Hair Care

By Kathryn Holl

New organic hair care lines continue to hit salon and drugstore shelves every month. Lucky for us, with each new launch, organic hair products continue to improve, offer better results and even decrease in price. As products improve, hair stylists get more knowledgeable and consumers get more interested and demand better value – especially in this global slump of an economy. Cue in the new budget-friendly, organic line from Samy Salon Systems called Ä• ∙sen∙cia by Samy, which are available in major drugstores around the country. Product lines like these are starting to teach us what this whole organic thing means in the world of hair, and just how accessible “organic” is.

Here’s what Samy’s definition of natural is all about: the new line is 100 percent vegan and offers natural and organic shampoos, conditioners and styling products. While no single product is 100 percent natural (the Styling Crème comes pretty darn close at 99.2 percent natural), they all contain certified organic ingredients and are sulfate, paraben and phthalate-free. As a reminder, just because a product claims to be natural does not mean it is organic. Phthalates, mainly used to increase the plasticity or fluidity of the material to which they are added, are currently being fazed out of many personal care products due to health concerns.

We took a step-by-step look at this line and tried its products to bring you the real deal about what organic hair products can really do for your daily routine.

Cleanse/Condition:

Natural Rating: 98.3% for the shampoo, 96.3% for the conditioner
The Mandarin Citrus Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner contain horsetail and wheat extracts. Horsetail, a perennial and close relative of the fern, is a non-flowering weed found in various parts of Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North America. Samy claims the horsetail extract strengthens and thickens fine hair and the wheat protein adds texture.

In our official (OK, maybe unofficial) BN testing process, we found that this shampoo produces a nice lather as opposed to many other natural or organic shampoos. The smell is not quite mandarin and not quite citrus; however it did emit a nice odor throughout the day. We admit, the smell is not something you immediately fall in love with, but it’s oddly appealing. Overall this volumizing combination of shampoo plus conditioner left hair soft and manageable.

Hydrate:

Natural Rating: 97.5%
The Coconut Conditioning Treatment with shea butter and sweet almond oil smells fantastic and reminded us of a tropical beach vacation. This is a great solution for those seeking a more natural solution to dry scalp. Shea butter is widely praised for its moisturizing capabilities and sweet almond oil – traditionally used by massage therapists – is high in omega-3 and known as an effective lubricant.

Style:

Natural Rating: 99.2%
The Vanilla Styling Cream with macadamia and sunflower is Samy’s most natural product – at 99.2 percent. The macadamia nut and sunflower seed oils moisturize and provide control and texture. Smell may be an issue here as it has a surprisingly sweet odor that is not distinctly vanilla, but something else. Those with fine hair should use this sparingly as it may weigh hair down – but if you have thicker, dryer, more processed hair like some of us here at BN, you can be a little more generous with the application.

Natural Rating: 99.1%
The Pomegranate Styling Mousse with marshmallow and yarrow truly adds volume to dull, fine hair. For those not familiar with the Asteraceae plant family, yarrow is a flowering herb with many medicinal and health benefits. Yarrow is also known to strengthen hair. The marshmallow extract conditions to fight frizz while the pomegranate fruit extract offers antioxidant properties.

The products are surprisingly efficacious and provide a variety of styling and cleansing options at affordable price points. Makes going green that much easier – especially for those not willing to compromise performance.

Originally published April 2009
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