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Ecru New York Acacia Oil Protein ($30, amazon.com) is a little like a multi-vitamin in terms of topical hair products. With Acacia Collagen, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Almond, Apricot Kernal, and Extra Virgin Argan Oils, it’s promise of superior conditioning and moisturizing properties isn’t hard to imagine. In fact, it might even have long-term benefits for your hair in ways that will surprise you.
Ecru send a sample and I got to see whether it would make my locks luscious.
Is Acacia Collagen Special?
It doesn’t appear that acacia collagen is particularly special for being derived from the acacia plant. But that’s doesn’t mean that acacia collagen isn’t very beneficial. As it were, this is a plant fiber that can be used as a substitute for animal collagen in beauty products (Cosmetochem). Independent studies have shown that acacia collagen is nearly identical to animal collagen in independent tests done comparing the two.
As it turns out, collagen can be greatly beneficial to hair for several reasons. One of those being that your strands are actually covered with a layer of collagen that, much like your skin, thins as you age. This collagen in your hair gives your body and shine and as it depletes, it makes your hair thin and limp (New Beauty). A product with acacia collagen can help to give hair a boost — though it may not actually improve collagen.
There aren’t studies that show exactly what sort of potential long-term benefits this might have for hair. And if hair is at all like skin, topical collagen won’t increase collagen production — though there isn’t a general Dalton rule for hair as with skin. Even if the effects were only temporary, collagen is excellent for binding moisture, which would add a boost of hydration to hair.
Hydrolyzed Keratin Can Repair Hair
Hydrolyzed Keratin might actually be able to help with your split ends. According to Dr. Tonya McKay Becker, PhD., writer for naturallycurly.com, keratin in products reacts with the natural keratin in your hair to connect split hairs, essentially repairing them (Naturally Curly).[Read More: What is the Best Split End Product?]
Another way keratin works with hair is to add a coating that adds body and shine. It does this by filling in the gaps in the spaces between the natural cross-linked keratin in your hair. This does mean, however, that those spaces, which allowed the hair to react, better to ingredients are now closed. But this form of keratin isn’t nearly as strong as those in salons and while it will add temporary body and shine, it likely won’t stay in your hair for several washes (Modern Technology of Cosmetics).
Extra Virgin Argan Oil: The Hot New Ingredient
Argan oil, the hot ingredient known as Moroccan Gold, may just be good for protecting your hair form the hot, golden rays of the sun. Whether your hair is natural or dyed, it can break down in the sun’s rays. The pigment in your hair exists to protect the protein from the sun, but as it protects, it simultaneously gets broken down, and inevitably results in a loss of shine and body (Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology). But the antioxidants in your hair products can help to reduce the UV-damage that occurs (Journal of Cosmetic Science).
Fortunately, argan oil comes replete with several compounds that benefit your hair, including antioxidants (European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology). Specifically, it contains linoleic and oleic acids. And, to top it all off, argan oil has actually been proven to have significant UV-defense properties, making it a pretty golden ingredient (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry).
Personal Use and Opinion
Ecru New York Acacia Oil Protein was a silky serum with a lightly floral scent that was easy to comb through hair. Once my hair dried, it was softer, in particular on my ends, which seemed to be quite a bit smoother. I also noticed that my hair, as a whole, got less frizzy. And the formula itself feels moisturizing without being overly greasy.
Ecru New York Acacia Oil Protein has the benefits of acacia collagen, keratin, and argan oil. Over time, this serum actually has the potential to make hair softer and shinier overall. This is for two reasons. One, because the collagen may have long-term benefits that have not been well studied. This isn’t necessarily a certainty, but the second reason is. Two, the argan oil has been shown to have UV-protective properties that will keep hair from getting damaged by sunlight. And in the short term, the serum will make your hair soft and silky.