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How a dermatologist is changing the Black hair industry


Photo Credit: Dr. Shari Hicks – Graham

Rolling out had the pleasure of speaking with dermatologist Dr. Shari Hicks-Graham.

One of the obstacles Dr. Hicks-Graham faces at her practice is treating patients suffering from dry, itchy scalp – most of whom have kinky or curly hair – due to a lack of safe and effective products on the market. Typical dry scalp treatments include a never-ending cycle of damaging “scorched earth” products, medicated shampoos and additional soothing scalp treatments. Frustrated with the lack of safe, convenient options for her patients, she decided to take a leap into entrepreneurship and create her own company to solve the problem.

How did you get started? 
I got started with LivSo during day to day patient encounters in my practice. I recognized a need for a hair care product to compliment the medical treatments that we use to treat patients with dry and itchy scalp conditions. As I considered what patients would need in an ideal product line, the products came to life. We compared ingredients and did lots of market research. We talked with cosmetic chemists and developed a formula that we loved. LivSo was born.

How important is it to maintain a healthy haircare routine? 
It is critical to maintain a consistent healthy haircare routine. I recommend that for curly or kinky hair types, hair should be washed and conditioned at least weekly. If you suffer from dry or itchy scalp, this routine care is particularly important. LivSo was developed to be used regularly, and the Moisturizing Scalp Lotion can be used on a day to day basis to soothe dry itchy areas of the scalp. Many of us neglect our hair, particularly if it is “natural” because we misunderstand the rules. Any hair that we expect to grow in a healthy way must be cared for gently and regularly.

What hair tips can you offer us that we can do daily with minimal effort? 
Agree with sleeping with satin lined caps or pillowcases to protect hair from unnecessary friction. Be a good steward of your protective style. Take care of your braids or weaves. Do not leave braids/weaves in too long (more than 6-8 weeks at the most) and please care for your hair while in those styles. Wash appropriately (LivSo is recommended) and be certain to dry the hair well to avoid fungal infections. Pay attention to the state of your own hair between braided/weaved styles. Please take breaks from the fixed styles and wear the hair in a loose style for at least twice the length of time that you had the original fixed style in place. Ask your hairstylist to loosen any tight spots before leaving the salon to avoid hair loss around the scalp periphery (traction alopecia) that can result in permanent hair loss. I am seeing lots of cases of central scarring hair loss in women of all ages due to poorly controlled scalp problems and fixed styles like braids and weaves. Many of these issues are preventable if we simply take care of our hair and make it part of our ritual of self-care.

What are the biggest challenges that women with curly or kinky hair face?
The biggest challenges for people with curly and kinky hair relate to styling and choice of styling products. We simply have to get comfortable with knowing ourselves and being okay with our best healthy style. All styles are not attainable for everyone. I can guarantee, however, that everyone has his/her own best individual style. We are challenged to find that best look and wear it well using the best products to help our hair and scalp look and feel best.

How soon can one expect to see results using LivSo?
Our study revealed that results were seen as early as four weeks, and continued through week twelve. Many of my patients tell me that they have seen improvements after the first few uses.

Can men use this product?
We think that LivSo is a great product for men. The product smells fresh and will appeal to anyone. It lathers with a gentle, clean feeling and rinses out easily. The conditioner makes hair soft and smooth, and the lotion will help with dryness of scalp skin. The product was not used on the face in the study, but any hair bearing area (including beards) should function in a similar way to the scalp.

For more information on Dr. Shari and her amazing products, please visit


Photo Credit: Dr. Shari Hicks Graham