If you’ve never heard of hyaluronic acid, you might be thinking, “Um, no. No acid in my hair care products, thanks.” But you’d be missing out on one of the biggest cosmetic advancements of the past 30 years, and by now you’ve probably heard of it anyway.
Though it was discovered almost 90 years ago in the 1930s, its benefits are so extensive that we didn’t discover its most popular application, skin and hair health and beauty, until the 1990s. The benefits of hyaluronic acid in skincare are obvious to most, but why are we putting it in our hair? Aren’t we getting a bit carried away? Here are the facts:
First of all, what is Hyaluronic Acid?
Also known as hyaluronan, hyaluronic acid is a polymer that’s naturally produced by your body. It has long been established that this polymer is essential to cell metabolism and healing. One of its earliest applications was the treatment of skin lesions in the ‘60s. Then, in the ‘80s, it was used during eye surgeries like cataract removal, as well as injections for arthritis in the joints.
Our bodies love this stuff. We each have about 15 grams of it in us at any given time, with about 5 grams being refreshed every single day. Your cartilage is coated in it, it’s embedded in your fascia, and it helps your muscles slide against each other painlessly. But its most common role is as a major component of skin. Your hair grows out of your skin, so this is important to note.
It wasn’t until the 1990’s that we realized the incredible impact hyaluronic acid has on skin and hair. Since then, it’s found its way into our makeup, moisturizers, cleansers, and the topic of this particular post, our hair care products. When applied to the scalp and hair, it offers the same incredible benefits that it does for the rest of your skin, resulting in that hair you think only exists in shampoo commercials.
If you don’t see hyaluronic acid listed on the product label, look for the term “sodium hyaluronate”. Sodium hyaluronate is a water-soluble salt form of hyaluronic acid developed to provide the same benefits as Hyaluronic Acid but also to ensure greater penetration into the skin. This is possible because it has a smaller molecular weight than hyaluronic acid.
Hyaluronic Acid Benefits for Hair and Scalp
The number one most important benefit of hyaluronic acid for skin (scalp) and hair is its ability to moisturize. This stuff doesn’t just deliver moisture to your cells. No, this stuff is a hydration miracle. Two words – moisture retention.
What’s the worst thing about your hair moisturizing products? I’m willing to bet its either the weight, causing your hair to lose volume or look oily, or the fact that it feels great for ten minutes and then vanishes like a thief in the night. A thief who steals your hair’s good looks and silky texture. These undesirable features exist for two reasons: it takes a lot of product to deliver the moisture you want and they deliver moisture, but won’t help your hair and scalp hold on to it.
Hyaluronic acid is the gold standard for moisturization. It can hold – get this! – ONE THOUSAND times its own weight in water INSIDE your cells. So, it’s not just sitting on the surface like a lot of other products. It’s bringing intense moisture into the cells and keeping it there.
Thicker and Healthier Hair
As mentioned, hyaluronic acid plays a significant role in the health and healing of your skin. That means it’s necessary for all of your skin’s natural processes, including the growth of hair. Keeping your scalp healthy and moisturized is a crucial part of keeping your hair healthy and growing. Healthier skin promotes the growth phase of more follicles. Having more hairs on your head in the growth phase means thicker hair. Growth phases that last longer mean longer hair.
Now here’s something you might not have expected from this brilliant little polymer: it can actually increase the diameter of each strand of hair, so you get a thicker, fuller head of healthy hair that looks and feels great.
How to Get Hyaluronic Acid into Your Hair
Hyaluronic Acid Serum for Hair
The best way to get hyaluronic acid into your hair is with a leave-in product like a serum. Unlike many other leave-in products, a serum containing hyaluronic acid will be lightweight and long-lasting, not to mention highly effective. Leaving it in your hair will allow more of the product to be absorbed into the strands where you want the moisture to be delivered and retained.
Hyaluronic Acid Shampoos and Conditioners
A leave-in serum is a great delivery method, but it’s also a good idea to think about your shampoo and conditioner system. A lot of shampoos (drug store and grocery store products) are actually damaging to your hair, but a well-formulated shampoo with hyaluronic acid will clean your hair and scalp while delivery serious moisture from follicle to tip.
Conditioners have cationic charges and are designed to aid in moisture retention. When you’re choosing which conditioner, your best bet is the one that’s going to deliver and retain the most moisture you can get: one with hyaluronic acid.
Your Hair Care System
By using hyaluronic acid in each step of your hair care routine, you’re ensuring maximum absorption and efficacy. Your body turns over 1/3 of its hyaluronic acid every day, so it’s important to continue to supplement and replace it where you need it most. In doing so, you’ll see a significant improvement in the health and appearance of your hair and scalp.
Popular hair care and hair styling products enriched with hyaluronic acid include Vitamin Shampoo by Julien Farel, Hyaluronic Acid Light&Volume Filler Effect Shampoo by L’Erbolario Loti, Episilk Shampoo with Hyaluronic Acid by Hyalogic, Moisturizing Shampoo with Aloe & Hyaluronic Acid by Apivita, Yal Deep Hydrating Shampoo with Hyaluronic Acid and Clary Sage by NOAH, Advanced Volume Shampoo by Nick Chavez, Multi-Quench 3-in-1 Conditioner by Tree Hut, Hair Density Serum by Grow Gorgeous, Blond Absolu Cicaplasme Hair Heat-Protecting Serum by KERASTASE, Power Drops Hydration & Anti-Pollution Booster by ORIBE, and Pro Hair Growth Serum with Ginseng and Hyaluronic Acid by JJ Labs Skin Solutions.