In L’Oréal’s lastest television advert, singer and X Factor judge Cheryl Cole smiles at the viewer and says, “My hair feels stronger, full of life, replenished with a healthy shine. It’s got its mojo back.” In the advert Cheryl claims that using L’Oréal Elvive Full Restore 5 will overcome “weak, limp, lifeless, dull or straw-like hair”. However fans are angry that the singer doesn’t reveal how she gets so much bounce and volume – by wearing hair extensions which cost in the region of £1000.
During the 30 second televised commercial, a message pops up, for less than two seconds, which says Cheryl’s hair is “styled with some natural extensions”. In magazine adverts, the hair extensions are referred to in tiny print that is 2mm high. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it had rejected 13 complaints that the ads were misleading because the disclaimer about Cheryl’s hair extensions was “clear and legible”.
A spokesman for the ASA adds,“It is also worth noting that the hair extensions are made from natural hair and have been treated with the products being advertised.”
However, Cheryl’s hairdresser, Julien Guyonnet, was quoted in The Times as saying she now regularly uses artificial hair made from acrylic rather than extensions made of “natural” hair. Guyonnet said he last put artificial-fibre extensions into her locks just four weeks ago in Notting Hill, west London. Prior to that, he also gave Cheryl fibre hair extensions in July. Guyonnet, who charges £750 for the three-hour procedure, said: “She is very nice and down-to-earth. She didn’t tell me she was doing the adverts. She used to use human hair but the glue damaged her hair.”
Until 2007 Cheryl wore human-hair extensions glued into her hair at the roots but was said to be worried about damaging her hair and scalp. And she is not the only celebrity to voice such concerns. Actress Jennifer Aniston, another former L’Oréal model, said her hair was almost ruined by extensions while she modelled the famous “Rachel” cut in the 1990s.
Indeed, as well as irritating the scalp, wearing extensions places excessive tension on the hair shaft which can lead to a type of hair loss called Traction Alopecia. If the hair is left to recover, and given a rest from styling aids (extensions, braids, weaves,wigs) then the hair growth cycle should return to normal. However in today’s celebrity culture, women with a profile such as Cheryl are expected to look picture-perfect 7 days a week. And with paparazzi around every street corner, it may be that Cheryl’s overstyling is putting her at risk of hair loss.
Guyonnet says this year she has tried using artificial-fibre hair instead. The 10in plastic strands, which weigh a third of the weight of human hair, are braided around four stems of natural hair close to the scalp and then sealed using the heated ends of a clamping gun. Both natural and artificial extensions need to be replaced every three months as they grow away from the scalp.
Guyonnet adds that she may have used human hair for the advert. However others are adamant Cheryl’s hair is not natural. Simon Forbes, owner of the Antenna salon in Kensington, is said to have invented extensions 30 years ago and says, “It is either second-hand hair or artificial. Cheryl looks great because of her extensions and L’Oréal are bathing in that light.”
A spokeswoman for L’Oréal said she “did not know” whether Cheryl used human or artificial extensions. A company statement said: “Cheryl has worn hair extensions for some time. They are part of her look and are cared for in the same way as normal hair.”
A spokeswoman for Cheryl said: “L’Oréal are within their rights and the ads are not breaking any rules. We would never comment on what type of hair extensions Cheryl is using because these are quite personal questions.”
Whether Cheryl’s extensions are real or not, the 26-year-old may want to give the styling aid a rest at some point as even natural extensions can damage the hair follicle if worn regularly. Senior hair loss specialist at the Belgravia Centre, Leonora Doclis, says, “Even though the artificial extensions are lighter, they can damage the hair. They are still attached to the scalp which places tension on the hair shaft and, if worn regularly, can cause the hair to break.” While Cheryl no doubt has access to the very best hair care, Doclis points out that even Victoria Beckham decided to give up the extensions after they were making her hair look more ragged than beautiful.
If you are concerned about hair loss and would like to find out how hair loss treatments can help, contact the Belgravia Centre for a consultation with a hair loss specialist. Appointments are free-of-charge and available 7 days a week. To book, just call 020 7730 6666 or message the centre. Alternatively, complete the online diagnostic form and a treatment advisor will contact you over the next two days.
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