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What does that mean in plain English? Olive and Avocado oils penetrate all the way into the hair shaft. Meadowfoam seed oil partially penetrates, and jojoba and sunflower oils don’t penetrate at all. They’re very superficial and don’t really provide any practical benefit. Kind of like Ryan Seacrest.

And to answer your question:

Mixing coconut and olive oils shouldn’t be a problem. In fact, it’s possible that the olive/coconut oil combination might even penetrate hair better. I won’t bore you with the details, but it has to do with mixed micelles. I’d start with a 50/50 mixture and see how that works for your hair.

Hair Products and How They Work - 7Is Pantene Good Or Bad For My Hair?

Sophie Says:

I’ve heard a lot of things about Pantene Pro-V’s shampoo and conditioners. A lot of hairstylists swear on their hair-dryers that it is awful for your hair. Supposedly, it coats your hair with plastic or wax to make it seem smooth, soft, and shiny, instead of really moisturizing your hair. It also reportedly makes your scalp itchy and hair fall out.

However, I’ve been using the Pantene Restoratives shampoo and conditioner for a few months now, and I find my hair less frizzy, more manageable, smoother, and softer. Of course, I also use John Frieda Anti-Frizz Serum and Pantene Pro-V Restoratives Frizz Control Ultra Smoothing Balm (I highly recommend the latter, just apply to wet hair). Phew, that was long. So, my question is: Is Pantene good or bad for my hair?

The Right Brain Righteously Responds:

Sophie, please don’t fall into the trap of believing everything your stylist tells you. (That’s one of the The Beauty Brains Basic Beliefs.) While most stylists are very talented at cutting and styling hair, they’re not very talented at interpreting cosmetic formulations.

The truth is, Pantene’s shampoo and conditioner formulas are believed to be among the best in the industry by those of us in the cosmetic science side of the business. It makes sense if you think about it. P&G, makers of Pantene, have a HUGE research budget. Certainly larger than any salon company. That means they can afford to dedicate resources to developing and testing the best formulas possible. We’ve seen Pantene formulas beat the pants of salon products in blind consumer testing.

(The products are hidden or blinded, not the consumers) Why is Pantene vilified?

So why do stylists say that Pantene coats the hair with plastic, or make it fall out? Because that’s what they’re told by the sales representatives for the salon 8 - Hair Products and How They Work companies. And the truth is, it’s just not true! Compare the ingredient lists for Pantene conditioner and any salon brand you can find.

Even though the names vary you’ll see three basic types of ingredients:

fatty alcohols (like cetyl and stearyl alcohol); conditioning ingredients (like stearamidopropylamine and quaternium-18) and silicones (like dimethicone and cyclomethicone.) There’s nary a plastic to be found in Pantene. And no, it doesn’t make your hair fall out either.

The Beauty Brains bottom line You can choose whatever you like - a retail brand like Pantene or a salon brand like Matrix. But shop around and find a product you like and make your own decisions based on your own experience. Don’t pass on Pantene because of stylist anti-hype.

–  –  –

One reader wanted to know if the salon products that you buy at the local Kroger (general store) are the same as the ones you can buy at a salon. The answer referenced a story by a news team out of Fort Meyers, Florida. The story was so biased and misinformed we thought a balanced, Beauty Brains insider response was needed.

The idea that salon products are different than store ones is interesting.

We are cosmetic chemists that work in the industry and know that this story is a bit skewed. If the news reporters wanted to get the “real” story, they shouldn’t be asking the head of Paul Mitchell because he is completely biased. They should ask chemists that make products.

Discovering Diversion The truth is these salon brands depend on ‘diverted’ product to boost their sales. They want to have it both ways. They want to tell you that Paul Mitchell is a salon-only brand which makes it seem more exclusive, but they also want the high volume sales that they can only get through mass market outlets like your local Kroger. Additionally, they don’t want to anger their salon distributors because people are able to get the same stuff but for cheaper.

