide to hair care by leading trichologist Nigel Russell

Today men, from metrosexuals to even the most macho blokes are more interested than ever in looking after their appearance – especially their hair.  
As a certified trichologist - a hair and scalp specialist – Nigel Russell is an expert at knowing how to help guys get the best out of their hair – from the dreaded thinning hair issues to dandruff.  He’ll also talk about which styling products will work best on male hair and why blokes shouldn’t be swiping their partners hair products (and it’s not just because they are too expensive to share!).

Russell shares his top four secrets on the do’s and don’ts for men’s hair care.

Those white flakes

Dandruff is one of the most common issues men have with their hair, those pesky white flakes are not going to win you any popularity contests, which can be a real blow to the self-esteem for even the most confident man.

What causes my dandruff/flaky scalp?

Dandruff is associated with an oily scalp and this is very common with sports active men. An oily scalp is also common in winter as we do not shampoo the hair as much.

Dandruff  can also be caused by either product build up or shampoo that has not been washed out properly. It is very common amongst adolescent males as they go through puberty.

What can I do about it?

The right shampoo is important, try Kerastase bain gommage ($28.95) or Holistic Hair Sensitive Scalp Shampoo ($25. 75). The hair may need to be washed more frequently to remove oil build up, make sure you rinse out the shampoo thoroughly after. Conditioner may not be required if the hair has a tendency to be oily.

Changing the diet can help, try avoiding fatty highly processed foods and takeaways. Replace them with zinc rich foods like fish and raw nuts.

Blackmores Bio Zinc  ($16.30) will help both the oil and any acne condition as well.


Many guys also suffer from an irritable, itchy scalp, causing redness and discomfort.

This condition is known as psoriasis and the good news is that it’s not contagious and it can be well managed with the proper care.

What causes psoriasis?

Psoriasis is often hereditary but may occur later in life as a reaction to an allergy or change in health status.

What can I do about it?

The condition differs from dandruff as it is a dry skin condition which needs constantly hydrated so it is imperative to pick a low allergy non sensitising product to use. The condition worsens under stress and is affected by foods like dairy products, caffeine and alcohol. The scalp should be moisturised with a natural oil regularly, try exposing yourself to sunlight and sea air, a short haircut is advisable.

Products that will help combat psoriasis:

Holistic Hair sea spray  ($21.45)
Therapy For Irritated Scalp ($26.85)
Nizoral Shampoo ($16.60)
Neutrogena T/gel Shampoo ($12.79)

Vitamins  that will help psoriasis:

Blackmores B Stress Formula ($27.70)
Blackmores Bio Zinc ($16.30)
Liver detox ($49.90)
Solgar L-Tyrosine ($30.20). These amino acids work on the nervous system but should be taken under direction.

Why using your partner's shampoo is not a good idea:

Apart from the fact that using your lady’s  hair products on the sly will get you in trouble when she gets a familiar whiff of her expensive product in your hair, there are some more scientific reasons behind why not all hair products are meant for two.

Nigel says:

Shampoo for specific hair types have been designed accordingly. So for those with lots of colour, very curly hair or extra fine hair, the suitability of the product is essential. Chances are you’re not going to have the same hair type as your partner!

Often the problem is that most women have colour in their hair and will use a moisture based shampoo, whereas most guys probably have either an oily scalp or they use styling product which creates a build up of oil and product in their hair.

A colour shampoo will make the hair limp and greasy if it is not compatible with the hair type. A guys hair needs a scalp specific shampoo, where most women require a hair specific shampoo.

Hair loss

Hair loss can be  a terrifying reality for many men, and sometimes men opt for the ‘bald look’ rather than be faced with their thinning hair in the mirror each day. In actual fact, shaving your head is not the only solution - hair loss is actually, treatable.

What causes hair loss?

Most male hair loss is genetic and can be inherited from either the mother or the father but predominately it comes from the mother’s father. If it is genetic then it will start to appear as recession at the temples and crown about the age of 21. By age 27 it will have progressed  and be more noticeable especially through the top part of the head as the two areas begin to merge.

Hair loss may be caused by several other factors such as a nutritional disorder, an autoimmune condition or even high stress can cause hair to thin out.

