When it comes to deciphering ingredients lists, the ones on the back of our shampoo bottles can be among the trickiest to understand.
And while synthetic ingredients aren’t necessarily bad, sometimes we can benefit from switching to something a little gentler to revive, soothe and moisturise our hair and scalp.
Just like sulphate-free shampoos, products that contain naturally derived ingredients can be less harsh on our hair, helping to protect and nourish our strands without stripping them of natural oils or our salon-perfect colour.
Here are some powerful ingredients straight from nature that can help hair look (and feel) it’s very best.
Full of antioxidants and omega-rich oils, products containing avocado oil pack a powerful punch when it comes to moisturising and protecting our hair.
The combination of biotin, minerals, essential fatty acids and vitamins (like A and E) in avocado oil all help to seal the cuticle of the hair, preventing breakage and making it stronger. Plus, sealing the cuticle cells can help hair look smooth and shiny, with the oil deeply penetrating for a non-greasy finish that nourishes (and banishes) a dry scalp.
Avocado oil is one of the hero ingredients in Herbal Essences’ Sulphate-Free Potent Aloe & Avocado Oil Collection, alongside naturally derived Aloe Vera from Mexico. The shampoo (one of the best shampoos for damaged hair) and deep conditioner have been crafted with real botanicals endorsed by a world-leading authority on plants, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Sulphate-free with a rich and creamy formula, the clarifying shampoo gently cleanses and provides 1.5 times more nourishment† to richly hydrate dry hair, all with an intoxicating fragrance that leaves hair looking, feeling and smelling amazing.
Not just for sushi, seaweed can also help control an oily scalp when used as an ingredient in haircare products.
With a combination of amino acids (the building blocks of protein in the body), vitamins and minerals, seaweed can help restore shine to damaged hair, and protect it from styling damage and stress, colour-fading and even frizz.
Algae oil, a close cousin of seaweed, is also making a name for itself in the haircare game, thanks to its anti-inflammatory benefits that can promote a healthy scalp, regulate oil production and smooth hair.
We’ve heard of clay masks for our skin, but the benefits extend to our hair, too. And while an ingredient akin to dirt may not be the first thing that springs to mind when we think of cleansing and purifying, clay is here to change your mind.
There are two main types used in haircare: bentonite clay, derived from volcanic ash, and kaolin clay, traditionally used to make porcelain in ancient China.
The mineral-rich bentonite has the highest absorption levels of oil, helping to eliminate toxins, dandruff, dead skin cells and remove product build-up and impurities. Kaolin, by comparison, is gentler and more calming, while still absorbing oil and helping to strengthen hair.
While it can be used in shampoos, clay is most commonly found in detoxifying masks and treatments that are best used once a week for a deep clean.
With broad antibacterial properties, honey has been a staple in haircare for centuries. It can soothe the scalp, strengthen and hydrate hair and boost shine, and can be used to reduce dandruff and an inflamed scalp due to its anti-inflammatory nature.
Honey also has powerful humectant properties, meaning it seals in moisture to provide hydration to both the skin of the scalp and the hair itself. And because it naturally contains protein, it can also boost hair strength and structure, preventing hair breakage and improving overall hair appearance.
Not just an intoxicating scent to add to your shower, rosemary (most commonly added to hair products as an oil) can also help to promote hair growth and prevent hair loss.
Anti-inflammatory, rosemary oil stimulates hair growth and also improves circulation for a healthier scalp. The improved blood flow is thought to help hair follicles thrive, leading to healthier hair.
It can also protect hair from damage and breakage, making hair appear stronger, thicker, denser and have more elasticity.
Brought to you by Herbal Essences.
† With shampoo and conditioner use, vs. non-conditioning shampoo