They make up this story of products being inferior. In nearly all cases, they are not. The way diversion works is this. Paul Mitchell hires a company to manufacture their products. Then Paul Mitchell sales people get and fill orders from distributors. Distributors are legitimate businesses that sell directly to independent salons. The distributors can order as much as they want, then sell it to the salons who can then sell it to you.

Follow the money Some of these distributors work directly with stores like Kroger, Albertsons, etc. So when these stores put in an order (a really big order compared to a salon) the distributors just order more product from Paul Mitchell to fill the Kroger order.

Paul Mitchell doesn’t even question the big orders because they like the extra sales. They turn a blind eye to what’s going on just so they can express public “outrage” that their product is being sold at the local drugstore. This is bunch of bunk.

The stuff you get at the local Kroger is every bit as good as the stuff you get at the salon. Don’t be fooled. If the folks at Paul Mitchell really wanted to stop these 10 - Hair Products and How They Work sales, they would simply question their distributors and find out who is selling to Kroger, or Target or Albertson.

The problem of counterfeiting is a real one, but it’s not something that you’ll find at large stores like Kroger. That company is not going to sell something contaminated because they would be sued in a heartbeat. The places that are a little more sketchy are the small shops (some salons) with the dust on top of the bottles. Those are the places you have to worry about.

The Beauty Brains bottom line You can trust that if you’re buying a salon brand from a regular store, there is no difference between it and the stuff you can get at a salon.

–  –  –

The Right Brain Responds:

Well, Charlotte, this is an easy one. Curling shampoos do NOT make your hair curly. In fact, if you read the labels carefully, some of them don’t even SAY they’ll make your hair curly!

Examine the bottle Let’s take a look, shall we? Even the most flagrant offender of the truth, Wash n’ Curl shampoo, only IMPLIES that it will make your hair curly just from shampooing. Read the label carefully - it says it provides “the most beautiful curls with body, bounce and resilience after styling.” Well, duh!

If the shampoo only makes your hair curly AFTER you style it, it’s not really doing much for you is it?

Hair Products and How They Work - 11 What else does Wash n’ Curl say? “Your hair will be extremely curl responsive … Even dry, damaged, color treated hair will have the staying power of thick curly hair… Its special Curl Enhancers infuse hair with the Holding Power of naturally curly hair.” The only piece of truth in this claim is that the shampoo does contain something that could be called a “curl enhancer.” Looking at the ingredient list we see that it does contains a polymer (Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer), that COULD provide some styling benefits. But that would only work if it wasn’t rinsed out!

Remember, just because a product contains an ingredient that does something, it doesn’t mean that it does something in that product!

The rest of the claims are pretty much made up, as far as we can tell. There is no shampoo technology that will measurably improve the holding power of your hair.

Other curling shampoos

What about other products, you ask? Well here’s two more:

KMS Curl Up Shampoo and Marc Anthony Strictly Curls. Neither of these shampoos make strong curling claims. KMS only promises to be your “curl’s best friend, ” to ” start your style in the shower,” and to “boost boisterous curls while adding moisture and shine.” Marc, on the other hand, offers to protect color; repair dry, frizzy areas, and repel humidity to define shiny, soft, curls. (”Define” curls is not really a very emphatic claim.) Aside from a little polyquaternium (a conditioning ingredient) neither of these products have any curling technology either.

12 - Hair Products and How They Work We could go on and on, but you get the picture. These shampoos don’t have anything in them to make your hair curly. They don’t even really do anything to prepare your hair for styling, other than getting it clean.

The Beauty Brains bottom line If you really want curly hair, go buy some mousse. Or, God forbid, get a perm!

–  –  –

14 - Tips on Caring for Your Hair

The Right Brain responds:

We think this idea is kind of silly but we’ll avoid the temptation to just tell you to get a new hair dresser and instead we’ll try to present both sides of the story.

