7 Genius Healthy Hair Tips I Learned From A Top London Scalp Doctor

Photographed by Leia Morrison
Hannah Gaboardi has excellent hair. She would do, of course, being one of London's most sought-after trichologists. Her job is to boost — and often transform — the health of patients' scalps and lengths, whether that's improving thickness and shine or tackling common gripes like dandruff and greasy roots, or more sensitive ones, such as hair loss. In other words, what Hannah doesn't know about achieving healthy, happy hair isn't worth knowing.
With that in mind (and the fact that VIPs and celebrities walk through the doors of her two London clinics on a regular basis) I couldn't say no to a one-on-one consultation. What I learned completely overhauled my haircare routine for the better — and here's everything I want you to know.

You're not washing your hair often enough — and that's a problem

According to Hannah, the biggest mistake that everyone makes is googling how often they should be washing their hair. "I've seen some patients who wash their hair once every two weeks," said Hannah, "as it's believed that if you stop washing your hair it will balance out," she adds, referring to the trend for letting hair clean itself. There is no evidence to suggest this works, said Hannah. "I always advise my clients to treat their hair how they would treat their skin. You should be washing your hair every other day — and this goes for all hair types. A healthy scalp means healthy hair." Which leads us nicely on to the next tip...

A scalp scrub can be one of the most useful products in your haircare arsenal

Even if you cleanse your hair regularly, it's easy for oil, hair products, dirt and skin to accumulate on your scalp. If your hair gets greasy quite quickly, Hannah recommends using a scalp scrub every two weeks or once a month. She rates OUAI Scalp & Body Scrub, £32. "It'll take that dead skin off," said Hannah. "If the follicles are blocked, they can't grow; when you cleanse your scalp, you're encouraging your hair to grow." Also try ARKIVE The Crown Scalp Scrub, £14, and Lee Stafford Hair Growth Scalp Scrub, £9.99.

Silk pillowcases and scrunchies are far from a gimmick

Nobody needs a silk pillowcase. But if you're serious about hair health or you're keen to minimise damage to already dry, brittle lengths, Hannah swears by them, particularly if you're after thicker, healthier hair. "When you're sleeping at night, you're turning around and your hair is going everywhere," said Hannah. "If you're sleeping on silk, there's less damage. I also love sleeping in silk hair wraps, which are amazing."
Hannah also suggests swapping out your tight elastic hairbands for silk scrunchies and hair ties. "The worst thing for your hair is elastic bands and a lot of people don't realise how bad they are, because the elastic is causing friction. It's rubbing against your hair shaft and nothing about that is going to be moisturising. Silk, on the other hand, is very soft on the hair and it will take care of your natural hair shaft." In other words, you can expect a lot less breakage.
Try ïn home 100% Silk Scrunchie 3 Pack in Silver, Pink, Sage, £18, or if your hair is on the shorter side, SILKE Hair Ties, £40 for 8, and Silk Works Silk Skinny Scrunchies Pack of 3, £20. They might be pricier than your £1 multipack of stretchy ties but they last a lot longer as they're less prone to snapping easily, and they can be washed over and over again.

The one hair washing mistake everyone makes

If your scalp feels itchy or greasy, even after you've washed your hair, you could be doing it wrong. "We tend to shampoo the front of our hair and forget about everywhere else," said Hannah. "People are always so focused on the front," where your hair might get oily quickly, such as around the hairline or your fringe. Paying attention to the back of the scalp is a must, as is rinsing out your conditioner properly.
"Not rinsing out your conditioner well enough can cause scalp irritation and result in itchiness and flakes," said Hannah, who suggested concentrating the product to mid-lengths to ends if you have oily, fine hair, or all over if your hair is dry and porous. "You really need to rinse out your products well," said Hannah. When you think you're done rinsing, continue for another couple of minutes to ensure all traces of residue are washed away.
Hannah mentioned that any styling products you apply to your hair could irritate the scalp and cause itchiness or flakiness, too. If that's the case, it might be worth switching things up.

Here's how to make your hair grow faster and thicker

"Some clients that see me for hair loss treatments are totally obsessed with a TikTok trend right now — that if they do a handstand for 10 minutes and the blood flows to the area, it promotes hair growth," said Hannah. Hair does need blood flow to the area in order to grow but Hannah would recommend regular scalp massages and scalp serums instead.
"To get hair to grow thicker and fuller, stimulating blood flow to the area is key. I like massaging the scalp regularly with a scalp serum like OUAI Scalp Serum, £46," which contains peptides like pea extract — essentially proteins which strengthen hair. Hannah also loves to use a scalp massager in the shower. "Do this every time you wash your hair," she said. "Simply apply your shampoo to the brush and get massaging. You could use a massager on dry hair at night. I tend to do this for five minutes at a time."
Try the Briogeo Scalp Revival Stimulating Therapy Massager, £16, or the Lee Stafford Shampoo Massage Brush, £6, and look out for shampoos containing healthy hair ingredients like hydrating hyaluronic acid and caffeine.
For those experiencing hair loss, Hannah mentioned minoxidil (otherwise known as Regaine): a topical, medical solution which rushes blood to the area and encourages hair to grow. Supplements are also a great option, said Hannah, who suggests looking out for ingredients such as iron, zinc and biotin. If you're prone to acne, you might want to choose a lower dose of the latter, as Hannah mentioned it has been linked to breakouts in certain individuals.
If you've followed most of the at-home advice, Hannah suggests you might like to visit a trichologist for a treatment such as microneedling or PRP scalp injections. An expert will also investigate whether your hair loss may be hormonal, for example, linked to pregnancy or a condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome.

Your choice of hairstyle could spell bad news for your scalp

From the snatched bun to braided ponytails, a lot of super tight hairstyles are trending right now. But they could be constantly pulling on your scalp or certain areas and cause traction alopecia. "A lot of people don't realise that when you're tying your hair up into a really tight ponytail or other tight styles like weaves, wefts and certain hair extensions, you're actually causing friction and a pull to the follicle," said Hannah. "What that does after a period of time is cause scarring and eventually hair loss. This is why a lot of women get a receding hairline."
If you've been tying your hair up or have had any of the above hairstyles for a long period of time, Hannah would suggest giving your lengths a break for a while, and enlisting a scalp serum.

How to get shiny hair fast

Hannah suggests that shiny lengths start with your diet. "I recommend a diet rich in avocados, spinach and oily fish," for example salmon, she said. Again, sleeping on a silk pillowcase can help to minimise friction and damage to the hair shaft, emphasising shine, and when it comes to products, Hannah loves a gloss. "The Glaze Super Color Conditioning Gloss Sheer Glow, £12.99, is amazing but alongside this I like scalp serums, hair oils and the rice water trick."
Soaking white rice overnight and using the residue-infused water on your hair is a ritual that Chinese women have been practising for decades. Thanks to TikTok, it recently went viral. "This is great on your hair," said Hannah, who is also a fan of rinsing hair in cold water after a shower to enhance shine.
Lastly, using a really high heat on straighteners is a no-no if you want lustre. "You should be using a low heat," said Hannah. One hundred and eighty degrees is the optimum heat you can probably get away with when styling, which is why ghd hot tools are capped at this number. That said, Hannah explained that some people may need to turn it up a notch, especially if your hair is curly or you find it difficult to manage. "I would suggest using the lowest heat possible that is on your appliance and going from there," concluded Hannah.
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