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Help customers treat tresses right

Anna Soref

April 24, 2008

6 Min Read
Help customers treat tresses right

You see it every day: the customer standing in the hair care aisle trying to decide what product will address her hair issue the best. She might be looking for something to fight frizz or dandruff; maybe it's a fix for dry hair she's searching for. When she gives up her search and comes to you for a suggestion, will you have one for her?

Most consumers choose a shampoo and conditioner based on their hair type or problem. Retailers should know which ingredients do what, and the product options on their shelves, so that they can help their customers buy the best products for their hair.

Here, we take a look at five common hair complaints and some ingredients and products that address each.

Damaged hair
Color treatments, blow-drying, styling products, even hard water, can all wreak havoc on otherwise healthy hair. One of the telltale signs of damaged hair is frizz, which results from broken hair cuticles and split ends. In the mass market, silicone anti-frizz products have become hugely popular. "They give instant satisfaction," says John Masters, owner of John Masters Organics salon in Manhattan and creator of the product line with the same name. "But over time they put a coating on the hair that dulls it." Instead, he says, consumers should look for products that tame frizz with essential oils. "Essential oils are not as quick [to tame frizz], but over time your hair gets better and better," he says. He tells his customers with damaged hair to add five drops or so of his company's anti-frizz product to their conditioner for extra manageability.

To treat damaged hair, it's important to use deep, rich conditioners that can restructure the hair with nourishing ingredients such as linoleic acid, jojoba and avocado oils, Masters says. For moisture, he suggests using a leave-in conditioner after washing and conditioning hair.

Nature's Gate Jojoba Revitalizing Hair Masque
This weekly hair treatment contains jojoba oil, biotin and keratin to help restructure damaged hair.

Giovanni Vitapro Fusion Leave-in Hair Treatment
Oils from botanicals includ?ing rosemary, nettle, lavender and mallow moisturize hair without dulling it like some silicon-based products do.

Dandruff is caused by a fungus and can be exacerbated by dry weather, says Phyto Universe's Perkovic. "With dandruff you need to exfoliate, and salicylic acid works well for that," she says. Salicylic acid, found in plants, is used in many natural dandruff shampoos. Tea tree oil is also good for dandruff because it removes bacteria and soothes, Perkovic says.

Avalon Organics Tea Tree Scalp Treatment Shampoo
Contains tea tree oil, which "helps balance sebum production," Skov says.

Home Health Everclean Antidandruff Shampoo
Contains salicylic acid to exfoliate along with vegetable proteins, aloe vera and herbal extracts to soothe and heal the scalp.

Dry hair
Many people are simply born with dry hair, says Peter Lamas, a hair stylist and founder of Peter Lamas International in Los Angeles. But the climate and poor treatment can also result in dry and damaged hair. "Even if you don't have dry hair, it can be sensitive to [environmental] conditions, the products you use and how much you abuse your hair. Hard water can also beat up on hair, not to mention sun and chlorinated pool water," Lamas says.

To avoid drying out hair even further, Lamas suggests washing and rinsing hair with warm, not hot, water. "The hotter the water, the more dryness you will have," he says. Wash hair every two or three days to avoid drying it out further, he says.

In addition to an everyday conditioner, Lamas says people with dry or damaged hair should use a weekly intense conditioner and leave it on for 15 minutes or so.

Alba Botanica's Cocoa Butter Dry Repair Hair Wash and Conditioner
These products contain numerous emollients that help with dry hair," says the Petaluma, Calif.-based company's Brand Manager Christa Skov. "It's got cocoa butter, coconut milk, macadamia seed oil and kukui nut oil that all really help with dry hair; it's rich and emollient," she says.

Peter Lamas Rescue Deep Recovery Hair Masque
This hair treatment contains dysenol, an extract from the African baobab that helps the tree retain moisture. The masque is self-heating, which helps to open up the hair cuticles, allowing the product to penetrate.

Oily hair
"The most common cause for an oily scalp is overly aggressive shampoos. If you have ever washed your face with bar soap, you have experienced the tight, dry feeling after it dries," says Tony Promiscuo, owner of Godiva Salon in Atlanta and Paul Mitchell's Educator of the Year. "That is followed by the forming of a thin layer of oil. It is your body overcompensating for what was stripped away by the harsh soap. Your scalp reacts the same," he says.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, people with oily hair should try washing their hair every other day to help regulate oil production, says Marina Perkovic, a hair nutritionist at Phyto Universe, a hair spa in Manhattan. They should also look for a mild, light shampoo and conditioner because it will allow the hair follicles to breathe so that sebum production can function normally, she says.

Modern Organic Products Basil Mint Conditioner
Basil, mint and sage extracts provide a mildly astringent quality to this light formulation ideal for oily hair.

EO Products Shampoo and Conditioner for Fine or Oily Hair
This duo is formulated with hops, lemongrass and nettle in a light base.

Limp or fine hair
Unfortunately, most people are simply born with fine hair, which tends to be categorized as limp, Masters says. The best to way to give fine hair body is to "boost it up," so look for products with panthenol, a B vitamin, which helps build body, he says. Also, tell customers to choose a light conditioner that won't weigh hair down and also try applying a volumizer to roots.

John Masters Sea Mist Spray with Lavender
This mist, made simply of salt, water and lavender, can add body and a lot of volume, "making you look like you've been on the beach," Masters says.

Jason Thin to Thick product line
All of the products in this line contain biotin and panthenol and "add more body to thin hair by coating the hair shaft," says Angella Green, brand manager for Culver City, Calif.-based Jason.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIX/number 4/p. 32

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