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With the massive popularity of skincare, buyers have become more savvy and knowledgeable about the ingredients we put into our skin. But what about hair? Nowadays, with endless hair care options on shelves, finding the right shampoo and conditioner can be just as difficult as picking the best cleanser for our skin type.

Along with colour-protecting, volumizing, sulphate-free and natural options in the shampoo aisle, we’re now seeing the not-so-surprising marriage of skincare and hair care ingredients. According to Rachel Zipperian, Herbal Essences Principal Scientist, ingredient-sharing has always been happening across beauty categories (aloe, clay and argan oil come to mind).

“Now that consumers are looking for specific ingredients and understanding them on a deeper level, they’re making the connection [between skin and hair] more authentic,” she explains. With trendy ingredients like activated charcoal and micellar currently shaking it up in hair care, we find ourselves asking, why should we treat our hair like skin?

According to Dr Jennifer Salsberg of Toronto’s Bay Street Dermatology Centre, treating hair care like skincare isn’t exactly apples to apples. These ingredients are actually for treating our scalp and to eliminate the buildup around it, affecting the condition of our precious locks. “Many of these ingredients are designed to provide a deeper clean to the scalp,” says Salsberg. “While we can get buildup on the scalp of sebum and hair product leading to oilier hair, it is important to note that sebum serves a purpose of moisturizing our scalp and hair and so it is important not to over-cleanse the scalp,” she adds.

With that in mind, here’s how the two buzziest skincare ingredients can fit into your hair care routine.

Activated Charcoal

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In skincare, activated charcoal is praised for its ability to absorb dirt and oil, making it the must-have ingredient for those who want to deeply cleanse their scalp and roots. According to Zipperian, hair can pick up four per cent of its weight in daily sweat and sebum.

“You want to make sure you’re removing all of that oil to keep your skin in balance. If you have an irritated scalp, it’s going to affect your hair and affect the quality of your hair which would eventually show up in your end style,” she explains. “Due to charcoal’s detoxifying and purifying properties, [it] is a great ingredient for people with oily scalps as it helps remove build-up and keeps strands feeling clean and refreshed,” Zipperian continues. That said, it isn’t advised to incorporate charcoal into your daily hair care routine.

“[The use of charcoal] should be limited since they can strip the skin of its natural moisture and dry out the hair,” says Dr. Sonya Abdulla from Dermatology on Bloor.

Our charcoal infused hair picks

Charcoal infused shampoo, with its deep cleansing properties, is designed for those who want to shampoo less. Herbal Essences Detox and Replenish Collection Black Charcoal Shampoo and White Charcoal Conditioner ($8 each in store at Shoppers Drug Mart) lift away dirt, oil and residue from the scalp while restoring it with antioxidants. If you like the clean feeling of freshly-washed hair, this one is for you.

 

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Whether you’re on day-one, day-two, or day-three hair, Kaia Naturals The Takesumi Detox Overnight Shampoo ($10 at Socialite Beauty) is an overnight-working charcoal-infused dry shampoo designed to be applied right before bed. While you’re asleep, the dry shampoo detoxifies buildup and eliminates odour, sweat and oil, while refreshing the look of your style. Wake up to oil-free hair with just the right amount of grit.

 

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To combat grease without over stripping the hair, Swipe Up Charcoal Dry Shampoo Hair Blotting Tissues by IGK ($22 at Sephora) are for you. They instantly absorb excess oil from your roots without messing up your ‘do. Best of all, these bad boys are portable and packaged in travel-friendly packets.

 

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Micellar Water

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For those daily hair washers out there, micellar water (made of micelle molecules) is an ingredient to get familiar with. This French skincare essential gently removes makeup and impurities without the irritation, making it the ideal hair care ingredient for those who have oily, fine, fragile hair and who are afraid of the damage that can come from excessive shampooing.

Micelles are a large cleansing complex too big to penetrate below the surface of the skin and the fibres of the hair. “Micelles just have this great ability to interact with water but also interacting with excess oil and hair, gently removing what’s on the surface without disrupting the natural structure of hair,” explains Dr Jeni Thomas, Pantene Principal Scientist.

Our micellar water hair picks

The Pantene Pro-V Micellar collection includes a purifying Gentle Cleansing Water Shampoo ($5 at Amazon) that is gentle enough for everyday use. Their Gentle Moisturizing Milk Conditioner ($10 at Amazon) has a lightweight, milky formula designed to penetrate and strengthen the hair’s fibres, rather than just coating the hair.

 

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Made with 96 per cent natural ingredients, the Kérastase Aura Botanica Bain Micellaire Shampoo (from $20 at Kerastase) is ideal for an ultra-gentle deep cleanse. Formulated with coconut oil, Morrocan argan oil and action-packed micelles, this shampoo gives hair a smooth and soft finish and is designed for hair types with dull and fragile ends.

 

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For those with curly hair, DevaCurl Build Up Buster Micellar Water Cleansing Serum ($38 at Sephora) can gently get rid of product-build up that hard water and typical shampoos can’t handle (without stripping any of your hair’s moisture). The micellar technology in this formula is designed to attract and eliminate build-up from the scalp, while the jojoba oil and abyssinian seed oil is delivered to the scalp and strands for healthy looking, frizz-free curls.

 

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While you’re incorporating skincare ingredients into your regular hair regimen, Renée A. Beach, dermatologist and Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, advises everyone to start laying down an actual hair care routine. “We should treat our hair with the same amount of care and attention that we do our skin. The scalp is an extension of the skin and it needs to be cleansed and kept healthy. The hair itself is actually dead, so keeping up with maintenance such as trimming and minimizing drastic hair dying won’t affect the scalp, but will promote strand health and minimize hair breakage,” Beach says.

Now that you know how these two skincare ingredients work in hair care, go forth and make wise hair care decisions.