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During my last trip to the emmanuel f. hair salon and spa in Hong Kong I learned so much not only about my hair, but about different types of hair from head stylist and owner Emmanuel Faipoux. At only 26 years old, Emanuel was already a manager and artistic director at the famous Jacques Dessange hair salon in Paris. He gained international experience while working in Europe, America and Asia, which helped him develop a better understanding of a variety of hair types, cultures and different perspectives. This guy has got experience!

Emmanuel’s eponymous emmanuel f. hair salon and spa has recently moved to Sheung Wan, where I had the pleasure of speaking with him about the unique challenges of maintaining healthy Asian and African hair.

Asian Hair

Emmanuel treats a lot of Asian hair at his Hong Kong-based salon, and when I ask him about the number one hairstyling mistake Asian women are making, he responds with “over layering”, which is thinning out their hair. The idea that Asians have thick glossy hair is a myth we get from commercials, but the reality is that most Asians Emmanuel sees in the hair salon actually have thin hair. There is little diversity in color and texture, however, lots of variation in thickness.

The problem here lies with a hairdresser who will continue to layer a person’s hair, without giving them a chance to regenerate to a natural fullness. Emmanuel’s tip for healthy hair – get a good hairdresser!

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Black African Hair

Emmanuel says that black African hair is the healthiest. While it is richer in protein than western hair, it can still suffer from familiar problems, such as overuse of poor quality products, styling, coloring and neglect. Black afro hair is prone to dryness, frizz and roughness, and needs lots of moisture, care and attention. How to take care of your hair? Moisturize! Emmanuel recommends daily conditioning, weekly masks and maintenance with quality products and a trusted hairdresser.

“Moisturize your hair consistently. In an Essence.com interview, August 24, 2009, Doctor Reginald Miller, a well-known hair doctor, explained that moisturizing properly is essential to growing long black hair. Condition your hair often to prevent dry, split ends. Avoid thick greases and oils that can accumulate and weigh down hair. Try a few light moisturizers until you find one that works with your specific hair type.”

Make Hair Look Healthier

When I ask Emmanuel, “What can we do to make our hair look healthier?” He is quick to point out, “There is a difference between having healthier looking hair and actually having healthier hair.” If you want a quick fix, good quality argan oil added to towel dried hair before styling will lock in hair cuticles and add shine. Emmanuel offers his top 3 tips for healthy hair for all hair types in a previous article I wrote. There are also a ton of tips on how to use argan oil for skin, hair and more.

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Argan oil

Often called ‘liquid gold’, pure argan oil is an organic product extracted from the kernels of the argan tree, which is native to Morocco. It is extremely rich in nutrients such as fatty acids and vitamin E, but be warned, all this goodness makes argan oil expensive, starting at approximately US$80 for 100ml!

I already knew about argan oil’s benefits for your skin, but a quick bit of research uncovers why it is also great for hair. Non-greasy argan oil makes for a perfect leave-in conditioner that facilitates hairstyling while repairing those pesky split ends! Argan oil’s further hair benefits include helping to tame frizz and fly-aways and protecting against the heat of hair dryers, curlers and flat irons, all while promoting body and a healthy shine. My daughter has bouncy curls that can get frizzy and we see a big difference when we treat the ends with argan oil.

There is some research that indicates an argan oil hair treatment can even promote hair growth, so be sure to rub it into your scalp too.

Don’t confuse pure argan oil with Moroccan Oil, a popular hair care brand found in salons. There is no doubt that Moroccan Oil smooths your hair, smells great (not due to the oil) and takes away stray hairs and frizz, but this is at the cost of having artificial silicones slathered on your head, including Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone and Cyclomethicone. Not to discredit Moroccan Oil, but the smell and packaging is a genius combination of marketing, and it is certainly not the purest form of argan oil. I get pure argan oil direct from a Morrocan friend who brings it to me after her travels back home, but do a little research online to seek out a reputable distributor or online business.

Emmanuel Faipoux has over 30 years experience as a hairdresser and stylist, working with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Jacques Dessange, Dior and L’Oreal, as well as local Asian and European celebrities. The emmanuel f. salon & spa is conveniently located in the stylish Sheung Wan district of Hong Kong.

For more information, or to book an appointment, contact emmanuel f. salon and spa at emmanuelf.com or visit his inspirational Instagram page at emmanuelfhk. Like his page and mention Zora The Explorer at your next appointment to get a 20% discount on hair and spa services! Valid until March 2017 one time only.