Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Shea Moisture Yucca & Baobab Thickening Growth Milk Review + Ingredient List

Claims: Detangles, conditions and strengthens while increasing volume for thicker, full bodied hair.

Directions: Apply as a no-rinse protective and styling cream to damp, towel dried hair as needed. Style.

My thoughts/My Results: 
This stuff does have a light floral fragrance, I definitely smell the Honeysuckle. The texture is exactly that of most hair milks, thin and somewhat runny. Knowing the texture of most cosmetic Shea Butters and the fact that it's second on the ingredient list, I would postulate that the Shea Butter is approximately 10-20% of the overall composition. It behaved on my hair as I would have predicted-Left my hair very moisturized and bouncy, with a light shine and very soft to the touch. My hair type is best described at 2C/3A in texture, very thick and dense, low porosity and tailbone length. I am Mediterranean in ethnic origin and my hair is very typical of curly hair types from this region. One thing that I look for in all my leave ins is for them to make a positive effect on my ends, which is the last of my heat damaged hair, while making the majority of my hair smooth and shiny and not weighing down my roots and crown too badly. This did all that and my next detangling session was also very pleasant, meaning that it kept my hair from tangling excessively, which is usually the type of characteristic that leads me to repurchase products.

Notes on how this would behave depending on porosity:
This product leaves a light flexible film of oils and butters in a water solution on the hair. It doesn't contain any cationic polymers which would aid in closing the cuticles, therefore works well on its own for low porosity hair such as mine, which is well moisturized and just needs a light seal, which is what this would do. For more porous hair, it can be used as step one in a good LOC or LCO regimen, as it would likely absorb into the hair shaft, make the hair more bouncy and pliable (as it did for my porous ends) but it would need additional sealing as it is quite light and water based.

Who else might this be good for: 
Tighter curly hair types might also benefit, anyone with hair within the type 3 range would probably enjoy this and women with tighter curl patterns within the 4A-4C range might like it with other styling products, definitely not enough moisture on it's own. Those who have looser patterns than I do, women with typically wavy or straight hair, I would consider trying it as a leave-in when not heat styling and would definitely recommend it for thicker hair rather than thinner. It didn't weigh me down but my hairtype naturally has a lot of body of its own. Use with caution.

Full ingredient breakdown and science based thoughts on hair growth and strengthening claims

This is where I get technical and Science-y:

  1. Deionized Water: This is an indicator that we're dealing with a water based hair moisture product which tells us two things- it can be used as step one in those wanting to try the LOC and LCO methods; it can also somewhat revert natural curl patterns for those who have manipulated their curl into a different shape
  2. Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter): This is one ingredient you'll always see in Shea Moisture products, I would postulate that it's concentrated at 10-20% here due to the texture of the product.
  3. Cocos Nucifera (Coconut oil): A very popular oil in Natural Hair formulations, it absorbs more readily than most oils and it can be helpful with high porosity, heat damaged, chemically treated and unruly hair
  4. Mangifera Indica (Mango seed) butter: Another butter, which doesn't receive as much attention as Shea Butter and has some similar properties
  5. Simmondsia Chinensis Seed (jojoba) oil: The natural oil which most closely resembles human sebum in composition
  6. Olea Europaea (olive) oil: A very popular natural oil which doesn't fully absorb into most hairtypes and leaves a flexible protective film on the outer hair shaft
  7. Vegetable Glycerin: Glycerin is a humectant commonly used in many haircare and skincare formulations. Those who try to avoid glycerin in hair products should be aware that this far down the ingredient list, it's probably at a concentration of less than 10%, maybe even less than 5%
  8. Persea Gratissima (avocado) oil: Another popular natural oil, this one has a tendency to feel light and thin in texture
  9. Triticum Vulgare (wheat germ) oil: High in Linoleic acid and Oleic acid, both very beneficial for hair protection
  10. Grapeseed oil: Another natural oil, this one is high in Vitamin E
  11. Sorbitol esters: Emulsifier, helps keep oil and water from separating
  12. Aloe Barbadensis Leaf extract: We all know about Aloe, moisturizing, cuticle closing
  13. Cetyl Esters: Another Emulsifier
  14. Yucca Filamentosa Extract: Yucca extract, there is some  anecdotal evidence about it's benefits to hair, but only anecdotal rather than scientific. Additionally, unless you apply to the scalp AND the concentration is high enough to work if it indeed does work, you won't see any difference.
  15. Vegetable Protein- Pretty low concentration, not much to worry about when considering protein/moisture balance
  16. Adansonia Digitata (Baobab) extract- Has not been studied much, evidence is largely anecdotal
  17. Biotin: May or may not have thickening benefits when applied to scalp, can do nothing when applied to hair shaft
  18. Panthenol (Vitamin B-5): In high concentrations it makes hair feel more substantive/thicker in addition to conditioning. In low concentrations, not much.
  19. Rosemary Extract: Can have some anti-fungal and anti-microbial benefit when applied to scalp, none to hair shaft
  20. Bamboo Extract: No known benefit
  21. Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) flower extract: Probably added in for fragrance purposes
  22. Lonicera Japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle) flower extract: Also probably added in for fragrance purposes
  23. Tocopherol (Vitamin E): At low levels, it functions as a preservative
Final Verdict:
Biotin, Rosemary, Yucca and Baobab extracts all have varying degrees of anecdotal evidence supporting the claims for strengthening and thickening hair. However anecdotes are not science and we can all suffer from individual bias. More studies need to be done in order to gain more objective evidence on the benefits of these extracts. Even if it turns out that one or more of these extracts is truly beneficial when applied topically, they're all here in very low concentrations and the product isn't designed to be applied to the scalp. If your hair happens to feel stronger and thicker, it's probably because of the aqueous oil and butter solution which makes the hair shaft feel smoother, more protected and coated but is not so concentrated as to sacrifice bounce and movement in most hair types. If you are buying this product as a thickening/strengthening solution, your money would be better spent on very high nutrient foods. If you're considering buying it because you would like to use a leave in which make your hair more soft, shiny and smooth while contributing little to build up or heavily weighing down hair, I would say go for it unless your hair is very fine.

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