Today’s discerning consumer knows more about beauty trends than ever, especially when it comes to hair products. Being the hair health–obsessed person that I am, it’s such a relief to see so many brands committing themselves to making safer, cleaner and more luxe products. Although the hair-care industry has come a long way, there’s still much work to be done.
You may have heard the names of staple ingredients to avoid—mainly phthalates, harsh sulfates, parabens, and silicones—but as important as it is to avoid these, are you aware of the ingredients you do want in your hair-care products? Below, the top three to look for—and one to avoid—according to the experts.
The Ultimate Hair Oil
For taming frizz and smoothing your hair, Los Angeles cosmetic chemist Valerie George of The Beauty Brains explains the difference in hair oils. “There are lots of lightweight oils for hair out there; one of my favorites is marula oil. It contains hydrating amino acids and moisturizing agents such as oleic acid.” Marula oil also has a high shelf-life, unlike the ever popular argan oil. A personal favorite: Marula Beauty Light Hair Treatment & Styling Oil ($40).
The Botanical Option
While the correct oil can help you manage your strands, let’s not forget to nourish our scalps, as it’s the breeding ground for healthier hair. While often overlooked by consumers and even professionals, there are a few brands that are focusing on the scalp.
Helen Reavey, New York City celebrity hairstylist and founder of Act + Acre knows this all too well, as her unique Scalp Detox ($42) is full of quality ingredients. “Basil leaf extract is proven by many studies to be incredible for stimulating blood supply to the hair follicle,” she explains. This is the pocket your hair grows out of under your scalp and determines the quality of your hair. “Its antifungal properties help with dandruff and removing impurities built-up on the scalp.”
The Best-in-Class Vitamin
Although many hair products now focus on applying vitamins and nutrients directly on your scalp, George contends it’s actually difficult for many vitamins to penetrate the scalp. “It’s much better to ingest them, as they are expensive when used in hair products.”
This is exactly why you want to take great care of your scalp by cleansing it well and clearing it of build-up. “Vitamin E is the best vitamin for the scalp,” Reavey explains. “It’s full of nutrients—not just for the follicle, but to help produce collagen and healthier skin cells for your scalp.”
What to Avoid
There is an abundance of clean and safe hair products including all-natural options made using nutrient-dense ingredients. As effective and beneficial as all-natural ingredients can be, “the delicate balance between chemistry and natural ingredients is necessary,” George says. “Natural was a trend. You need real chemistry to be able to get certain outcomes from products.”
Natural products that don’t contain any kind of chemical ingredients can definitely work for some, but like with skincare, some consumers require a little extra help to achieve their desired results.
Interested in hearing more about proper scalp care and the best way to get the most out of your hair products? My chat with Helen Reavey is available here on @hairlikeherspodcast.
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