Natural Foods Merchandiser

Pump up the volume naturally

Big hair is back. Though arrow-straight strands have dominated fashion-magazine covers and runways in recent years, bouncy, full-bodied locks are making a comeback. But does committing to a natural personal care regimen exclude your shoppers from the ranks of the luxuriously coiffed?

Luckily, natural hair care manufacturers now have a host of products that can add fullness and body without resorting to the use of harsh petrochemicals, sulfates or allergy-causing preservatives. Some are targeted at customers with very fine or thinning hair, while others simply help restore hair to its natural, healthy state, starting from the follicle.

These products use a mixture of vitamins—particularly B vitamins, proteins, amino acids and essential oils to nourish the hair and stimulate the scalp. "Our Biotene H-24 line is a three-phase process for people with thinning hair, which uses biotin [vitamin B7] along with 22 amino acids and hair proteins to create better hair growth and thicker, fuller hair," says Rajeev Prasad, director of sales and marketing for Las Vegas-based Mill Creek Botanicals.

Natural ingredients can help undo the damage done by petrochemicals

One of the keys to achieving fullness, Prasad says, is Ph-balanced formulation that neither strips hair with acidity nor leaves oily buildup. Another key, especially for thin hair, is to stimulate the blood flow to the scalp while nourishing the root with proteins. The H-24 line is comprised of a shampoo, a conditioner and a leave-in emulsion that is massaged into the scalp after washing.

Ingredients from the sea can be body-boosting, too. "We came up with a combination of essential oils to stimulate the scalp and keep the root or papilla of the hair healthy," says John Masters, owner of the John Masters Organics Salon in New York City. "Then we combined this herbal elixir with ingredients that add body naturally, including carrageen extract from seaweed, nettle extract and panthenol. The synergistic effect of the ingredients helps give hair volume." Masters' line includes a number of products for adding volume and body, such as Deep Scalp Follicle Treatment and Volumizer.

The Sweet Orange and Silk Protein styling gel uses proteins, mushroom extract and sea-algae extract to give hair body without the use of petrochemicals. "Most styling gels contain copolymers, and it can't be good to put a layer of plastic over your hair and scalp," Masters says.

Jason Natural Products, based in Culver City, Calif., recently relaunched new formulations of its Thin to Thick line of hair products. The four-product line includes an elixir containing biotin, folic acid and inositol, all forms of vitamin B. "You massage it into your scalp before bed, and it helps nourish and moisturize the scalp and strengthen the hair shaft," says Catherine Blackwell, brand manager for Jason.

The Thin to Thick system, which also includes shampoo, conditioner and spray, uses vitamins A, C and E for their antioxidant benefits and peppermint to stimulate the scalp. "Though the line targets those with thin hair, many people buy it just to get more body," Blackwell says.

Horsetail extract is another body builder. Compton, Calif.-based Giovanni uses the herb in its Root 66 Max Volume set for its healing qualities and high silica content. The line's lifting spray is also designed to encourage hair to lift off the scalp.

So when your customers come in pining for more voluptuous volume, remember the secrets to naturally full-bodied hair: B vitamins and proteins add thickness and help nourish the follicle. Essential oils help stimulate blood flow to the scalp and hair base. And nourishing natural ingredients in a balanced formula can help undo the damage done by hair-coating petrochemicals and harsh preservatives and foaming agents.

Getting the most from hair care products

When your shoppers yearn for the locks of Eva Mendes or Beyonce, help them get the most out of their body-building products with these tips from spa owner John Masters:

1. A little goes a long way.
"Never overuse anything," Masters says. "A dime-sized amount of conditioner is enough, but most people overdo it."

2. The upside-down trick.
"When you're drying your hair, bend over and force the roots upside down to create more lift."

3. Change up the routine.
"If hair is brittle or has been damaged by color treating, condition first and then shampoo right over the conditioner and rinse them both out together."

4. Try a new blow dryer.
"A ceramic ionic, low-EMF blow dryer works 50 percent to 70 percent faster, locks moisture in and sends out negative ions, which is a good thing," Masters says. The negative ions are said to help hair retain moisture for smoother texture.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXX/number 1/p. 28

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