When is the last time you went to bed without washing and moisturizing your face? Hopefully never. But when it comes to hair care, we tend to be a little more relaxed—as anyone who has sprayed half a can of dry shampoo on their roots on day five of a blowout can attest. And that’s okay, but it means that when it comes time to wash hair, you need a deep-cleansing product that can remove buildup but also be gentle on strands. Enter your new secret weapon: charcoal.
This is not your barbecue’s charcoal. Activated charcoal is carbon sourced from certain types of bamboo and wood. Known for its gentle but deep cleansing, this super-buzzy ingredient can be found in everything from toothpaste to deodorant and now hair care. The charcoal in Pantene’s Charcoal Collection Purifying Root Wash comes from bamboo, while Pantene Charcoal Renewing Cream Rinse contains white charcoal from binchotan oak, which has been used for years to purify water in Japan. To further protect and nourish hair, both the root wash and cream rinse are loaded with antioxidants to help counteract the effects of free radicals—tiny molecules from the sun and pollutants that damage hair and scalp.
HOW IT WORKS
Activated charcoal acts like a magnet, gently pulling oil and dirt from surfaces and washing it away when rinsed. That’s why you’ll find char- coal in many of your favourite facial cleansers and exfoliators. What does this mean for hair? Well, skin and hair share many of the same genetic building blocks, so activated charcoal can help rid strands of impurities like product buildup, scalp oil and pollution—without damaging it. “It works along the surface of the hair, cleansing without disrupting the fibre,” says Dr. Jeni Thomas, Pantene principal scientist.
WHO CAN USE IT?
Anyone, really. But because charcoal is a deep cleanser, it’s a great option for women who go a few days between washes. (Guilty.) This is important not only for hair health— charcoal can help reset scalp’s oil balance—it can also make the difference between a good hair day and a bad hair day. Studies show that hair can take on weight from build-up in just three days, changing the way it behaves and the way that it moves, according to Thomas.
Pantene Pro-V Charcoal Collection Purifying Root Wash and Renewing Cream Rinse, at drugstores and mass-market retailers.
What to know about washing your hair:
1. FOCUS ON THE SCALP, NOT THE STRANDS.
A healthier scalp equals healthier hair. (Irritation can cause damage to the fibre’s cuticle structure and weaken protein bonds.). The key here is to use fingertips to massage the scalp—this will help remove buildup.
2. REPEAT IF NECESSARY.
Turns out sometimes you should lather, rinse, repeat. “If you find you are not getting a good enough lather, you could either add a little more water or shampoo twice,” says Justin German, Pantene consulting stylist.
3. CONDITION THE ROOTS.
A silicone-free conditioner is lightweight enough to use on the roots without weighing them down. Work conditioner from the tips to the roots to protect strands from future damage.
4. USE THE CORRECT PRODUCT FOR YOUR HAIR TYPE.
German recommends volumizing spray gels for fine hair (be sure to spray directly on the roots); those with coarse hair should opt for crème formulas and apply from roots to ends.