To create Herbal Essences’ Bio Renew collection of shampoos and conditioners, P&G partnered with the world’s leading authority on plants, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to vet and endorse the botanical ingredients the company used in their formulations. But when Kew noticed how good the quality of aloe vera they were using “they were they gave us reason to believe that we could do more with it,” says Rachel Zipperian, P&G senior scientist. “We started exploring what would happen, and then when we got the data back.”

Known primarily for healing sunburns and wounds, aloe vera, it turns out, also has plenty of benefits for hair, which is why the brand is doubling down on it with an entire range. The 11 products in its Bio: Renew Potent Aloe collection (from $8) put the star succulent (which the company sources from Mexico) at the centre not only for its antioxidant properties but also because “it’s able to provide strength for the hair, so it works almost like a natural conditioner in the formulations,” says Zipperian. And it does this from the inside rather than just adding a cosmetic benefit externally, she adds. The plant is also rich in polysaccharides – large molecules made up of smaller sugar ones – which Zipperian says act like a bit of a carrier. “We think it’s actually working to help your hair get more of the active ingredients.”

Herbal Essences Mango & Aloe Curl Cream ($6)

Herbal Essences Argan Oil & Aloe Hair Mask ($6)

Herbal Essences Coconut Milk & Aloe Hair Mask ($6)

This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of ELLE Canada. Subscribe here.