Hands up if you straighten, wave, heat style or colour your hair? If it’s a yes like us, chances are you’ve tried every new hair repair treatment going, including Olaplex the cult hair repair hero. All with the aim of restoring your frazzled strands to their former glossy glory.
If it’s shiny, well behaved hair you’re missing, it’s likely you’ve damaged your hair’s F-layer, says Joe Hill, Aveda’s UK Colour Lead. What’s the F-layer you may well be asking? And we admit we had to ask the same question.
The F-layer is the transparent outer layer of hair that sits on top of the cuticle and gives your hair that beautiful, healthy lustre and easy slip when you brush, explains Hill. “It’s like an invisible shield and the hair’s the first line of defence that protects from over brushing and environmental damage such as sun and pollution. Without it hair is way more susceptible to damage,” says Hill.
The tell tale signs your F-layer has gone? Dull strands that tangle easily and feel rough and dry to the touch; hair that quickly overreacts to the weather going frizzy in humidity or brittle in cold spells; or hair prone to breaking when wet.
So can we repent our hair sins and repair it? Hair serum and its sidekick silicone has always been the quick-fire way to replace your F-layer and give hair back its slip, but it doesn’t repair and if overused can overload hair.
If you really want to repair hair, you’ll need to think deeper, “and address all three layers of the hair from the F-layer, the cuticle and the inner cortex,” says Hill. This was the mission behind Aveda’s Botanical Repair system, which like Olaplex includes an in salon pro treatment and at home cleanser and conditioners. It features three different plant technologies, with extracts of corn, coconut, avocado and Sacha Inchi Oil, to mimic silicone and replace the F-layer, as well as smooth the cuticle and rebuild bonds inside, to strengthen hair from its core.
It sounds techy and it is, but with the promise of 5 X stronger hair from using the pro treatment, we couldn’t resist putting it to the test and here’s our verdict…
Camilla Kay, GLAMOUR’s Beauty Director
With hair that’s been bleached within an inch of its life I have the frizzy, damaged ends and not an F-layer in sight. I literally sleep in hair treatments several nights of the week. Olaplex is a regular in my routine and in my top ten of products I spend cash on, so this is no easy test for the new treatment on the block.
Six years in the making this is hailed as a breakthrough hair repair, with a vegan, 93% natural formula. It’s out to rival Olaplex’s repair territory with serious bond building technology, but rather than a simple link between bonds, like two hands holding, it’s a complex cross linking bond structure so more like a wrap around hug, which allows for the claim that hair will be up to 5 X stronger.
The pro treatment is a super fast, three-step add-on at the backwash, a priming shampoo and a treatment that is combed through and left for ten minutes before conditioner. The rest is up to me at home. There are five different care products from shampoo, conditioners for different hair types and an intensive mask, but I opted for the leave in, Aveda Botanical Repair Strengthening Treatment, which I’ve been using daily for the past three weeks.
While salon trips are few and far between currently, this extra ten minutes and £25 and was worth the wait. While I don’t have a microscope to check what’s happened inside to my hair bonds, there was an immediate noticeable difference to my hair on the outside. My usual frizzy ends were being uncharacteristically well behaved, hanging straighter and sleeker, even without drying or the significant coaxing they usually require.
My hair also felt less fragile and brittle, with less noticeable breakage and three weeks on it’s pretty much the same result which is convincing. My one request would be a little more lasting shine if possible, but it’s definitely a new hair ally in my overnight treatment wardrobe. My only issue is that now I’ve experienced the super strength treatment, it’s human nature to want more of the pro stuff to use at home – right? But until I figure out to get my hands on that, I’ll be slathering on this botanical repair daily and topping up at the basin when it’s next time for a cut.