Talking Natural Hair Care With Marilyn Searle

Dr Sandra Cabot talks with master hairdresser and trichologist Marilyn Searle about greying hair. Marilyn outlines the different factors she looks at when doing a hair assessment and how she can come up with a plan to improve the health of your hair and scalp. Marilyn uses natural hair dyes in her clinic to reduce the toxic burden on the body and the environment.

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DR CABOT: Hello, everyone. It’s great to be with you today. We’re talking about hair and making your hair look fabulous. My name is Dr Sandra Cabot and I’m joined by master hairdresser and trichologist, Marilyn Searle.

Hi, Marilyn!

MARILYN: Hi, Sandra. Hello, everybody out there.

DR CABOT: It’s great to be talking with you because you’re very well known in Australia, as a trichologist and master hairdresser. And you have so much experience and you’re such a believer in holistic hair care and really helping people to have healthy hair, as well as beautiful hair.

MARILYN: Yes, that is correct. The health aspect is very important. As a career hairdresser, I’ve seen so many things. The chemicals we used years ago were so harsh and caused so many problems in the health of people.

DR CABOT: Yes, they did.

MARILYN: As I educated myself, I understood this better. And now I’m so happy to tell you about it. To explain why you should really think about the products you put on your scalp and your hair. And even perhaps the what you eat to make your hair as best as it can be.

DR CABOT: That’s right. And today we thought we’d talk about gray hair, because we’re all getting older. And the postwar baby boomers, the “Boomer Babes”, as a friend of mine alludes to us – as the “Boomer Babes” – we want to look healthy, we want to look younger. There’s nothing wrong with that. And our hair is a big part of that. So, when it comes to going gray, it often happens to people in their 30s. It may not happen until you’re menopausal. It can be genetic. But what do you tell people who are worried about going gray, Marilyn?

MARILYN: Yes, this is an important thing because it’s not the fact of just going gray. It’s a quiet reminder our bodies are changing and this is very confronting to some people. So, my role as a master hairdresser and trichologist is to look at it to see – Is there a problem there? Is there an autoimmune disease? Is there a deficiency in your vitamins?” There’s many things that could come into play with this. Or is it genetic and this is how you are? And sometimes be proud of that.

So, my role, then I take my trichology hat on and put my hairdressing hat on and I say, “Well, what can we do with you today? Let’s have a look!” And we have a great discussion and we come up with a result that please us all. Some people choose to color their hair. And with today, the products are so amazing! Especially as a holistic hairdresser, I can use non-toxic hair colors that give a permanent result that is pleasing to all. Imagine using colors that don’t smell when you put them on. They don’t enter your body and cause problems with your liver and all those things that can become reactive.

Sandra, do you see many people with toxic problems?

DR CABOT: Yeah, we see a lot of people who have a high total body burden of toxins because they’re everywhere in our environment. The average person today eats one credit card worth of plastic a week. And we know that those tiny, particulate things that we call nanoparticles of plastic, they get stuck in the filtering organs of the body, like the spleen, the kidneys and liver, and they increase the risk of cancer. But there are so many other toxins, too. There’s dyes, there’s insecticides, pesticides. And these things accumulate in the fatty parts of your body and they can cause weight gain. We call them obesogens. And they can cause chronic fatigue. And they can definitely affect your skin and your hair, your appearance. And when it comes to gray hair, I’m sure they don’t help at all. Now, we know that smokers, they go gray two and a half times more quickly than a person who doesn’t smoke. So that’s from the heavy metals in the cigarettes. So, detoxing the hair is very important. And we’re going to do a podcast on detoxing the hair.

But when it comes to gray hair, some people, as you said, they’re quite happy to age gracefully and accept the gray hair, if it suits them, if it looks healthy. But some people do want to color it because they look younger and they feel better in themselves. But if you’ve got gray hair, you have to color your hair a lot, don’t you? And so, you don’t want to use toxic products.

MARILYN: That’s very true. You’re looking between 4 to 6 weeks to keep a good permanent color going. And if you continually use a product that contains carcinogens and metals, it’s not wise. So, today we have alternatives, wonderful products that give us stellar results. So, at the Cabot Clinic, we can do this. We offer this service and it’s great. And sometimes we don’t even have to color all our hair. We can still keep some of our gray and blend it. And there’s so many choices. But the thing is, do not be worried about your gray hair. Your hair can be color changed. The only time you should be concerned, if the hair is brittle or it’s not the same as it was. There could be an underlying factor. And we’re very happy to help you find that and treat that.

