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Lately the in­gre­di­ent list on your sham­poo reads like your smoothie or­der. And that’s a good thing. Co­conut, aloe, and other nat­u­ral ex­tracts are packed with ex­actly what your hair needs. Here, we break down what each can do for you.

SHAPE (USA) - - Front Page - By Molly Long­man

Pow­ered by Na­ture New sham­poos packed with co­conut, aloe, and other nat­u­ral ex­tracts let hair shine


If you have scalp is­sues, like dan­druff or itch­i­ness, then aloe may be your an­ti­dote. “It is mar­velously mois­tur­iz­ing and sooth­ing,” says El­ham Egh­bali, Ph.D., a cos­metic chemist in Ger­many. The suc­cu­lent’s gel has anti-in­flam­ma­tory prop­er­ties and is rich in amino acids and polysac­cha­rides, all of which can help calm an ir­ri­tated scalp. You can scoop a bit of gel from the in­side of an aloe leaf and ap­ply it to your damp scalp pre­sham­poo. An­other easy way to give your head a dose: After you sham­poo, mas­sage [1] Dove Der­maCare Scalp Sooth­ing Mois­ture Anti-Dan­druff Con­di­tioner ($5, drug­stores) into your roots, then wait a few min­utes be­fore you rinse.

Co­conut Oil

You may al­ready use this trop­i­cal-smelling salve to grease a pan or hy­drate your lips. If you don’t put it on your hair as well, then start. Co­conut oil has a low molec­u­lar weight, so it can pen­e­trate the hair shaft, says Perry Ro­manowski, a cos­metic chemist in Chicago. Its con­di­tion­ing prop­er­ties make the hair more flex­i­ble and re­sis­tant to break­age. “That’s why it’s ideal for weak, frag­ile strands,” Ro­manowski says. One way to use it: Be­fore bed, melt a spoon­ful of co­conut oil in your palms and then smooth it through your hair, fo­cus­ing on the ends. In the morn­ing, sham­poo and con­di­tion. “I like to ap­ply an oil be­fore I hit the sauna or take a steamy shower, since the steam aids in the ab­sorp­tion of the prod­uct, deep­en­ing the hy­dra­tion,” says Faith Huff­na­gle, the di­rec­tor of ed­u­ca­tion for Prose hair care. You can also get the ben­e­fits of co­conut oil—with­out the greasi­ness—in your styling prod­ucts. To hy­drate and pro­tect hair from heat, spritz [2] TIGI Copy­right Care Heat Pro­tec­tion Spray ($20, tigi.com) through­out damp hair be­fore you blow-dry.

Al­mond Oil

Strengthen strands, smooth frizz, and con­di­tion dry ends with co­conut oil.

Think of this as your hair ’s suit of ar­mor. Al­mond oil sits on top of the hair strand, pro­tect­ing it from heat and chem­i­cal dam­age, Ro­manowski says. It’s a must for any­one who has color-treated hair, uses hot tools reg­u­larly, or gets pro­fes­sional straight­en­ing treat­ments. Be­fore you blow-dry, straighten, or curl, spritz [3] Vi­brant Sexy Hair Vivid Mem­ory Spray ($18, ulta.com) on damp hair, then comb through to dis­trib­ute evenly. Be­sides of­fer­ing pro­tec­tion, the light­weight for­mula makes de­tan­gling a breeze and leaves hair feel­ing silky and sweetly scented.

Ac­ti­vated Char­coal

If you wash your hair once every few days (or less often), then your scalp and strands may have a lot of buildup: ex­cess oil from your fol­li­cles, lay­ers of hair prod­uct, even pol­lu­tion from the air. Ac­ti­vated char­coal (which is more por­ous than reg­u­lar char­coal) draws out and ab­sorbs these im­pu­ri­ties and con­tam­i­nants, leav­ing hair look­ing brighter and less weighed down, says Kelly Do­bos, a cos­metic chemist in Cincin­nati. You’ll get the big­gest detox­i­fy­ing ben­e­fit from a char­coal-laced sham­poo, like [4] Pan­tene Pro-V Blends Char­coal Sham­poo Pu­ri­fy­ing Root Wash ($6, drug­stores), which is also sil­i­cone-free.

Sea Kelp

Hair is more than 90 per­cent pro­tein. When that pro­tein is frayed, split, or oth­er­wise dam­aged, sea kelp can help fill in the holes that form in the strand’s cu­ti­cle lay­ers. “Sea kelp con­tains tons of amino acids, which are the build­ing blocks of pro­teins,” Do­bos says. “It’s also very nour­ish­ing, and it helps keep hair con­di­tioned.” Look for the pow­er­house in­gre­di­ent in con­di­tion­ers (like [5] Noughty Wave Hello Curl Defin­ing Con­di­tioner, $10, noughty­hair­care.com), re­pair treat­ments (such as [6] Oribe Power Drops Dam­age Re­pair Booster, $58, oribe.com), and hair-growth sup­ple­ments (like [7] Nu­trafol, $88, nu­trafol.com).

SCALP SAV­IOR Aloe vera’s an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory and con­di­tion­ing prop­er­ties al­le­vi­ate win­ter­time itch­i­ness.

Nat­u­ral In­gre­di­ent Stars

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