Vitamins, anti-aging, elixirs, chia seeds, serums and supplements: Those buzzwords most recently associated with skin care are now serving double duty in the hair-care category.
Particularly for summer hair, the focus has gone beyond great-smelling shampoos that provide temporary shine and body. Instead, a slew of new products and treatments are designed to work on the hair from inside out over the long term, stimulating the scalp, fortifying hair follicles, nurturing every strand.
"I have definitely seen a large increase in the demand for ways to treat hair from the inside out," says Dr. Dendy Engelman, a New York-based dermatologic surgeon and assistant professor of dermatology at New York Medical College. "I have patients ask me daily about what they can take orally to help their hair grow faster, thicker or to make it grow back in areas where it was lost. People aren't looking for just a quick fix. Instead, they are looking for internal support to enhance hair, nail and skin health."
Celebrity hairstylist Mitch Stone, who has tended to the tresses of Jennifer Lopez, Nina Dobrev and Tyra Banks, put hair health first in his Mitch Stone Essentials line, which is packed with vitamins that stay on the hair long after you've stepped out of the shower.
"For years I would be on set thinking, 'If people want vitamins to help hair and scalp health, why are they adding them to a product that washes down the drain in 30 seconds?'" he says.
He developed a proprietary blend, VCompS, incorporating antioxidants like vitamins C and E, B3 to promote the conveyance of oxygen to hair follicles, B5 to regenerate and B6 to stimulate hair growth. He combined those ingredients with papaya extract and made the result the core of his collection, including the hair sprays.
"Hair spray can have damaging effects, but so many people can't live without it," he says. "Why not add vitamins to help nurture? I wanted to create a line that would stay on the hair and protect it all day."
At Envy, a salon and spa in Sherman Oaks, an in-demand service is the Trissola Solo Anti-Aging treatment ($200 to $400), which incorporates something called BoNT-L, a peptide designed to attach to the cuticle and strengthen the entire strand.
Amanda George, colorist at the Jonathan and George salon in Beverly Hills, has created custom elixirs using hempseeds, sea salt and fresh mint for use in an hourlong in-salon treatment (starting at $100) to cleanse the scalp and restore smoothness.
And to really start on the inside?
"There's a secret I tell my clients," says Stone. "Start taking liquid colloidal minerals with trace elements. They are amazingly beneficial for the hair, and not enough people know about them."