BOTANICAL INGREDIENTS IN HAIR CARE - HOW USEFUL ARE THEY?
If you’ve been paying attention to your hair products, botanical ingredients have become an important feature in them as consumer interest in natural ingredients has increased over the past years. These days, there are very little products on the market that don’t have a plant-derived ingredient in them.
Luckily, the hair care industry has picked up on the consumer demand and has embraced the concept of using botanical ingredients to beautify the hair, improve or treat a hair or scalp condition.
So let's talk #PlantPower
WHAT ARE BOTANICAL INGREDIENTS?
Botanical ingredients in hair care products originate from plants (herbs, flowers, fruits, leaves, roots, seeds, etc) and the active ingredient can be extracted through the use of solvents, by simply squeezing or pressing the plant for their juice or oil or even by drying and/or grounding it into a powder.
WHAT ARE THEIR BENEFITS?
There are many benefits of using plant extracts in hair care products since they are a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, protein, essential oils and oil and much more. When used in cosmetic hair products these ingredients can lend softness and gloss, reduce frizz, improve hair moisture or improve scalp conditions such as dandruff or itchiness.
As an example, a plant ingredient rich in antioxidants can provide ultraviolet protection for the hair preventing damage from free radicals. Other plants can act as natural antimicrobial ingredients fighting against bacteria to improve scalp conditions or used as a natural option to prolong the shelf life of hair products by inhibiting the growth of bacteria.
Here are some examples of botanicals you can find in your hair products and their benefits:
Shikakai – used as a cleanser can also help control dandruff
Aloe Vera – helps to condition and moisturise the hair. Makes hair smoother, more manageable and shiny.
Burdock – supports healthy hair growth, soothes hair conditions and reduces breakage
Seaweed or Kelp – reduces moisture loss, conditions hair, adds shine and its proteins strengthen hair roots
Henna – used for hair dyeing and nourishment
Flaxseed – provides slip in products to help with detangling, strengthens the hair and may help with air loss
Fenugreek – used for hair growth, hair loss/thinning, preserve natural hair colour
Green Tea – rich in antioxidants, it helps decrease hair loss, soothes scalp conditions, protects against UV rays and strengthens the hair
Peppermint – as anti-bacterial, anti-bacterial and astringent properties and stimulates hair growth
HOW EFFECTIVE ARE BOTANICAL INGREDIENTS?
While many studies have successfully evaluated the efficacy of plants and herbs for topical use (e.g. fenugreek, aloe vera, nimtree, mimosa) their use in cosmetic products remains largely to be scientifically tested, especially in products where a specific outcome is linked to the use of a plant extract.
Still, the topical use of botanicals and its benefits can’t be ignored. Therefore, despite the lack of studies, we must admit they lend some of their properties to your hair product formulations, even if on a small scale (which may be all your hair needs).