Technically Speaking It’s more damaging to blow dry or towel dry your hair than it is to let it air dry. It’s as simple as that. That’s because heat from blow dryers can mess with the natural lipid distribution in your hair AND degrade the intercellular cement that holds the hair’s protective cuticle in place. And the physical abrasion from towel drying not only loosens healthy cuticles but can actually wear them away! So if you dry your hair a lot you’ll end up with less shine and more split ends.

Stylistically Speaking We assume a hair dresser would argue that blow drying keeps your hair sleek and smooth and that air drying makes it frizzy. At least this is what the hairdressers we have worked with think.

So, Ellie, it looks like the answer to your drying dilemma could come down to what’s more important to you: avoiding damage or fighting frizz? Less damage is better for your long term hair health but nobody wants frizz. Only you can decide which to choose. But, hey, if you’re THAT worried about frizz you can always use a good smoothing product after you dry your hair.

You can buy an entire CASE of this effective frizz fighter for only 20 bucks!

–  –  –

Ebesan says:

I’m a male who’s very happy with my baldness I don’t want new hair. But, I do want my scalp to look better. It’s blotchy and discolored with different layers of skin.

Is there a product, or procedure that can give me back my healthy scalp skin?

The Right Brain Responds:

Hi Eb, we’re always glad to answer questions from our male readers! Without actually examining your scalp it’s hard to say what’s going on upstairs, but

here are 3 tips that might help:

1. Suds your skull What are you washing your scalp with? Bar soap? That might be stripping your skin of essential oils. Try baby shampoo or a mild body wash.

2. Chrome your dome Are you applying sunscreen to your head? You should! Even if you wear a hat most of the time you might be getting enough UV radiation to damage your skin. What? You’re a guy and you don’t know anything about girly things like sunscreen??? Get over it and start using sunscreen. Your hair will thank you.

3. Soothe your scalp If your skin is blotchy and scaly, you might try a hydrocortizone cream to see if that calms it down.

If none of these ideas help, we’d recommend seeing a dermatologist. Visits to these doctors are almost always worth it.

16 - Tips on Caring for Your Hair Want Shiny Hair? Avoid The Dulling Dozen!

Tammy’s turmoil:

Can you tell me what makes hair really shiny?

The Right Brain’s shimmering reply:

Naturally shiny hair has a cuticle that’s smooth and flat; it’s plumped up with water (about 10 to 15% by weight); and it’s rich in natural oils that keep the whole thing “glued” together.

Unfortunately, you’re stealing shine from your hair everyday and you probably don’t even realize it. If you want good gloss, you should avoid these 12 things

that can rob hair of shine. Or as we like to call them, the Dulling Dozen:

1. Flood Damage Even “harmless” water can be a shine stealer. That’s because too much moisture swells the hair shaft and causes the cuticle to buckle. The more frequently you wet your hair, the less shine you’re likely to have.

2. Shampoo Scrubbing Scrubbing bubbles seem cute but all that rub a dub dub lifts the cuticle even more. Using a conditioning shampoo can help because the hair shafts won’t snag against each other when you’re lathering up.

3. Careless Under-conditioning Ok, not everyone needs to condition EVERY time they wash their hair. BUT, if your hair is dry to begin with it’s much more likely to be damaged during and after styling if you skip conditioner. You’re just giving shine away!

4. Death by Towel Drying So, now your hair is wet. What do you do? Blot, don’t rub! A rough towel can cause an amazing amount of damage on wet hair.

5. The Brush Off Don’t fall for that old myth that you should brush you hair 100 strokes every night. While brushing does temporarily help by distributing natural oils, in the long run it strips off layers of cuticle and weakens hair.

6. Hot Styling Appliances Heat is the natural enemy of shine. That’s because high temperatures damage the natural lipids (fancy word for oils) that help keep hair flexible and shiny. If you do decide to heat style, use protection!

–  –  –

8. Color My World Chemical coloring is very damaging because it breaks down the inner structure of hair protein. Even if you use the special conditioner that comes with the coloring kit, your hair never fully recovers.

9. Wave Bye Bye Permanent waving is another chemical process that’s highly damaging.

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