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Five minutes with: Nigel Russell

By Milly Nolan

Nigel Russell is the force behind Holistic Hair – a range of hair products targeting the most common hair and scalp problems, on MiNDFOOD.

As a hairdresser and certified trichologist, Nigel Russell dealt with many clients who had irritating scalp and hair problems that were difficult to treat. Having researched and applied many different methods for hair and scalp therapy, it became evident that combining natural and organic products with aromatherapy was the most effective form of treatment. Hence, Russell created Holistic Hair – a range of hair products targeting the most common hair and scalp problems: psoriasis, female pattern thinning, over-processed and damaged hair.

How long have you been hairdressing for?

I have been hairdressing and consulting for over 30 years, during which I have owned a Sydney salon. I am involved in teaching young stylists and doing platform demonstrations around Australia and New Zealand as well as my regular consultations as a trichologist at Servilles in Takapuna.

What is a trichologist and how did you become one?

A trichologist is someone who investigates and analyses hair and scalp disorders using a wide range of methods based on a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. I realised the importance of trichology when working with clients who suffered hair and scalp problems in the ’80s.

I studied in Australia over a four-year part-time course, then I had to complete 100 clinic hours in order to become certified, which I achieved in 1992. You have to strictly adhere to the international standards to be recognised and stay listed with the association. I also have to complete an exam every year and renew my membership. Currently I am the only member listed in New Zealand.

How and when did Holistic Hair come about?

It was created in 1998 after I noticed a gap in the market for effective hair care solutions without harmful chemicals. This lead to my own research and development following a career spanning more than 20 years in hairdressing and consulting in New Zealand and abroad.

What is the philosophy behind Holistic Hair?

Our mission is to constantly improve and expand the Holistic Hair range in order to bring our customers the best nature has to offer and a more diverse selection of products to style and beautify their hair. We remain dedicated to health and wellbeing of our customers without compromise or exception.

Why use aromatherapy? What are its benefits in terms of hair care?

Nourishing both the hair and scalp is our focus and the healing properties of aromatherapy oils have been our inspiration in developing the Holistic Hair range. We worked with a qualified aromatherapist to design the range. Benefits include manageability, rebuilding the hair shaft, stimulation of the circulatory and nervous systems, soothing the scalp, lasting relief for inflamed skin and encouraging healthy hair growth.

Have you noticed a shift in desire for natural products as opposed to synthetic?

Yes absolutely. There is a definite shift towards natural products both from a health perspective and with salon products but many companies are just trading on the name “natural” while still using synthetic-based ingredients.

What are the most common hair complaints that you hear?

The most common conditions I see are dry and chemically damaged hair; psoriasis, which affects 4 per cent of the world’s population; diffuse and thinning hair on younger women due to low iron levels, diet issues and stress; eczema and chemical sensitivity to main stream cosmetics and naturally frizzy hair that is dull and unruly.

What is the most common hair condition that you see?

Probably the most common “hair” issue is chemically damaged hair which can be caused by over processed colouring, high lift colours, using the wrong product or non protective product during styling plus over use of straightening irons where the ends lose their elasticity.

The most common “scalp” issue is psoriasis which is an auto immune disorder that causes a proliferation of scale build up on the skin, mainly the scalp and creates irritation and sensitivity. It is inherited but is made worse with stress and bad diet.

What results can you expect after using the Holistic Hair products?

Used regularly, the Holistic Hair range will leave hair shiny and well cared for while also relieving and preventing a range of distressing hair and scalp conditions.

Do you have plans to take the Holistic Hair brand further?

Our aim is to export and we are currently targeting the US health sector and Asia as New Zealand has a good profile and we want to support this to take the message further. You can currently buy online at

We would like to expand further into the hairdressing market and create styling products with a natural edge. We have also been involved with the New Zealand film industry and have customised certain products for the make-up departments. It would be our wish to be recognised as a part of this industry and to be recognised overseas.


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