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.
NUTS ABOUT NUTS
Many companies are seeking out unusual nut-derived oils previously not used in haircare products in the United States, although indigenous groups around the world have often used them for centuries. Denis Simioni founded Ojon after he stumbled upon the nourishing oil of the Ojon tree, unique to the rainforest of Central America's Mosquitia region. Ojon recently introduced a collection of products for both hair and skin made with an ingredient so rare—called tawaka—that it can only be harvested in limited quantities.
Aveda initiated a partnership with the Maranhão tribe of Northern Brazil, who harvest babassu nuts from Amazonian palm trees. Aveda uses the oil derived from the nuts as a starting point to create a unique cleansing ingredient that doesn't strip the hair. According to Peter Matravers, Aveda's vice president of research and development, the company's recent product breakthroughs using babassu include the Damage Remedy and Smooth Infusion lines.
A COMPLEX ISSUE
Many manufacturers develop proprietary ingredients or signature complexes to include in their products to make them more effective. PureOlogy incorporates its AntiFade Complex into all the items in its styling line. It's made of heliogenol, a sunflower extract and a potent antioxidant; plant-derived melanin to protect hair from UV damage; and superoxide dismutase, a powerful enzyme and free-radical scavenger. "We call it a 'complex' because all of the ingredients are blended together—none of them would be as effective on their own," says Stephanie Sprankle, PureOlogy's senior manager of education development.
Redken also has several complexes it utilizes, including the innovative Crystal Shine Complex, found in its Blonde Glam collection. That complex contains crystal mica, grapefruit extract and the antioxidant polyphenol. Paul Mitchell Modern Elixirs Refining Shampoo & Conditioner are enriched with a special Activated Botanical Carbohydrate Blend, made of chamomile, yarrow, slippery elm bark and cherry bark to improve the hair's elasticity.
SEA WHAT'S NEXT
Just what kinds of novel ingredients will you be treating your hair to in the future? Look for additional crossovers from skincare, such as collagen and bee propolis, maybe even coffeeberry and cacao, as well as greater use of nanotechnology and ceramides, already found in L'Anza's Trauma Treatment.
Alterna's Johnson says the sea has many nutrient-rich ingredients that beauty companies are just starting to utilize. Alterna touts an ingredient called SeasilkR, a combination of marine botanicals that increases follicle hydration. "Our labs are constantly testing new ingredients and researching what improves hair quality," Johnson says. "The better the quality of the ingredients, the better the quality of the hair that is produced." —CARRIE WATSON
INGREDIENTS OF THE MOMENT
The breakthrough formulas in these five products help set them apart.
1. GOJI POWER The KIS Beaded Deep Conditioner contains an Omega-SPA Complex, to infuse hair with essential fatty acids, and the super-antioxidant goji berry.
2. GO FOR GOLD Gold Mica minerals, which provide luster and shine, are the key ingredient in Mizani's new Shimmer Reflects Collection.
3. HIGH-TECH HAIR On salon shelves in April, Vavoom ShapeMaker hairspray boasts the new Rapid Reshape Technology, a breakthrough silicone and polymer combination that allows for hold and workability without compromising shine.
4. SPICE THINGS UP Cinnamon, an ingredient in the KMS California Addvolume line, is used to make the hair denser and stronger and to add more body.
5. BAMBOO BOOST The bamboo in Aetó Botanica Bamboo & Wild Mango Fortifying Mask helps regenerate strands, while a wild mango botanical butter hydrates.
Prolong the youthfulness of your clients' hair with the aid of anti-aging products.
Nowadays, the golden years mean golden opportunities for salon owners. Since the 2005 U.S. Census estimates a current baby-boomer population of 78.2 million, investing in some of the varied anti-aging haircare offerings on the market could be a smart business move.
The signs of aging can start appearing between the ages of 35 and 45. But before your clients even start to notice gray hairs, they may notice other signs of aging hair, such as thinning, brittleness and dullness.
"Hair loses elasticity, body and shine, and what's worse, it doesn't respond to styling in the same way over time," says Philip Pelusi, whose P2 line addresses these issues.
Every 10 years, hair's density decreases by 10 to 20 percent, but when your clients start noticing hair loss, don't rush to blame it solely on age. Several other factors can also contribute to thinning and hair loss.
According to the latest medical research, shocks to the body's hormonal balance can bring about sudden hair loss. Contributing factors can include extreme emotional or physical stress, pregnancy, menopause, severe dieting, a change in medication usage or illness. A lack of iron or protein in the diet can also cause the hair to fall out. In such cases, once the body's hormonal balance is restored or the nutritional deficiency corrected, the hair can return in as little as six months to two years.
