A holistic approach to wellness is more than diet and exercise. In fact, it should also include your hair care.

Yes, even your hair care.

It’s a lifestyle adjustment that’s steadily changing the way we approach beauty. According reports from Mintel and NPD, the demand for clean, vegan and cruelty-free beauty products with traceable ingredients continues to grow as more people focus on wellness.

“I went vegetarian in 2008 for moral reasons,” says Scarlett Rocourt, owner of indie hair care brand, Wonder Curl. After her body reacted to an antibiotic, Rocourt decided to follow a vegan diet.

“When I became plant-based, I noticed all those little aches and pains from getting older stopped,” she says. There were beauty perks to being plant-based. “My hair grows faster, and it’s thicker and longer because of my diet.”

For many Black women, the transition to natural hair helped us see, in real-time, the impact of nutrition—and stress—on our hair. “What the natural hair movement did for a lot of Black women was make them more aware of ingredients,” says Rocourt. “You start to think, ‘If I’m going to take this much time with ingredients I put on my hair, why wouldn’t I think about ingredients I put in my body?'”

Indie hair care brands are known for kitchen-quality products. Each ingredient in the formulation—whether natural or synthetic—serves a purpose.”The natural ingredients I use [for Wonder Curl] are well-known, and have been used for hundreds, even thousands of years,” Rocourt shares. Standards like shea butter, olive oil and avocado oil are some of her go-to ingredients.

For her brand, Rocourt also uses cruelty-free, synthetic ingredients like glycerin. These ingredients meet the standards of California’s Prop 65. “When I formulated the Restoring Hair Treatment, I knew I wanted a conditioner that would penetrate the hair,” she says. “Tamanu oil is an ayurvedic oil used by Indians for thousands of years, and science is just catching up.”

Along with science, traditional beauty brands are also catching up to wellness trends. Specialty products infused with organic oils, spices and superfoods fill the hair care aisles of Ulta and Sephora. Black hair care brands like Luster Products stay aligned with customers by launching improved product lines featuring natural ingredients.

Luster Senior Brand Manager Angela Ferguson tells ESSENCE, “Wellness trends have definitely influenced our new product introductions for women, children and men.”

Luster’s iconic Pink line includes a Pink Shea Butter Coconut Oil collection, formulated with certified organic shea butter and coconut oil. There’s also the Pink Kids, Free Flow and SCurl Beard collections, all created in response to changing preferences.

“[The] collections have all been developed to meet the needs and desires of consumers that wear natural hair and those that prefer products made with natural and organic ingredients,” says Angela. “These new collections do not include ingredients that consumers don’t want in their products like sulfates and parabens.”

For many of Black women, hair care is self-care. Natural hair journeys have transformed into wellness journeys. And the more informed we are as consumers, the more quality improves for hair care products marketed to us.

Wellness as a lifestyle starts with this: If we don’t want harmful ingredients in our bodies, we don’t want them on our bodies.

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