I was opining to a friend the other day about Sarah Palin and that a prom night hairdo at 42 simply isn't age appropriate. Since we'd already exhausted wolf-hunting, book-banning, bridge-subsidizing and hypocritical family values, we moved on from Saracuda to the subject of long hair in general and my friend fessed up to using Long Hair Lovers Rare Hair Oil. Her name has been withheld to protect the extravagant (this stuff costs $400 a bottle).

The thing is that trying to grow long locks in your forties (something many women, including me, seem to attempt; perhaps to avoid ending up like Dame Judy Dench) isn't easy. It seems to reach a certain length and then refuse to grow any further. Apparently, with Long Hair Lovers Rare Hair Oil you can channel your inner Repunzel.

The Long Hair Lovers' formula is both simple and convincing. Its basically emu oil and I personally put a lot of store in the fat of this large flightless bird. In fact most weekends, I indulge (irony intended: it smells like a farmyard) in a straight emu oil mask. Studies at the Occupational Dermatology Laboratory of the University of Texas determined that 70% of the fatty acids in emu fat are unsaturated and that the second largest component is oleic acid. This may be why emu oil does such a good job of penetrating the skin. This may also be due to the fact it is also a neutral lipid without any phospholipids.

No-one seems to know how emu oil stimulates hair growth other than it is an anti-inflammatory and an inhibitor of 5 alpha reductase. Anyway, the other nice thing about it is that bacteriostatic: it doesn't grow bacteria and, therefore, no nasty preservatives need to be added in. For this reason, Long Hair Lovers can boast being sulfate, paraben, silicone and petrochemical free. They do add in neroli oil, vitamin E, saffron and rosemary.

For a more affordable flirtation with Long Hair Lovers you could take a look at the Luxe range. Each product is $22 and has, as its base, babassu oil. This is extracted from a South American weed and, because it is about 70% lipids, is increasingly being used as a coconut oil substitute. The Luxe Conditioner, for example, also has a touch of emu oil and loads of amino acids, plus linolenic and linoleic acids, which are omega 6 fatty acids.

The only questionable ingredient is acetamide MEA, which the Environmental Working Group's cosmetic database links to cancer. I haven't been able to corroborate this, however, so I'd be happy to take my chances.

Ingredients in Long Hair Lovers Luxe Conditioner


Water, behentrimonium methosulfate, cetearyl alcohol, cetyl babassuate, babassu oil, emu oil, wheat amino acids, soy amino acids, arginine, serine, threonine, acetamide MEA, hydrolyzed hair keratin, panthenol, sorbitol, sodium cocoyl, collagen amino acids, cocoyl sarcosine, wheat germ acid, wheat germ oil, linolenic acid, linoleic acid, sulfur, polysorbate 80, oleth-10,jojoba oil, organic rosemary essential oil, organic lavender essential oil, organic thyme essential oil, organic cedarwood essential oil, organic orange essential oil, tocopheryl acetate, hydrolyzed glycosaminoglycans, dehydroacetic acid, benzyl alcohol