There is a popular theory used by many hair clinics that the pores on the scalp can get blocked by oil that contains D.H.T which is the hormone responsible for shrinking the hair follicle. By using a cleansing ritual and an elaborate range of products with a specific regime the hair will re appear through that blocked duct. However there is no scientific proof to back up this theory so my first bit of advice is to be wary of clinics that try to sign you up to long-term hair treatment.

What can I do about this?

The best strategy is early detection as any action taken to halt hair loss will be more effective in its early stages. It is important to understand what type of hair loss you are dealing with and genetic hair loss appears mainly through the top of the head, not all over. Whereas a nutritional condition would  appear all over the scalp and an autoimmune problem would be in smooth round patches.

If it is genetic then there are a few things that can be done. The most common treatment for mens hair loss is trailing Minoxidil which is from the Regain products range (who specialise in hair loss).

Alternatively you can try Propecia which can be taken orally. However it is important to note that this should be taken after consultation with your doctor.

Both these medications are more effective in treating hair loss in its early stages.

There is also a herbal remedy known as Saw Palmetto that works in a similar way and when it is combined with a zinc and B stress supplement this may be a more natural way to deal with hair loss. 

There are many aromatherapy oils that have shown to support hair growth such as  lavender ,rosemary and nettle oil. When they are applied to the scalp regularly the hair appears to be healthier and fuller.

There are the obvious things that help such as a good diet, regular exercise and reducing stress that will slow down the progress of hair loss.

Getting the right advice is essential and if you are being talked in to a long term hair loss plan then I’d advise you to walk away.

The next major breakthrough with hair loss treatment will be in stem cell research and they have already had success in this area. However it will be some time before it becomes available commercially.

For those who have advanced hair loss there is an operation known as micro graphing which is fine hair replacement. This is a day surgery operation that takes hair follicles from the back of the head and replaces them where needed. This treatment has been very successful, however it is important to get professional advice from your local GP before you proceed with this treatment.

Nigel’s top 4 products

Mens Styling pack (West coast molding  clay and E-male essential spray, $33.00).
Redken Mint Clean Shampoo and Conditioner  ($32.99)
Redken Work Hard  Molding Paste ($34.52)
Triumph & Disaster Old Fashioned Shave Cream ($33.00)

Holistic Hair was born out of Nigel Russell’s desire to use aromatherapy oils and other natural and organic ingredients to resolve his client’s hair issues rather than providing “band aid solutions”. It’s this unique combination that has wowed users of the range including Hollywood stylists on Spartacus and Avatar, and local stylists on Boy and all of the Outrageous Fortune seasons – and prompted online orders from all over the world.

Holistic Hair products treat everything from psoriasis and female hair thinning, to over processed and damaged hair.  The range is also aimed at other areas of wellbeing including helping to achieve a better night’s sleep – which is a key factor in maintaining a healthy head of hair - using natural sleep enhancers such as Lavender.

For details visit

To be in to win a holistic hair pack, click here!

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  • Nigelmc says
    This is really informative, great stuff guys
    • CORTEX says
      Yes this is good...!!!
    • anna says
      i suffer from scalp dryness and it is not very nice
    • LUCKYONE says
      Interesting that dandruff comes from an oily scalp. I would of thought it was the other way round. Good thing there is a Holistic way to deal with it.
    • JohnGx says
      I get both dandruff and psoriasis and have a bit of hair loss, so this topic is of interest to me. Thanks for the informative article! I'll try get out in the sun more, look into the products that have been mentioned here and try cut back on my coffee intake. It's always great to hear about new products coming out from NZers.
    • New Member says
      An excellent article by Nigel.Without a doubt nutrition has a big play in the health of your hair and scalp. The use of aromatherapy, vitamins, especially B Vitamins and amino acids all very important to keep your system in top order
    • Mia says
      i suffer with dry scalp which is very embarrassing and ive spent a fortune on top of the range products. im currently using Paul Mitchell tea tree and still... no luck. i had alot of hair... once upon a time. i think with stress and my lifestyle and daily washes i lose alot of hair everyday and dont have much left. would love to try this product.
    • Marley says
      Interesting read, my hubby gets a dry scalp.
    • Mark says
      Selsun Blue or Head & Shoulders are about half the price of the products recommended here for dandruff.
    • Doug says
      Great article guys!!
    • Jeremy says
      Great read!

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