I am battling multiple hair and scalp problems at once. My scalp is irritated and itchy, usually oily but sometimes strangely dry, while my hair is straw-like-dry, thin and flat. This without even mentioning, my sleep depriving hair-loss problem. In a nutshell, my hair and scalp are a mess, and beautiful thick hair were always my number 1 object of envy.
But as we do what we can, I have stopped pursuing the impossible (aka Gisele Bündchen voluminous locks) and rather concentrated on the health of my scalp. Cause let’s face it: happy scalp happy hair. And my scalp was definitely on the sad spectrum of things. I heard all kind of advises, from using dermatological shampoos (yes, I consulted a doctor about my hair loss problem), to all natural grandma remedies (anyone tried washing hair with eggs? I did… not recommended).
I ended up self evaluated my scalp problem. My love for all things cosmetics, may have caused a product buildup problem, that in turn irritated my scalp and caused dandruff. I knew, my dry shampoo was the main culprit here, but honestly I have yet to figure out how to live without this lazy-girls favorite product. While obviously product buildup was not the only cause, it was definitely an element that made the whole scalp problem even worse. I looked around for clarifying shampoos that claim to remove the build up, but these in turn, can make your hair dry (and mine where already super dry!).
This is how I turned my attention to clay. I used to love the Lush hair doctor mask (original! not the currently launched hot oil) which, before being brutally discontinued, manged to save my scalp. I wanted another clay like product, that could also act as micro exfoliator for my overly stressed scalp. This is when my hair stylist, recommended the Clay Esthe line. Being a fan of all things Asian, I knew I had to try this Japanese hair care line.
- Clay Esthe Shampoo by MoltoBene
This shampoo promises a future of beautiful hair. According to the producer, it contains natural clay and deep sea water minerals to improve the health of the scalp and hair. It claims to remove dirt from scalp, excess oils and sweat that cause clogged pores. As well as increase moisture, softness and loosen tension causing the scalp to relax. I don’t know about the relax part, as my scalp is still pretty much stressed out, but the shampoo did help to ease the itching and remove the dandruff for a while. It is not a ‘medicated’ shampoo, so its aim is not to remove the problem at its core, but rather to ease the symptoms.
Surprisingly, the packaging mention that the shampoo should not be used on “damaged scalp” or when the scalp suffers from inflammation or other disorders. This disclaimer is a bit weird for me, as I thought the whole point of this line was to ease these troubled-scalp symptoms.
I messed up the external packaging so I can’t copy the ingredients list for you guys (sorry!) but it does contain many chemicals such as Sodium Benzoate, Cocamidoprofyl Betaine, Lauramide DEA and Fragrance (and all that on the top of the list). On the plus side it contains Squalane, hydrolyzed silk, sea salt and well you guessed it… clay. Squalane is according to some ‘the best beauty oil’ (check out this article) and there are even new trendy beauty products that are “100% squalane oil” like this and this. It’s supposedly very moisturizing, prevents irritation, is antibacterial and non-comedogenic (doesn’t clog pores).
I like using clay on my body, face and scalp. I really think it does a good job ‘sucking up’ impurities and grease. Overall/the shampoo leaves my damaged hair feeling soft and moisturized (and also smelling nice!). It also manages to keep my scalp problem under control, but doesn’t really solve it. My scalp starts misbehaving the moment I use something else.
Where to find it: You can find it on Amazon, or Walmart. Bonus points, once you have the shampoo bottle, you can re-purchase only the refill which can save you money.
- Clay Esthe Pack EX by MoltoBene
I think the Esthe Pack EX is more popular than the shampoo (or any other product of this line). It is labelled as a ‘hair treatment’ to be applied after shampoo and left for 5 minutes on the hair/ scalp. This treatmnet has a similar description as the shampoo, and is also meant to purify the scalp and soften the hair. Additionally, it has micro clay ‘bubbles’ that do a nice cleaning job. The treatment has a stronger earthy menthol-like smell, but just as the shampoo of this line, it reminds me of the smell of good hair saloons. It juts smells so… ‘professional’.
Although it looks like a heavy consistency, this treatment doesn’t weigh my thin hair down, which is already a considerable plus. It also does a good job to detangle my hair, and makes them look shiny and smooth.
Ingredients: Water, cetearyl alcohol, cyclomethicone, behentrimonium chloride, dimethicone, squalane, glyceryl stearate, PPG-9 diglyceryl esther, isopropyl alcohol, C-12-18 alkyl dimonium chloride, fragrence, methylparaben, polyethylene, propylparaben, propylene glycol, iron oxides, titanium dioxide sinter, tanakura clay, butylene glycol, hydroxypropylcellulose, sea salt, tocopherol, panthenol, retinyl palmitate, peanut oil, ethylcellulose, hydrolized silk, equisetum arvense extract (field horsetail), nettle extract, birch bark extract, coltsfoot flower extract, menyantes trifoliata leaf extract, rosemary, achillea millefolium extract.
On the ingredients side, we see some silicones in the front row as well as fragrance and parabens. I personally prefer when the fragrance is at the very end, because we don’t really need it for anything useful for our hair. Just as the shampoo, it has sea salt, squalane, silk and Tanakura clay.
Where to find it: You can find it on Amazon.
Bottom line: I didn’t know before starting to research Japanese hair care (forgive my ignorance) but Japanese products are quite famous in the hair care world. They are entire hair salons dedicated to these products. They also have a growing base of fans (notably among the hair stylists and hair care specialists!). I knew Japanese were famous for their lustrous hair, and that Camellia Oil was one of their secret weapons, but their hair care wisdom goes far beyond. I really liked both MoltoBene Clay Esthe products, even if I think I prefer the shampoo over the mask.
A non Asian alternative, that I have been recently in love with, is the Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-exfoliating Shampoo. This shampoo acts a bit like the Clay Esthe Pack EX, it gently exfoliates and relaxes the scalp. I wouldn’t say it detoxifies (note: you have livers for that) but it definitely leaves my scalp feeling ahhhhh amazing.