WorkshopJanuary 1, 2008 By: American Salon Staff American Salon
WHAT'S IN YOUR BOTTLE?
A look at some of the newest ingredients turning up in haircare products today.
Haircare products touting exciting new ingredients are hitting salon shelves faster than you can say "triethanolamine alkyl sulfate"—that was the main ingredient in the original wash-and-wear shampoo, Drene, launched in 1934 by Procter & Gamble. Formulas have changed considerably since then, as science and technology advanced over the years. Here's a look at some of the new ingredients being used in haircare products today.
Ingredients du jour, from top: almonds, black currant, jujube, mint, molasses, mango, cinnamon, avocado, orange peel and hibiscus.
SKINCARE FOR THE HAIR
Today, manufacturers often look to the skincare industry for the latest ingredient trends. "Many of the ingredients that are key to healthy skin are also key to healthy hair," says Marion Johnson, vice president of marketing for Alterna, which recently launched its new Hemp with Organics line. It contains an organic blend of avocado, cucumber, cranberry and white tea, coupled with organic hemp seed oil, a complete source of amino and fatty acids.
Tea became one of the first ingredients to cross over from skincare to haircare when Scruples launched its White Tea collection. PureOlogy Nanoworks Shampoo contains green tea, shea butter and three different types of mushroom extracts, which are often found in skincare.
Botanicals provide exceptional benefits to hair health because they are full of essential fatty acids that soften hair. When relaunching its line in 2007, Bain de Terre even went so far as to coin a new term—"botaniceuticals"—for the extracts of goji berry, black currant and wild jujube found in its revamped formulations.
ABBA now assigns an Herbal R/X to each of its products, identifying the one or two botanicals that directly benefit the hair. Pure Moisture Conditioner, for example, contains sage, geranium and wild mint to hydrate hair. Matrix, which has used botanicals in its Biolage line for many years, is launching five new Biolage Stylers in March containing a flowering plant called the akebia vine. It's also called "chocolate vine" because it smells like—what else?—chocolate.
GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT
Lately it seems the ingredient labels on some bottles read more like a grocery-store checklist than a haircare product. "Honey, mangos, coconut and grapes all provide great antioxidants and are ideal for building strength and elasticity and providing natural sunscreens," says Gene Martignetti, founder of Simply Organic, a line of haircare products made with olive oil.
The John Masters Organics cult-favorite Honey & Hibiscus Hair Reconstructing Shampoo has an ingredient list that rivals any farmer's market. In it you'll find corn, coconut, wheat germ, pink grapefruit and cardamom. MOP C-System C-Curl shampoo is loaded with supermarket-sounding extracts of orange, mango, grape seed, black currant, lime and ginger. ABBA's Pure Detox Shampoo contains baking soda and molasses, a good source of minerals that helps remove buildup, and the company's Pure Shine line contains banana.
The nutritional aspects of food-based ingredients are what make them so appealing to manufacturers, according to Johnson. "Beauty products are absorbed by the hair and skin, just like food is digested in the body," she says, "so it makes sense that if an ingredient is healthy to eat, it might also be beneficial in beauty products."
Alterna currently uses some of the most unique food-based ingredients found in haircare, including European white truffles, a rich source of B-vitamins, and caviar, the main ingredient in its anti-aging line. "Caviar, like eggs, is a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids and proteins essential for cell metabolism," Johnson says.