Product watch: the scalp camera

A new gadget allows stylists to take an in-depth look at your scalp and hair. Edel Coffey goes behind the lens.

A couple of weeks ago, I went along to Dylan Bradshaw’s salon in Dublin to check out its new gadget, the scalp camera. Sounds scary but it’s a rather discreet looking contraption.

In fact, it looks just like any ordinary digital camera — it fits in your palm and has a small colour screen on the back for flicking through the images. But these images are a little different. They are magnified pictures up to 300 times.

Whatever about the camera never lying, there’s absolutely no hiding from the truth of a camera with that sort of magnifying power.

The point is to get an in-depth look at your scalp and hair shaft and to give a highly individual diagnosis, whether that is for more severe problems like alopecia or scalp issues for those undergoing chemotherapy (they do have a private room available for this) or simply to find out what shampoo you should be using.

A stylist can make an accurate diagnosis of a client’s hair by look and feel, but the extreme magnification of the camera allows them to see problems not visible to the naked eye.

The process takes a matter of minutes as a stylist takes pictures of four different points on your scalp and along the length of the hair shaft. I am expecting a bad diagnosis.

My hair is what can only be described as abused. I am addicted to highlights. The end of my hair has the feel of tinder but the pictures tell a different story — my hair is thick and strong. I see it on the camera. It is undeniable. We find only one split end. I feel a ridiculous surge of pride for my poor mistreated hair holding up under such strain and not making a show of me in front of the silken-haired stylist. My scalp is a little dry from washing my hair every day but it’s not a big deal.

A consultation costs €25 but that is redeemable against products bought in the salon (they stock Kérastase and MoroccanOil) and is free with any hair service in the salon.

Do be prepared to be disgusted by your own head though. Magnified 300 times it all looks a little too real but it’s fascinating, and more than any of this it will enable an incredibly accurate prescription for what shampoos and products you should be using, so the next time you do decide to drop €20 on a shampoo you won’t be disappointed by its performance. www.dylanbradshaw.com

BEAUTY CHART

OUR TOP FIVE PRODUCTS

Trilogy Ultra Hydrating Hand Cream, €14.95 I’ve been a fan of this brand since day one and it hasn’t allowed its celebrity following to go to its head, or its price point. This new certified natural hand cream is rich but sinks in quickly giving instant relief. It contains Trilogy’s hero ingredient rosehip oil and smells divine — that’s the sweet orange, amber and vanilla.

Kerastase Sublime Cleansing

Oil Shampoo, €22.60 Fans of Kerastase’s Oleo range will be delighted to see this silicone-free daily formula shampoo. It has a high concentration of oils, which leaves the hair nourished but its daily-use formulation means hair is not weighed down. And it leaves hair smelling beautiful.

L’Occitane Marvellous Flowers shimmering oil, €29.95

What can I say, I’m a sucker for body oils, and L’Occitane’s Christmas Marvellous Flowers collection includes a glittering scented oil that would be a gorgeous gift, if you can bear to give it away, that is. It comes in an old-fashioned faceted bottle and smells subtly of Christmas berries and fruit, red berries and roses.

Giorgio Armani Micro-fil loose powder, €36.50

The Christmas collections keep coming, but this is one powder that Armani might have to introduce on a permanent basis. This ultra-fine translucent powder has a soft ‘moonlight’ pink shade which warms and evens out the complexion in a beautifully subtle way.

Jo Malone Pine and Eucalyptus candle, €50

There’s something about Jo Malone’s fragrances that are so definitive; it’s like smelling an emotion in a bottle. Their limited edition Christmas home scents are almost hypnotic. The Pine and Eucalyptus candle is a best seller creating an instant winter wonderland atmosphere. Their Roasted Chestnut Candle conjures up childhood memories that will keep you warm while the candle is burning.

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