Deciem, a Canadian panoply of beauty brands, is perversely proud of its eccentric approach to hair and skin care. The iconoclasm masks (or perhaps it actually reveals) a vey serious approach to formulating, as a rapidly growing fanbase amongst the Truth In Aging community is discovering with Its Niod and Hylamide lines. Now I am trying Hair Is Fabric, a line of specialty hair products with a mantra that you wouldn’t send your couture clothes to the laundromat and you should treat your coiffe with same respect.
Specifically, I have been testing the Hair is Fabric Anti-Aging Support ($55 for 6.08oz in the shop), a co-wash that claims to be suitable for all hair hues (including chemically colored, after one week), as well as being anti-brass and anti-frizz.
Any anti-aging hair care product will capture my interest, but at the start of my test I found HIF Anti-Aging Support a little challenging. The directions are, to be frank, vague: “Work into wet hair. Leave on for 3 minutes. Rinse. Smile.” I wasn’t smiling after spending a full 10 minutes rinsing out the generous squirt I had given myself. I soon calibrated the right amount of product for my just-longer-than-shoulder-length hair, a very small squirt indeed (chickpea sized).
HIF Anti-Aging Support does a great job of cleansing hair — even passing the post-gym sweat and grime test. As a conditioner it is pretty good. The caveat for me is that it leaves my hair a little frizzy, an effect that last’s for the first day. The second day, however, my hair resumes its smooth and shiny waves.
This co-wash claims to use “cleansing fractions” rather than surfactants (a phrase that HIF/Deciem seems to have invented). There are, in fact, surfactants here, albeit benign ones such as coconut derived sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate and coco betaine. Less benign is behenamidopropyl dimethylamine (a common anti-static) that is a known irritant and is restricted in the EU (I didn’t personally experience any irritation).
All of this is rather conventional for such an unconventional brand. However, HIF does come up with a botanical complex that could qualify as a cleansing fraction. Three plants rich in saponins, foam-boosting and cleansing: antioxidant balanites aegyptiaca fruit extract, from a plant that is popular in Sudan (source), acacia concinna fruit, and gypsophila paniculata root.
I was curious to learn about the key active, Indian kino tree bark (listed as pterocarpus marsupium bark extract). This tree is used for all manner of ailments from toothache to bleeding. What makes it interesting is that the major component is something called pterostilbene, a derivative of resveratrol and the thing that makes blueberries an antioxidant superfruit. There’s also epicatechin, the dark force behind chocolate (the molecule that makes it antioxidant).
In the mix are some welcome, although more common, hair treatments including keratin, panthenol and sodium hyaluronate.
Overall, this HIF co-wash doesn’t quite live up to the promise of kid glove handling. But it does its job of washing and conditioning (and the all-in-one aspect is welcome on rushed post-gym mornings) without doing harm and while giving hair an antioxidant boost.