Hair Care

By Sharon Gomes Thomas

When I was barely a month old, I got my first hair treatment. Perhaps, scalp treatments would be a more accurate description. I was born completely bald, without even the fine peach fuzz that some babies have when they first enter the world. Apparently my lack of hair made my mother terribly embarrassed whenever she took me out, since this was way before the advent of baby headbands. With no pink bow or silk flower on my head, I was often mistaken for a boy.

So my distressed mother experimented with every concoction she came across, relying mostly on old wives’ tales. From rubbing my head with burnt tea leaves, which just gave my dome a dark sheen, to massaging warm extra virgin olive oil twice a day.

My mother swears that the olive oil treatment was a success, because just like a Chia Pet, hair started sprouting on my cranium after six months. Now, years later, I try to convince her that it was only a matter of time before I started growing hair, but she still stands by the remedy of warm olive oil.

Unlike my mother’s myths, the philosophy behind j.f. lazartigue (http://www.jflazartigue.com) is grounded in science and research. As a hairdresser in France, Jean-Francois Lazartigue was confronted with an array of hair problems, as most of his clients suffered from overly dry or oily hair, or hair loss.

Founding j.f. lazartigue in 1977 with the development of a pre-shampoo treatment formulated with bone marrow in his kitchen, he further developed products based on the best ingredients available. These range from Mexican Blue Algae to help fight the problem of combination hair, Propolis Jelly (a resinous substance collected by bees to tackle oily scalp), to Shea Butter for repairing damaged hair.

Luckily for us, Lazartigue realized that our stressed tresses here in America could use some rescuing and a facility dedicated to the health and beauty of hair, located in the heart of New York (764 Madison Avenue) has been treating clients for the past 20 years. Just as you would indulge in a facial or a body massage, the staff at j.f. lazartigue approach your hair and scalp in the same way. This is no ordinary salon, it’s a hair spa.

Upon arrival at the j.f. lazartigue spa, I was given a glimpse of my scalp using an exclusive camera scope, which displays an image, 140 times the actual size of the scalp, on a monitor. A strand of my hair was plucked and examined under the micro-viewer, which was magnified 160 times. I was even questioned about my diet and lifestyle, and told soundly that if I lied, my hair wouldn’t. It could show if I smoked or took my vitamins regularly. I felt like I was on an episode of the TV show “CSI!”

Surprisingly, my scalp and hair were in reasonably good condition. My recent foray with a shampoo-in hair color left my hair a little parched, while the hassles of city living made my scalp oily. My technician prepared a personalized hair regimen, which the spa keeps a record of, so they can cater the hair treatments for each subsequent visit.

First, I was pampered with the Proplis Jelly for Oily Scalp, which is like a facial – it takes off the dead flakes and purifies the scalp. Proplis Jelly is recommended once a week. My hair shaft was given Deep Action Treatment with Carrot Oil. This pre-shampoo penetrates the hair shaft and prevents breakage.

Treating both the scalp and the hair with different products balances the sebaceous glands. To make sure the products permeated deep into the hair shaft and scalp, I was put under a hair steamer for 20 minutes.

Next, it was shampoo time. What’s lovely about the j.f lazartigue spa is that each booth has its own sink, so you relax in your chair while receiving all your treatments. Both the Marine Shampoo and Moisturizing Shampoo were used because of my combination hair.

Finally, my hair was conditioned with the Vita Cream with Milk Proteins for Fine Hair. The Intensive Sebum Treatment is also recommended at least once a week; this product purifies the hair and stimulates strong hair growth.

The spa is a great indulgence, but if you don’t have the time for an appointment, you can always use their products at home. They’re sold in hair salons and specialist pharmacies everywhere (locations at http://www.jflazartigue.com). They’re also available online, which has a simple guide to purchasing products based on your hair type.

Since my spa visit, I’ve been using the Moisturizing Conditioner for Color Treated Hair, as well as the Hair-Styling Sun-Filtering Gel. Together with the After Swimming Shampoo, these products are essential in revitalizing hair during the summer months.

You can take the home pampering one step further with the Home Spa Essential Duo – a hair cream and oil serum. Together with the Les Soins D’Exception Shampoo that will be available soon, you can enjoy the spa experience in the convenience of your own bathroom.

One of the simplest treatments recommended by J.F. Lazartigue is giving yourself an auto-massage daily. This means stimulating your scalp when you shampoo to develop the capillaries, promote micro-circulation and activate the hair follicle. They believe this will reduce scalp tension and grow stronger hair.

Maybe my mother was on the right track after all.

J. F. Lazartigue Hair Spa
764 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10021
(212) 288-2250
http://www.jflazartigue.com

Products also available at following –

Upper East Side
Zitomer – 969 Madison Avenue
Clyde’s – 934 Madison Avenue
Boyd’s – 655 Madison Avenue
Essentials – 1392 Third Avenue

Midtown
Concord Chemist – 425 Madison Avenue
Cosmetic Plus – 516 Fifth Avenue
Four Seasons Hotel & Spa – 57 East 57th Street
Oasis Day Spa – One Park Avenue

Upper West Side
Apthorp Pharmacy – 2201 Broadway

Originally published June 2004
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