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Davine’s , a small beauty supply company from Parma who sells in over 70 countries, recently came out with their Nounou Nourishing Repairing Hair Mask ($22.97, amazon.com) for dry and brittle hair, designed to rejuvenate your locks using a concoction of natural ingredients – olive, bitter cherry, and jojoba oils among others.
Why Hair Gets so Dry
It goes without saying that your diet and genetics play into how thin or thick your hair will be, but there is always more to the story. To give a little background: each strand is encased in a cuticle (the little white bubble at the tips), which is in turn embedded in your scalp. These cuticles will create sebum, which is naturally-produced oil that moisturizes and puts a protective casing over your hair.
People who have excessive exposure to the elements, frequently use a hair dryer, or who towel-dry strip away natural oils and moisture, while those who eat rich foods or are highly stressed are more likely to over-produce sebum (Centre Clauderer).
Olive Oil and Bitter Cherry Seed Oil: Great Sources of Fatty Acids
New treatments and products frequently include olive oil, one of nature’s most versatile plants. Olive oil, along with grapeseed oil, cottons seeds, melon, aloe, and sunflower seed oil, contain essential fatty acids, like linoleic acid, that moisturize your hair follicles while softening the shaft. Plus, the molecular composition of the oil allows it to easily penetrate the strand, allowing for internal moisture while developing a sebum-like protective film (Centre Clauderer).
The essential fatty acids, which the body cannot produce naturally, allow for regulated cell growth and function (Laurie J. Funkudian – Gale Virtual Reference Library). Davine’s also contains bitter cherry seed oil (prunus cerasus), which contains essential fatty acids; and Vitamin E, which is good for excessive sun damage, dry scalp, and mild skin irritations like eczema or some strains of dermatitis (Prunus Cerasus Patent).
Parabens: An Iffy Ingredient
Davine’s hair mask features parabens, an ingredient which has come under recent debate amongst beauty consumers. While the FDA has concluded that parabens are not inherently harmful in cosmetics, a 2004 study identified parabens in breast tumors, noting that they can act similarly (though not quite as strongly) to estrogen, a hormone which can influence breast cancer (FDA – Parabens). However, there are numerous ways to accumulate, not just in cosmetic. There are far more parabens found in food than in beauty products.
In Denmark and Norway, their respective governments have issued certain bans of the use of the preservative, such to banning of propyl- and butylparabens. Though there has been no conclusive data on effects of parabens, an NILU study identified a potential correlation between long-term cosmetics users, paraben deposits in the blood and liver, and health complications in later years (Science Nordic). However, the FDA has concluded that the amount of parabens found in beauty products is safe for human consumption and have not proven to pose any health concerns (FDA – Parabens).
Jojoba Seed Oil: Mimics Hair’s Natural Oils
Jojoba (pronounced “ho-ho-ba”) seed oil is another major player in natural hair repair treatments. Found in North and South America, South Asia and parts of the Middle East, jojoba resembles olive oil in that it contains essential fatty acids that nourish the hair and cuticle while not oversaturating it and offers a sebum-like protective coating.
Aside from hair-nourishment, the oil can aid in skin ailments like psoriasis and dandruff, relieve skin and scalp pain/burning (from sundamage, pulling hair back tightly, etc), and even protecting against bacterial infection (Dr. Leslie M. Baumann, Skin Type Solutions). Plus, some studies have shown that jojoba oil has led to hair regrowth by moisturizing and rejuvenating the scalp (Mosby’s Handbook of Herbs and Natural Supplements).
Personal use and Experience
The directions say to apply evenly on damp hair, and leave in for 10-15 minutes and rinse. When I rinsed my hair I had some trouble getting the mask residue to wash out fully, even when I scrubbed with my fingers and separated it with a broad-toothed comb. Perhaps it is because I have thin Nordic hair, but Davine’s mask ended up weighing down my locks and making my scalp and face feel greasy. On the plus side, their hair mask did make my hair shiny and frizz-free.
This product would be a good choice for those with thick, coarse hair or extreme cases of dry, uncontrollable hair for whom no other conditioning treatments work. If anything, you may want to look for at home treatments which would be considerably free of harsh preservatives and wouldn’t oversaturate your hair. When using homemade concoctions remember to research the oils that you are using, as some may end up clogging your hair follicles or irritating the scalp. The mask’s base is heavily oil intensive, which sounds like a positive thing, but ends up oversaturating the hair strands to the point that those with medium to fine hair (like myself) will end up with lank strands and hair so oily that you could dip bread on it. In short, unless you have fabulously thick but unmanageable hair or hair that refuses to moisturize and tame itself, Davine’s NouNou Mask will probably only serve to offer an oversaturated scalp, albeit one with a very nice sheen to it.
Post by Taylor Barbieri