DR CABOT: Yeah. So, Marilyn, I think it’s good that someone who’s worried by what they think is premature graying of their hair, plus their hair isn’t as healthy as it used to be, that in your hair clinic, you work with people who can assess their nutritional status. So, their levels of B12, very important. Zinc… Also, whether they’ve got inflammation in their body, because inflammation can be measured with a simple blood test, and that could be attacking the hair follicles. Also, autoimmune disease, such as thyroid disease, lupus or celiac disease, that can be relevant in hair loss or premature graying of the hair. Also, some medications, vitiligo, which is an autoimmune disease, alopecia, which can attack the hair follicles and just your diet and lifestyle. So, a trichologist is a wonderful asset to somebody who’s concerned about their hair, generally, and wants to make the best of their hair.

MARILYN: Oh, absolutely! It’s so rewarding to work with a client and to have an outcome that they’re delighted by. It’s so hard when we see changes in ourselves. It’s just pigment. All it is, is pigment changing, if it’s a normal aging process. But as we’ve discussed, sometimes it’s not. And sometimes it’s good to get it checked out. And it’s also a fashion statement these days. Gray hair! Everyone wants to have that gray silver hair! Even our little 20-year-olds with the most amazing hair. They all want to have that gray, gray hair. So, we have to lighten that hair to the point of, well, it’s borderline when we lighten hair that much and especially if it’s very long. So, we have ways of looking after that hair and to keep it from not breaking off or destruction, which happens when people bleach their hair to the point of being gray, which is white, and then we have to tone it. So gray hair. Yes! It is a fashion statement. And if we do it right, it’s fabulous. But we’ve always got to be… take care with the authenticity of the hair structure and how it suits the client.

But if you have any worries about it, I do have “Wise Ones Days”. I call it wise ones, because people they are graying and they want some options, they just want to discuss. Our “Wise Ones Days” we do in Camden from Monday to Wednesday mornings and make an appointment, call in. And we’ll go through many options of how to cleverly style or trim or to color. Whether it’s a semi or whether it’s a permanent color. We do have the solutions with organic colors that do not harm your body or your hair.

DR CABOT: Yeah. And I know you use the best certified organic products.

MARILYN: Absolutely!

DR CABOT: And that some of them are Australian and some of them are imported from Europe.

MARILYN: Denmark.

DR CABOT: Denmark. Yeah.

MARILYN: They have one of the strongest certifications in the world. They are very careful what they put back into their water supply from everything. Even their paint they put on their walls. It has to go through a special chemical testing. And their hair dyes, because everybody likes to dye their hair, even in Denmark. The amount of product that goes into their waterways.

So, we do have the product that keeps you safe and our planet safe. It’s vegan friendly, animal cruelty free. And it just ticks all those boxes without the chemical overload.

DR CABOT: Yes. And that’s going to help your immune system. It’s going to reduce the workload of your liver.

MARILYN: Absolutely!

DR CABOT: And so, your general health is very much affected by the products you put on your scalp. Because the scalp, like the skin, absorbs everything you put on it.

MARILYN: Absolutely. We can change people’s hormones with a cream. So, imagine putting a toxic substance that sits there for quite some time.


MARILYN: Oh, my goodness!

DR CABOT: Very important. People with mysterious illnesses, like chronic fatigue or allergies or rashes, itchy skin, it could be due to the products you’re using. And there are safe, organic products that will achieve the same result.

MARILYN: That’s right. So our message to people with gray hair out there. Come and chat to us! Show us your beautiful gray locks! And if you wish to change them, we have the skills to do that. If you wish to enhance them, we can do that as well. Or your health, you’re worried about the density of your gray hair. You’re worried about it becoming brittle. We have solutions for that as well.

DR CABOT: That’s right at Salon Medica. You can come and see Marilyn Searle and she’s now part of our Holistic Medical Centre here in Broughton St.

So, thanks Marilyn, for sharing your wisdom. Even though you’re not gray…

MARILYN: Oh no! I was actually blessed by a family that are in their 90s with dark hair. It kind of looks a bit ridiculous, but that’s how it is. But all of us are different.

DR CABOT: Yes, our genes are all different. But epigenetic medicine is very important too. So, what you’re putting into your body affects your genes – that’s epigenetic medicine – and that can damage your genes. So, we want to stay clean. We want to stay healthy. Very, very important

So, we look forward to seeing you soon. Bye for now!