Minimalist designed hair-care is usually hard to find. In its place there’s normally over-blown bottles with too much writing, too much colour and too much going on. Those wanting to reach out for pared-back products should look at Stockholm brand SachaJuan.
Ironically, while the packaging is as simple as it gets, the products are all about giving you more with their thickening formulas.
Based on old brown glass medicine bottles, with simple white labels, the brand’s look also reflects its ethos, which is to give uncomplicated, easy to use hair products.
While all the products are created with what it calls ‘ocean silk technology’ – based on various sea algae, each range thereafter gives a different focus to the look you want to achieve. The various sea algae add minerals, proteins and trace elements to moisturise, condition and to add shine.
The latest to launch are the Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner. As well as the foundation of sea algae, the shampoo, £20, has a cocktail of ingredients which add up to a ‘thickening technology’, giving a blast of smooth volume for hair which is ready for styling. It cleans really well, with just enough suds to feel like you are getting a deep wash. And a little goes a long way.
After washing, I’ve been slathering on the conditioner, £22, – and my hair has never looked better. After drying, my hair looks healthy, bouncy and fuller. It’s also much less fly away and is left gently scented with the signature fruity-floral fragrance.
SachaJuan is a brand that lives up to the adage that less is definitely more.
While on the subject of over-designed hair-care products, those catering for black or mixed-race hair are the worst culprits. Twee pictures, fonts gone crazy and wacky colours seem to be the name of the game. While many of the brands available in the UK are sourced from the US, there’s still no excuse for poor design. Anyone who has ever stepped into a black hair-care shop or chemist, will know what I am talking about.
But finally, and thankfully, there’s a new kid in town which at least has grasped that good design can also stretch to haircare for this sector.
SheaMoisture products are aimed at naturally curly, mixed-race or black hair. As a parent to two mixed-race boys who are fast growing up. The range is a godsend. First of all, let’s talk about the look of the products. There is a real gap in the market for stylish products for mixed-race and black women, let alone boys and men. For them, there’s a complete lack of decent products – most feature girls on or are two heavy for mixed-race hair. So tick, tick, tick on the gender-neutral, modern styling that this range has.
Now, to the products themselves – all the products from this brand are natural and made with certified, organic Shea Butter. A big tick. They are also cruelty free and ethnically traded. Yes, yes, yes. The Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo, £10.99, has a light texture and a gentle, smoothing effect. Again, I can’t sing its praises high enough. I’ve found that you only need to use a small amount to wash my boys’ hair (which means it lasts for ages). Frizz is controlled and curls are left defined and shiny.
I’ve also been using a small amount of the Curl & Shine Conditioner, £9.99, which leaves hair easy to comb through and gets rid of knots and tangles. It’s not too rich and hair is left in great condition meaning you can leave it longer between washes (a bonus when it comes to boys!).
Finally, I’ve also been smoothing the Style Milk, £12.99, through their hair to keep curls looking defined, and glossy. You only need a tiny bit for hair that looks in tip-top condition.
While the brand looks so of the moment, I have to say that I was surprised to read that it was actually launched back in 1912 in Sierra Leone. Sofi Tucker started selling Shea Nuts at the village market in Bonthe, Sierra Leone. By age 19, the widowed mother of four was selling Shea Butter, African Black Soap and her homemade hair and skin preparations all over the countryside. It was the start of the SheaMoisture brand, which is now an established US label. While it is mainstream in the States, with many collections and variations available, it is still relatively new in the UK. But SheaMoisture is gaining popularity not only due to its modern design ethos but also because the products do not contain synthetic ingredients such as sulfates, parabens, paraffin or mineral oil. Factor this with its cool look, it’s a breath of fresh air for hair care that is so often overlooked.