Komenuka is a Japanese hair and skincare brand that may be the hottest thing since wasabi. I first heard about it from Stan and have now got to know it better thanks to the Bijin Moisturizing Shampoo ($34) and the best thing about it is that when you lift Komenuka's kimono this shampoo is an all natural concoction with no parabens or sulfates.

That means zero irritation, a big plus since I've been testing shampoos recently that have resulted in serious cases of red eye. Komenuka Bijin Moisturizing Shampoo provides plenty of foam, rinses out easily and leaves hair looking think and healthy. I have been using it with Alterna’s Caviar Seasilk Antiaging Moisture Conditioner and the result is plenty of volume without frizz.

One of the ingredients is swertia and the only other time I have seen this (a plant in the gentian family) is in Nioxin and Revitalash hair growth products. Using my amazing powers of deduction, I concluded that swertia must have properties that help against hairloss. Although I found plenty of patent applications for hair loss products containing swertia and saw palmetto, a plant that does have a scientific pedigree that is in the OOKISA hair thickening products, I haven't yet found any research specifically on swertia and hair.

Ginseng, on the other hand, can summon research to prove it helps hair. There is a Korean study on mice that demonstrated ginseng accelerated the recovery of hair cells and prevented apoptosis in hair follicles.

But what Komenuka is really big on is rice bran and has the starring role in just about everything they make. Rice bran contains ferulic acid an antioxidant that can seek and destroy several different types of free radical – ‘superoxide’, ‘hydroxyl radical’, and ‘nitric oxide’ – according to a 2002 Japanese study. However, there is another study, recently conducted in Scotland, that concluded that rice bran (which is the by-product of processed rice) has so much arsenic that it outweighs any benefits. It must be said that this is a lone study that hasn't yet been corroborated and it was conducted on rice bran used as food and the definitions of unsafe levels of arsenic were taken from prescribed limits for drinking water. It also seems that the type of rice is important, with rice from the US being the most toxic and basmati rice amongst the least. By and large, I would guess that the amount of arsenic exposure from a rinse off shampoo would be negligible.

Apart from alcohol and unidentified fragrance, the non active ingredients are few and benign, such as glycol amide stearate, derived from vegetable oils and designed to give products a pearly effect. I'm guessing that the BG included in the ingredients is butylene glycol, a non-irritating, viscosity reducer.

Ingredients

Water, coconut oil derivatives, glycol amide stearate, ginseng, rice bran, rice germ oil, swertia, wheat, seaweed, aloe, BG, alcohol, polyglyceryl, PEG-150, fragrance.