Monday, 28 May 2012

Grow Your Hair Longer Faster? Well, Don't Buy This ...

Style Over Substance Triumphs Again

What would you pay for hair like his?
Kashmir Goat, Great Ormes Head, Llandudno, N. Wales
Picture this.

Beautiful, hot sunny day. I've just finished eating a delicious summery sandwich of tomato, fresh mozzerella and plenty of ground pepper.

Before starting my next project of the weekend, I sit down and **foolishly** start surfing the internet.

On my favourite topic, of course:


And what do I find that completely ruins my day?


"This unique complex of naturally derived cashmere proteins in a blend of select conditioning agents penetrates deep into the hair shaft; repairing broken bonds and helping to protect the hair from further disintegration. The natural cashmere proteins and amino acids closely match the molecular structure of human hair so fit better in the gaps and hold longer. A stitch in time saves nine. After shampooing, 3"' More Inches Conditioner then provides a further protective seal on the surface.

Following the 3"' More Inches System slows down the ageing process so your hair stays healthier and grows longer before it dries out. It will be easier to manage, more vibrant looking, and hold its colour for longer, giving you more inches of youthful, silky, supple, sexy healthy hair."

My myth-busting instincts go into overdrive as my forehead smacks the desk in despair.

3''' More Inches by Michael Van Clarke is a silly new way you can throw your money away in pursuit of a common desire to grow your hair longer, faster.

A cup full of shampoo will set you back £17.00, but hey the shipping is free.

It ought to be at that price.

And what's in this incredible elixir?

Aqua, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Chloride Glycol Distearate, Glycerin, PEG- 7, Glycerin Cocoate, Panthenol, Cocamide MEA, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, PG- Propyl Silanetriol, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Benzoic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbic Acid, Methylchloriosothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.

So, what we've got here is fundamentally a bog standard shampoo.

This is supplemented with glycerin, which is a superficial (but perfectly good) conditioner that adds the feeling of "moisture" to the touch.

It's there to make your fingers feel good, basically.

What else?

Let's crack on to the "unique" cashmere proteins, shall we?

This shows up in the hydrolyzed keratin. Basically, they've taken a bowl full of cashmere which is the hair from a goat.

The really nice cashmere that you and I both love in our jumpers comes only from the neck of the cashmere goat. 

So what is your goatherder to do with the rest of the fibres?

Heck, lets liquidise it and put it into personal care products because everybody knows cashmere is soft. And if you word it right, people might think it will make human hair as soft as cashmere wool!

Natural cashmere proteins and amino acids (which are the same thing, right?) resemble human hair, because cashmere IS hair.


Once cashmere (or silk or any other fibre these companies like to include in their products) is hydrolysed (which usually means dropped into acid and pressurised into a liquid), the amino acids cannot "penetrate" the hair shaft. The molecules are too big.

What they do, at least in the past, is sit on the surface of your hair and have some infinitesimally small conditioning effect.

Indeed you'll notice the panthenol and hydrolysed wheat protein, which actually can do some conditioning, are higher up the ingredients list.

Welcome to the Future

Now, one ingredient that does leap out (to me) is PG-Propyl Silanetriol, which I think is the true the star in this formula.

This is one of a small group of ingredients that are making their way into quite a lot of hair care products.

It is basically made from silicone, but when combined with a protein has the interesting property of "cross linking" as it dries, forming a hard, shiny protective network over the surface of the hair.

This has the benefit of providing a bit of thermal protection during heat styling, and also helping to repair a damaged and  ruffled cuticle.

It truly can help extend the life of damaged hair.

However, this ingredient is in a number of shampoos and conditioners making their way onto store shelves these days, so it isn't enormously novel when considering the £17 price tag.

I am also left with a vague curiosity about whether the PG-Propyl Silanstriol has been combined with the wheat protein (which is more common) or with the fabled cashmere fibres, or perhaps with a unique blend of both?

In either case, the effect will be the same and I suspect the use of cashmere is merely style over substance at the end of the day.

For a similar effect, at a substantially lower price point, you could go for TRESemme's Split Remedy (which I picked up from Boots during a 3 for 2 offer), a range I've been eagerly waiting to try out since last year.

If you are actually interested in why I'm so excited by PG-Propyl Silanetriol and other siloxanes that are popping up this year, there's a brief explanation here.

Visit Stone Bridge Hair Accessories UK

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