Natural derivatives in cosmetics: are they really effective? Tests say yes

The active ingredients derived from plants have a great effectiveness, often more than those synthesized in the laboratory. Let's find out the most important for hair care

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Nature is a valid ally when it comes to beauty. In cosmetics, the use of natural derivatives is increasingly frequent, which are replacing chemical compounds in the formulation of many products, to ensure eco-sustainable cosmetics, respectful of the environment and human health, but above all effective.

Italy, in particular, represents excellence in the field of natural cosmetics and the formulation of active ingredients derived from plants. However, for a product made with natural ingredients to be truly effective it is necessary that the active ingredients are present in the right quantity and not just represent an advertising slogan to sell more.

Speaking of hair care, nature has provided us with three active ingredients which, combined, perform an intense fortifying action that is more effective, according to studies, than the active ingredients reproduced in the laboratory. But, before discovering what they are, let’s take a necessary step back to understand how and why they are so valid.

The life cycle of the hair is on average between 2 and 7 years. Each follicle produces a new hair, which grows in a succession of cycles until it falls out. The cycle consists of three phases: anagen, catagen and telogen. The period in which the hair actively grows is called the anagen phase and lasts from 1 to 3 or 4 years. During this stage, the hair bulb, located at the base of the follicle, regenerates and produces the hair fiber.

Then the catagen or transient phase begins, which lasts between 2 and 3 weeks. This is the final stage in the production of the hair fiber and it is at this time that the follicle withdraws from the surface of the scalp. Here the hair stops growing and remains in this state for a few weeks, and then enters the resting stage.

The third and final phase of the hair’s life cycle is called telogen and corresponds to the rest period. The hair no longer grows, but remains attached to the follicle for about 3 months, at the end of which it falls out during washing or when we brush it. A new anagen phase can then begin.

Therefore, our hair does not grow continuously but for successive cycles. In the growth phase, each follicle produces a new hair, for a total of cycles between 25 and 30 over the course of a lifetime.

Cosmetic products are effective only when the hair is still alive, i.e. during the anagen phase which, thanks to the use of targeted shampoos, masks and lotions, can be lengthened to make the hair stronger and increase its life.

Nature has provided us with three active ingredients that combined perform this action very well, on a par, if not better, than the active ingredients reproduced in the laboratory. This blend is made up of three all Italian ingredients: rocket salad with fresh leaves; green nut fruit harvested in Veneto; stem cell culture obtained from unripe green grapes harvested in Emilia-Romagna, for an Inci as follows:

•  Active principles:

o Vitis vinifera Fruit Meristem Cell Culture, Hydrolyzed Eruca sativa Leaf, Hydrolyzed Walnut Extract;

• Solvent:

o Aqua;

• Buffering agent and preservatives:

o Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate.

In vitro and in vivo tests in the public domain have been carried out on this mixture, which briefly report the following:

In vitro studies have shown that already after 24 hours of treatment there is a proliferative effect on the cell sample taken as a reference. The components of the mixture seem to exert two different effects on the follicular cells of the dermal papilla: a faster stimulation thanks to the contribution of rocket and stem cells derived from grapes, and a longer-term stimulation effect provided by the green walnut extract. .

The in vivo studies were carried out by the University of Sassari on a sample of 15 male and female subjects, aged 18 to 65, affected by Alopecia, which caused mild or moderate hair thinning. The test lasted 21 days and the result was a reduction in hair loss of -21.3% in 21 days and -38% in 60 days.

These studies show that nature provides the answers to strengthen our hair. Apply a conditioner, or preferably a hair mask containing these active ingredients, once a week, massage it on the scalp with the fingertips and keep it in place for at least five minutes, it will help strengthen the hair in its anagen phase and prolong this phase.

There are various cosmetic products on the market that contain this mixture but, for it to be really effective, it must have a concentration of at least 3%. How do we know this? Just read the Inci of the product: if the names Hydrolyzed Eruca sativa Leaf and Hydrolyzed Walnut Extract are among the first ingredients, then the product works. Another possible consideration, to protect the environment, is to choose products that, besides this mixture, do not contain silicones and petroleum derivatives.

In addition to this blend, there are many others of natural origin, subjected to efficacy studies, which perform the cosmetic function for which they were designed in an eco-sustainable manner. We will talk about it in the next articles.