When it comes to hair care, I've been on a never-ending quest to achieve long, glossy, frizz-free, roll-out-of-bed good hair for decades. It's been a personal rollercoaster ride from Brazilian blowouts, Japanese hair straightening, tape-in extensions, and every deep conditioning treatment under the sun. But it wasn’t until I discovered Harklinikken, the Scandinavian hair care brand focused on treating hair thinning, hair loss, and scalp care, that my game changed for good.
In full transparency, my hair was in a good place at the time I discovered Harklinikken — or at least, I thought it was. It was June 2019 when I attended an event for the opening of Harklinikken’s New York City flagship clinic, that I received a crash course in hair thinning and scalp health. The before-and-after images of the brand's clients were certainly eye-catching and intriguing all on their own (see below for yourself), but it wasn’t until my consultation with founder and head of research and development, Lars Skjoth, that I was moved to take action.
After a personal hair and scalp scan, Skjoth revealed to me that my hair was 60% thinning and at a fraction of its potential. Say what? Somewhere between the panic and the promise of thicker, longer, glossier hair, I was motivated to commit to what soon became the most fascinating beauty journey I’ve experienced to date.
As I embarked on my hair rehab journey over the last year and a half, I’ve been blown away by the response from family and friends who were also in search of help for their own thinning hair concerns. It’s hardly the sexiest topic in the books, but I was shocked by how many people opened up to me about their own stresses and frustrations with their hair health and looked to me for inspiration, and guidance, on how to nurse their own hair back to its full potential. That’s why I recently chatted again with Skjoth for a deep dive into all things hair loss, and an inside look at what makes the Harklinikken regimen such a game-changer for those looking to improve their hair health.
To start, let’s get to the root of the problem — sorry, had to! What causes hair thinning in the first place? “Most hair thinning can be attributed to an interaction between genetics and hormones,” Skjoth explains to TZR. “The hormones carry out the “order” from the genes to attack the hair follicles, which ultimately causes the hair follicle to shrink, resulting in gradually thinner hair.” This gradual thinning makes it especially difficult for people to detect any signs of an issue until they have already lost 40 to 50% of their hair. “Our hair ages just like we do, and hair thinning can start at any age, even in teenage years and in some cases much younger than one would expect,” Skjoth elaborates.
Then, there are the outside factors that play a role in hair health — like the smoking hot plates we sandwich our hair between and the cocktail of products we slather on daily. “When the hair is coated it becomes difficult for to absorb real moisture — making it more prone to breakage. Some of these ingredients — like perfume, Diethanolamine, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, and Methylisothiazolinone — can end up coating the scalp and the hair follicles which can cause problems with the hairs’ ability to grow,” Skjoth shares. Take dry shampoo, for example. It doesn’t actually cleanse your scalp or hair, but instead gives the illusion of clean hair with powders that can clog hair follicles and throw off your scalp's pH balance. “This type of product often irritates the scalp, can cause contact dermatitis, and with continued use can lead to hair loss and hair thinning,” Skjoth explains.
Skjoth went on to explain the natural miniaturization process of hair. He detailed that while strong, healthy hairs are deeply rooted in the scalp and take up 100 percent of their root surface area, the hairs that grow back in their place are often only a fraction of the density and thickness of the original strand. Multiply this effect over multiple hair life cycles, and across your entire head, and it’s not hard to understand how your hair becomes a fraction of what it once was over time. This was precisely the problem I faced. While I certainly wasn’t experiencing extreme or sudden thinning, my ponytail was admittedly half of what it once was. This was something I had come to accept as a reality of my 30s, however, Skjoth assured me there was much improvement to be made, and that the thick luscious locks of my 20s were easily within reach.
Now, let’s dive into the solution. “The entire Harklinikken hair care regiment works to create the ultimate balance for the delicate scalp and hair follicle ecosystem,” Skjoth explains to TZR. The shampoos, conditioners, and styling products are formulated to help promote a healthy scalp and hair, while the Harklinikken Extract — a proprietary blend of plant-based constituents and constituents derived from cow’s milk that is customized for each client — activates dormant hair follicles and thickens existing hairs. The key to the impressive results lie not only in the products itself, but the clients' diligent twice-daily application of the Extract. “The client's Extract combination constantly changes throughout the treatment and the Extract constituents form to become a symbiotic defense system against the attack that is taking place on the follicle and the eventual deterioration of the cells within the follicle,” shares Skjoth. By creating a tailor-made regimen focused on the individual’s specific needs at any given time, Harkinikken can help clients achieve more impressive results that serve individual hair loss concerns.
It’s hardly a difficult regimen, but its success relies solely on compliance, so it’s a process that requires commitment, diligence, and patience in order to reap the benefits. Swapping in the Harkinikken Balancing Shampoo, Daily Conditioner, and Leave-in Hydrating Crème was the easiest part — and the immediate results of softer, shinier hair were enough to hook me from the first wash. The limiting factor was the scalp Extract application. The Extract was to be applied twice daily on dry hair using the provided applicator syringe, with each application applied 30-60 minutes apart, massaged into the scalp for 30 seconds, and left on for at least 8 hours before washing. It takes a minute of daily shower planning, but once you get in a routine it’s an easy addition for the promise of beautiful hair.
While Harklinikken is hardly the first of its kind to enter the hair loss category, its personalized, tailored process makes it feel more like a personal trainer for your hair, as opposed to a gimmicky miracle-cure. And while it certainly requires more thought and commitment than a daily supplement, the impressively fuller, glossier results are motivation to keep yourself on track. See for yourself, some of my impressive before-and-after results below.