Permanent hair loss, however, can be caused by abuse of chemical treatments, such as relaxers, perms or coloring; repetitive use of extensions that pull tightly on hair; or putting hair into a ponytail that is too tight. Clients already showing signs of thinning hair should be cautious when using these processes since they can permanently damage the hair follicle.
While anti-aging haircare products may not be able to reverse drastic hair loss, they may be able to dramatically improve the condition of aging hair and scalp. Anti-aging lines like Aetó Botanica and Nioxin are starting at the root of the problem—literally. Aging scalps tend to be drier and thinner, so these manufacturers offer scalp treatments that operate under principles similar to skincare regimens used to keep the face firm and youthful. Aetó Botanica's Scalp De-Toxer Oil counterbalances the negative effects of aging on the scalp while remaining eco-conscious. It balances oily, itchy and flaky scalps using natural active ingredients and is sulfate- and paraben-free. Nioxin's Scalp Renewal is a natural dermabrasion in-salon treatment that unclogs hair follicles, increases cellular turnover, stimulates collagen production, and strengthens and thickens the hair strand.
"When you improve the scalp's cellular turnover and exfoliate dead skin cells, the skin has the ability to breathe and take up nutrients," says Belinda Kinsley, director of education, training and development for Nioxin.
Gray hair, the most obvious indicator of aging hair, is caused genetically by a decrease of melanin near hair follicles on the scalp. Over time, the scalp may start to gray, too, and gray hair may begin to yellow.
"Gray hair may yellow due to pollution, UV exposure and external minerals, like copper in swimming pools, and the minerals found in hard water," says David Cannell, Ph.D., senior vice president of Redken research and development. "Shampoos can remove minerals and help protect against UV exposure with sunscreens and antioxidants. Leave-in products are even better protectors. Yellow hair can be 'whitened' with violet color-depositing shampoos or a toner from the haircolorist."
To protect gray hair against dullness and a yellow tone, products like PureOlogy NanoWorks Shampoo and P2 Age De Phy Shampoo and Conditioner include SPF protection and combine silicones, proteins and rich moisturizers to increase shine and color vibrancy.
Because most factors associated with aging hair are genetic, it's important to remind your clients that aging is inevitable, and anti-aging products are not instant solutions. However, with a healthy lifestyle and the help of some of the market's best products, clients can prolong their hair's youthful appearance. Seniority has never looked so fabulous. —ASHLEY LUDGOOD
MAD ABOUT HUE
Kim Vo opens a new salon at the MGM Mirage hotel in Las Vegas.
The past several months have been crazy, hectic, exhilarating, challenging and an enormous amount of fun. After what seems like an endless period of planning, designing and implementing, the Kim Vo Salon at the MGM Mirage hotel on the Las Vegas Strip is opening this month, and I am one happy guy.
To say that this is my dream salon is almost an understatement. Everything that could possibly intrigue or excite a client is here, all in one place, put together in such a way that it will offer a unique and memorable experience.
The focal point is the beauty bar, which I think of as a play station for grown-ups. This is where a customer can learn about our full range of salon services in a completely relaxed environment. The centerpiece is a large, flat-screen television that broadcasts demos of hair techniques—from colors and cuts to trends and tricks. It invites the client to touch, play, learn and explore. The more education and understanding she has, the better equipped she is to clearly express her wishes to stylists and colorists. And we all know that makes our job easier.
The idea came to me during one of my many trips to the video store. I'd never remember which movies I wanted to see, so I'd always go straight to the new releases area and then just stare at the wall. The beauty bar eliminates the gee-I-dunno feeling a woman often experiences when faced with scores of options during her hair appointment. It's a place where she can ask questions and review the salon's services, giving her a clearer idea of what she might like to try.
Experimentation and play are prevailing themes in the salon. There's a hair-extension bar, where the curious can watch a video that demonstrates what extensions are, how they're applied, how long they last and identifies who the best candidates are for the procedure. There's also a wig bar, where women who are ready for a major change can see how they'd look with a different haircolor or hairstyle prior to making a commitment.
We're also creating products to meet specific hair needs. A skilled technician will analyze the hair, then create a custom-blended shampoo with precisely the necessary ingredients. A client can opt for special boosters to refine the ends, enrich the roots, preserve her color or take shine to the highest possible level. I'm also blending my own peroxides, so the intensity can be perfectly matched to each client's hair.
In essence, the new salon is a beauty playground. Stay tuned to the pages of American Salon for its exclusive debut. And if you're ever in Las Vegas, please do stop by for a ride. —E-mail Kim Vo at firstname.lastname@example.org.