Is Rahua the holy grail of silicone and sulphate free natural haircare?
As we become more and more aware of the damage traditional haircare crammed with sulphates and silicone can do to our tresses the move towards natural products is gaining momentum.
However, it's difficult to find natural products which deliver impressive results but a new natural range has landed in Ireland which claims to restore hair's health and even tackle scalp issues ranging from dandruff to dermatitis.
Rahua is a range made from a natural oil harvested by indigenous tribes in the Ecuadorian region of the Amazon in South America.
The brand was created six years ago by a husband and wife team who are both environmentalists and have created a sustainable economy for the tribes who harvest the oil - twice a year - which forms the basis of the product range.
Rajeed Hemmat of Rahua describes the oil as "a vitamin rich oil, potent in omega 9 properties" which "moisturises the hair not only on the outside but because the molecule is so fine, almost ionic, the hair takes it right in, it enters the cortex and penetrates the hair from the inside out."
The problem natural haircare has thus far faced when going head to head with traditional chemical products it that they lack silicone, the ingredient which gives hair that silky, smooth feeling.
"Ninety-five per cent of hair brands in the world from Kerastase to L'Oreal, Pantene, Redken, they're all great brands but they're all chemical based," says Rajeed.
"The two main ingredients are sulphates and silicones. Sulphates are chemical foaming agents - people think if the product isn't foaming it's not cleaning your hair, whereas in fact foam dries your hair and breaks down your colour, and it's very drying for skin.
"Silicone is probably the biggest hurdle natural brands have in converting people to natural haircare. It gives you that beautiful silky slippery smooth feeling you get from shampoos, conditioners, Moroccan oil, serums but it's a cosmetic coating on your hair. It's false hydration. It's not able to penetrate your hair or repair the hair."
Rahua, by contrast, is 100% natural, gluten free, vegan and organic and, according to Rajeed, it works on everybody "whether you're white, black, blue, beige, dog, cat because it penetrates from the inside out."
The range is based on two shampoos and two conditioners - a classic version of both which is perfect for very dry, damaged, curly hair, and a voluminous version which is for finer, perhaps more greasy hair.
"You can wash and condition every day because there are no detergents or sulphates or silicon," adds Rajeed. "The shampoo will balance your scalp and your hair and within a few weeks it will help scalp issues like dermatitis, eczema, dandruff, especially the classic which is more nourishing."
Rajeed recommends giving the shampoo two weeks to allow the hair to detoxify and adjust to the natural product.
The process can be kick-started with an in salon treatment, which is exclusively available (along with home care products) at Dylan Bradshaw's Salon on South William Street in Dublin.
It's an add on service costing €40 and takes about 30 minutes (it does not include a blow dry which must be booked separately).
The treatment involves shampoo with the correct Rahua shampoo for your hair type, application of Rahua Omega 9 Pro Hair Mask and several drops of the luxurious Rahua Elixir Oil. A five minute massage stimulates the scalp and the treatment is left in for 10-15 minutes, hair is dried and a Rahua finishing treatment is applied.
Having had the in salon treatment I can vouch for the fact it leaves hair feeling super clean, soft, and weightless. Following up with a month of Rahua voluminous shampoo and conditioner at home I'm a convert.
Although the products seem pricey (€35 for shampoo, €40 for conditioner), only a little is required for each wash and in four weeks just one fifth of the shampoo and even less conditioner has been used despite the fact I have hair extensions (the products won't dissolve the bonds), the ends of which tend to require a little more TLC.