Prepare to go ‘cleaner’
Rewind five years and unless you lived in health-conscious LA or avidly read Goop, you probably didn’t give a second thought about what was in your beauty products. How times have changed: sales of juicers have soared as more of us blitz up an allotment daily to achieve glowing skin from the inside out and the organic personal care market is expected to reach $15.98 billion by 2020 as demand – and technology – grows for natural beauty solutions.
So it’s not surprising that ‘clean’ is the buzzword that’s currently sweeping the haircare world, not only describing the state of your swishable locks but the formulas in your products, too. Not to be confused with 100% organic, these are products that boast a high proportion of naturally derived nutrients and an uncluttered ingredient’s list, free from synthetics such as parabens and sulphates. But what is added to this new breed of haircare heroes is just as important as what is left out, says Steve Shiel, L’Oreal UK’s scientific director, whose latest range Kerastase Aura Botanica is powered by ingredients that are 98% naturally-derived and for, extra bonus points, has 97% biodegradable packaging. “In haircare, each ingredient is put there for a reason,” he explains. “So if you want to take one out, you need to think about finding an alternative ingredient that can play a similar role. Take sulphates for example. They are great ingredients for cleansing but we decided to include natural-origin surfactants that still foam up and remove residue from the hair and scalp in the Aura Botanica range.”
To help you transition to a clean(er) haircare regime, these are the products that balance eco credentials with hard-working natural ingredients that deliver results (and if you want a shampoo personalised to you, click here):
Rahua Voluminous Conditioner, £28 (net-a-porter.com)
A 100% natural, chemical-free conditioner powered by lemongrass, green tea and omega-rich ungurahua oil to nourish hair without weighing it down. Goop’s founder Gwyneth Paltrow is a fan and the brand also supports the native tribes who harvest the Rahua nut in the Amazonian rainforest.
Kerastase Essence d’Eclat, £39.50
This two-part leave-in mist has an oil phase packed with responsibly-sourced Samoan coconut and Moroccan argan oils for a double-whammy hydration hit, and an aqueous phase containing damask rose floral water. If that’s not enough, it’s also free from silicone – a traditional shine-booster that can weigh fine strands down.
Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Extract, £8.00
Let’s face it: alongside hairspray, dry shampoo is probably one of the most chemical things we coat our hair with. Not anymore. Instead of talc, this hypoallergenic dry shampoo uses a natural combo of corn and rice starches to absorb excess oils and oat milk to soothe the scalp. It’s also free from parabens and sulfates. No wonder this is a cult product for refreshing 2-day old strands.
Based on Ayurvedic principles, Indian herbs including brahmi and alma are hand-blended in nutrient-rich oils of moringa, sesame and coconut oils to stimulate sluggish hair follicles at a cellular level and intensely hydrate even the most parched, damaged hair. Perfect if stress or pollution has started to take its toll on the density and lustre of your hair.
If you highlight your hair, listen up. This all-in-one shampoo, scalp exfoliator and hair mask is chock-full of lemon, chamomile and St. John’s Wort to keep your colour vivid and rebalance the pH of your hair strands. So instead of dull, processed hair, it has mirror-like shine – all without any trace of silicone.
Parabens, MIT and triclosan have been replaced with natural native actives from O&M’s birthplace of Australia. Jojoba Seed Oil and Lilly Pilly help to build firmness into the hair roots, pumping up the fullness and volume of fine, fly-away locks. The uplifting botanical scent, needs a special mention, too.
The blend of sweet honey, coconut and citrus oils helps to restore bounce and reduce flyaways for perfect frizz-free curls that smell as great as they look. The omission of Sodium Laureth Sulphate and Sodium Laurel Sulphate – two potentially irritating sulphates in haircare – will keep sensitive scalps happy, too. Proof positive that natural actives needn’t break the bank.
This brand is famous for combining high-grade natural ingredients with first-rate scientific research and clean energy (since 2006 Davines has been using renewable energy from the sun, wind, water and soil to supply its plants). Sun-damaged hair will relish the vitality-boosting essential fatty acids from rocket leaves; the sweet almond proteins that bond with keratin to form a protective veil and the olive oil that gently cleanses without stripping strands.