A sprinkle of lion's mane harvested from the forests of the East.
The exotic snozberry found in the tundra of the North. Oil hand-pressed from the flesh of a young pumpkin chosen carefully under a full moon. If this isn't Potions class at Hogwarts, I don't know what is.
With the upwards shift towards all-natural haircare and skincare, the marketing hype also deepens. There's always the one or two 'magical' ingredients that are hailed to cure aging, bring upon eternal youth, suck out 'toxins', and take you out on a romantic candlelit date. Alternative remedies are indeed a hot topic - many hail its benefits, and more are becoming increasingly curious about switching from chemical-laden products to completely au-naturel. But with all the new hero ingredient trends popping up every season, how do we know what really works? It is up to the consumer to be mindful of the science and not to fall into the trap of faux science and enticing marketing. Here are some basics:
We find that taking care of your skin and hair always falls to the internal - health is a lifestyle commitment. It's a balance of exercise, diet, mind, and listening intuitively to what your body needs - in which healthy skin and hair are byproducts of. No matter what, our bodies are craving to fall back to regenerative and healing ways. Vitamins are important to consume, but be careful of candied vitamins and those in pill form - more than usual, there is usually very little nutrition or actives left. Vitamins made from powdered whole food and herbs is always best, providing the purest actives to hit the bloodstream, leaving you to feel the full effects in the shortest amount of time. 'Superfoods' are also something to research deeper into. The term itself being a buzzword of its own - it means foods that are highly dense in many types of nutrients. According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, certain types of berries, fully pushed front and centre because of their supposed high antioxidant powers, did not meet the acceptable nutrient density score. Scarcity and being 'exotic' also contributes to the mystique of certain foods that are being touted as superfoods - the rarer and less known about something is, the more we assign power to it. Sounds familiar in all aspects of life, right?
Know your hair and skin type! Not everything will work for everyone, and with that sentiment we need to dedicate a section to coconut oil. This has been widely hailed as a 'cure-all' ingredient, but in reality, it only works for specific hair and skin types. If you have low-porosity hair, it will make it more dry and crunchy as your hair is protein-sensitive (it has enough protein, thanks!) This is because coconut oil penetrates so thoroughly, it builds up protein and blocks your hair from moisture. With this type of hair, it needs moisture, which you can get from more lightweight oils, such as sunflower or jojoba oil.
For skin, it is known as one of the comedogenic oils. If you have naturally oily skin or are acne-prone, it is best to avoid coconut oil as it can clog pores. Being so thick, it is harder to be absorbed by the skin and can mix with the bacteria and dead skin cells on your face, leading to a blockage in the follicle and therefore the pores.
Other popular ingredients these days are clay and charcoal products for hair and skin. You can use these ingredients once in awhile for a deep cleanse, however the main goal to healthy skin and hair is to moisturize. Again, be conscious of your skin type - this ingredient is better off for oily skin. Overuse of clay and charcoal products can dry out the skin and hair in the long run, leaving it more susceptible to inflammation.
Be realistic about what products can do for you. Marketing contributes to exaggerated expectations ('perfect' skin, 'fighting' aging) and this in turn can feed the desire for perfection. There is no such thing as perfection, and side note - at Luna Nectar we make sure blemishes aren't photoshopped from any of our models! Yes, products can improve the skin's texture and elasticity, and moisturize, lengthen, and thicken hair, but know your DNA - the product you are applying topically is speeding up your body's own function to repair and heal. That's right, your own body's natural process. That differs from person to person - you are maximizing what your genetics can naturally do!