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As any medical student will tell you, the schedule demands sacrifices in other areas of your life. Most students go out less, some give up hobbies, others give up life outside of school entirely. (I’ve even met one ultra-dedicated student who told her mother she was done calling her long-distance for the remainder of a semester.) As for me, I definitely learned to cut corners when it comes to grooming. Unfortunately for my poor hair, this means that I have gotten – and not maintained – highlights; gone without deep-conditioning for weeks; and, yes, even used a curling iron when my hair wasn’t completely dry…
I finally stopped neglecting my hair a few weeks ago, when I realized the extent of the damage. Gone was its soft, silky nature; it felt more like dry, coarse twigs hanging from my head. Not to mention that it had absolutely no luster – I think I’ve seen better hair on $5 wigs at Halloween! I consulted with the Alberta Modern Salon in Pittsburgh, who advised that I use Kerastase Nutritive Masquintense ($86.00, FutureDerm.com) nightly until I saw results. Two weeks later, my hair is completely transformed. It feels soft and manageable again, and even has a hint of shine.
Of course, this wouldn’t be the FutureDerm blog if we went on heresay alone. The secret to Kerastase Nutritive Masquintense is a mix of hydrating alcohols, silicones, oils, and hydrolyzed wheat protein:
- Cetearyl alcohol may be called “alcohol,” but don’t automatically be mislead to think that it is drying. In fact, there are a number of alcohols that are hydrating to the skin and hair, memorizable by the mnemonic “5 C’s steer left”: cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, cetostearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol 40, C12-15 alcohols, stearyl alcohol and lanolin alcohol. Cetearyl alcohol is a long-chain alipathic alcohol that is commonly seen in reparative shampoos and conditioners in concentrations up to 20%. It lubricates the hair and gives styling products a creamy consistency. Although ultra-cautious consumers fear using any product containing alcohol, cetearyl alcohol has been found to be largely non-toxic, as established by research published in the journal Toxicology.
- Amodimethicone is s an abbreviation of “amine-functionalized silicone,” and is found in an array of products for damaged hair. According to cosmetic chemist Tonya McKay Becker, the secret to amodimethicone is that it provides selective conditioning to the areas most in need of it. The mechanism is electrostatic attraction, as highly damaged areas of hair possess higher negative charge density, which enhances the affinity of the cationic polymer to that specific area. Amazing. (For an excellent article on amodimethicone’s other properties, please visit Naturally Curly.com.
- Hydrolyzed wheat protein has a low-molecular weight, enabling it to penetrate the hair shaft. Once inside, hydrolyzed wheat protein acts as a humectant, attracting moisture from the environment. As discussed in the textbook Conditioning Agents for the Hair and Skin, hydrolyzed wheat protein has been shown to reduce brittleness and limpness, and to increase body and shine in numerous studies. If you have particularly sensitive skin, you may not wish to use Kerastase Nutritive Masquintense or any other product with hydrolyzed wheat protein, because it has been shown to cause contact dermatitis in susceptible patients in a significant number of studies, including in the journal Allergy.
- Helianthus annuus/Sunflower Seed Oil is an emollient and occlusive agent that is used in a number of natural skin and hair care products. The secret to its efficacy is that sunflower seed oil contains about 60% linoleic acid, which is incorporated into lipids within the skin and prevents water loss from the hair. A lot of consumers who prefer all-natural products love it, since it is so pure you can eat it.
Bottom Line: A Definite Plus for Dry or Damaged Hair
I love Kerastase Nutritive Masquintense — it truly restored my dry, damaged hair to its natural state, and I can’t wait to see what level it takes my hair to next! Two noteworthy facts: One, I’ve found Kerastase Nutritive Masquintense works best when it is literally massaged into the hair between the tips of the fingers, and then allowed to set for 30 minutes or more. I personally massage it into my hair and then go for a 30-minute run, and that seems to be long enough. Two, Kerastase Nutritive Masquintense does not mend split ends like the new Nexxus Emergencee Reconstructor and other products containing polymers that temporarily bond broken strands, so you still need a good haircut to get your hair in real working condition again. Despite this, I love Kerastase Nutritive Masquintense — it’s my all-time favorite hair product, and trust me, I’ve used my fair share! Product Rating: 9/9. (High concentration of high-quality ingredients: 3/3. Unique formulation or new technology: 3/3. Value for the money: 3/3.
Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Amodimethicone, Cetyl Esters, Isopropyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Trideceth-6, Glyceryl Linoleate, Helianthus annuus/Sunflower Seed Oil, Glyceryl Oleate, Chlorhexidine Dihydrochloride, Cetrimonium Chloride, Linalool, Hydroxycitronellal, Hexyl Cinnamal, Cintronellol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Coumarin, Geraniol, Safflower Glucoside, Glyceryl Linolenate, Parfum/Fragrance