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04/13/2022

Beauty’s changing needs: Hair care brands step up to address aging hair and scalp concerns

Various products are being created specifically for natural, age-related hair changes.
Gisselle Gaitan
Online Editor
Gisselle Gaitan profile picture

As one grows older, finding the right product that works with specific hair care and scalp needs can be challenging.

The beauty industry is aware of these needs, and several brands are catering to a variety of them that include keeping gray hair strong, healthy and vibrant; addressing hair loss concerns; and keeping the scalp hydrated and nourished without stripping it of essential oils. 

Procter & Gamble is addressing many of these worries with two brands — Hair Biology and KeepItAnchored — that address the aging hair concerns of women and hair loss in both men and women, respectively.

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“Now that products are being created specifically for hair changing with age, it is becoming more common for women noticing age-related hair changes to expect products tailored to them — rather than having to adapt products created for different hair needs,” said Jeni Thomas, P&G principal scientist. “And this is leading to more conversations about the natural, age-related hair changes that had been unfamiliar to many.” 

Thomas said some of the changes hair goes through during these times include a difference in pigmentation, scalp oil production, shape of the strands, thickness of the strands and the total number of strands on the head. 

“Research has shown that when [the] scalp is not in its best condition, hair’s anchor to the scalp can be weakened, causing excessive hair loss,” Thomas said. “Protecting scalp and hair roots from oxidative stress with a particular antioxidant approach (the basis for KeepItAnchored) has been shown to strengthen hair’s anchor to the scalp so you can keep hair for longer.”

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Making sure hydration and nourishment needs are met is vital when it comes to changing hair and scalp conditions, and Alikay Naturals is a brand that’s working to ensure that consumers can find the products they need without any compromises. 

“In order to have a healthy scalp to flourish and strengthen your hair, you need a healthy base. You must feed and nourish from the roots, and maintain a consistent routine for healthy results.” — Rochelle Graham-Campbell, CEO and co-founder, Alikay Naturals

“Scalp health is extremely important for overall hair health,” said Rochelle Graham-Campbell, CEO and co-founder of Alikay Naturals. “Our skin is the largest organ of our body, and our scalp is a part of that skin. Just like a tree has roots, your hair grows from the roots of your scalp. In order to have a healthy scalp to flourish and strengthen your hair, you need a healthy base. You must feed and nourish from the roots, and maintain a consistent routine for healthy results. That’s why we have the Essential 17 Hair Growth Oil for ongoing nourishment for all ages.” 

SheaMoisture is another brand that is tackling these needs for consumers by addressing a variety of concerns — including scalp health — through its various hair care lines. 

“Aging hair is more prone to dryness, in turn making it weaker and more prone to breakage, damage and dullness,” said Alyssa Banks, brand manager at SheaMoisture. “Dryness can also plague the scalp, creating its own set of issues. Fair Trade raw shea butter is a core piece of our brand’s DNA. Every single product is formulated with this powerful moisturizing and nourishing ingredient to ensure we are helping her achieve a healthy scalp and beautiful hair.” 

Having hair that is more prone to breakage and a scalp that is more prone to dryness can influence the type of products consumers gravitate toward, and they can also influence the type of ingredients consumers like to stay away from.

“Research has shown that when [the] scalp is not in its best condition, hair’s anchor to the scalp can be weakened, causing excessive hair loss.” — Jeni Thomas, P&G principal scientist.

“Scalp concerns are not one-size-fits-all and SheaMoisture does not take a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to developing our products,” Banks said. Wherever our consumer’s concern lies, we are looking to innovate and create products that address them uniquely for a better overall hair and scalp experience, and are continuing to prioritize learning about her unique needs within this space.”

For example, some consumers are more apt to choose hair care products that are free of sulfates, but Thomas pointed out how, at times, it may not be the best choice for certain hair care concerns. 

“Technically, we know that sulfate-containing shampoos can be formulated to be as gentle or even gentler than some sulfate-free products,” Thomas said. “It all depends on the full formulation and how the ingredients are working together, which takes experience with hair care formulations to get right, regardless of the cleansing ingredients used. Sulfate-containing shampoos also tend to have more flexibility for other hair benefits that can be offered like smoothing or hydration in addition to cleansing.” 

Understanding these issues is why Hair Biology offers a mix of sulfate-containing and sulfate-free shampoo options. 

Alikay Naturals opts to not use sulfates in its products, but encourages consumers to educate themselves on the pros and cons of sulfates and make an informed decision on what works best for them personally. 

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“While we at Alikay Naturals don’t use sulfates, customers should educate themselves on the use of ingredients to make the best decisions for themselves,” Graham-Campbell said. ”Each person needs to evaluate which one works best for their hair, being mindful of using any that strips their hair’s natural moisture and oil.” 

SheaMoisture also chooses to not include sulfates in any of its products. By placing a special emphasis on incorporating sustainable, natural and fair trade ingredients ensures the brand is avoiding ingredients of concern, the company said. 

“We’ve made a brand promise to formulate all SheaMoisture products without sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil or petroleum,” Banks said. “We are committed to keeping that promise as we continue bringing new products to market for our consumer.” 

While each brand is currently working on a new batch of products that address these concerns, along with many others, it’s obvious that catering to one’s aging hair care and scalp needs ultimately depends on what’s best for the individual.

Beauty product picks:

Hair Food Mango & Aloe Curl Definition - Shampoo and Conditioner, SRP: $7.99 each
Infused with a blend of sweet mango, aloe and other curated ingredients, Hair Food Mango & Aloe Curl Definition shampoo and conditioner work to tame frizz, nourish hair and bring curls back to life.   

Batiste Naturally Dry Shampoo, SRP: $13.99
Available in Coconut Milk & Hemp, Bamboo Fiber & Gardenia, and Green Tea & Chamomile, Batiste Naturally Dry Shampoo is made with 100% natural extracts and rice starch to absorb grease and oil. The shampoo has an invisible finish that does not leave behind any white residue. 

Wet Brush Pure + Clean Detangling Brush, SRP: $18.99
Wet Brush’s Pure + Clean Detangling Brush features a hygiene-forward design that includes a removable cushion and bristles that have an anti-microbial coating infused with Silver Ion technology to repel microbes, bacteria and any other pathogen. Aimed at minimizing breakage, the brush is made with IntelliFlex bristles that glide through tangles.

Odele Moisture Mask, SRP: $12.99 
Odele’s Moisture Mask, lightly fragranced with a 100% natural signature blend of cucumber, oak moss and ylang ylang, is a deep moisture-infusion mask. Featuring vegetable protein Kervais to increase hair strength, the mask also contains quinoa, argan oil and jojoba to repair, restore, nourish and add shine back to hair. Designed for all hair types, it is a gender-neutral product. 

Conair Unbound Cordless Auto Curler, SRP: $79.99
Unbound Cordless Auto Curler by Conair is a rechargeable auto curler designed to help users create the perfect curl or wave. Featuring 60 minutes of cord-free run time, depending on hair type and heat timer settings, it has a multidirectional curl action for alternating curl direction and an anti-tangle function. It also comes with a heat-resistant storage pouch. 

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