HerCut caught my eye at Sephora the other day for two reasons: the packaging was modern, clean and cute (OK, so I'm superficial); and it promised a new approach to hair care - products for your hair style rather than your hair type. When I started to think about this, it struck me that HerCut's approach is pretty radical. Generally, when you buy a you buy a styling product it is aimed at, say, curly hair or at an effect, like imparting shine. Hercut is saying, so you've had your hair bobbed, or you have a shag cut, and our styling products will make that cut work. I had to take a closer look.

My shoulder length, wavy hair loosely approximates a shag cut, so I went for HerCut The Shag Catalyst ($28). The first thing that jumped out at me was the long list of things that I won't find in HerCut: parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, phthalates, GMOs, triclosan. We were off to a good start.

HerCut, then claims it has a "groundbreaking technology"  that fits the unique requirements of a shag cut. "Its macromolecular complex creates interactions between the hair fibers via a system of charges that impel the cut to behave brilliantly." Regular readers will know that when beauty companies talk about "groundbreaking technologies", my BS antennae become highly tuned.

HerCut Shag Catalyst comes in a dual dispenser, with one squirting out "polymers" and the other "collaterals". Now what does that mean? Polymers is a really broad term that encompasses plastic, cellulose, Bakelite and silicone to name but a few. In the case of Shag Catalyst, the polymer dispenser probably includes the silicone cyclohexasiloxane, polyimide-1 (a particularly strong polymide), polyacrylates, polyquaterniums, several other silicones and various copoylmers. My guess is that there are about 20 ingredients in the polymer corner. Collaterals are presumably the various amino acids (I counted 10 including histidine and proline) and natural oils like avocado and abyssinian (both full of fatty acids) and panthenol (vitamin B).

The difference between Shag Catalyst and, say, Bob Catalyst seems to be in the type and order of the polymers. The collaterals seem to be identical. All in all, it seems worth trying out so I've ordered it from Sephora.com and will report back.


Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Cyclohexasiloxane, Polyimide-1, Hydrogenated Castor Oil/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Stearyl Alcohol, C18-21 Alkane, VP/VA Copolymer, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Butylene Glycol, Panthenol, Abyssinian Oil, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Avocado Oil, Cyclopentasiloxane, Linoleamidopropyl PG Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Dimethicone, Ceteareth-20, Dimethicone, Acrylates/Beheneth-25 Methacrylate Copolymer, VP/Dimethylaminoethylmethacrylate Copolymer, Phenyl Trimethicone, Polyacrylate-21, Microcrystalline Wax, Acrylates/Dimethylamino Methacrylate Copolymer, Sodium PCA, Arginine, Polyquaternium-91, Aspartic Acid, PCA, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Sodium Lactate, C13-16 Isoparaffin, Oleth-20, Triethanolamine, Polyacrylate 15, Polyquaternium-59, Proline, Threonine, Isoleucine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Fragrance, DMDM Hydantoin, Disodium EDTA, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate.