Consumers want natural ingredients for healthy hair. This is because natural implies gentle, and gentle is preferable when it comes to calming frizz, fortifying strands, and nourishing the scalp. These preferences are reflected in NPD: according to Mintel, products labeled ‘eco’ and ‘natural’ have grown the fastest over the last five years, appealing to the 37% of female hair care users that seek natural or organic ingredients.
This tendency is fuelled by their preference for sustainable products; a further 22% of female hair care users prioritize eco merits. This combination of market dynamics has led to an explosion of interest in a hot new eco ingredient: algae. The undisputed treasures of the sea, this amazingly abundant aquatic plant has a wealth of nourishing features for hair. Here, we explore the trend.
Algae is moving from skin to scalp
Algae is incredibly rich in nutrients, with varieties such as Nori containing extraordinarily high levels of protein. Equally, algae have been found to be rich in collagen, making it a popular hero ingredient in anti-aging skincare. This has led to a wave of algae-based patents in the wider industry, where R&D departments have discovered the repairing properties of algae extracts.
Now, these benefits are transferring into the hair care space, as many brands are patenting products that care for the scalp. Now, the scalp is seen as an extension of facial skin and consumers are recognizing the benefits of algae-enriched serums and masks. For instance, the use of marine brown algae extract (Ecklonia cava) exhibits a cell-damage inhibitory effect caused by environmental pollution factors. As a result, brown algae can protect hair follicles and the scalp to promote strand resilience and health, reducing frizz, and enhancing manageability.
Equally, there is an interesting pending patent from a major brand for a haircare composition prepared using a dried red algal biomass (Porphyridium). This ingredient has been found to preserve the hair’s natural thickness and density, reversing hair thinning by reducing hydrogen peroxide activity in the scalp.
The frizz-easing potential of Nori
Nori, a specific variety of algae from the red seaweed family, has one of the highest levels of protein of any type: approximately 30-50% of its dry weight. It also contains free amino acids that give its characteristic taste in Japanese cuisine, which happen tohave valuable repairing properties. Therefore, its structure makes it the ideal algae for hair care, particularly when it comes to treatments for brittle hair shafts and frizz.
Inspired by Nori’s remarkable characteristics, scientists at Provital sought to unlock its natural repairing potential. This research resulted in Nori Complex, an active ingredient extracted directly from the red seaweed variety. Rich in amino acids, proteins, and polysaccharides, Nori Complex restores the hair’s strength and vitality, leaving it thick and voluminous.
In addition, thanks to the multi-capillary injection of the active molecules into a tara galactomannan matrix, the benefits of this powerful active are smoothly distributed across the hair shaft, moisturizing the hair and reducing frizz. All sustainably sourced, this active ingredient meets the demand for products that hair for our hair and the environment.