Simply put plants that grow in the ocean are excellent for hair and skin in general, and great for curly hair in particular. Various kinds of seaweed and algae are highly mineralized so always strengthen the hair follicle from root to tip, thus preventing breakage and adding necessary nutrients that aid in growth.
Frequently, sea plants have a gelatinous quality when macerated and filtered, so they are great natural alternatives to conventional hair gels, providing soft hold without tack or crunchiness.
Additionally, seaweed and algae have humectant properties, meaning they attract moisture to the hair strand, from the environment or from the scalp itself - so they make an excellent vehicle for moisture retention for curlies that are sensitive to glycerin.
Marine botanicals also have film-forming properties - meaning they coat the hair strand - which in turn means that they prevent moisture loss and encourage curl definition and clumping.
Marine botanicals frequently show up under the following INCI names in your hair products:
- Sea Kelp Bioferment
- Kelp Extract
- Algae Extract
- Seaweed Extract
- Chondrus Crispus (Irish Moss)
Bamboo has been around for a while in the eco-world and used for clothing, flooring, housewares and fencing. It's appearance in the beauty industry is relatively recent. Even though bamboo extracts are great in skin products as well (usually for adult facial products), I will be focusing solely on their value in hair products.
Bamboo is rich in silica, which really strengthens the hair shaft, in addition to coating it and fortifying it. Bamboo adds a slippery and sleek look and feel to the hair, thus promoting shine, aiding in detangling and giving a more polished look to your curls without the crunch or greasiness usually associated with moist bouncy curls.
Bamboo also volumizes thin or fine hair without creating bulk for those already blessed with a lot of hair.