BEING THERE : Brushing Up

You've tried azalea bark shampoo and saguaro cactus fruit conditioner. You've had your locks trimmed by the likes of Eber and Cristophe. But the mop on top still looks more like Marge Simpson's than Hillary Clinton's.

It may be that your flowing tresses need a tuneup. French hair-care specialist J. F. Lazartigue--whose Beverly Hills hair center complements other locations, including centers in New York and Paris--is convinced he can get to the root of your hair troubles. Like several other hair analysts around town, he says the solution is cold, hard science. And cash.

So here I am sitting in a special room of Cristophe's Beverly Hills salon having my locks looked at. A woman named Lisa plucks a hair, puts it under a "Microviewer" and carefully examines the root, follicle and color. She consults charts and diagrams and a couple of minutes later gives me the diagnosis: a reasonably healthy follicle with good color, texture and consistency on the strand. However, I have oil trapped inside my scalp, she tells me, something that can eat away at the follicle and cause dry hair and dandruff.

The hair doctor goes to work. An hour and 15 minutes later--after having my hair medicated, wet-steamed and washed--I get a prescription of propolis jelly, shea butter, micro-pearl and liposome to give me shinier, healthier hair.

The treatment cost $75; the jelly, butter and the rest were $200. I left hoping that I'd never again have to comb the streets with a scalp full of that treacherous hidden oil--and wondering how much it would have cost if my hair hadn't been relatively healthy.

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